Professor Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century has data on wealth inequality at its core. His data collection has been universally praised. Prof Piketty says he has collected,
“as complete and consistent a set of historical sources as possible in order to study the dynamics of income and wealth distribution over the long run”
However, when writing an article on the distribution of wealth in the UK, I noticed a serious discrepancy between the contemporary concentration of wealth described in Capital in the 21st Century and that reported in the official UK statistics. Professor Piketty cited a figure showing the top 10 per cent of British people held 71 per cent of total national wealth.… Seguir leyendo »
The kidnapping nearly a month ago of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state is not only a tragedy in itself but also a timely reminder of a growing threat.
Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for the abductions, is in the fifth year of an insurgency that has cost at least 4,000 lives and displaced half a million people. About 1,500 have been killed this year alone; the group has also started popping up in neighbouring countries.
In the early days Boko Haram eschewed violence, and aimed to create a strict Islamic state in the north. After years of increasing hostility towards the government, the sect launched an armed insurgency in 2009.… Seguir leyendo »
I am puzzled by commentators who are certain that governments had it all wrong, at every step, in balancing stimulus and stability in the aftermath of the crisis. One often sees claims, for example, that the UK borrowed heavily in the distant past with little ill effect. So today’s leaders were foolish not to engage in even heavier borrowing and stimulus. These people seem to believe everything will be fine when it comes to public debt: like Voltaire’s character Dr Pangloss, they assume “all’s for the best in the best of all possible worlds”.
According to the debt panglossians, UK leaders watched as the economy stagnated, rationing stimulus out of a baseless concern over credit risks.… Seguir leyendo »
When President Jimmy Carter sent me to China in 1978 to initiate the secret negotiations that resulted in the normalisation of US-China relations, only 1,200 foreigners lived in Beijing; just the other day 1,100 American officials moved into the new US embassy – and it is estimated that 150,000 foreigners now live in the city. Our world is different, better and safer because of that normalisation.
It precipitated almost from the start security co-operation that has been of genuine benefit both to the US and China. The effect was to change the cold war’s global chessboard – to the disadvantage of the Soviet Union.… Seguir leyendo »