Edward Hadas

The economic lessons from Scotland

By Edward Hadas
September 17, 2014

Adam Smith, one of the leading figures of the 18th century Scottish intellectual enlightenment, liked free markets and restrained governments. The 21st century campaigns for and against a Scottish political liberation show that governments have acquired an economic importance which Smith could hardly have imagined.

Russia-Ukraine conflict shows money isn’t the root of all war

By Edward Hadas
September 3, 2014

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Many people think politics is really a branch of economics. When the United States invaded Iraq in 1991, the common cry was that it was all about oil. On the same thinking, rich countries were indifferent to the brutal civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – which has cost 5.4 million lives, according to the International Rescue Committee – because the economic stakes were too low to matter. This economic reductionism goes on in developed countries too. Pundits and pollsters argue that elections are won and lost above all else on the economy.

Do autocrats and strong economies go hand in hand?

By Edward Hadas
August 15, 2014

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By Edward Hadas

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

A corporate abdication of corruption

By Edward Hadas
June 4, 2014

By Edward Hadas

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

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 then and now of pensions

By Edward Hadas
January 16, 2013

What is the right size for pensions? That question can be approached in two ways: “then” and “now”. Pensions, and other economic arrangements to support elderly people, may be considered repayments for what they did back then, when they were young. Alternatively, these payments may be considered as a share of output right now. In rich countries, the two approaches are in conflict. The “then” logic, which is based on promises made long ago, supports higher pension payments than the “now” logic, which is mindful of rapidly ageing populations. Politicians struggle to find acceptable compromises between the two approaches.

Candidates as consumer products

By Edward Hadas
November 21, 2012

Barack Obama did not win the election because more Americans thought he would be a better president than Mitt Romney. More Americans voted for the incumbent than for the challenger, but it is Obama’s superior campaign organisation, and not his personal appeal, that deserves most of the credit. In particular, his product managers were better than Romney’s at using the technique of “data mining”.

Sloth and the Big Honest State

By Edward Hadas
July 18, 2012

There is only one good, proven, way to organise a political economy in the modern world – and that’s via the Big Honest State. Right now, one key aspect of the BHS is under serious threat.

What’s really wrong with Europe?

By Edward Hadas
March 14, 2012

The euro zone debt crisis shows that something is seriously wrong with Europe. But what is it?

It’s not always the economy, stupid

By Edward Hadas
January 11, 2012

“It’s the economy, stupid.” The words date from Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, but the basic idea that political shifts are the visible manifestations of hidden economic developments was first articulated by Karl Marx, who wrote before the word “economy” had its current meaning. When he declared, in 1848, that “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles,” the notion was truly revolutionary. It has become a commonplace. Pundits ferret out economic causes for everything, politicians strive to present voters with economic good news, and careful studies show that economic trends influence elections.