Edward Hadas

The euro crisis as family drama

By Edward Hadas
June 13, 2012

Sometimes big news stories seem unbearably dull. The euro crisis is often presented as an apparently endless stream of technical titbits that only a financial geek could love: alchemical recapitalisations of possibly insolvent banks, and the subtle differences between the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Stability Mechanism. But the mind-numbing details hide an exciting drama about the dysfunctional European family of nations.

Depressions can be avoided

By Edward Hadas
June 6, 2012

Stability has been one of the most elusive economic goods. Despite more than a century of effort, economies remain prone to downturns, which often come after booms that proved unsustainable. Rich countries are currently stuck in one of the down periods, a seemingly endless Lesser Depression.

What to do about debt

By Edward Hadas
May 30, 2012

Debt, a little like sex, is a two-sided relationship which, when used appropriately, pleases the partners and is good for society. But both are also intoxicating and can easily become excessive and anti-social.

For growth, focus first on jobs

By Edward Hadas
May 23, 2012

In the labour market, there is a fine line between inefficiency and wastefulness. “This place is so inefficient,” it is said, often with justification, especially in rich economies. “We could do everything we’re supposed to with a third fewer people.” Factories can be streamlined, high quality new equipment can save on labour, and offices are prone to the incubation of worthless bureaucracy.

Bad ideas spawn Lesser Depression

By Edward Hadas
May 16, 2012

On September 15, 2008 Lehman Brothers collapsed in a heap, a bankruptcy that was followed by a recession in most rich countries. As time goes on, the severity of the disruption becomes both more apparent and more puzzling.

What price beauty?

By Edward Hadas
May 9, 2012

From a narrow economic perspective, the art world is working brilliantly. But the success shows just how narrow that perspective really is.  

What companies are good for

By Edward Hadas
May 2, 2012

The debate on executive pay is often just a shouting match, in part because there’s no agreement on what bosses are actually paid to do. The “shareholder value” approach provides a simple answer, but one that it is both practically and morally wrong. Aristotle had better ideas.

Prosperity need not kill religion

By Edward Hadas
April 25, 2012

Thomas Carlyle’s fulminations against the spiritual damage wrought by factories are almost two centuries old, but the sentiment is current wherever industrialisation is rampant. “The huge demon of Mechanism,” he wrote, “smokes and thunders, panting at his great task, oversetting whole multitudes of workmen … so that the wisest no longer knows his whereabout.”

Why “suzhi” should go global

By Edward Hadas
April 18, 2012

What’s the goal of development? A standard answer is higher gross domestic product. A few specialists prefer to talk about building capabilities. I have another idea: development should be about suzhi, a Chinese word usually translated as quality.

Towards a better society in China

By Edward Hadas
April 11, 2012

As a slogan, the Three Represents was puzzling. It was in 2000 that Jiang Zemin decided that the once revolutionary Chinese Communist Party would represent the private sector, which he called “advanced productive forces”; along with its traditional constituencies of intellectuals (“advanced culture”) and workers (“the overwhelming majority of the people”).