Germany: the key to sustained recovery in the eurozone

Economic growth in Germany apparently slowed to just 0.3% in the most recent quarter, and performance across the Eurozone, while positive, remains sluggish. Despite a weaker euro, which should boost net exports for the region as a whole, and the quantitative easing policy of the European Central Bank (ECB), this is bad news. Continue reading

Change afoot in China

As many economists have argued, the structure and evolution of China’s economy has a huge impact on the global economy, and its very high rate of investment, with overall saving even higher, especially in the run-up to the global financial crisis, was part of the cause of the imbalances that contributed to that crisis. Continue reading

Social welfare and macroeconomic performance

The political left is usually a strong supporter of the welfare state, as it believes that it provides social insurance to the population at large, and aims to benefit those most in need, even if outcomes sometimes fall short. In this way it is thought to reduce poverty and inequality and increase social justice. Those on the right tend to be less enthusiastic. Continue reading

Continued recovery and disguised unemployment

So we have a Conservative government with an overall parliamentary majority: a most unexpected outcome in yesterday’s general election. One of the challenges facing the new administration will be to try to ensure that economic recovery continues, creating more jobs and raising wages for the majority, rather than simply those at the top of the income distribution. Continue reading

Finding the good in recessions

Economic downturns or recessions are widely perceived to be a bad thing: bad for the national economy, bad for business and households, bad for individuals. Average incomes fall, consumption falls, profits fall for firms and job losses outnumber job creation. This can seriously impact the well-being of the people affected. Continue reading

Wages, profits, growth and political ideologies

With the UK election only days away, it is important to know what one is voting for. Even if some of the parties’ manifesto pledges end up being bargained away in the necessity of them forming a governing coalition with a majority in parliament, one hopes that at least a few promises will be kept. Continue reading

The illusion of control: politicians and their unkept promises

With the election campaign here in the UK now down to its final week, and with the party leaders popping up endlessly on various programmes such as the news and more formal debates as well, making a string of probably desperate policy promises to try to win those crucial votes, I am reminded of how they often have less control than we or they like to think over the destiny of the nation. Continue reading