Edward Hadas

Apple’s many magic tricks

By Edward Hadas
April 30, 2014

Apple is in the news for borrowing $12 billion this week, even though it has $151 billion of cash on its balance sheet. The financial legerdemain will keep the technology giant’s tax bill down. It also is suitable for a company whose business model has long looked more like a magic act than a traditional corporate drama.

Inheritance can be less unequal

By Edward Hadas
April 23, 2014

The children of the poor tend to end up poor. The children of the elite seem pre-ordained to inherit a good part of their parents’ status and income. Is that just?

Don’t bother with share-based pay

By Edward Hadas
April 16, 2014

Coca-Cola’s plan to give generous awards of shares to executives has angered some of its shareholders. They have good reason to complain about the potential transfer of about 15 percent of the company to the top 1 percent of its staff. But Coke is only pushing the already bad idea of share-based pay to a foolish extreme.

When credit is too much of a good thing

By Edward Hadas
April 9, 2014

What does credit do after it has finished the job it was designed for? The supply of credit ought to stop at funding productive activity. But the reality is different. Surplus credit fuels dangerous asset price inflation and funds profligate governments. As leverage increases, so too does the risk of crisis and recession.

Wealth buys less lifestyle, more power

By Edward Hadas
April 2, 2014

Many serious people think economic inequality in the United States and other developed economies should be a hot political topic. But the general public hardly cares. There is a bad reason behind lack of public interest.

In defence of financial coercion

By Edward Hadas
March 26, 2014

Last week the British government gave a new freedom to its citizens, or at least to a relatively privileged group of them. No longer will pensioners with defined contribution retirement plans be forced to invest their accumulated funds in an annuity. The old requirement was a form of financial coercion: government rules which influence behaviour.

How can a plane vanish in a small world?

By Edward Hadas
March 19, 2014

How can a plane vanish in a small world? The information vacuum around Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is as unusual as it is disturbing. In the modern, globalised economy, things normally work well. When they don’t, the causes can usually be identified, and changes often follow to prevent recurrence. So far, MH370 is a distressing exception.

Russia and the unreliable West

By Edward Hadas
March 12, 2014

The revival of East-West tension over Ukraine looks thoroughly geopolitical. But the context is bad economics. In the last century, Russia was damaged by flawed ideologies which originated in the West. And today it is damaged by Western economic policy.

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.