Was It All A Mistake?

As the euro zone’s long drawn-out agony staggers towards its inevitable conclusion, at least one issue is nearing resolution. Just as in the 1930s, it has taken a long time for the ideologues to accept that their nostrums do not counteract recession but make it worse. Even the high-priestess of austerity, the German Chancellor Angela […]

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 […]

Leadership for A New Crisis

When Anne Tolley disclaimed responsibility last week for misleading Parliament, blaming her department instead, those with long memories might conclude that we have come a long way from Crichel Down. Crichel Down was a tract of land that had been compulsorily acquired for the war effort by the British government, on condition that it was […]

Europe’s Disaster

New Zealand observers of the long drawn-out death throes of the euro-zone might be excused for finding it hard to understand what is going on. They will have lost count of the number of times that Europe’s leaders have proclaimed that they have yet again found a permanent solution to the euro-zone’s ills. The difficulty […]

Travelling Further Down A No-Exit Road

By the time of the 2008 election, New Zealand had already been mired in our own home-grown recession for nearly a year. A response that would get the economy moving again quickly was clearly needed. That urgency was reinforced by the global financial crisis that shook the world in the later part of 2008. Our […]

The Wilful Obstinacy of Europe’s Leaders

The first duty of political leaders is to deal with the world as it is and not how they want it to be. Yet too many of our global leaders insist that the world should accommodate to them and not the other way round. Nowhere is this more true than in today’s Europe. Not only […]

If Things Are So Good, Why Are They So Bad?

It is a measure of how subdued is the national mood and how modest are our current ambitions that we expect so little of our elected governments. Even nearly four years after our own home-grown recession began, we are, for example, expected to acclaim as a triumph of economic management the first signs of a […]

The Death Spiral

There are times when one can’t help feeling sorry for the government. After two years of framing economic policy to please the credit rating agencies – last year’s budget was virtually dictated by Standard and Poor’s – their reward has been a warning last month that our credit rating is on negative watch. That blow […]

Recovery? What Recovery?

It is surely beginning to dawn on us, nearly three years after our recession began, that anything approaching a full recovery is still a long way off. It is now clear that unemployment remains stubbornly high, that the housing market is depressed, and that property values have fallen sharply so that most people no longer […]

Leaning Against the Market

When Lord Myners proclaimed this month that “there is nothing progressive about a government that consistently spends more than it can raise in taxation” he gave support and comfort to one side of an argument that is at the heart of the new government’s agenda – what to do about the government deficit. Lord Myners’ […]