MILTON Friedman once said that, if you put the government in charge of the Sahara desert, there’ll eventually be a shortage of sand.
MOST of the commentary on the UK’s economic recovery focuses on consumers. Are they taking on too much debt again to finance their spending? Is there a bubble in house prices, as people get more excited about bricks and mortar?
SOFTWARE rules the world. This isn’t just what we say out in Silicon Valley, or a belief that my sector matters most – it’s a simple statement of fact.
Intimidated Russia [Re: Russia must back down over Ukraine to avoid a catastrophe, yesterday]
WHETHER it is best for Ukraine to split, or the UK to join the emerging Single European State, or Catalonia to leave Spain, or Scotland to leave the UK are not fundamentally economic questions.
AS RECOVERY becomes entrenched, it is easy to forget the sense of urgency of those heady days in May 2010, when the Tory-Lib Dem coalition agreement was thrashed out.
THE HOUSING crisis is the biggest challenge facing London. For the first time ever, it is now Londoners’ top concern.
IF WESTERN economies have lost considerable ground to emerging powers over the last two decades, it is not simply because we lack the cheap labour of China and India or the natural resources of Russia and Brazil.
GEORGE Osborne signalled last week that he plans to encourage more trade and investment in next month’s Budget announcement. The chancellor rightly pointed out that this was critical to securing a sustainable recovery across the UK.
THINGS are finally looking up for Europe’s beleaguered economies. So it is incomprehensible that we are still taking the idea of implementing a European Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) seriously.
IT MAY be a clean form of energy, but solar has become a dirty word in some circles. Given expensive subsidies and feed-in-tariffs, solar (like other renewables) has looked like yet another uncompetitive distraction.
THE LEGO renaissance is one of the great business stories of our time. A decade ago the Danish firm was on the brink of bankruptcy. It is all different now. Last autumn it overtook Hasbro to become the second-biggest toymaker in the world.
THERE is almost nothing more difficult for a political risk analyst than assessing the dynamics of a revolution, a situation in which long-held conventional wisdom can be upended in a matter of minutes.
Wasted Parliament [Re: Has the government now missed its chance to repair Britain’s public finances? Wednesday]
LIKE a slow-motion car wreck, the tragic violence that has erupted in Ukraine over the last few days – which some fear could result in bloody civil war – has been inexorably coming for some time.
IT’S EASY to forget that Germany was once seen as the Sick Man of Europe. Between 1991 and 2005, its GDP growth averaged only 1.2 per cent a year, compared to 3.3 per cent in the UK.
UNDER the headlines “Bank Robbery” and “Uncle Scam”, there was a stormy reaction to the largest settlement ever between the US government and a corporation – JP Morgan’s $13bn (£7.7bn) November 2013 pay-out over the mis-selling of mortgage securit
Scots currency [Re: Could fears over their future currency sway the Scottish people against independence?, Tuesday]
HOW DO you fashion a small state when there’s a huge deficit and a majority of the political and media class howl at the mere suggestion of less public spending?
WITH A general election approaching, I am not expecting the chancellor’s Budget on 19 March to raise many eyebrows. All political parties are likely to keep the potential vote winners in reserve for their manifestos and the campaign itself.
THE CHANCELLOR has a problem. People do not much like paying taxes, yet there is rising demand for welfare and state services, and politicians fear taking the tough decisions needed to reallocate spending.
UK tax hypocrisy [Re: Savers will pay a terrible price for Europe’s latest stealth tax, yesterday]
THE COMING European Parliament elections could be a turning point: our moment to save Europe from the EU.
I’D JUST arrived in the office when the telephone rang. The enraged caller let rip in a 10 minute diatribe before threatening to put something disgusting through my letter box. For similar reasons, a colleague once received a death threat.
WHEN we asked asset managers and investors to name the most important issue facing the sector, the answer was overwhelmingly how clients’ funds are spent through dealing commission.
Scotland relations [Osborne’s claims that Scotland couldn’t use the pound don’t stack up, Thursday]
ONE OF the areas of overlap between the business and political worlds concerns negotiation; any businessman or government-type worth their salt surely loves the chance to play at being that master actor-negotiator Peter O’Toole, if only for a limi
GUILDHALL is currently playing host to a public inquiry that has major ramifications for planning in the Square Mile and London.
SUPPORTERS of financial transaction taxes (FTT), often known as Robin Hood taxes, claim that they can make markets safer. But a look at London’s frothy housing market makes this argument difficult to sustain.
THE FCA’s report on the annuities market confirms that customers are not being well-served by insurers.
HOW DO you change the world? The answer is one child at a time, by transforming the education system and the influence of parents in that system. How do you transform the education system and the role of parents?
THIRTEEN miles east of the Palace of Westminster, a development is taking place that is vital to the future of London’s housing debate. On the site of a former Victorian power station, a town the size of Windsor is being built.
BRITAIN’S annuity market is not working for consumers. This is the conclusion of an important report, released by the FCA today.
East London [Re: The Docklands legacy can help fix London’s chronic housing crisis, Wednesday]
AT A recent meeting of the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee, I was debating with Capital Economics’s Roger Bootle whether interest rates should rise. His view was that they should not rise yet.
UTTER the words “cyber crime” and many minds will conjure up an image of an awkward teenager, tapping away in their bedroom well into the early hours. But cyber crime can be much scarier than that.
THERE is something about onions that brings out the worst in bureaucrats. Orlando Figes’s A People’s Tragedy chronicles the early years of the Russian revolution.
Confused guidance [Re: Carney’s new focus is spare capacity. Here’s what you need to know, yesterday]