Economics Archives - Page 17 of 19 - Emile Woolf writes

Back to square one: Accounting safeguards do not work

The most sombre issue to emerge from the world’s current financial woes is that of trust. Putting it succinctly, who can you trust in markets where it pays to deceive? it was all in conformity with existing EU accounting rules.. Take Greece’s desperation to sell its bonds to reduce the size of the European bailout. […]

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Paying for infrastructure – learning from others

The economics of infrastructure funding is a fascinating subject, particularly when we observe how it varies from one country to another. How to select projects from the dozens that compete for public favour? By what criteria are they deemed worthwhile and prioritized? And, most critically, how are those selected to be financed? On my travels […]

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Hong Kong and China: reconciling the economic incongruities

Having been writing, seemingly forever, on professional matters and wider economic issues, it’s time for a refreshing break – for me at least. I am writing on the high seas, visiting many fascinating places – Guam, Papua New Guinea, the Great Barrier Reef. But the most intriguing are Hong Kong and China. I shall say […]

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Behind the words, public sector waste lies hidden

Whose analyses, explanations or remedies can you trust? One of the most valuable insights to be gleaned from a pukka crisis is how inexpert the experts are. It was Irving Fisher, the great Professor of Economics at Yale University, who declared: “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” He said that […]

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Economic and accounting theory provide no answers if they ignore reality

If ever there was a time for questioning, this is it. How did the collapse of credit and its ensuing crisis creep up so suddenly on the most sophisticated, best informed, global financial community in history? What are its lessons? Do all the frantic short-term expedients provide real solutions? Or will they generate their own […]

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Reforming the banking system? End the legalised extortion

“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury refilled, public debt reduced, the arrogance of officialdom tempered and controlled, and assistance to foreign lands curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.” No epitaph on the first decade of the new millennium could be more apt than […]

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Reflating the banking bubble while the real economy lags

How sustainable is the alleged economic recovery? A brighter outlook certainly appears to be in evidence in parts of the City. Construction work on glitzy office buildings has resumed. A stroll through the Royal Exchange takes you past packed wine bars, expensive restaurants and boutiques displaying the most opulent array of branded merchandise – jewellery, […]

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Bring back “substance over form” to overcome this accounting farce

When “true and fair” accounts disclose either favourable results that are factually unsupportable, or a position much worse than warranted due to an “accounting quirk”, with no bearing on actual performance, we are bound to wonder what is going on. Arbitrary losses may arise when a business is forced to separate its foreign exchange credits […]

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Reforming banks’ governance is not possible without real sanctions

The reforms recommended by Sir David Walker for the governance of banks would, if implemented, impose a huge moral responsibility on executive and non-executive banking directors alike. The will to exercise independent judgment without regard to personal advantage – whether money, power or status – is a rare commodity in commercial life, and it cannot […]

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Cutting public sector waste: there is no choice

During several matches leading to the almighty centre-court battle that climaxed this year’s Wimbledon I reflected on how the game has altered over the 50 years I have been watching it. I recall days of serve-and-volley, preceding Borg’s dogged baseline perseverance that exasperated more excitable opponents. I remember the exquisite yet deadly net play of […]

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