Edward Hadas

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.

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.

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.

How not to do healthcare

By Edward Hadas
December 11, 2013

Almost every healthcare system in the world is a lesson in how not to do it. The pricing-based model fails miserably in the United States. The rationing model works almost as badly in the UK. Both fail in the core task of ensuring that the right healthcare goes to the right people.

Bitcoin is a step back not forward

By Edward Hadas
November 27, 2013

The developers of bitcoin are trying to show that money can be successfully privatised. They will fail, because money that is not issued by governments is always doomed to failure. Money is inevitably a tool of the state.

America says it has got poorer. That’s rich

By Edward Hadas
September 25, 2013

The U.S. Census Bureau says the median American household’s income was 1.3 percent lower in 2012 than in 1989 after adjusting for inflation. That suggests stagnant American consumption for the last 24 years. That assertion is not as ridiculous as North Korean propaganda about the United States – “their houses blow down very easily and they have to live in tents” – but it’s still misleading.

Detroit, decay and solidarity

By Edward Hadas
July 31, 2013

The bankruptcy of the city of Detroit has many causes, including poor management, industrial history and dysfunctional American sociology. I think there is also an ethical problem: too little cross-border solidarity.

Static in the electricity market

By Edward Hadas
July 24, 2013

Let me start with a confession. I do not fully understand what the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says Barclays did wrong in the U.S. electricity market, and I am not entirely sure about the claimed misdeeds of JPMorgan. But my inability may well have less to do with my inadequacies than with the fundamental futility of trying to use financial markets to set the price of electricity.

Get used to zombie economics

By Edward Hadas
July 10, 2013

Zombies are neither really alive nor fully dead. Moviegoers know that, but the idea is also useful in demographics and economics. Although economic zombification receives little attention, its effects could be as important as monetary policy, fiscal deficits and structural reforms.