Switching mobile networks is easier than switching governments

Unlike lots of people on the right, I like Owen Jones. He’s good natured and often challenges orthodoxy on his own side, and he’s a thought-provoking writer.  Having said that, I usually disagree with what he writes on economics. His Guardian piece this week, which called for the nationalisation of the UK’s mobile network operators, […]

A bankers’ ethics oath risks being seen as empty posturing

The suggestion put forward yesterday by ResPublica think-tank that we can restore consumer trust and confidence in the financial system, or prevent the next crisis by requiring bankers to swear an oath seems excessively naïve. Such a pledge trivializes the ethical issues that banks and their employees face in the real world.  It gives a […]

An unpublished letter to the LRB on high frequency trading

Lanchester, John. “Scalpers Inc.” Review of Flash Boys: Cracking the Money Code, by Michael Lewis. London Review of Books 36 no. 11 (2014): 7-9, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n11/john-lanchester/scalpers-inc Dear Sir, It is striking for John Lanchester to claim that those who believe high-frequency trading is a net benefit to finance (and by extension, society) “offer no data to support” […]

Is Uber worth $18bn?

James Ball, at The Guardian, thinks that Uber’s implicit $18bn valuation is “a nadir in tech insanity”. His case is that tech firms are overvalued because although investors know this, they always assume there are other “suckers” they can palm their securities off on. That is, they think the other guys are “behavioural” (falling prey to the sorts of biases detailed in […]

Markets do set rates: A reply to Julien Noizet

Financial analyst and blogger Julien Noizet has replied to my article on mortgage rates on his blog. It is a good piece, worth reading, but I still think I am right. It is perhaps true that Noizet is right too, because my claim was really very modest: in total, mortgage interest rates do not mechanically vary […]