A notebook of useful things

Month: July 2012 (Page 2 of 2)

Credit ratings. We fear no storm.

9July 2012, hours before a summit of eurozone finance ministers: comes the terrible headline: Spanish borrowing costs rise ahead of euro summit

Great. Should we worry or what? In June, Moody’s had cut Spain’s credit ratings to Baa3, just one notch above junk.

The world cannot wait. You tell ’em.

Why is it important for a country to protect its credit ratings?

In theory, credit ratings should be directly linked to interest rates on public debt. Continue reading

Die Schleuder

Not quite the Deutscher Bauernkrieg. This one’s coming from 172 economists, led by Hans-Werner Sinn who published an open letter demolishing Angela Merkel’s economic policies in favour of a European banking union. The letter was published two days ago in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Is this an Economists’ Revolt, after the Manifesto for Economic Sense?




Lord of Happiness


Richard Layard has become (once again) something of a household name after the publication of the Manifesto for Economic Sense, which he wrote with Paul Krugman.

Baron Layard (he is a Labour peer) rose to prominence after having lobbied the Blair government to include happiness economics in its policies. The results have been mixed. But that is to be expected. The real world has a nasty habit of derailing the best-laid plans.

On the substance though, Layard is right.



A manifesto for economic sense

Paul Krugman and Richard Layard have just published a Manifesto for Economic Sense which attempts to lay out the real causes of the current economic crisis, and spell out a solution.

Make of it what you will. The professional reputation of the two authors is beyond reproach.

But perhaps they err in their innate belief in limitless growth.

Cracking open the (vintage) champagne

Higgs boson-like particle discovery claimed at LHC

Thus spake the headlines. To be precise, it was a five-sigma detection. Of course cynics will say that we’d been using the Higgs boson in our calculations for half a century. Given enough energy, we were bound to observe it. And the Large Hadron Collider was built exactly for that purpose.

Expect torrents of commentary about “the god particle” over the next few weeks.

There’s a lesson for us here. If physics allows it, and if you throw enough money at the problem, it’s a piece of cake. The LHC is a very expensive bit of kit. So in the end it all boils down to money.




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