26. March 2012
A few days ago twelve bus drivers from the English county of Northamptonshire had a very good reason to celebrate, having won the multi-country lottery “Euro Millions” and claiming more than £38 million (€45 million). The story was all the more newsworthy because it turned out that a fellow driver in the syndicate had dropped out six months earlier because, as a single mother, she could no longer afford the weekly two-pound (€2.40) bet.
11. October 2011
The various eurozone rescue programmes that have emerged over the past few days are nothing short of a mess. Various national parliaments have voted to extend the rescue systems already in place, but Germany has promised not to increase the EFSF guarantee mechanism. Discussions have raged over the most efficient use of the appropriations, with talk of hefty leveraging, contingency insurance and structured financial products. But then we find out that the EFSF hasn’t enough capital to be converted into a bank anyway.
10. October 2011
At the last ECB meeting, outgoing president Jean-Claude Trichet described the decision to stand firm on interest rates as ‘a consensus’ rather than the usual ‘unanimous’. Bank-watchers immediately pounced on the semantics, guessing that the new central bank chief, Mario Draghi, will usher in a rate cut at his first meeting. This is a huge leap of faith, especially since other major central banks like the Fed and the BoE have at various times in the recent past also disclosed dissenters among their ranks who could never push through their agenda.
23. September 2011
The economy is weak, stock markets are falling and bank customers are hurting. For most financial institutions, this means it is time for another round of cost-cutting. These are the moments where travel budgets are nipped, entertainment accounts are tucked, and everyone has to try to do more with less (at least until they can quietly go back to doing less with more again). Although the goal is to save millions, if not billions, this doesn’t mean that the little things are overlooked. Curiously, for a business whose wheels are oiled with information, newspaper subscriptions are often one of the first things to be cancelled.
8. February 2011
Although German Chancellor Merkel refuses to be drawn into it, the debate about the need for legal quotas for women on the boards of German companies does not die down. In a recent interview, Employment Minister Ursula von der Leyen explained why she thinks more women decision-makers would be beneficial to the economy. Women are not better than men, she insists, they are just different. By bringing more heterogeneity into leadership groups, women could improve decision-making.
24. November 2010
‘You must welcome dissent; you must welcome serious, systematic, proselytizing dissent—not only the playful, the fitful, or the eclectic; you must value it enough, not merely to refrain from expelling it yourselves, but to refuse to have it torn from you by outsiders’
27. August 2010
I saw an article1 this morning that suggests behavioural economics has made its way into the Jackson Hole Symposium, the annual conclave of central bankers in Wyoming. In the report, I read that the Kansas City Fed President2 had a brilliant idea that eventually led him to rip up the usual invitation list and write a new one for this year’s meeting.
18. August 2010
On a recent trip home, I was lollygagging around in front of my parent’s big screen television when Big Sis breezes in and says, ‘You are such a load! Why don’t you get off the sofa so we can all drive up to the water-park and have some fun this weekend?’