For better or worse, we are living in exciting times. Globalisation and rapid technological change are creating huge opportunities. However, the gains are not evenly distributed. The major winners are (i) the hundreds of million people in formerly closed and backwards economies who have been lifted out of extreme poverty in the last two decades on an unprecedented scale and (ii) those in the advanced world who read more
Two months ago, the world woke up to learn that the UK had voted to leave the European Union. For two major reasons, the initial shock has subsided fast:
• Instead of taking charge, the leading Brexiteers lost the ensuing power struggle within the Conservative party as the mildly pro-EU Theresa May prevailed within just three weeks.
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- British regret? Over 3 million people sign an online petition to the UK parliament to discuss a second referendum.
- UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn faces a leadership challenge after his particularly lacklustre pro-EU campaign.
- The Scottish National Party (SNP) wants to prepare for an independence referendum to keep Scotland in the EU without quite saying that they want to call it immediately.
- Ireland reports a surge in applications read more
For once, let me start with the disclaimer: I am a German who has spent half of his adult life in London. That may colour my perspective. I am amazed by the current German backlash against the ECB, the only central bank that has ever delivered a prolonged period of price stability for Germany. In the same way, I am amazed by some English views of the read more
How would the UK fare outside the EU? Nobody knows for sure. A divorce can be smooth, causing only modest damage. Or it can be messy, inflicting serious pain on everybody except the lawyers. It would all depend on the policy choices taken by both sides following a hypothetical vote for Brexit on 23 June 2016.
But history offers a stark lesson. From 1958 to 1972, the read more
Rarely has a new government done so much damage in just one year. And rarely has a finance minister done so well for himself after having harmed his own country so badly within just six months in office. One year ago, the radical left swept to power in Athens. With the Syriza party and its leader Alexis Tsipras, the economist Yanis Varoufakis surged to global prominence as read more
Economic upswings don’t die of old age. They end because a cleansing recession is needed after the exuberance of a boom or because an external shock deals a devastating blow to the system. Across the Western world, we find no convincing evidence of serious excesses that would have to be corrected by a downturn soon. Last year, the major Western economies expanded roughly at their trend rates read more
Seven years after the post-Lehman crisis, memories of the disaster are still fairly fresh. Whenever things get wobbly, many scarred market participants are still inclined to sell first and ask questions later. We’ve seen this in the euro crisis hysteria of 2011-2012 as well as in some other corrections thereafter. As economists, we cannot call the peaks and bottoms of such market swings. But we can assess read more
Looking for safety and a job. The rise in immigration has become a major issue in Europe. To some extent, the pictures of migrants trying to make their way north after having crossed the Mediterranean or Aegean Sea also illustrate an age-old truth: on top of fleeing war, unrest and often destitution back home, migrants also want to work. In Europe today that mostly means going to read more
What debt relief does Greece need? Once again, this has turned into a hot topic. Some excitable pundits even worry that a dispute between the IMF (“Greece needs a lot of debt relief”) and the Eurozone majority (“only a modest re-profiling of Greek debt”) could scupper the deal that Greece struck with its Eurozone creditors on Monday morning.
As a general rule, the further the observers read more