Posts

The Great Unemployment Fudge

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In the U.S., we are told, the post-World War II period was a golden age of full employment. High wartime government spending had brought to an end the double-digit unemployment and misery of the Depression, and as war gave way to peace, unemployment settled at a non-inflationary level of 3-5%. It's known as the post-war "economic miracle". But it's a myth. There was never full employment. The low unemployment of the post-war years is a massive statistical fudge. In fact, over five million people lost their jobs immediately after the end of the war, most of whom never worked again. But they were never listed as unemployed - because they were women.  The Great Unemployment Fudge started in the "Depression of 1946", described by the Cato Institute as "one of the most widely predicted events that never happened in American history". During the war, there was full employment, GDP was roaring and industrial production was at an all-time high. But much o

Sleepwalking into war

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In a broad-ranging discussion the other day about the path of political and economic policy over the last decade, I found myself returning again and again to events in 2014. Events that were apparently unrelated: Bulgaria's banking crisis , Moldova's banking fraud , the collapse of Banco Espirito Santo , the election of Syriza in Greece, the first Scottish independence referendum, UKIP's success in two Westminster by-elections as well as local and European elections. And in Ukraine, the Euromaidan revolt followed by Russia's annexation of Crimea and invasion of Donbas. "Why do all roads lead back to 2014?" I found myself asking.  The financial and political eruptions of 2014 marked the start of a major shift in the global geopolitical landscape. But it was not clear where the faultline lay. Lots of people thought it was between the Western "old order" and the emergent economies of Asia, led by China. And others, including me, thought it was a revolt

The SEC's Bitcoin ETF Standoff

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Another day, another application for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) rejected. Yesterday, the SEC rejected an application from Fidelity's Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust, the fifth such rejection in three months. Back in November, the SEC rejected an  application from Van Eck Bitcoin Trust, and in December it rejected applications from Kryptoin Bitcoin ETF Trust and Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund.And on 20th January, it rejected First Trust Skybridge Bitcoin ETF Trust's application.   Valkyrie had already had an application for a Bitcoin futures ETF approved by default. So the rejection of its spot ETF came as something of a surprise. Indeed, some analysts seem to have expected the SEC's default approval of Bitcoin futures ETFs for Valkyrie and ProShares in October to open the floodgates for approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs.  But these are not the first spot Bitcoin ETFs the SEC has disapproved. The SEC has previously rejected applications from Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, SolidX Bitc

The tangled web of sex and gender

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As many of you probably know, I have had to take a break from writing recently because of a broken wrist. But I did manage to write responses to this Twitter thread from Shaun Lawson.  I was uncomfortable about responding on Twitter to Shaun's questions, so decided to write them in a Word document and send them to him privately. But on reflection, I believe my views are every bit as worthy of a hearing as those of the trans activists and gender critical people who express themselves loudly all over social media. Twitter is a bear pit, so I'm publishing them here.  As the trans rights debate is extremely toxic, comments are moderated. I will delete comments that are personal attacks on me or anyone else or that are grandstanding a personal agenda.     I dislike the widespread, and often deliberate, conflating of sex-defined terms (“males”, "females") with socially-defined terms ("men", “woman”, “women’s”). So, throughout this piece, I shall use sex-defined

How central banks can fight climate change

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This is the uncut version of the final chapter of my book, "The Case for People's Quantitative Easing". It was written May/June 2018, so is slightly out of date (though I have updated it in places). But I believe its conclusions are right. So I am publishing it now to coincide with COP 26.  I've also included an updated version of the original postcript of the book, which seems to me to be very relevant now - not least because the first part of the Dune epic has just been released! There is scientific consensus that climate change is radically changing the nature of the planet, with profound implications for the future of humanity and indeed for life on earth as we know it. Already, the effects are becoming apparent: ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, global temperatures are the highest on record and the incidence of extreme weather events is increasing. According to the former Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, climate change threatens both fina

Maya Forstater's human rights problem

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Maya Forstater's Employment Tribunal hearing comes up soon. This is her second hearing: the judge in the first hearing dismissed her case with a controversial judgment that described her " gender critical " beliefs as "not worthy of respect in a democratic society". She appealed this judgment, and in June this year the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) found that the judge had erred in law and her beliefs were protected under section 10 of the Equality Act. The EAT instructed that a second Employment Tribunal should consider whether the discrimination she complained about in the original hearing was "because of or related to" her beliefs.   Forstater may or may not succeed in her discrimination case against her employer. She is far from the only person to hold "gender critical" beliefs: if the Tribunal concludes that her employer was right to dismiss her, then other people might feel unable to express their beliefs for fear of losing their