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America’s borrowing bonanza

There are sometimes pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, but it is rarely wise to count on them to pay your debts. Writing from overseas, John points out that the solution to America's economic problems will not be a problem for America alone.

For all its faults, France is the place to be

On average, it seems that life is sweeter in France than on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – at least judging by their shorter working hours, longer lunch breaks and extended holidays. In this week’s article, John explains why Jacques Chirac, the French president, is almost the only Frenchman over 70 in regular employment, and why it’s likely to stay that way.

A rich crop of cynicism, greed and mistrust

Genetics is the most exciting of today's new technologies and has the potential to revolutionise nutrition and medicine. Yet, when it comes to GM food, we are patronised by a discredited government department, misled by campaign groups yearning for publicity, and let down by companies whose self-interest is ridiculously obvious.

Why the Atkins approach is bad for business

Doing an Atkins diet is now as fashionable in business as it is in personal life. But in business – as on the female body – there are places where you want fat as well as those where you do not. Bottom line – rather than tinker with sustainability, it is still best to soak up resources and use the energy productively.

When natural resources are a curse

It is in human, rather than natural resources, that the origins of material prosperity are to be found. John describes why natural resources may be a burden rather than a blessing for some developing countries.

When the heat is on the cool places still prosper

The connection between a country’s climate and its wealth can prove elusive.

Vive la différence in the local market

A walk on Menton's marché municipal reveals how the conclusions regarding differences in productivity among countries, can be both obvious and meaningless.

Travels with an economist

Where do economists go on holiday? Unmoved by glossy travel brochures they turn straight to the concept of purchasing power parity.

On John Kay’s Bookshelf – Archive page

Books that John has reviewed in the past...

Technology and wealth creation: where we are, where we’re going

The interrelationship of technology, economic advance, and social and political systems, has many ramifications. The last ten years, in economic terms, have constituted an American decade. But the way in which the American decade comes to an end is probably the most important issue for the world economy today.