Newsnight – economists discuss the ‘graphs of 2011’

This week I appeared on Newsnight with Gillian Tett of the FT and Louise Cooper of BGC Partners. We discussed our graphs of 2011 (see mine below) and wider questions around the global financial crisis this year – and how ecnomists and policy makers need to respond.

Watch the show on iPlayer for the next 5 days here. Our discussion begins at 33 mins.

Osborne's puppet-masters: Société Générale.

15th January, 2009.

Patient readers this blog is triggered by Jeff Randall’s column in the Daily Telegraph today.

In it he inadvertently discloses the identity of the puppet-masters dictating the Tory political agenda around public spending cuts.

In a somewhat histrionic column in which he describes the public deficit as a ‘disaster’ ( he should mind his language: Haiti’s earthquake is a disaster) Randall quotes a piece of ‘research’ by the French bank, Société Générale.  The paper is titled “Popular Delusions” and its authors explain some simple facts about government spending cuts to Telegraph readers:

Continue reading… ›

Wishing readers a stable and peaceful New Year in 2010

31st December, 2009

Dear Readers.

First, thank you for the support you have given this blog, and for your helpful and insightful comments over this eventful year. I have much appreciated our conversations, and your loyalty. May 2010 bring you all peace of mind and economic stability. And may we together begin to grow a new political climate and a new political class, that will finally detach itself from the financial elite, and respond to democratically-determined priorities for peace, stability and social justice.

Second, apologies for this period of hibernation over the holiday season. I blame Andrew Ross Sorkin (of the New York Times) whose 540 page blow-by-blow account of the events leading up to the failure of Lehman Brothers and the massive TARP bail-out of October, 2008 is a must-read. “Too Big to Fail” was a constant companion over the holidays, interrupted only by my periodic, but lame attempts to prove that I too can bake mince pies, stuff chickens and light log fires.

Finally, a gift from the Financial Times, which yesterday published a poem illustrated here – The bankers who wouldn’t say sorry: a cautionary tale”.   Martin Dickson, the paper’s deputy editor speaks for all of us through this light-hearted ditty, but does more: he warns in the last verse of what is to come as a result of financial greed and political ennui. Sadly, I, and many others, share his gloomy forecast.

It would be good to end this story
In a nice blaze of moral glory,
Like Hilaire Belloc’s clever tales
Where evil-doing always fails.
Alas, the only moral here
Is bankers just themselves hold dear.
But there’s a price we all will pay
If politicians won’t display
A little courage and crack down
Upon these unsafe, grasping clowns:
Another bomb is being built,
By bankers with no sense of guilt.
It’s ticking now, will louder tick
Unless we stop it, fast and quick.
For mark my words, believe this rhyme,
It will go off in five years’ time.
You’ll hear no end of sturm and drang.
When it explodes with a loud BANG.

The Motley Fool, plus You and Yours on Radio 4

The Motley Fool, September 2nd, 2009

Motley Fool blogger TMF Sinchiruna spotlights the Times interview, describing me as “once ridiculed, later vindicated…” TMF Sinchiruna goes on to say: “Peter Schiff, Jim Rogers, Niall Fergusson, Ann Pettifor … these are the voices that I believe investors need to hear. Turn off the tv and look deep into the events of last year and consider for yourselves whether anything more than a hail-mary reflationary maelstrom has been heaped upon the fire that started it all.”

Read the Motley Fool article >

Also just did an interview for You and Yours on Radio 4 which was broadcast Wednesday. You can listen to it here.

A blind spot for Leviathan

4th December 2008

‘Financial writers’ and establishment economists seem to live in a different world.  They often bring to mind bats, hanging upside down in the cavernous, soaring rafters of a barn, analysing the world from a great distance, and upside-down. Take one Diana Henriques – described as a ‘senior financial writer for the New York Times‘.  She was on the Rachel Maddow Show on US TV last night, reviewing the gargantuan $700 billion bail-out of US banks.  In defence of the opaque and unaccountable activities of the Treasury team dishing out taxpayer largesse she said this: “No-one could lay out a war-game for this (crisis) in advance”. (Ehem, correction: some were well prepared, and could have.)  But it was the next remark that took my breath away:

Continue reading… ›