Competitive pressure at banks can be bad

Competition does not always or necessarily work out well for bank consumers
©Press Association

There is no such thing as ‘free’ current account banking

Adam Smith gives us a sporting chance

It is no surprise that the World Cup winners are selected from Germany’s 80m population

Financial advisers and the issue of trust

The management of conflict of interest is a slippery slope, and one that Madoff would slide off

Scotland and the British identity crisis

The real question is whether Scots also feel loyal to the UK

The ‘best’ care might not keep us alive

Spending above a base level has little effect on mortality and morbidity – lifestyle matters more

The quest for fair value in art and finance

Rembrandt might have been a fine painter but his portrait business left him bankrupt

Health and safety can curb moral hazard

If people are protected from risk, there will be more risk in the system, not less

Banking crises happen in US not Canada

The mortgage market in Carney country is enviably dull – as is the broader financial system

©Ayush Ranka

Drizzle alone will not provide prosperity

It is the interplay of several crucial factors that makes global poverty so intractable

Angry economics students are right

The need is to teach that pragmatism is the key to economic understanding

Proud but dysfunctional institutions

The Co-op and University of Oxford have fallen victim to failed governance structures

Drug companies are built in laboratories

ICI’s visionary investment laid the foundations of one of Britain’s most successful industries

Debate on Scotland overlooks business

No one will go to the ballot box to express concerns about investment fund custodianship

Hail taxi apps for breaking cabby cartels

Taxi licensing illustrates how regulation intended to serve the public is hijacked

The real problem with GDP

We do not expect a thermometer to tell us how comfortable we feel

Scots can be sterling squatters

People make contracts in whatever currency and under whatever legal system they choose

Welfare cap replaces judgment with spin

The limit set on benefits is another example of legislation designed to have no practical effect

Blame the crowds, not the regulators

Naivety is as much of a problem as criminality, particularly when investors lack cynicism

A step towards abolishing income tax

Tax people on what they take out of society. The pension reforms are fair

Co-op detached responsibility from power

The mutual’s governance problems were interlinked with its financial ones


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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