Channeling Kindleberger on Brexit

What would Charlie have made of Brexit? Charles P. Kindleberger’s very last book-length effort was the slim volume titled Centralization versus Pluralism, a historical examination of political-economic struggles and swings within some leading nations (1996).  In his frame, the historical struggles and swings he recounts–in the Dutch Republic, Germany, France, Britain, Canada, The United States, Japan and China–were all driven

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BIS looks through the financial cycle

“I wouldn’t start from here,” the BIS never says explicitly in its recent Annual Report, but nevertheless it goes on to paint a rather comprehensive and compelling picture of a possible future toward which they think we should be trying to head, and of the present dysfunctional economic policies that are daily making it harder to achieve that possible future.

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In memoriam, Jack Treynor

[Remarks at Jack Treynor Memorial, MIT Chapel, June 19, 2016] “Jack has never been easy,” wrote Charles D. Ellis in 1981 as Jack stepped down from his position as editor of the Financial Analysts Journal which he had held since 1969.   In Jack’s own departing words in the same issue of the FAJ, he described a “guerilla war” between black

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Financialization versus Development? A money view of the 2015 UNCTAD Report

The BIS and the IMF have each weighed in from the center, representing the perspectives of central banks and central Treasuries respectively.  (Interestingly, they don’t agree, see here for a recent sample of the debate.)  Now comes the periphery.  The new Trade and Development Report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is titled “Making the international financial architecture work

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EME vulnerabilities and the Fed

On 13 September the BIS released its latest Quarterly Review placing emerging market vulnerabilities at centre stage.  On 17 September, the FOMC voted against raising its target policy rate, citing near-term headwinds for the US coming from abroad.  “Recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and are likely to put further downward pressure on inflation in

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The Fuss about Market Liquidity

The recently released PwC “Global Financial Markets Liquidity Study”, sounds a warning.  Financial regulation, while perhaps well-intentioned, has gone too far.  Banks may be safer but markets are more fragile. At the moment, this fragility is masked by the massive liquidity operations of world central banks.  But it will soon be revealed as, led by the Fed, central banks attempt to exit.

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The World in Depression, a Money View

Does this sound familiar?  Falling commodity prices, unsustainable official debts, crashing stock markets, pullback in global lending by dominant megabanks, misaligned currencies, plus a healthy dose of political dysfunction. These are the ingredients, according to Charles Kindleberger, that made for world depression in 1929-1939.  “My contention is that the difficulty lay in considerable latent instability in the system and the

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Old economic thinking is the problem, says BIS

The 85th Annual Report of the BIS is not perhaps the obvious first choice for beach-reading on a holiday weekend, but having read through its 119 pages, the core message reminds me of nothing so much as the most memorable line of the 40-year-old summer blockbuster “Jaws”:  “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” Notwithstanding everything that has been done since

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