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It was all just a bad dream

So, that was it. The worst recession in living memory is, if you believe the latest government think tank reports, now over. The recession that Alistair Darling said would be the worst for 60 years (and he recently revised that estimate upwards to 100 years) has passed with nary a whimper in real terms. True, if you lost your job in the last year or so then you might not see it as being a particularly benign period of history, but really, as these things go, this has been ‘recession lite’, a recession for the generation that doesn’t dorecessions. Which, of course, makes me and Lance look a bit silly. Having correctly predicted that the recession would actually...

posted on: Jun 10, 2009 | author: Alex

Where next for the British economy?

By now everybody except the most wildly deluded of optimists must see that the UK economy is in absolutely terrible condition. Two cornerstones of the country’s economic identity, the property market and financial services industry, have been given a kicking that they may take years to recover from. Interest rates are at an all time low, punishing savers harshly, yet credit remains elusive and nobody is terribly keen on putting money back into a schizophrenic stock market just yet. Businesses are dropping like flies and personal insolvencies are at record highs. Billions of pounds of bailout money has failed to solve the problem and a government which once proudly boasted of its economic credentials has now seized up...

posted on: May 5, 2009 | author: Lance

Anger on the streets (and in the annual shareholder’s meeting)...

Things are starting to get pretty ugly in Iceland, protesters have taken to the streets to complain about the government’s handling of the banking crisis which has seen this once prosperous western democracy collapse into the kind of economic disaster you’d expect to see in the third-world. It’s not surprising that they’re angry – just like the rest of us, they were told  that their economic boom was sustainable and based on solid foundations, which as we all know now is complete BS. The tide has gone out, and now it’s clear that the people running Iceland’s economy have been swimming naked. And the Swiss are angry too – thousands of individual UBS shareholders want to know how...

posted on: Nov 23, 2008 | author: Lance

Only the women can save us now

In one of the most egregious examples of issue hijacking* we’ve ever seen, a report from Cranfield School of Management claims that the economy wouldn’t be in such a terrible condition if more women sat on the boards of banks, and recommends that more women should be given senior positions on the banks that have been bailed out by the government. Never has the acronym ‘WTF?’ been more appropriate. OK, yes, more women probably should be working in senior positions in the financial sector for the sake of equal opportunity, no arguments there, but we’re not quite sure about the rest of the logic. To argue that a higher representation of women on the boards of banks would...

posted on: Nov 20, 2008 | author: Lance

Government abandons its own golden rules on borrowing and debt...

You might remember that about ten years ago, when the current government was elected, Gordon Brown made a big deal about his strict new rules for government borrowing which were all part of his ‘no more boom and bust’ promise. Anyway, now that we’ve come to the end of the biggest boom in British history and are teetering on the precipice of the biggest bust in British history, Alastair Darling (the guy who replaced Brown when he got bumped up to Prime Minister) has decided that those rules aren’t quite as cast iron as they used to be. Neatly sidestepping the whole issue of the government’s abject failure to deliver on one of its key promises and abandoning...

posted on: Oct 29, 2008 | author: Lance

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