Edward Hadas

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.

China’s wisdom on GDP growth

By Edward Hadas
July 3, 2013

“We should no longer evaluate the performance of leaders simply by GDP growth. Instead, we should look at welfare improvement, social development and environmental indicators.” That is a fine piece of wisdom from Xi Jinping, China’s president. Leaders of developed economies can learn from it.

Social media sets us free, or not

By Edward Hadas
June 12, 2013

Modern history can be told as a story of new communications technologies which both undermine authority and reinforce the power of the state. The last week has shown that the Internet and social media are playing these two roles well.