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A new twist on the Laffer Curve

The Laffer Curve is a description of the theoretical optimum point of taxation rate on a population. It implies that there’s a ’sweet spot’ of taxation where the most income is generated for government coffers. Set the taxation rate too low and the government misses out on potential revenue. Set it too high and an increasing proportion of the population finds ways to avoid tax, moves abroad or simply works less because the extra effort isn’t worth the reduced extra reward. What the Laffer Curve doesn’t explicitly take into account is the effect on a population of the perceived morality of public spending. For example, while an argumentative person might perceive taxation to be nothing more than demanding...

posted on: May 28, 2009 | author: Alex

Basic guide to Quantitative Easing

This is an article that I could have written a few months ago, when the Bank of England stated its intention to begin ‘queasing’. But it has become rather more relevant now that one of the pronouncements of the G20 summit is that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will itself begin to ‘print’ additional SDRs (Special Drawing Rights, effectively the IMF’s own currency) which its contributor countries can draw down in the shape of dollars, euros, etc. Note my use of the word ‘print’ in the above paragraph. The days when first world countries used the printing press to increase the volume of money in circulation have long gone, assigned to eras such as Weimar Germany. Paper and...

posted on: Apr 4, 2009 | author: Alex

Six truths about money I wish I knew when I was 18...

1) Money = Freedom. End of story You might not need money to be happy, but unless you feel like living off the grid and growing your own food (in which case, I say good for you) you’re always going to have bills to pay, so you need money to live. For most people this means getting sucked into a life of wage slavery. Hate your job? Suck it up, you need the money. Feel like taking six months off to write a novel or travel the world? Tough, you’ve got bills to pay, get back to work. All that changes if you’ve got money. When you’ve got cash in the bank, you have more options and more...

posted on: Feb 27, 2009 | author: Lance

Where to put your savings in today’s low interest rate economy...

I’ve been waiting to finish this article until the UK’s inflation figures were released. They show the CPI figure for November to be 4.1%, higher than predicted by the majority of economists. This figure is more than double the 2% target that the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is supposed to aim for, yet the UK’s interest rates are falling rather than rising. (Incidentally, a fall in the rate of inflation doesn’t necessarily mean that prices are falling. That is one possible interpretation, but alternatively it could mean that prices are continuing to rise, just not as quickly as before. Newspaper articles rarely make this distinction, unfortunately.) Of course, the MPC would say that it is targeting...

posted on: Dec 17, 2008 | author: Alex

Deflation or inflation – what will happen in the UK?...

I’ve written in a previous article about the various concepts involved in economic inflation and how it can affect the value of your money, your wages and the things you buy. The opposite of inflation is deflation, which I’ll explain in this article before going on to discuss the probable and possible situations in the UK for the next few years. The ‘deflation versus inflation’ argument is more important in the UK today than it has been at any time in the last 30 years, so it’s worth thinking about in some depth. So, deflation. If inflation is a general increase in prices and/or wages driven by the greater availability of money (whether ‘real’ money or debt), then...

posted on: Dec 6, 2008 | author: Lance

How the UK economy works, part 2: HM Treasury...

In my previous article I described the remit and practical activities of the Bank of England, as they relate to the operation of the UK economy. Now it’s the turn of the Treasury (or HM Treasury, to be accurate), which is the part of the government that looks after the UK’s money – most of it raised through taxes – and, to a large extent, decides how and where it should be spent. The first fallacy to blow out of the water here is the idea that taxes collected in a particular sector are also spent in that sector. For example, it would be nice if road tax revenue was spent on improving the transport system, wouldn’t it?...

posted on: Jun 22, 2008 | author: Alex

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