Category Archives: Book recommendation

Britain’s historic role in why Iran and the US are enemies

The summer lull is a time for conspiracy theories and wacky ideas to be rolled out to fill space in the media. But one current topic of discussion has a deadly seriousness: the probability of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran is believed to be reaching for nuclear weapons readiness, a state where… Continue Reading

London, my London

London is permanently in the news in Britain. But a number of recent stories get to the heart of what London is and should be, the subject of increasing disagreement among Londoners themselves. First we have the imminent Olympics, a £9 billion extravaganza that is both the largest logistical exercise in the UK in peacetime… Continue Reading

Never make predictions, especially about the future

Ridley Scott’s latest film Prometheus has been heavily pre-marketed but someone of my age group, who remembers the brilliant original Alien, just had to go and see it. A prequel to Alien, Prometheus is visually striking (like all of Scott’s films, except perhaps Thelma and Louise which is powerful in other ways) and occasionally gripping. It isn’t… Continue Reading

Something that money can’t buy

I’m reading a new book by the American political philosopher Michael Sandel, called “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets”. It’s an interesting and characteristically thoughtful book on the way that market-based ideas and mechanisms have invaded areas of American life, from the naming of sports stadiums to the market for body parts.… Continue Reading

Some new book recommendations (2): Thinking, fast and slow

Daniel Kahneman – Thinking, fast and slow Whenever I’m asked in future to recommend a book on behavioural finance, I shall enthusiastically suggest this one. Although it’s not limited to behavioural finance or even its wider relation behavioural economics, the book covers all of the ideas that underpin those subjects. And it does so with… Continue Reading

Some new book recommendations (1): Why Nations Fail

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson: “Why Nations Fail“ There have been many fascinating books in the last couple of decades on the big question of why some countries are rich and others poor, and the persistence of inequality over decades, even centuries. Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel” and David Landes’ “The Wealth and Poverty… Continue Reading

Inflation is the lesser evil

I normally try to be optimistic but we are living in difficult times. The risk of a calamity in the European economy is alarmingly high. While catastrophes such as the pan-European slump we are now threatened with have multiple causes, the most important is the seeming inability of European politicians to understand the scale of… Continue Reading

Macroeconomics of finance

In my Financial Institutions and Products course on the MFin, I give a brief introduction to national accounts and a way of thinking about macroeconomics that is relatively simple but allows us to explain a lot. It draws on the definitions of current and capital account spending and on the identity that sectoral financial balances… Continue Reading