Quantitative easing

A warning for Osborne and his economic agenda

Why did Moody’s downgrade Britain to AAA with a negative outlook, but leave other countries on AAA? One crucial factor is the scale of our debt increase: 60 per cent over the parliament. You won’t find it mentioned much today. The Chancellor is talking about austerity, helped by Balls who talks about his harsh deep cuts. Osborne today swears to keep ‘dealing with the debt’ — but his definition of ‘dealing with debt’ would even make an Italian blush: As Balls said on the radio this morning, the plan isn’t working. But Balls’ narrative — that Osborne is cutting harsh and deep — is untrue, as Moody’s knows. Osborne’s real

Nassim Taleb: Ban Tesco bonuses

There have been precious few people able to make sense of the crash. The main commentators didn’t see it coming — and so have focused their energies stressing how no man born of woman could have predicted it. But Nassim Taleb did. He has been a voice of sense, originality and common sense throughout, and David Cameron has been listening. The respect is mutual: Taleb even described Cameron as ‘the best hope we have left on this planet’ because he understood the dangers of deficits. If CoffeeHousers haven’t come across Taleb’s books, such as Fooled by Randomness and Black Swan, I can’t recommend them enough. I met him recently, and

A feast of Quantitative Easing

Fire up the printing presses, once again. The Bank of England has just announced another £50 billion of Quantitative Easing, bringing the total monetary expansion up to £325 billion. And it probably won’t end there: Citi, among other analysts, forecast that it could go as high as £600 billion next year.  So what are we getting for all this free money? The Bank would tell you that its supporting the economy: keeping interest rates down and encouraging investors to flush money into growth-inducing schemes and mechanisms. And there’s obviously truth in that. But we, and the suits of Threadneedle St, shouldn’t pretend that QE doesn’t create victims too — and