Tilting On Its Axis

New Zealanders often bemoan the fact that we are so remote from anywhere else. There’s not much we can do about geography, but we could sometimes make a greater effort to relate our own situation to what is happening in the rest of the world. A case in point is the upheaval that occurred last […]

Our Politicians Are Not Up To It

The revelation that Growth in a Time of Debt, the influential 2010 paper by leading economists Reinhart and Rogoff, was vitiated by basic errors has removed one of the last credible underpinnings of the contention that austerity – and reducing the deficit at all costs – is the proper response to recession. But it is […]

George Osborne’s Non-Event

George Osborne’s budget was driven by an obvious political imperative but was, in economic terms, largely a non-event. The major interest, such as it was, lay in the minor adjustments offered to long-suffering consumers in the forlorn hope that they would be cheered up by cheaper beer and marginal concessions on income tax, and might […]

George Osborne’s Deep Hole

Whatever George Osborne may say on Wednesday in his budget speech, he cannot extricate himself from the wreckage that now surrounds him. He may be just about the last person in Britain to believe that austerity offers a credible path to recovery from recession – and it may be doubted that even he remains a […]

Zero Budget, Zero Ambition

The budget, Bill English tells us, will provide a further step towards a strong long-term economy. That step is certainly needed, since there is precious little evidence of economic strength, long-term or short-term, at present. In recent weeks, we have seen unemployment on the rise again, manufacturing output fall back, retail activity stalling, the trade […]

Opening Our Minds

Over the past four years of recession, we have seen a re-run of the debate that surrounded the Great Depression. In the 1930s, there were those, like Herbert Hoover, who insisted that austerity – by cutting government spending – was the way to beat recession. Others, like John Maynard Keynes, were convinced that the remedy […]

Austerity or Jobs?

Two issues – the turmoil on world stock markets, and the riots in English cities – have dominated news bulletins over recent days. Each is a significant news story in its own right, but the interesting question is whether they are in any way linked. What looks suspiciously like the global financial crisis, Part II, […]