Jun 13, 2014 14:27 UTC

Review: “House of Debt” diagnosis beats remedies

Photo

By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Atif Mian and Amir Sufi are better at diagnosis than cure. In their book, “House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again,” the two professors make a compelling case that excess consumer debt caused the severity of the U.S. Great Recession. Unfortunately their mortgage bailout proposal would worsen future such problems. Another idea, shared value mortgages, might work partially – but tighter monetary policy would work better still.

Jun 6, 2014 09:29 UTC

Review: China gives Africa handy investment lesson

Photo

By Stephanie Rogan

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

In the last decade nearly a million Chinese citizens have taken up residence in Africa. In his vivid new book, “China’s Second Continent,” Howard French tells stories of these migrants and the Africans whose lives they affect. The book weaves anecdotes and interviews with historical and geopolitical background to tell a larger tale of the PRC’s economic engagement in the continent. The result is an unflattering portrait of China’s involvement.

May 27, 2014 06:56 UTC

Piketty spreadsheets set bad Excel example

Photo

By Richard Beales

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Thomas Piketty has had a bad few days. The Financial Times has launched a critique of the data behind the French economist’s bestseller “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” In such a sweeping study, errors are almost inevitable. But he has also fallen prey to sloppy spreadsheets.

COMMENT

Unfortunate mistake, similar to the Reinhart and Rogoff mistake that was discovered by graduate student.

Posted by luke222 | Report as abusive
May 2, 2014 10:17 UTC
Guest Contributor

Review: The UK’s EU choice is safety or adventure

Photo

By Eric Chaney

Eric Chaney is chief economist at AXA Group. The opinions expressed are his own.

Hugo Dixon has thrown his intellectual weight into the European Union membership debate. The founder of Breakingviews has written a compact and yet comprehensive little book, “The In/Out Question.” His answer is neat and clear: “it would be a historic error to pull out. Our economy would suffer if we quit. Our global influence would also be diminished.” In the war of ideas, he does not take any prisoners.

Apr 25, 2014 03:09 UTC

Review: India’s Singh wasn’t king, Modi could be

Photo

By Andy Mukherjee

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Everything except the title of Sanjaya Baru’s “The Accidental Prime Minister” has invited controversy. And the title escaped opprobrium only because Manmohan Singh, who has never won an election, was the first to acknowledge that his elevation to India’s top political job was an accident of history.

Apr 17, 2014 16:02 UTC

Review: Hustling helps Africa’s partial success

Photo

By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

“Kanju” makes modern Africa work. In her new book “The Bright Continent,” the American journalist Dayo Olopade claims that this Yoruba word for hustling, striving and rule-breaking explains how the invisible hand outwits the dead hand of corrupt bureaucracy in much of the continent. Sadly, kanju also makes most African countries tough places to do fully organized business.

Apr 4, 2014 10:20 UTC

Review: Zero margin call

Photo

By Robert Cole

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Seismic shifts in the organisation of human civilisation have occurred only twice in the last 10,000 years. Or so says Jeremy Rifkin in his new book, “The Zero Marginal Cost Society.” We are, he writes, in the throes of a third transition. It is one that will bring the death of capitalism and the onset of the “Collaborative Commons.”

Mar 21, 2014 18:10 UTC

Review: A world of reasons for the dollar to crash

Photo

By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

In “The Death of Money,” author James Rickards sees a world of reasons for the dollar to crash and the world monetary system to collapse. The greenback does indeed have dangerous adversaries, from China to al Qaeda. However, Rickards lets the Federal Reserve and budget deficits off too lightly as generators of trouble, and his solutions would cause yet more havoc.

Mar 14, 2014 16:39 UTC
Edward Hadas

Review: An unreliable guide to inequality

Photo

By Edward Hadas

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Thomas Piketty is set to become a star. “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” – the new book from the founder of the Paris School of Economics – has received gushing praise from the New York Times and the Economist, even before the official publication of the English translation next month. The massive production, 577 pages of text plus voluminous supporting material, posits that economic inequality is a major social problem which is likely to get worse. Piketty’s arguments, however, fail to persuade.

Mar 7, 2014 14:32 UTC

Review: Why all you know about money is wrong

Photo

By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Everyone knows what money is. Whether denominated in paper, coins or something else entirely, transactions get paid for by a physical commodity that enables humans not to waste their time bartering with each other. Felix Martin’s book, published this week in the United States, convincingly argues this view is not only wrong, but dangerous.