Should we care that it takes 1,000 litres of water to make a chocolate bar?
10th October 2019
According to a recent article, the latest thing to worry about is the water content of food. That’s not to say the water in the food itself, but how much was used in production.
It’s a superficially appealing complaint, but one that Read More >
Does the bond market know something others don’t?
9th October 2019
More likely those yield falls are just an anticipation that policy-makers will cave in and cut interest rates
US political adviser James Carville is reputed to have said: “I used to think that, if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come Read More >
How Brexit Britain Can Become a Global Trade Hub for Services
4th October 2019
The 21st century global economy is characterised by a number of trends, including the growth of cross-border trade in services, among others such as e-commerce. For Britain, focusing on services plays to its strengths as a largely services-based Read More >
Can UK property rise above a no-deal Brexit?
30th September 2019
How seriously should we take warnings that prices could fall by a third or more?
It goes without saying that we are in a period of extreme uncertainty. The main cause, of course, is Brexit, and the question of whether Britain can achieve an Read More >
The case for reforming wealth taxes
13th September 2019
With an election on the way, all parties will be looking for ways to fund their pledges. The IPPR has a proposal that should appeal to parties on both the left and the right: reform our tax system so that those who earn their income from wealth Read More >
Should we be anxious about the future of capitalism?
11th September 2019
There has been no shortage of serious-sounding warnings about the profound threats to capitalism in recent years. I would know. I’ve written some myself — including for this website.
You don’t have to look far to find cause for alarm. Read More >
Feed the world – with GM crops
5th September 2019
Last week South Australia announced it would be lifting its ban on the growth of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Starting December 1st, 2019 farmers in this state will have the ability to choose what types of crops they want to grow. The Read More >
China’s patronage economy is the real root of the Hong Kong protests
30th August 2019
The conventional explanation for the protests that have gripped Hong Kong in recent weeks is that they have been triggered by opposition to the government’s extradition bill, but the true causes run much deeper.
Planning consultants Read More >
Abolition of Section 21: Tipping the balance?
19th August 2019
In April of this year, Government made clear its intention to consult on the abolition of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, more commonly known as ‘no fault evictions’. Its stated objectives; to ensure that tenants have the security they Read More >
It’s time to get serious about medicinal cannabis
16th August 2019
“We’ve had a change in the laws,” says Gavin Sathianathan. “But that’s a necessary, not a sufficient, condition towards people getting access to cannabis medicines.”
More and more people are using cannabis as a medicine, both in Read More >
Full expensing: the small change that could reap big economic rewards
16th August 2019
Even as the United Kingdom hurtles inexorably closer towards October 31 – the legal default date for exiting the European Union with no deal – official data continues to confound the received wisdom of most economic commentators.
Just Read More >
Hong Kong is going to cost China
14th August 2019
Over the last few weeks of protests in Hong Kong, culminating in the violence in the Legco building last week, most people have rightly concluded that:
at best, the end of the ‘one country two systems’ m.o. will be Read More >
A Japanese zoning system is no solution to England’s housing crisis
9th August 2019
The Centre for Cities recently suggested England should end its housing crisis by ‘turning Japanese’ and copying their planning system.
One can see the attraction. Japan uses a system of zoning where the government sets out in Read More >
Why Industrial Agriculture is Crucial to Fighting Climate Change
8th August 2019
What poor countries really need more of is supermarkets.
That’s the conclusion to draw from the latest leaked report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Of course, it’s not what the usual environmentalist suspects are Read More >
Another downturn is looming – and UK banks are nowhere near ready
6th August 2019
The Bank of England’s latest round of bank stress tests in November 2018 painted a reassuring picture of bank resilience. The message was that the UK banking system is now so strong that it can come through another crisis that is more severe Read More >
More borrowing, lower taxes? A plan for Rishi Sunak at the Treasury
29th July 2019
As the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury (CST), Rishi Sunak has one of the toughest jobs in government. The CST’s main responsibility is the control of public expenditure – even more challenging than usual given the political Read More >
Life on Mars: a guide to the next real estate frontier
29th July 2019
With the recent interest in Mars’ mineral resources, how far are we really from realising interplanetary living?
I’ll admit, I did listen to the Bowie classic to get some inspiration for this article. Although the lyrics seemed to be Read More >
McDonnell’s startling sterling claims
19th July 2019
One of the many problems with John McDonnell is that he doesn’t understand how markets work.
His latest outlandish claim is that Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister will increase the value of the pound. And this really, really, Read More >
The millennial shift in US homebuying
19th July 2019
Homeownership in the U.S. is still being held back by two key demographic and lifestyle trends.
The millennial generation has delayed marrying and delayed starting families, both traditional trigger points for moving out of multifamily rental Read More >
Are we drifting into recession?
17th July 2019
Figure 1 shows the CBRE ‘real time’ G7 economy tracker, made up of the best and most timely monthly economic data.
The main developed economies (U.S.A., Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, U.K.) known as the G7 have slowed Read More >
How cities can save the planet
4th July 2019
Take a quick stroll through a bustling city like London or New York, and you can’t help but feel that such places are the antithesis of environmental sustainability. Yet counterintuitively, large metropolises like these might just be some of Read More >
Net-zero Britain should stop subsidising fossil fuels abroad
28th June 2019
The UK made headlines this week, becoming the first major economy to commit to reduce its climate harming emissions to net zero by 2050. Although well received by business and the national farmers union, some critics have raised concerns about Read More >
Hollywood’s apocalypse obsession ignores the reality of human progress
19th June 2019
On his immensely popular HBO show last Friday, the host of Real Time with Bill Maher observed, “Not every movie set in the future has to be a super clean utopia or a smouldering post apocalypse.” “Isn’t there something in Read More >
How Britain’s housing market has created a mobility crisis
7th June 2019
The dynamics of the UK’s housing crisis are well-documented: millions prevented from getting on the housing ladder, sky-high rents for often woefully inadequate accommodation and, underpinning it all, a planning system seemingly designed to Read More >
The earth has its problems, but a lack of resources is not one of them
3rd June 2019
“Is it OK to still have children?”
That’s a question that bothers the environmental consciousness of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Comedian Bill Maher thinks that he has the answer. “The great under-discussed factor in Read More >
The fall of Philip Green and the power of disruption
16th May 2019
Few tears will be shed for the disappearance of a considerable portion of Sir Philip Green’s fortune. According to The Sunday Times rich list, his Arcadia empire now has no net value. For many, this will be seen as a timely Read More >
How a million new homes could make the green belt greener
15th May 2019
When Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss made the bold call for one million homes to be built on the green belt, some were quick to point out that such a policy wouldn’t necessarily receive a warm welcome from voters.
Will Tanner, Read More >
What explains the wealth explosion?
11th May 2019
Most of the people alive now are incredibly fortunate compared to almost all of their ancestors. According to the World Bank, less than 10 per cent of the world’s population is now living in absolute poverty, at the edge of bare subsistence. Read More >
Derry needs a Marshall Plan
10th May 2019
‘In the early morning the shirt factory horn called women from Creggan, the Moor, and the Bog.’
The lyrics of Phil Coulter’s popular song, ‘The Town I Iove so well,’ evoke a time when Derry, under fire in the early days of Northern Read More >
Does an ageing population really mean tax hikes are inevitable?
4th May 2019
How will we cope with the costs of an ageing population? Yesterday, in an article for The Daily Telegraph, David Willetts made the case that this will soon become the issue in British politics.
His piece was prompted by a new report from Read More >
Wanted: A leader for Britain’s shale revolution
4th May 2019
The shale revolution in the United States has been of huge significance. Not only is that nation meeting its own energy needs but it has started exporting both oil and gas. It is astonishing to consider that only a decade ago few had heard of Read More >
The false choice between capitalism and saving the planet
21st April 2019
The choice, apparently, is simple: capitalism or the planet.
In a television clip that quickly went viral last week, Guardian columnist George Monbiot said that the way to prevent climate breakdown was to “change the system”:
We have Read More >
Plans to crack down on ‘no-fault’ evictions are a recipe for disaster
16th April 2019
The Government has decided, for reasons unknown, to effectively abolish the assured shorthold tenancy, leaving the assured tenancy as the only viable form of renting.
That sounds pretty trivial, but it is not far off a return to the situation Read More >
Cheaper food is good news for everyone
10th April 2019
Last week, I wrote about the cost of food in the United States between 1919 and 2019. Using historical data, I showed that, on average, basic food items have become much cheaper relative to the wages of unskilled laborers. I focused on unskilled Read More >
Don’t rely on the minimum wage in the fight against poverty
6th April 2019
The National Minimum Wage is 20 years old today. Despite the controversy surrounding its inception, it is now widely accepted across the political spectrum. As I noted recently, it looks as though Philip Hammond wants to increase it Read More >
Local tax powers would let Britons take back control
5th April 2019
With everything going on in Westminster at the moment, it’s easy to forget that Brexit was meant to be about taking back control. Some people dismiss that idea as mere campaign rhetoric, of course. Others see it as little more than jingoism. Read More >
Women’s property rights and the path to prosperity
29th March 2019
The struggle for women’s liberation is often framed in terms of the campaign to secure the vote in the early years of the 20th century. Less heralded is the way women in several Western nations acquired property rights in the middle decades of Read More >
CPRE cannot go on denying the scale of the housing crisis
27th March 2019
Yesterday’s report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England about the brownfield land with space for a million homes perfectly illustrates the organisation’s many strengths, and its weaknesses.
With exquisite attention to detail, it Read More >
Will South Africa learn from Zimbabwe’s ruin?
21st March 2019
South of the Limpopo, the South African government has been busy restructuring the economy along racial lines for decades. The “colour bar,” which was a system of racial preferences designed to protect white workers from their black Read More >
Monetary tweaks won’t get Europe out of the slow growth trap
17th March 2019
When the European Central Bank announced the end of quantitative easing in December, it was conveying a very clear message to markets and governments alike: we are approaching the end of expansionary monetary policies, so get ready for Read More >
Is open access the answer to Britain’s railway monopoly problem?
15th March 2019
The great train debate is not just a minor contretemps between the small-state supporters and scorners. It is one that has implications for millions of people everyday.
You may have read other authors on this site extol the virtues of Read More >
The liberalising power of human action
13th March 2019
Who has been the greatest force for economic liberalisation over the past 40 or 50 years?
Was it Margaret Thatcher in Britain, who led the way with a programme of privatisation? What about Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who did so much Read More >
Aldi, Lidl and the beauty of competitive capitalism
10th March 2019
One doesn’t expect to find the Guardian extolling the virtues of capitalism, but yesterday’s long-read on Aldi may be the exception that proves the rule.
The story of the deep discounting supermarket and its near identical rival, Lidl, is Read More >
Deal or no deal, Britain should pursue unilateral free trade
9th March 2019
A recent study estimates that the full burden of tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump fell on American consumers. As reports claim that the Department for International Trade (DIT) intends to cut 80-90 per cent of the Read More >
Foreign aid must be about more than just alleviating poverty
8th March 2019
We may be less than a month from leaving the European Union, but so much about our future remains unclear. One of the critical questions that we need to be asking is, post Brexit, what is Britain’s role in the world?
Our report Global Read More >
Why share buybacks are nothing to fear
28th February 2019
There’s nothing so dangerous to the public interest as the entire political class agreeing on a single idea. Yet this is what is happening in Washington, DC, about the issue of share buybacks and dividends. That Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Read More >
Spare us the crocodile tears about tiny homes and co-living spaces
27th February 2019
A new report from the Social Market Foundation, suggesting building co-living spaces for sale to mitigate the housing crisis, has attracted the usual backlash.
Much of the opposition to tiny homes, co-living facilities and the like comes from Read More >
Has austerity really cost us £100bn?
25th February 2019
Writing in a blog for the New Economics Foundation (NEF), Alfie Sterling has made the striking claim that fixing the public sector finances has “suppressed the economy by almost £100 billion”, or “around £1,500 for every Read More >
Yet another tax is no way to ‘level the playing field’ for the high street
25th February 2019
A new report from the lengthily titled Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has made for some exciting headlines this morning. Beware, Britain could be about to turn into a nation of “ghost towns” unless we take urgent action Read More >
The UK Housing Market in 2019 | The Deep Trends (part 3)
25th February 2019
PART III: the UK Macro and Micro Factors
Following on from Part 2 of The UK Housing Market in 2019: the Deep Trends, where I analysed domestic macro factors in the forecasting the near-term future of house prices here in the UK and for 2019, Read More >
Honda’s Swindon plant is a victim of the electrification revolution
22nd February 2019
Despite giddy excitement in Westminster regarding the formation of The Independent Group, the most sobering news of the week was the announcement that Honda would be closing its Swindon factory in 2021, taking 7000 jobs with it.
The news Read More >
Coal dust, urban pigs and sewage – the grim reality of pre-industrial Europe
22nd February 2019
Last week, I wrote about Jason Hickel’s romantic idea that people in the past “lived well” with little or no monetary income. I noted that prior to the Industrial Revolution, clothing was immensely expensive and uncomfortable. The cotton Read More >
A simple message to the Government – Build, Baby, Build!
21st February 2019
Unlike most issues in politics today, there is widespread agreement that the UK is facing a housing crisis.
While new-build volumes have risen since the financial crisis of 2008/09, they are still way short of the 300,000 per year target that Read More >
Banning short selling stops the market from doing its job
20th February 2019
The German authorities have recently banned short selling in a company called Wirecard – this is the wrong decision.
It misses the point of what markets are actually about, namely finding the correct price for something. If that happens to Read More >
The UK Housing Market in 2019 – The Deep Trends (Part 2)
18th February 2019
PART II: the UK Macro Factors
Following on from Part 1, where I analysed global macro factors in the forecasting the near-term future of house prices here in the UK and for 2019, I will now shift my focus to the meaty questions: what Read More >
The romantic idea of a plentiful past is pure fantasy
15th February 2019
On January 29, the Guardian ran a column that sparked an interesting debate on two continents. Anthropologist Jason Hickel from the University of London rejected the generally-accepted estimate of reduction in absolute poverty “from 94 percent Read More >
Believe it or not, Britain isn’t a nation of NIMBYs
14th February 2019
Last week, polling for CapX found broad agreement that there is a housing crisis in Britain, though people in all regions thought it was less bad in their local area, with politicians the most likely culprits in the eyes of voters.
This week Read More >
The UK Housing Market in 2019 – The Deep Trends (Part one)
13th February 2019
PART I: The Global Macro Factors
Time and again, I am asked: What about the future? What can you tell me about what will happen tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year?
In this series, I will be doing just that and forecasting the Read More >
London must be the UK’s shining star, not a vortex
9th February 2019
London is the lodestar of the UK economy - but it has an image problem
According to a newly released report, it’s time for London to shed its uncaring image and show the rest of the UK a little love. The Centre for London’s London, Read More >
The latest tax figures show why we need to get rid of stamp duty The rate of home moving would be 27 per cent higher if stamp duty was abolished
4th February 2019
According to the Times, stamp duty receipts fell by nearly £1 billion last year as a result of another misguided bit of tax tinkering introduced by George Osborne back in 2014. Osborne had planned to shift the tax burden onto the most expensive Read More >
Venezuela is a tragic reminder of why property rights matter Strong property rights give people incentives to invest, innovate and produce
2nd February 2019
Civil unrest in Venezuela has dominated headlines over the last few weeks. The Venezuelan people are protesting against the continued autocratic rule of President Nicolas Maduro. Following his sham re-election last May, during which he Read More >
Orkney, GDP and the trouble with quantifying the good life Whatever a survey tells us, the idea of a definitive measure of quality of life is mistaken
2nd February 2019
The annual Halifax quality of life survey tells us that Orkney is the best place to live in the UK. This is something of a puzzling conclusion, as only those 22,000 people living on the remote islands seem to agree.
The confusion increases Read More >
Reports of the green belt’s death are greatly exaggerated The current planning system was designed for cities to shrink in population, not to increase
1st February 2019
As the “news” breaks that perhaps nearly one per cent of the enormous green belt surrounding London has been allocated for 200,000 homes, let us ask: who benefits?
News of potential green belt encroachment is the Campaign to Protect Rural Read More >
The myth of the idle rich People become rich by providing value to others
31st January 2019
This month Oxfam released a report, as it does every year, pointing out that there are some very rich people in the world and how terrible this is. The report gained a great deal of media attention (as it does every year), with the vast majority Read More >
If UK PLC is to thrive, it badly needs better management When it comes to management, the UK lags its global competitors
26th January 2019
“Economic progress, in capitalist society, means turmoil” wrote Joseph Schumpeter. Society can’t move forward if we don’t make space for new ideas. If we want creation then we must accept the destruction that comes with it. You can’t Read More >
How London’s housing market is affecting generation rent ACCOMMODATING GROWTH
25th January 2019
Article by Centre for London Research Manager, Silviya Barrett.
The number of people living in rented accommodation in London has been growing for years. Private renters now outnumber mortgaged home owners in the capital. It’s not that Read More >
Have we reached peak Davos? A lot of the real global elite aren't going to Davos this year
25th January 2019
“The chairman of the People’s Vote campaign now joins us from Davos” announced a BBC Radio 4 interviewer yesterday.
No surprises there, then.
The World Economic Forum in Davos is precisely where one would expect to find the kind of Read More >
The economic impact of a border wall What would the economic impact of Trump's border wall be?
18th January 2019
With the US government in such a state of paralysis that Donald Trump has taken to ordering vast amounts of fast food to the White House, it’s a good time for a study on the actual costs and benefits of the President’s border wall with Read More >
Here’s how to have a popular, liberal immigration system after Brexit If you look in detail, the British public are really not that hostile to immigration
16th January 2019
Around the time the US Congress debated the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), opinion surveys on the subject showed an intriguing divide. When voters were asked about individual components of Obamacare, it turned out Read More >
Britain has a bright post-Brexit future We are in a stronger position than our detractors suggest.
15th January 2019
Can I start by thanking the CPS for hosting this event? Everyone knows the CPS matters, not just for Conservatives, but for politics as a whole. Robert Colvile, Alex Morton and the rest of the team are producing exceptional work, and Westminster Read More >
The counter-intuitive truth about the world’s resources What matters is not the world's limited resources, but the endless possibilities devised by human ingenuity
4th January 2019
Are we running out of resources? That’s been a hotly debated question since the publication of Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb in 1968. The Stanford University biologist warned that population growth would result in the exhaustion of Read More >
Consilia Capital Real Estate Funds Monitor Period end - November 2018
2nd January 2019
The report is divided into the following sections:
1) A summary of November performance
As can be seen from the table below, (which is ranked by average November 2018 returns for each main mandate) the last month was positive for most Read More >
Over budget and out of date: The overwhelming case against HS2 The case for HS2 is built on 20th-century assumptions
1st January 2019
As has long been predicted, HS2 is blasting through its budget limits. The latest difficulty is buying the land needed to build the train line over. As is normal in such things there’s more than a little vituperation about the prices paid and Read More >
How Strong is the Economics Guild? A look at the discussion of economics
31st December 2018
I have had two contrasting experiences. First, I had a student come to office hours saying it was hard to figure which of all the cacophony of economy ideas put forward in the news to take seriously. I pointed out that unlike climate science, Read More >
The counter-intuitive truth about the world’s resources The world’s resources are finite in the same way that the number of piano keys is finite
29th December 2018
Are we running out of resources? That’s been a hotly debated question since the publication of Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb in 1968. The Stanford University biologist warned that population growth would result in the exhaustion of Read More >
Sadiq Khan should reduce rents with more homes, not emit hot air about caps Why isn't London's mayor using the tools at his disposal to fix the housing crisis?
28th December 2018
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is reported to be considering bringing in rent controls.
It is not clear that he has power to do that, or how it would work. Rent control might improve the lot of suffering existing tenants, at least for a Read More >
Passive Investing and the Fragility of the Medium Dr Peter Warburton looks at Christopher Cole's essay 'What is water in the markets?'
27th December 2018
Christopher Cole of Artemis Capital Management in Texas, published a research article in July entitled, What is water in the markets?, which has resonated powerfully with the investment community and performed a valuable service in identifying Read More >
Fresh thinking is needed to fix Britain’s productivity problem Productivity is a key factor in the squeeze on living standards
25th December 2018
Britain has undergone a jobs revolution since 2010. On average, 1,000 jobs have been created every single day, and at the time of writing, only six have been taken by George Osborne. Despite this, Britain’s productivity growth has struggled to Read More >
Brexit gives Britain the chance to better help its poorest regions The government should assess areas in need based on a broad measure of quality of life
18th December 2018
Much was made of the amount the UK contributes to the EU budget during the EU referendum campaign and much is still being made of it, with talk of a “Brexit dividend” and a “divorce bill”, as we approach Britain’s exit. With Read More >
Business leaders must make the moral case for free markets Polling suggests Britons are far too negative about the true state of the world
17th December 2018
The two economists Hayek and Keynes agreed on one thing. They both believed that ideas and the climate of opinion determined how politicians behaved. Indeed, the Institute of Economic Affairs was set up as a result of advice from Hayek. He told Read More >
Sanctions are increasingly popular – but do they actually work? Sanctions hurt the target country, but they make the whole world worse off too
14th December 2018
Around the world, growing numbers of governments are using economic sanctions as a tool to influence the behaviour of other countries. Their tactics are nothing new. Sanctions and embargoes have a long and chequered past, dating back to Read More >
Gold stocks and the Three Bears Threats to the global economy and financial markets
14th December 2018
At our recent Economic Perspectives breakfast seminar, ‘Who saves the world from 2020 peril?’, I identified three bear scenarios for the global economy and financial markets. While the threats to prosperity and tranquillity that they Read More >
London’s highly inflated housing market is entering a period of equalisation Is there a risk of history repeating itself?
12th December 2018
Britain in 2025 will be very different from today. London and the UK reached peak inequality in 2018. That was when income inequalities at the very top were first seen to fall. We are past the peak of income inequality today. House prices have Read More >
Policymakers still know too little about the economics of the internet Without understanding the internet's benefits, we risk making some severe mistakes
10th December 2018
The internet is ubiquitous and essential in our daily lives. But to many policymakers, it badly lacks visibility. When it comes to the availability of statistics and real hard numbers about the contribution that the internet makes to the UK’s Read More >
The case for a four-day week is compelling, but we don’t need the state to impose it It may be slow going, but a change of working culture is on the horizon
8th December 2018
Thanks to John McDonnell, a four-day working week is back in the news. The Shadow Chancellor has asked the economist Lord Skidelsky to write a report examining the case for working less and relaxing more.
Skidelsky, who has been a member of Read More >
Mike Ashley is right about the dying high street, but wrong about the solution We should not cheer shops going under, but their demise is also an opportunity
7th December 2018
More news of Britain’s declining high street, with a Northumbria University study suggesting more than a quarter of Britain’s retail space has been abandoned since the 2008 financial crash.
There are a few reasons for this change, not all Read More >
Consilia Capital Real Estate Funds Monitor Period end – October 2018
6th December 2018
1) A summary of October performance
As can be seen from the table below, (which is ranked by average October 2018 returns for each main mandate) the last month again proved a difficult one, with average YTD returns now all negative.
2) Read More >
Can China reflate the world? An analysis of China’s financial and economic predicament
5th December 2018
With the benefit of hindsight, we have come to understand the true importance of China’s strategic policy interventions in 2009 and 2015. China’s reflationary actions had a material impact on the global economy. The question posed at a recent Read More >
How rich are we? The last few decades clearly show that living standards can still rise even if wages are stagnant
1st December 2018
In recent years, many US politicians and journalists have warned that the millennials are at the risk of ending up “poorer than their parents.” The evidence certainly suggests that the Great Recession has led to wage stagnation and high Read More >
Farewell to socialist PFI The failure of PFI is an indictment of government provision, not of markets
30th November 2018
Philip Hammond’s decision in last month's budget to abandon the Private Finance Initiative has been regarded by some commentators as the adoption of a “Corbyn-lite” policy by the Conservatives. Such a claim misses the point. After all, PFI Read More >
Does Britain need a special tax on tech? Singling out tech firms is good politics but bad policy
29th November 2018
In last month's budget Philip Hammond finally unveiled his long-trailed plan to tax tech giants. From April 2020 onwards profitable digital businesses that bring in over £500m worth of global revenue must pay a 2 per cent tax on any revenue made Read More >
The unseen benefits of leaving the European Union Europe's precautionary principle disincentivises innovation
28th November 2018
In a now-famous essay, “What is Seen and What Is Not Seen”, the great economist Frederic Bastiat warned against judging the value of any activity in a vacuum.
Bastiat’s “broken window fallacy” brilliantly exposes a common tendency to Read More >
The real Brexit lesson from Dyson’s decision to build his cars in Singapore Dyson's Singapore move has nothing to do with Brexit
23rd November 2018
Brexit-backing industrialist/engineer James Dyson has chosen to build his new electric car in Singapore.
Naturally, the likes of Andrew Adonis and Alastair Campbell were quick to weigh in, accusing Sir James of hypocrisy. Best for Britain, the Read More >
Fighting poverty is less complicated than Oxfam thinks To complain about inequality in Singapore is to miss the point completely
19th November 2018
Oxfam thinks that Singapore is an unsuccessful economy – ranking it 149th out of 157 countries – because it has inequality. Singapore thinks that turning a fetid swamp into one of the world’s richest countries in only 80 years looks a lot Read More >
GROWTH IS A BETTER STORY THAN VALUE Neither numbers, nor charts are sufficient in themselves: there must be a story!
14th November 2018
About a dozen times a year, Halkin Services holds a speaker event in London. The interests of our group of mainly financial professions are vast and wide, spanning macroeconomics and credit, global investment strategy and risk, intelligent Read More >
Does the patent system need fixing? Medical breakthroughs are becoming more expensive and less life-changing
13th November 2018
Patents are a rather controversial topic among pro-market thinkers. Some are very much in favour of them, seeing intellectual property as just another kind of property and as entitled to legal protection as any other. Others see patents as Read More >
Has the time come to properly consider Fracking in the UK? Why shale gas could be a viable source of energy for the country
12th November 2018
For some time now, the UK Government has taken an open-minded approach to the potential development of UK shale gas, stating that it has the capacity to provide the “UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs” (HM Government, 2017). Read More >
QE apologetics: the vampire strikes back! Quantitative Easing under fire
6th November 2018
Quantitative Easing (QE) has come under fire from many sides; it is charged with lowering capital expenditure and productivity, inflating pension costs, discouraging saving and widening inequality. The central banking alumni of Goldman Sachs, Read More >
CAMBRIDGE DIARY 2 The pressures of study in year two
6th November 2018
As I loaded up the boxes full of kitchen utensils, clothing and work, there was a different, more certain feeling about returning to Cambridge to start my second year. The certainty of having an established group of friends meant that the Read More >
Consilia Capital Real Assets Monitor Period end - September 2018
31st October 2018
1) A summary of Q3 performance
As can be seen from the table below, (which is ranked by average Q3 returns for each main mandate) The third quarter proved a difficult one, with only Income Funds moving into positive territory, and average Read More >
How Does Education Relate to Property Prices? Examining the relationship between income and education in different parts of the UK
24th October 2018
If you’ve seen the film Forrest Gump, you’ll probably recall that the central character ends up the multi-millionaire owner of a shrimp-fishing business and an investor in the nascent Apple computer company (I hope he held on to those Read More >
M&A and CRE Despite a mild pull back, global M&A levels suggest buoyant capital markets and continued demand for CRE
23rd October 2018
For a while we have been interested in the relationship between global M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions) activity and CRE (Commercial Real Estate) investment. Strong M&A activity is highly correlated with strong CRE investment levels.
The Read More >
Too Close for Comfort? How property price is affected by transport links
18th October 2018
I was recently at an event hosted by the Urban Land Institute and Transport for London, and there was a question raised about the impact on property values made by the transportation infrastructure in London. Most of us assumed that there is a Read More >
In Praise of Partial Equilibrium
12th October 2018
I have had it verified by those in a position to know that among many economists in the city of Minneapolis, there is an view that can be summarized as;
General equilibrium good, partial equilibrium bad.
I would like to contest the second Read More >
Rents and Capital Values Remain Buoyant Despite Global Trade Tensions Despite trade uncertainties, income growth and capital appreciation kept up the positive momentum
11th October 2018
Despite global trade tensions, the global economy reached an estimated growth rate of 3.8% in the first half of 2018, the fastest since 2011, driven by growing consumer spending and massive fiscal stimulus enacted in the U.S. We might even argue Read More >
Cambridge Diary 1 Cambridge life according to a second year land economist undergraduate
9th October 2018
As a Cambridge Student, your first interaction with other members of the University tends to be through the College Parent system. Though this may sound odd, it is Cambridge’s system of assigning each newcomer with a set of parents, who are Read More >
Inequality is the handmaiden of human progress Like it or not, inequality within countries is here to stay
30th September 2018
Barack Obama once referred to income inequality as “the defining challenge of our time.” Not terrorism, sluggish economic growth or the ballooning national debt, but income inequality.
And, to be fair to the departed president, income Read More >
The UK needs a regional response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution Britain needs a regional revolution that puts power in the hands of local policymakers to create jobs
28th September 2018
Today, London contributes nearly a third of UK GDP. In the late 1990s it was less than 15 per cent. Despite being home to just 13 per cent of the population, it contributes a dramatically outsized share of national output. London saw a 49 per Read More >
From pets to paint, the housing crisis has infected the British economy The opportunity cost of expensive housing is often not taken into account
27th September 2018
We tend to conceptualise the housing crisis in terms of affordability – and justifiably so. Over the last two decades, the ratio of median house prices to earnings in England and Wales has more than doubled.
Back in 1997, house prices Read More >
Tesco’s new discounter shows the rewards of the free market system A proper market system is what stands between capitalism and plutocracy
25th September 2018
Tesco is returning to the happy days of founder Jack Cohen’s “pile it high and sell it cheap” philosophy with the opening of its new discount arm, Jack’s.
Or to be more precise, Tesco has been forced to improve their offering to Read More >
THE DEBATE ON HIGHER RATES: LET BATTLE COMMENCE Dr Peter Warburton replies to Robin Marshall's response to his article on higher rates
11th September 2018
Peter Warburton replies to Robin Marshall's response to his article.
I am grateful to Robin Marshall for his comments on my article. I would like to respond to his substantive points, as follows.
It is true that real yields on Tips have Read More >
The debate on higher rates: let battle commence Top economists Peter Warburton and Robin Marshall debate where rates are headed next
10th September 2018
Robin Marshall has responded to Peter Warburton's article titled 'What does the flattening yield curve mean'.
The first paragraph ends with a perfectly reasonable question about the information content of a flattening yield curve and whether Read More >
The normalisation that never was…. There may be some factors causing the yield curve to be flatter in this cycle than previously
3rd September 2018
Despite stronger economic growth in Q2 2018, further Fed tightening and a bearish consensus that US interest rates would go substantially higher in 2018/19, financial markets now signal concern about weaker economic growth and inflation. This is Read More >
What does the flattening yield curve mean? Is this a golden moment to acquire bargain basement long-dated bonds?
22nd August 2018
In recent weeks the debate about the significance of the flattening yield curve has reached fever pitch. Does a flat curve spell curtains for the US/UK economic expansion – and by extension, the global economic expansion? Can we hear the Read More >
The economic case for American criminal justice reform With roughly 2.4 million people in prison, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world
17th August 2018
The latest US jobs report showed that the American economy gained 157,000 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate inched down to 3.9 per cent. Meanwhile, the quarterly economic reportshowed the economy growing at 4.1 per cent, the highest Read More >
Smart cities: Smart Real Estate Strategies Understanding the evolution of global cities
7th August 2018
With real estate prices at cyclical highs, investors must look to the long term for outperformance. Understanding the evolution of global cities provides the best framework for alpha-generating real estate strategies in the current economic Read More >
How can we spread the benefits of the digital economy? With stagnant wages and low productivity, we need a coordinated response to the digital economy
2nd August 2018
If there is one thing that the Cambridge Analytica scandal taught us, it’s that politicians are mostly clueless about the political implications tech and social media bring about for society.
What went largely unreported is that they also Read More >
Why is growth so slow? An old debate about money has some clues Central bankers could soon find themselves wrongfooted again
28th July 2018
The Great Moderation, the period of stable growth between the early-90s and late-2000s, has been back underway again for several years, but with noticeably less momentum. In the US, UK and Eurozone, annual rates of GDP growth of 3 per cent and 4 Read More >
Economics Is Unemotional—And That’s Why It Could Help Bridge America’s Partisan Divide People look down on others more for discordant beliefs on social issues than they do for discordant beliefs on economic issues.
26th July 2018
Here is a link to my 68th Quartz column, "Economics is unemotional—and that's why it could help bridge America's partisan divide." Note: You can see all of my previous Quartz columns listed in order of popularity here.
In order to keep Read More >
Market forces can rejuvenate the housing market – if we are bold enough to unleash them Since 1995 average house prices in the UK have risen 300%
24th July 2018
Though the ongoing Brexit tussles in Parliament and Brussels have unsurprisingly created something of a policy vacuum, there is perhaps no greater crisis in contemporary British politics than housing.
The extent of the problem is truly Read More >
Cities are central to human flourishing Urbanisation makes us richer, happier and healthier
19th July 2018
Town versus country may seem like a question of personal preference, but it’s really a matter of human progress. Cities are the engines of human liberation and economic growth. Urbanisation is also good for the planet, for people in the cities Read More >
To solve the cost of living crisis, we must rethink business taxes The burden of business tax falls on workers in lower wages, and consumers in higher prices
17th July 2018
Many shops on the high street are struggling to make a profit and business rates are widely identified as one of the main causes of this slump.
On Monday, Paul Johnson, the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, joined the debate. In a column Read More >
Why the UK’s cost of living is a challenge to free marketeers The rise in the price of basic necessities is a challenge to free marketeers
11th July 2018
Across the world, more than a billion people raised out of poverty. At home, a greater array of goods and services than our grandparents could imagine along with cleaner, safer, and frankly more interesting jobs.
And now the icing on the Read More >
Time to dispel the Green Belt myths and get Britain building Much of what is designated 'Green Belt' is not very green at all
10th July 2018
If the Government ever wants to solve the housing crisis, they need to step up and dispel the Green Belt myth that has become so entrenched within the British psyche. The romanticised notion of a “green and pleasant land” is strangling our Read More >
Sorry, but building more houses won’t affect prices Build more houses by all means – just don't expect prices to go down when you do
9th July 2018
Quick question: if I asked you to lend me £10 and then asked you to pay me for borrowing it from you, you’d think I was mad, right? Well this is currently the deal the world is getting when it lends money to Germany over any duration for the Read More >
Healthcare Well Positioned to Hedge Against Downturns U.S. healthcare employment is officially the strongest job generator in the economy.
6th July 2018
Employment growth is one of the key indicators of the economic cycle in the U.S. It drops off just ahead of a recession, falls to negative in the trough and bounces back in recovery. Most industries follow this pattern, except for one – Read More >
‘The Value of Everything’ adds up to nothing Strangely, a book called The Value of Everything contains no theory of value
5th July 2018
Mariana Mazzucato is a professor of economics at University College London. She came to prominence following the publication of her 2013 book, The Entrepreneurial State, in which she argued for a bigger economic role for the state, claiming that Read More >
You don’t need to own a home to benefit from capitalism Even after the 1930s housing boom, just one in three Britons owned their own home
3rd July 2018
For some Conservatives, home ownership is a precondition for support for capitalism. But is that really the case? After all, you don’t need to own a farm or a factory to enjoy the benefits of their products.
You can do very well in a Read More >
The evidence is clear: government spending means less growth Above a certain level, government spending starts to affect GDP growth
2nd July 2018
Having agreed a £20 billion “70th birthday present” for the NHS, the Government is now, naturally enough, facing pressure to raise spending in other areas.
If Theresa May agrees to raise NHS spending and defence spending, schools will Read More >
Fortune tellers, economists, astrologers, forecasters and other fellow travellers Wanting to forecast and foretell the future is hardwired into our DNA
29th June 2018
The Brexit referendum in the UK taught me a great number of different things. The most important one of which is that I never quite realized just how many experts there are out there willing and able to offer an opinion, write a headline, and Read More >
The trouble with Heathrow expansion London already has more airport capacity than any other city in the world
26th June 2018
If, as seems very likely, Parliament decides to endorse the Government’s plans to approve the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport later today, there remains a very good chance that that runway will never actually be built. Indeed, it Read More >
How to tackle Britain’s immigration Hydra Stopping the ban on asylum seekers working would be a welcome immigration reform
22nd June 2018
If you were to invent an immigration system from scratch, only a lunatic would come up with the bureaucratic mess we have in the UK.
Fortunately, new Home Secretary Sajid Javid is reversing some of the damage. First on his hit list was the Tier Read More >
Rents and capital values rise in global real estate – Americas industrial leads Retail rents are easing as the sector reinvents itself
21st June 2018
2018 has registered a very healthy start with strong global GDP growth and historically low G7 unemployment rate. The global economy is poised to record the fastest growth (3.1%) in seven years, driven by the turbo charged U.S. economy and Read More >
Economic development is a prerequisite for gender equality When nearly all children survive into adulthood, women undertake paid economic activity
20th June 2018
According to the World Bank, the true and proper economic emancipation of women would make the world $160 trillion richer. However, this eye-catching figure gets things the wrong way round, confusing cause and effect. In fact, the correct Read More >
Government loan programmes are failing the most vulnerable students Only 45 percent of post-2016 student borrowers in the UK are expected to repay their loans in full
14th June 2018
To extend credit to people in the knowledge that they are unlikely to repay is decried by some as predatory lending. Those suspected of engaging in this practice will face scorn from regulators and opprobrium in the media.
Yet predatory is not Read More >
How India’s populist currency experiment went wrong India's currency experiment had more to do with populism than economics
12th June 2018
Getting rid of a unit of currency is a step usually only taken in extreme circumstances or after long, careful planning — Zimbabwe’s battle with hyperinflation is an example of the former, the transition to the euro the latter.
India’s Read More >
The free market or a welfare state – why not both? Some of the most open and freest markets also have some of the largest welfare states
5th June 2018
Politics can often feel like a tug of war between two opposing tribes. On one end, small government conservatives pull society towards free markets and away from the forces of “big government”. On the other, social democrats pull with equal Read More >
The sad story of global inflation Cycles come to an end because central banks raise interest rates to suppress inflation.
1st June 2018
Whatever the popular story of the time, the reason that cycles come to an end is that central banks raise interest rates to suppress inflation.
Initially, business and consumer confidence prevents interest rates from having an immediate Read More >
A proposal to fix welfare and fight intergenerational unfairness Why not give people pension funds at the start of their adult lives?
29th May 2018
The Resolution Foundation recently proposed to introduce a “citizen’s inheritance” of £10,000 in order to offset the growing wealth gap between generations.
Free-market advocates did not welcome the report with open arms, and for good Read More >
McDonnell’s profit sharing would put Britain on the path to socialist ruin John McDonnell's recipe for economic disaster
29th May 2018
On yesterday’s Sunday Politics, John McDonnell explained his party’s policy on profit sharing. He proposed that businesses should be required to share profits with workers either in the form of bonuses or share distributions.
He said he Read More >
The Long Term View How family offices manage their assets
22nd May 2018
Welcome to this new column in which I will provide readers with an insider’s view of how family offices manage their assets. As a graduate of economics, I have applied my knowledge analysing economic and financial trends and applying it to Read More >
The Rich List is evidence that capitalism isn’t broken 94 per cent of the 1,000 people on the Rich List are self-made
17th May 2018
Interesting proof that Thomas Piketty got the modern economy wrong comes from The Sunday Times’s annual rich list, which was published yesterday. Some 94 per cent of the 1,000 people made the cut not by getting rich the old fashioned way — Read More >
What does the British public think about capitalism? 61 per cent think ordinary working people don't get their fair share of the nation's wealth
16th May 2018
One fascinating theme when looking across the history of politics in general, and of public opinion in particular, is that the great philosophical debates of one era simply don’t crop up in another. Some of the great ideological clashes of the Read More >
The state of the economy – polling data suggests danger ahead Brexit, interest rates and an economy on a knife-edge
9th May 2018
While Q1 2018 was expected to be a quiet one for the UK economy, last week’s news from the ONS that growth has slowed to just 0.1% - the lowest rate in five years – came as an unwelcome reminder of the economy’s vulnerability. Potholes and Read More >
Don’t panic over today’s GDP figures Construction not done in one quarter tends to be caught up later
6th May 2018
The ONS published its preliminary estimate for GDP growth in the first three months of 2018. This found that growth that quarter was a stuttering 0.1 per cent.
The figure is slower than the already-modest 0.4 per cent growth seen in the last Read More >
The Wembley deal is Global Britain in action The UK needs to demonstrate that it is open for business. The Wembley deal does just that
5th May 2018
The news that Wembley Stadium looks like it is about to bought by Shahid Khan, the owner of NFL team the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC, has been greeted with dismay by many commentators. It is all part of the narrative which takes issue Read More >
Admit it – planning has failed us The average renter has gone from spending one fifth of their income each year on rent to spending over a third
4th May 2018
By anyone’s reckoning Britain faces a housing crisis. We simply do not have enough houses in the places that people want to work and live. Why is our planning system so broken?
Well, folks, the clue is in the name: planning.
We have tested to Read More >
Why the fall in IPOs is a threat to popular capitalism Start-ups are looking away from the public markets to raise capital
3rd May 2018
In 1996, at the start of the dot-com boom, the number of initial public offerings (IPOs) in the United States reached 677. This marked the peak of new share offerings on American exchanges. It seems particularly fitting that, at the end of that Read More >
Sustained demand for logistics Prices are just as important as technology and demographics in explaining the shifts between retail and logistics in U.S. real estate markets
27th April 2018
U.S real estate is having ‘a good cycle’. It is a long one by any standards. We are also seeing shifts between sectors. Single family homes have given way to apartments; but the way in which the retail has ceded ground to industrial and Read More >
Ricardo’s ideas are as indispensable today as they were 200 years ago David Ricardo understood that wealth isn't a zero-sum game
26th April 2018
The 19th of April was David Ricardo’s birthday. Or at least it would have been were he still alive. The classical economist has been dead for nearly 200 years, but his insights and theories remain immeasurably valuable today.
Yet Ricardo was, Read More >
How far can interest rates rise? How far should interest rates rise? Brexit is as irrelevant to the MPC’s task as the phases of the moon
24th April 2018
I’ve just been listening to a radio interview with Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, in which he prevaricated endlessly about whether UK Bank Rate was going to rise. Not specifically in May, but at all. Since taking on the role in Read More >
The problem with central bankers’ inflation preoccupation A preoccupation with inflation deepened the last recession
29th March 2018
In recent years, a growing number of prominent economists, including Michael Woodford, Christina Romer and Larry Summers, have switched their allegiance from inflation targeting to targeting nominal GDP, the non-inflation-adjusted sum of all Read More >
Urban Big Data and Real Estate Markets Analysing real estate through big data
22nd March 2018
Most real estate value is created at the urban level, but some of the most expensive cities in the world are the least well-functioning. So, it does not follow that improvements in the ways cities are run will flow directly into increased real Read More >
What Tokyo can – and can’t – teach us about the housing crisis With 100,000 new dwellings a year, Tokyo’s housing stock has kept pace with its population
16th March 2018
Be more like Japan. That is the takeaway from a Bloomberg column by the always-interesting Noah Smith. His is the latest article to look at Tokyo’s approach to housing for answers to the spiralling cost of homes in comparable Western Read More >
New taxes are no way to reduce generational inequality There is a cost of living crisis; cutting taxes for those working is the best solution
14th March 2018
Lord Willetts today gave a speech at the Resolution Foundation calling for wealth taxes to be imposed on the baby boomer generation in order to fund their health and social care in old age and to prevent the burden being placed on younger Read More >
Why the Bank of England should scrap its inflation target Targeting Nominal GDP would provide a reliable monetary policy in good times and bad
20th February 2018
Fifty years have passed since Milton Friedman delivered his groundbreaking American Economic Association Presidential address on the role of monetary policy. Unfortunately, many of Friedman’s insights are neglected today. Friedman demolished Read More >
Which is a better bet: Bitcoin or the dollar? Buying Bitcoin is nothing more than a bet on its future value
9th February 2018
Keeping your funds in cash is generally viewed as much safer than holding them in stocks. This is because, on any given day, the value of the US and UK capital stock – as measured by the NYSE and FTSE indices – can easily fluctuate by one or Read More >
The most important chart in the world? This chart suggests that investors should reallocate to residential property
17th January 2018
In 2005, futurist Ray Kurzweil shocked the world with his book, The Singularity is Near. He speculated that around the year 2045, the Singularity, which is to say a humanity which has merged with technology, will turn artificial intelligence (AI) Read More >
Beware the unannounced interest rate increase Economist Peter Warburton explains the relationship between central banks and interest rates
30th August 2017
Central banks do not set interest rates.
To be specific, central banks in large western democracies with open capital markets and flexible exchange rates do not set interest rates, other than for overnight money. That’s right! If Read More >