The 2008 global economic crisis has been the most severe recession since the Great Depression. Notwithstanding its dramatic effects, cross-country analyses on its heterogeneous impacts and its potential causes are still scarce. By analysing the geography of the 2008 crisis, policy-relevant lessons can be learned on how cities and regions react to economic shocks in order to design adequate responses.
The European Union is undergoing multiple crises. The UK may vote in favour of leaving the Union in June. European Union member states are in deep disagreement on various crucial issues, not only on how to handle the stream of refugees from the Near East, but also on how to combat terrorism, and how to deal with Russia. And, in each election, Eurosceptic parties garner an increasing share of the vote.
The idea that the United States economy runs on information is so self-evident and commonly accepted today that it barely merits comment. There was an information revolution. America “stopped making stuff.” Computers changed everything. Everyone knows these things, because of an incessant stream of reinforcement from liberal intellectuals, corporate advertisers, and policymakers who take for granted that the US economy shifted toward an “knowledge-based” economy in the late twentieth century.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about the consequences of David Cameron’s Bloomberg speech, where he set out his plans for a referendum on British membership of the EU. I was rather dubious about such a vote even happening, and even more so about the quality of the debate that would ensue. As much as I was wrong about the former, the latter has been more than borne out by events so far.
In the 1983 movie The Right Stuff, during a test of wills between the Mercury Seven astronauts and the German scientists who designed the spacecraft, the actor playing astronaut Gordon Cooper asks: “Do you boys know what makes this bird fly?” Before the hapless engineer can reply with a long-winded scientific explanation, Cooper answers: “Funding!” If an economist were asked, “Do you know what makes this economy fly?” the answer, in one word, would be “trust.”
Fine wine is an agricultural product with characteristics that make it especially sensitive to a changing climate. The quality and quantity of wine, and thus prices and revenues, are extremely sensitive to the weather where the grapes were grown. Depending on weather conditions, the prices for wines produced by the same winemaker from fruit grown on the same plot of land can vary by a factor of 20 or more from year to year.
The global food system is estimated to contribute 30% of total Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this context, the EU has committed to reducing GHG emissions by 40% relative to 1990 levels by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. Apart from the necessary policies of citizen information and production regulation, could a consumer tax on the most Greenhouse gas-emitting foods be a relevant tool to improve diet sustainability? Could it combine greener and healthier diets with a limited social cost?
In early 2015, confidential documents were leaked to Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper. The documents leaked came from the internal database of Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm. Working with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and media organizations from around the world, the documents (which became known as the ‘Panama Papers’) were analysed and, on the 3 April 2016, media organizations around the world published their findings.
Austerity, uncertainty, instability … all problems we associate with Europe today as it cycles from pre-GFC exuberance to today’s austerity. But to put things in perspective, these are minor problems compared what our grandparents endured after World War Two. In Britain many people did not have enough to eat, the government had secret plans for national catastrophe, the Cold War was raging, the colonies erupting, and Sterling was in crisis. In those days there were few policy economists, and macroeconomics was caught in a battle between non-interventionist classical economics and the Keynesian revolution of demand management.
Ever since the first arrangements were made for the exchange of some form of money for some form of sex, buying (or selling) sex has raised thorny issues for society’s rulers and governments. The Israelites condemned it, believing it would encourage men to seek sex outside marriage (Proverbs 23:27–28). Throughout much of European history, the profession was legal and often a source of tax revenue.
Agriculture is a means of living for a large percentage of the world’s population. Agricultural economics looks at the utilization and distribution of farming resources and aims to apply the principles of economic theory to farming and the production and allocation of food in order to optimize such processes. This month the annual conference of the Agricultural Economics Society is taking place.
In many scholarly and activist circles, the International Monetary Fund (IMF, or ‘the Fund’) has a reputation as a global bully. The phrase ‘Washington consensus’ has come to invoke a rigid orthodoxy of austerity and liberalization which the Fund, along with its cousins the World Bank and the US Treasury, imposes on developing countries. As an organization, the IMF is seemingly monolithic, drawing comparison to the Vatican even amongst its own staff.
Countries grow richer as one moves away from the equator, and the same is generally true if one looks at differences among regions within countries. However, this was not always the case: research has shown that in 1500 C.E., for example, there was no such positive link between latitude and prosperity. Can these irregularities be explained? It seems likely an answer can be found in factors strongly associated with latitude.
Currently a UK-authorized bank, insurer or securities firm has the right to carry on business in another EEA state without further authorization. This passporting right allows UK firms to access European markets and over 2000 UK investment firms benefit from a passport under MiFID. UK firms will lose this right if it exits the EU without mutual recognition.
E-cigarettes have an image problem. I mean this in two different ways. They are still seen as controversial products, often featuring in dramatic stories about battery explosions or toxic substances. Most of these stories play on public fears, exaggerate their claims, and are unhelpful for fostering a constructive public debate. But more generally, e-cigarettes have an image problem in that no one agrees on what they represent.
Whatever the international crisis – whether inter-state war (Russia-Ukraine), civil strife (Syria), nuclear proliferation (North Korea), gross violations of human rights (Israel), or violent non-state actors on the rampage (ISIS, al-Qaeda) – governments, pundits and NGOs always seem to formulate the same response: impose economic sanctions. In the mid-20th century, only five countries were targeted by sanctions; by 2000, 50 were.