Opinion

COMMENT

IT IS widely rumoured that the government is moving towards a commitment to increase the national minimum wage (NMW) well above levels suggested by the – usually fairly sensible – Low Pay Commission.
Buy British [Re: Is the environment secretary right that UK consumers should buy more British food?, yesterday]
IT’S HARD to think of a better parable about the effects of technology than Samsung’s embarrassing product launch at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday.
THE COMING year looks like it will be a good one. At the start of each of the past five years, the economic scales have been tilted downwards, and the challenge has been to look for factors which might have tipped them back up.
WITH the demise of salary-related pensions, we now face the challenge of ensuring people get the most out of the alternative defined contribution system, where their pensions are heavily dependent on how much they have saved during their working l
France failing [Re: France’s failed socialist experiment is turning into a tragedy, yesterday]
SOMETIMES a crisis doesn’t seem like a crisis because it is the status quo and people just take it for granted. For London, a case in point is the Thames Chasm – the acute shortage of road crossings of the River Thames east of Tower Bridge.
GEORGE Osborne has been quick to define 2014’s political agenda.
WE HAVE little detail of pensions minister Steve Webb’s proposals to allow pensioners to switch between annuity providers in the same way that they can switch between mortgages.
Space travel [Re: Which technological development will see the most game-changing advances in 2014?, yesterday]
I HAVE long strongly advocated a modest proposal for my clients regarding global political risk: judge analysts as you would a plumber. If we do a good job, rehire us. If not, show us the door.
GLOBAL growth picked up in 2013, ending the year at a solid pace. This strength should carry over into early 2014, but momentum is likely to wane.
WE ARE in a state of unusually high political uncertainty. By this stage in the electoral cycle, one usually has a sense of who the next winner is likely to be. But this time we have a high level of unpredictability.
SINCE the 1970s, years ending with a 4 have seen turning points in the global economy and had a particular significance for central bankers.
AFTER a surprisingly strong 2013 in many equity markets, I am cautiously optimistic for 2014. One of the key reasons for my slight wariness is that most of the predictions I am reading at the moment are unambiguously positive.
1. Between spring and autumn 2013, which of these countries received the largest upgrade to its 2013 GDP growth forecast from the IMF? a. Indiab. United Statesc. United Kingdom
Ian Stewart, Deloitte’s chief economist, poses the trickiest economics questions of the year
IT’S A SHAME all the shopping has to spoil the true meaning of Christmas.
CHRISTMAS has become a magnet for miserabilists.
Cashless society [Re: With plastic banknotes set to arrive in 2016, will cash soon disappear entirely anyway?, yesterday]
WHATEVER the chances of a last-minute Christmas shopping spree, the retail climate remains difficult.
FEW would find it hard to spot the difference between Stoke Newington and Salford. It’s certainly more than 200 miles that divides the North London district and the regenerating Manchester borough, now home to the BBC’s MediaCityUK.
THIS week, the Institute for Fiscal Studies told people born in the 1960s and 1970s that they will be worse off than their parents when they retire. This was mainly down to falls in income due to the financial crash, and lower savings rates.
Airport debate [Re: It’s time to kick politicians out of the crucial debate on airport expansion, Tuesday]
THE INTERIM report of Sir Howard Davies’s Airports Commission, released yesterday, is the perfect wake-up call to our political leaders. Expanding London’s airports is critical to Britain’s future economic well-being.
THE END of a year is always a good time to take stock. And for the first time since 2007, the prospects for the UK economy for the year ahead look unequivocally good.
MUTUALS and co-operatives have been promoted as the acceptable side of business by both arms of the coalition. Nick Clegg has lauded the Waitrose and John Lewis model.
Airport capacity [Re: Boris Island misses out on new runway shortlist, yesterday]
AFTER reviewing more than 50 airport expansion proposals, Sir Howard Davies’s Airports Commission is releasing its shortlist today.
"IT IS getting to the stage where our government is doing welfare and little else”. That was the verdict of the Institute for Fiscal Studies’s Paul Johnson at a post-Autumn Statement briefing.
ED MILIBAND was right to identify the housing affordability crisis as one of Britain’s most important policy challenges in his speech yesterday.
DISRUPTION is capitalism’s great party trick. The history of business is full of seemingly insignificant upstarts who cottoned on to a new technology or idea, and used it to embarrass, and then destroy, proud incumbents.
IT HAS not been a good week for airports, airlines or passengers.
WHEN considering the powerhouses of the British economy, most people’s minds flick to the City, or perhaps pharmaceuticals or retail. Yet it’s British universities – the envy of the world – which have the potential to save the British economy.
LONDON is changing. But then again, it always is. The theme of my new book Reinventing London is that change is the lifeblood of a great city.
I WROTE at the end of November that the rise of the selfie marked the death of the audience and the rise of an age committed to universal self-expression and performance. This week, even world leaders have been joining in.
IN BUSINESS, as in diplomacy, “war games” or simulations are a useful tool for mapping out tricky negotiations or complex geopolitical issues. The technique is often used by the CIA to play out security scenarios.

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