Big Picture — December 2011

When the managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, issues warnings like this: “There is no economy in the world, whether low-income countries, emerging markets, middle-income countries or super-advanced economies that will be immune to the crisis that we see not only unfolding but escalating.” [Source] it is time to take stock of where we are […]

The next agro-industrial revolution

The Earth is full and over the past ten years increasing demand from emerging markets has erased all the resource-price declines of the last century. A new report from McKinsey says three key trends look set to make this situation more difficult and more volatile: people in developing nations are looking to increase their standards of living, […]

Innovation in money and music (and agriculture)

In the third quarter this year, as prices fell, central banks made their largest purchases of gold for 40 years. The buying was led by the central banks of emerging countries such as Thailand, Mexico, and South Korea. The value of foreign currencies and government debt at the moment are volatile at best, so it […]

“Most worrying day of the crisis so far”

As fear drives eurozone debt markets and economies markedly downwards, and the increased volatility makes good money for some, the underlying grievance of the Occupy Wall Street movement can now be seen mirrored clearly in the European crisis. The tension is effectively between those who believe that inequality is divisive and we should all pull together (Germany), […]

As financial systems and economies worsen, innovation comes from an unlikely source

After some apparently good news yesterday, the news today has turned distinctly sour. As stories in the FT show: The world’s financial systems still seem to be getting worse, not better European solutions seem to be tinkering at the edges The ‘real’ economy is becoming increasingly volatile Innovation is needed

Turning the corner?

A generally upbeat set of stories in the FT this morning: The Bank of England’s executive director of financial stability has called for risk rules for lending to small businesses to be temporarily relaxed. Although counterintuitive in some ways, it would help to smooth business cycles: encouraging activity in a downturn and reducing the support given […]

Stability of the financial system: perception, reality, and leadership

As this recent article in the FT put it, “When it comes to managing sovereign debt crises, perception is all.” We might add, “perception [not reality] is all”. The latest update on this situation is that the UK government’s borrowing costs have now fallen to historic lows, as investors seek safety from the perceived risks of Italy and […]