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Finance

The UK government’s policy on public sector pay is foolish

The UK government is confronting a “winter of discontent” in public services. In response, it insists that it cannot afford higher pay and seeks to limit the right of public servants to strike. This may work politically. But it does not make sense economically. Public sector pay should be set at levels needed to attract […]

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Finance

The UK government should stop doing stupid stuff

Barack Obama famously said “don’t do stupid stuff”. (Actually, he said something even stronger.) This is always good advice. It is particularly good advice for today’s UK. It would be wonderful if it could start doing sensible stuff. But one must keep one’s hopes in check. It should, however, surely be possible to stop doing […]

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Finance

The Tories need to abandon their shibboleths

The Conservatives have been in power since May 2010. Their record has been dreadful. This is partly because of adverse circumstances. But it is also because the party is in thrall to an outmoded ideology. On balance, each leader has also been worse than his or her predecessor. Maybe Rishi Sunak will be the “grown […]

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Finance

Delay only makes climate action more urgent

The priority of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh is to ensure a continuation of life on this planet as we know it. Yet some argue that the goal of limiting the increase in temperatures above pre-industrial levels to the recommended 1.5C should be declared dead: it is no longer realistic. Adapting our goals to our failures […]

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Finance

Restoring Britain’s credibility will be hard for Hunt

One down and one to go. Talking to policymakers attending the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank made clear the blend of amusement, anxiety and anger with which many view the UK. Kwasi Kwarteng’s “mini” Budget was the wrong policy (unfunded tax cuts) at the wrong time (a global crisis). Liz Truss more […]

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Finance

Xi Jinping’s third term is a tragic error

Xi Jinping will shortly be confirmed for a third term as general secretary of the Communist party and head of the military. So, is his achievement of such unchallengeable power good for China or for the world? No. It is dangerous for both. It would be dangerous even if he had proven himself a ruler […]

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Finance

Truss’s growth plan is nothing but a magic potion

Liz Truss has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. So, too, has Kwasi Kwarteng. A week of unnecessary and damaging turmoil has proved this. But behind it is an even bigger danger. The only sort of leader more dangerous than the rogue the UK used to have is the zealot it has now. […]

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Finance

Why the strength of the dollar matters

In times of trouble, the dollar is the world’s refuge and strength. This is true even when the US is the source of the trouble, as happened in the financial crisis of 2007-09. It is true again now. A series of shocks, including high inflation in the US, has triggered a familiar upward movement in […]

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Finance

Kwarteng is risking serious economic instability

The UK, says Kwasi Kwarteng, chancellor of the exchequer, is now “at the beginning of a new era”. He is correct. It is new in his willingness to pour scorn on the past 12 years of Tory rule. It is new in the size of his gamble with economic stability. It is new in his […]

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Finance

Europe can — and must — win the energy war

“Europe will be forged in crisis and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises.” These words from the memoirs of Jean Monnet, one of the architects of European integration, echo today, as Russia closes its main gas pipeline. This is surely now a crisis. Whether Monnet’s optimistic perspective prevails, we do […]