LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Simple economics teaches that the most efficient way to reduce demand for something is to increase its price. That is the principle behind taxes on carbon dioxide emissions. Slightly more sophisticated and realistic economics teaches another lesson.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The world economy is set to enjoy a very good year. In that, it will be much like 2018 and 2017 and most probably like 2020 and 2021. Economic growth will be fairly strong in most of the countries where such expansion does the most good. While rich countries worry about objectively tiny setbacks, poor people are overall gaining more of the dignity that comes with adequate material comfort.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - On a noisy train you have to shout to be heard. That acoustic fact helps explain the dramatic and rapid recent drop in the price of crude oil, and some big daily moves in stock markets.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - In 1997, Pierre Bourdieu argued that the “precariousness” of modern work was a big problem. The French intellectual claimed that the decline of secure jobs and clear career paths led to “the destruction of existence … to the degradation of every relationship with the world, time, and space”. Everyone, he said, was affected, because no one could escape the fear of being rendered precarious.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Markets can be a costly business. Ronald Coase won a Nobel prize in economics in 1991 for pointing that out. He said that companies are created to save on transaction costs, and according to one interpretation, the savings are often large enough to justify pulling together quite diverse businesses. Problems at General Electric and the break-up of United Technologies show why that analysis is only partly right.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - “Type A Behavior and Your Heart”, a 1970s bestseller, claimed that heart disease was more likely among people who are involved in an “aggressive and incessant struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time”. The connection with cardiac health has been questioned. But many managers could do with a different title: “Type A behavior and Your Soul”. Carlos Ghosn would be the prime exhibit.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Brexit and Facebook might not seem to have much in common, other than that they are both made-up two-syllable words which are currently gathering a lot of negative publicity. However, there are three deeper, and deeply alarming, similarities between Britain’s departure from the European Union and Mark Zuckerberg’s social network. They can be summed up in simple slogans.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Is money more like gold or like motor oil? The answer to that fundamental question helps determine how large fiscal deficits should be, and how best to find the money to close the gap between tax revenues and government expenditures.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Politicians are once again trying to push central banks around. Donald Trump and his counterparts in India, Turkey, Russia and South Africa are complaining that the monetary authorities are resisting the popular will. The pressure is quite justified, and also totally wrongheaded.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Like its erotic namesake, wealth-porn can distract otherwise sensible people. It is all too easy to stare mindlessly at descriptions of billions and trillions of dollars and to relish tales of grand excesses of spending. What really matters about the rise of big fortunes, though, is not the thrill of luxury, but the effect of concentrated wealth on society.