Category Archives: Need for economic reform

6th December 2013 – The ancient Hebrew approach to avoiding boom & bust

“This fiftieth year is sacred—it is a time of freedom and of celebration when everyone will receive back their original property, and slaves will return home to their families.”

—Leviticus 25:10

A few years ago, I came across a really interesting idea about property rights. I was listening to a radio programme, broadcast from a church in the City. It was an ecumenical discussion, involving different faiths and examined the morality of debt driven economies. I wish I had kept the podcast, but one contributor was a Rabbi, who introduced me to the ancient Hebrew idea of a “jubilee”.


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21st November 2013 – How long must we keep falling for it?

The financial sector has been the great con of both the Industrial and the Information Ages.

The free movement of capital has allowed humanity to strive forward in its pursuit of ever greater technological, scientific, engineering and societal feats. Unfortunately, for well over 100 years, those in charge of the flow of money have found ever more creative and deceitful ways and means of extracting their pounds of flesh. Generation after generation of financiers has shrugged off crash after crisis, which they’ve been instrumental in creating, managing somehow to preserve their primacy of position. Politicians and policy makers remain enraptured by the supposed intrinsic role this industry plays in the happy function of our society.


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19th November 2013 — No bubble here Part II

As if we needed it, last week we were served further evidence of the precarious position policy makers find themselves in and the poor state of journalism covering this crucial issue, which is likely to define several generations. This all took place in the events surrounding Janet Yellen’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee and I am, of course, talking about how the Fed ever hopes to withdraw and unwind its Quantitative Easing programme.

The headlines after Yellen read her prepared remarks were what you’d expect in this “keep calm and carry on” world of ours – “Yellen sails through confirmation hearing”, “Yellen says imperative to promote strong recovery”, “Yellen says Fed has more work to do to promote recovery” etc etc.

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29th October 2013 — Fed monetary policy – building a modern Tower of Babel

The story of the Tower of Babel is one of the classic legends of humanity overreaching itself.

Recorded in the Book of Genesis, the Babel story tells of a time when all the people on Earth lived united and shared a common language. They gathered in modern day Baghdad (a.k.a. Babylon) to build a great city and tower to celebrate their superiority and advanced learning. God, however, took a different view of their achievements. He came down from the tower, scattered the people across the face of the earth and introduced different languages, to confound future attempts at such hubris. Some non-Biblical versions of this story have God destroying the Tower of Babel as a punishment.

Whether or not you believe the story of the Tower of Babel, ancient insight into the human condition recognised the dangers our species can pose to itself when it becomes too assured in its ability to control all that it is surrounded by.

Sadly this lesson appears lost on modern central planners.


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October 15th 2013 — Hedge your bets; 48 hours from an American default

If you are not watching this story, it’s time to switch on. The deficit ceiling debacle is back in full force. News crossed the wires, about an hour ago, that the Republican leaders in Congress have had to admit defeat in their efforts to provide an alternative plan to the bipartisan agreement, which is taking shape in the Senate.

We are now just over 48 hours from a US Default.

While the odds are still against this actually happening, they have nevertheless just shortened significantly.

The Democrats have a new found hardness about them and it looks like they are determined not to blink first in this latest fractious standoff.


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