Edward Hadas

The ongoing ethics struggle of banks

By Edward Hadas
March 5, 2014

The Swiss Bank Employees Association has told an uncomfortable truth: it was “generally known” that for many years some of their employers profited from customers’ “tax evasion.” That is incontestable, as many of the banks’ managers concede. But the practice, supposedly now ended, raises an important question about ethics and business. Why were neither the managers of the Swiss banks nor their employees worried by this business model?

How hunger and obesity go together

By Edward Hadas
February 26, 2014

Global hunger is shrinking. Yet each winter operators of food banks in rich countries like the United States and Britain speak movingly of the plight of those who must choose between heating and eating. The desperation seen by Feeding America and the British Trussell Trust is real enough, but this is not a massive economic failure. The weakness is predominantly social.

AOL, solidarity and health insurance

By Edward Hadas
February 19, 2014

The head of the American internet company AOL managed to say something really stupid a few weeks ago, and to sound callous at the same time. It’s a shame Tim Armstrong came off so badly, because he was trying to deal with a serious topic.

Mega sovereign writeoff could work

By Edward Hadas
February 12, 2014

A massive sovereign debt reduction is the right way to reduce the ridiculously high indebtedness of governments. The idea might sound crazy, but it makes economic sense, and could be done, albeit after some serious preparatory work.

Apple, banking and taxpayer subsidy

By Edward Hadas
February 5, 2014

Why does Apple have such high profit? Why do banking systems have a tendency to fail? These seemingly unrelated questions have the same answer – taxpayers take a lot of the risk out of business activity.

Don’t be afraid of deflation

By Edward Hadas
January 29, 2014

Christine Lagarde says deflation is an “ogre which must be fought decisively.” The managing director of the International Monetary Fund is merely dramatising the current conventional wisdom, but she is wrong.

Bitcoin repeats gold-standard errors

By Edward Hadas
January 22, 2014

I cannot judge whether bitcoin represents a technological breakthrough, but I am confident that the pseudo-currency’s popularity shows widespread economic amnesia. If bitcoin ever became a real currency, it would suffer from the crippling problems of the gold standard.

Madoff/subprime – spot the difference

By Edward Hadas
January 15, 2014

Bernard Madoff still has some magic. The public finds anything connected to the fraudster’s case fascinating, from a prison interview to JPMorgan’s agreement last week to pay $2.3 billion for Madoff-related sins. And why not? Madoff was a grandmaster of the confidence trick. But there is more to it than that. His way of doing business was alarmingly close to the perfectly legal practices which brought down the financial system in 2008.

An early obituary for bitcoin

By Edward Hadas
January 8, 2014

Bitcoin is not over yet. But the pseudo-currency is close enough to collapse to merit an early retrospective.

A Christmas message for lenders

By Edward Hadas
December 18, 2013

For many shoppers, Christmas is a time to rack up debts in the expression of seasonal goodwill. For policymakers, it should be the holiday of debt forgiveness.