Edward Hadas

Banker-think in welcome retreat

By Edward Hadas
March 27, 2013

For once, investors have got it right. In 2008, their panic turned a financial crisis into a long multinational recession, but they have mostly yawned right through the drama in Nicosia. They hardly twitched at a stream of warnings from investment banks and pundits: bank deposits are no longer sacrosanct; the European Union has been exposed as despotic and incompetent; the Russians are coming; the Russians are going; capital controls will destroy everything; “bail in” (taking losses on loans that cannot be repaid) is the end of the world as we once knew it.

Cyprus and the danger of promises

By Edward Hadas
March 19, 2013

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Wise parents tell small children that, and wary lovers use that command as a taunt. But in the world of finance, unrealistic promises are the norm, and they are too often broken. Depositors in the banks of Cyprus may be learning that lesson.

Obesity and the unhealthy economy

By Edward Hadas
March 13, 2013

Obesity is a matter of free choice – no one forces people to get fat – but few people are happy with the result. In the last few decades, the freedom to eat has too often turned into slavery to the immoderate desire for more.

Morality and monetary policy

By Edward Hadas
March 6, 2013

Monetary policy these days is complicated, ineffective, and quite possibly immoral. The complexity is inevitable; there is no simple way to ensure that the supply of money and credit is appropriate in a large modern economy. The ineffectiveness is evident: central bankers let that supply grow too fast before the 2008 financial crisis, and have unable to return monetary conditions to normal since then.

Salvation through work

By Edward Hadas
February 27, 2013

“It has been computed by some political arithmetician that if every man and woman would work for four hours each day on something useful, that labour would produce sufficient to procure all the necessaries and comforts of life … and the rest of the 24 hours might be leisure and happiness.”

The menace of financial markets

By Edward Hadas
February 20, 2013

Financial markets are unstable, unhelpful and often immoral. They should be kept under better control.

Tradition, novelty and the pope

By Edward Hadas
February 13, 2013

Institutions need to evolve over time. Institutions must rely on their traditions. These two statements may sound irreconcilable, but institutions – companies, hospitals, government agencies, schools, political systems, churches – can only thrive if they manage both to change and to remain true to their principles. In his surprising resignation, Pope Benedict XVI has given an example of the right balance.

The knots of development

By Edward Hadas
February 6, 2013

Why are so many poor countries stuck with huge economic problems? Why, for example, are there so many unemployed young people in Egypt – 41 percent of 19-24 year-olds? The poor state of British housing can help answer these questions. 

Taxes and human nature

By Edward Hadas
January 30, 2013

The tax system could well be the most idiotic, hypocritical and unnecessarily complicated part of modern industrial economies. The system needs to be rebuilt.

The demographic effect

By Edward Hadas
January 23, 2013

The populations of many countries are declining in a time of peace and prosperity. That unprecedented and basic change in society must indicate something, but what? The experience of Japan, where the trend is most advanced, provides some hints.