The Chinese New Year begins on 8 February, ushering out the year of the sheep (or goat, or ram) and bringing in the year of the monkey. People in China will enjoy a week-long vacation and will celebrate with dragon dances and fireworks. Given the financial fireworks emanating from China, this is a good time to briefly review some of the major economic news coming out of the Middle Kingdom.
UK tax-credits are benefits first introduced in 1999 to help low-paid families through topping up their wages with the aims of ‘making work pay’ and reducing poverty, although they also cover non-working families with children.
The United States faces a paradox: being on the cutting edge of technology seems to have in recent years only a marginal effect on job creation. The history books and our traditional economic theories seem to have failed us – whereas before, technological revolutions usually led to tremendous growth in both GNP and employment, now, on the eve of some of the most impressive innovations we’ve ever seen, the economy and employment are recovering since the 2008 “Great Recession” at the slowest rate since the Depression.
There are hundreds of investment products in the market that claim to outperform. The idea is that certain information is identified that allow us to pick stocks that will do better than average and those that will do worse than average. When you buy the stocks that will do better and short sell the ones that you think will do worse, you have potentially identified a strategy that will ‘beat the market.’
Economists are better at history than forecasting. This explains why financial journalists sound remarkably intelligent explaining yesterday’s stock market activity and, well, less so when predicting tomorrow’s market movements. And why I concentrate on economic and financial history. Since 2015 is now in the history books, this is a good time to summarize a few main economic trends of the preceding year.
At President Obama’s urging, the US Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed a new regulation condoning state-sponsored private sector retirement programs. The proposed DOL regulation extends to such state-run programs principles already applicable to private employers’ payroll deduction IRA arrangements. If properly structured, payroll deduction IRA arrangements avoid coverage under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the employers implementing such arrangements dodge status as ERISA sponsors and fiduciaries.
The Big Picture and The Big Short: How Virtue helps us explain something as complex as the Financial Crisis
The star-studded new film The Big Short is based on Michael Lewis’s best-selling expose of the 2008 financial crisis. Reviewers are calling it the “ultimate feel-furious movie about Wall Street.” It emphasizes the oddball and maverick character of four mid-level hedge fund managers in order to explain what it would take to ignore the rating agencies’ evaluations and bet against the subprime industry—that is, their own industry.
In this episode of the Oxford Law Vox podcast, banking law expert Nikoletta Kleftouri talks to George Miller about banking law issues today. Together they discuss some of the major legal and policy issues that arose from the financial crisis in 2008, including assessing systemic risk and whether the notion of “too big to fail” is on the road to extinction.
Recently, debates about inequality have risen to the forefront in academic and public debates. The publication of the French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century in 2013 did not, to say the least, go by unnoticed. And many other prominent economists have partaken in the debate about global inequality: Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz and Angus Madison, just to name a few.
Is the world a more perilous place than ever before? Why are there so many crises? What can we do about it? Newspaper headlines routinely reflect the fact that terrorist attacks, industrial accidents, and economic and financial meltdowns are becoming more frequent and more far-reaching in their effects.
Seven years ago this month the federal funds rate—a key short-term interest rate set by the Federal Reserve—was lowered below 0.25%. It has remained there ever since.Lowering the fed funds rate to rock-bottom levels did not come as a surprise. The sub-prime mortgage crisis led to a severe economic contraction, the Great Recession, and Federal Reserve policy makers used low interest rates—among other tools—in an effort to revive the economy.
It has begun again: the age-old cycle of hate and counter-hate, self-justification and counter-justification, the grim celebrations of righteousness and revenge. In the US, conservative politicians play on it as demagogues always have, projecting strength and patriotism by refusing to take refugees from the lands terrorized by ISIS; my own governor, Chris Christie, tries to outdo his competition by arguing that even five-year-old orphans from Syria should be stopped and sent back, as if they are tainted by being from the same part of the world as the murderers.
The law has long struggled to adapt to new forms of employment – who should be responsible for the protection of workers’ rights, from minimum wage and working time to discrimination law, in today’s fragmented economy? These fundamental questions are now returning to public discussion as a result of the meteoric rise of so-called “crowd-work”.
Volkswagen shocked the world. The world’s largest automaker admitted to creating software that would deliberately generate false exhaust emission information on many of its popular cars. Making matters worse, Volkswagen’s top leadership seemed unsure about how to respond to the crisis as it threatened the company’s reputation, operations, and long-term strategy.
Earlier in the year, Greece faced some unsettling economic troubles. The country voted on a referendum that would decide whether they would pull their membership from the European Union (and thus, the union’s currency and economic system). It’s a wonder to think that this country, less than a decade ago, was among one of the richer nations.
Corbynomics has yet to be unpacked. And when it is, there’s danger it will be branded as a return to the bad old days of tax and spend, when the 1983 Labour manifesto was dismissed by pundits as the longest suicide note in history. To avoid this, what Labour needs are some big and positive ideas; ideas that that resonate with the public and which capture that popular mood of radicalism that has put Jeremy Corbyn where he is.