Economists should keep to the facts

‘Mathiness’ is use of data to give an appearance of scientific content to ideological preconceptions

What the Savoy hotel shares with Google

Hotel group’s late chief prioritised satisfaction of prestigious clientele over shareholder value

The mystery of vanishing pounds and euros

Where has all this money gone? Certainly not into your wallet or mine

Maxwell and his obstructive legal legacy

Criticism of the corrupt publisher or resurrection of his past was met with threats of legal action

Boom, bust and broken trust mark finance

Managers of other people’s money lack ‘anxious vigilance’ that they might apply to their own cash

©Daniel Haskett

Playing dice with your money

How the overcomplexity of modern finance led to the system’s collapse


Clever marketeers crashed the economy

The new breed has run banking far less well than less intellectually distinguished predecessors

Timeless benefits of a liberal education

The belief that study should be focused more on job-specific knowledge is misconceived

Rail privatisation has worked

Despite backing for renationalisation, the sell-off has delivered much of what was hoped

Miracles of productivity in our hands

But the data framework of economic analysis is still largely the product of the second world war

Keynes was half right about the facts

To accept that one may at times be wrong is a mark not of stupidity but of intelligence

What St Luke would say to Schäuble

The starting point for any solution should not be to ask who is to blame but what is likely to work

Osborne’s dirigisme is good economics

Social and commercial pressure on minimum wages has advantages over legal prescriptions

Imperial ambitions push Europe to limits

Ukraine crisis tests credibility of implied promises of political, economic and military support

English votes for English laws

Forty years after the West Lothian question was first posed it is back on the agenda

How modern politics gives HS2 easy ride

Projects acquire a momentum of their own, the original rationale forgotten if it ever existed

Denmark, not US, is the Top Nation

For foreign policy experts, America is number one. But, from an economic perspective, the Danes win

Boring banking makes a comeback

The dealmakers may have had their time as the balance of power tips back to traditional ways

Borders globalisation cannot erase

In an interconnected world, it remains hard to remove barriers

No investor wins if they are all the same

Diversification is essential but herding behaviour means that every asset is linked


John Kay John Kay has been writing a column on economics and business since 1995. He is currently a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. He also had a career in the policy world which established the Institute for Fiscal Studies as one of the most respected think tanks, and a business career.

John has published many books, including Foundations of Corporate Success (1993), The Truth About Markets (2003) and The Long and the Short of It: Finance and investment for normally intelligent people who are not in the industry (2009). His latest book, Obliquity: Why our goals are best achieved indirectly, was published by Profile Books in March 2010.

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