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Quantitative easing and the curious case of the leaky bucket

In the modern financial economy, the main effect of QE is to boost asset prices, as market gyrations of recent weeks have clearly illustrated. But is the pursuit of higher asset prices an effective or desirable means of promoting economic growth?

Enduring lessons from the legend of Rothschild’s carrier pigeon

Why do we devote more resources to training carrier pigeons and building fibreoptic links than to understanding military and business strategy?

Why business loves capital markets, even if it doesn’t need capital

One of the paradoxes of modern business is that firms have never had so little need of capital or so much involvement with capital markets.

Fannie Mae is a needless and risky model for UK housing

Ambiguity is often attractive to politicians and costly to taxpayers.

On the brink of a shadow drink industry

Restriction of business on moral grounds is not always unsuccessful but measures have to be applied with great care.

Politicians bow to pressures to bend data

For a time, the coalition government seemed willing to let figures tell their own story rather than one written by their political advisers; but that time seems to have passed.

Even a subpar Sage is pure genius

The most remarkable thing about Warren Buffett’s achievements is not that no one has rivalled his record, it is that almost no one has seriously tried to emulate his investment style.

The limits of what money can buy

Should there be markets for sperm, surrogate motherhood or transplant organs?

The monumental folly of rent-seeking

The activities of Shah Jahan epitomise rent-seeking – the accumulation of a fortune not by creating wealth through serving customers better but by the appropriation of such wealth after it has already been created by other people.

The wrong sort of competition in energy

Some complexity is unavoidable, but much of the complexity consumers experience is not.

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