HBOS collapse and the winner’s curse

Most groups hit in the crisis were crippled by losses in areas far from their principal business

TSB cash machine

For savers liquidity is of little value

Retail investors’ needs could be met by a market that opened once a week, or even once a year

Shareholders who think they own the company

So whose is the business? No one’s, just like the river Thames

Heathrow v Gatwick: flawed calculations

Little weight should be attached to the model relied on by the Airports Commission for its decision

Stealth would have spared Osborne defeat

When dealing with the finances of people who live from week to week, change must be gradual

Natural but wrong to blame executives

Bad things that happen are generally the product of bad systems rather than bad people

UK retailers in need of new taxation ideas

Business rates are not the cause of the pressure on retailers but they are ripe for reform

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

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


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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