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Trump victory has its roots in the post cold-war settlement

There is wide agreement that Brexit and Trump's election were caused by economics. But this and the prescriptions - tweaks to the income distribution, more aid to failing industries and districts - understate the scale and nature of the problem.

Essays on modern monetary policy pt. 3: The folly of negative...

Business history, of a sort, was made last week by the French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, its blood thinner Plavix familiar to those with arteriosclerosis,...

The problems at Deutsche Bank

Deutsche bank’s share price has fallen by more than half in the last year. For some insight into the background see these two extracts...

Central problem with banks is “too complex to fail” not “too...

Recent stumbles by Bernie Sanders illustrate a misdirection in his attack on the banking establishment. The central problem is not so much “too big to fail” but “too complex to fail”.

No savings glut, investment opportunities abound

The belief that the zero lower bound to interest rates is a significant obstacle to stimulating demand supposes that there is a host of projects that promises a prospective return less than zero but more than, say, minus one half per cent. This completely misunderstands the nature of the barriers to long-term productive investment. We need less financial ingenuity and more common sense.

UK invites more bank failures by backtracking on executive liability

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which reported in 2013, recognised the central significance of executive responsibility for systemic failure in the sector. It proposed a senior managers regime which would hold executives liable for wrongdoing in activities for which they had responsibility even if they had no specific knowledge of the improper conduct. Having accepted this recommendation, the UK government is now backtracking.

HBOS report yields three important lessons for all businesses

British regulators have finally published their report into HBOS, the bank formed from the merger of Halifax with Bank of Scotland, more than seven years after its collapse. The 600-odd pages contain much detail on events and personalities. But there are general lessons for all businesses. Avoid the diversifier’s fallacy. Beware the winner’s curse. Fear adverse selection.

Limited liability led to limited care for other people’s money

The financial sector in the 1980s and 1990s was characterised by a rush to incorporation. The mantra of “shareholder value” restored the nexus between finance and business that Smith had feared and Brandeis denounced. And the stage was set for negligence and profusion to prevail once again.

We were better served by old-fashioned relationship-focused bank managers

The bank manager used to be a community figure who would base his (they were all men) lending decisions as much on his local knowledge and the character of the borrower as on figures. He did rather better than his modern-day, intellectually-superior equivalent.

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