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In a wide-ranging interview, he explains why he fell in love with economics, what big banks and taxi drivers have in common, where modern finance has gone wrong, why economists should admit there are somethings you cannot predict and the new book he is working on with his old colleague Mervyn King.
The Labour and Conservative party election manifestos mark a retreat from the economic liberalism of the years from 1980 to 2015. There is a risk that the real achievements in removing obstacles to productivity and innovation will be steadily eroded.
Sales of sherry in Britain have fallen by more than half in the last ten years. The Wine and Spirits Trade Association blames taxation. But, as so often, the reasons are not economic, but social and cultural.
John explains the one thing he'd do if he could now revise the Kay Review of UK Equity Markets and Long-term Decision Making and identifies ways to improve corporate governance.
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.
JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank account for about 20 per cent of total global derivatives exposure. The risks associated with these exposures are largely netted out. But how well? Your guess is as good as mine, and probably not much worse than those in charge of these institutions.
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.