LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - What is it about “free markets”? The phrase creates a frisson of excitement among a certain group of people. In “The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society”, Binyamin Appelbaum describes what happened when these intellectual fanatics were given the power to act on their ideas. It is not a happy tale.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - More of the gloomy same has been the rule for a few years now. Jaded investors expect more discord and economic slowdowns, and send global bond yields ever further downwards in the hope that central banks throw more stimulus in their direction. This dark complacency could be upended.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Marco Polo brought the idea of paper money to Venice when he returned from China towards the end of the 13th century. Now, it’s Chinese tourists that are bringing money into all of Italy. The number of visitors from the Middle Kingdom rose 31% between May and August compared with a year before, according to information from travel data analysts ForwardKeys. That was the fastest growth of any country out of Asia. The sudden popularity has less to do with a rash of interest in Renaissance painting and more to do with politics.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Spare a little sympathy for sell-side equity analysts. That is not always an easy request. Until recently, investment banks’ buy-and-sell (but mostly buy) experts had a pretty good life – high pay, lots of travel, often wrong and rarely punished for it. Their lives are now a lot harder.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - DoorDash founder Tony Xu found himself in a tricky position last week. One of America’s biggest food delivery service was revealed to be effectively pocketing tips customers gave its workers as thanks for good service. The furore revealed two rival theories of prices.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - “The spirit of conquest and the spirit of commerce are mutually exclusive in a nation”. So wrote the French intellectual Jean-François Melon in 1734. Over the subsequent centuries, his idea has been frequently repeated by commentators, and periodically undermined by history. U.S. President Donald Trump, for example, uses trade in a very aggressive spirit.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bond markets respond rationally to news in the short term and the long term. The medium term is another matter.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Frustration is a reasonable first response to reading Anthony Atkinson’s last book. More reflection brings more sympathy, and then some more frustration.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Some 2 million people in Hong Kong have forced China into a political retreat. The experience teaches lessons for another billion folks living in developed economies.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bond markets are in a lather because the global economy might be turning down. Many economists are starting to worry for a different reason: the monetary policy armouries of central banks are depleted. Innovative thinking is needed.