My Reading List For Success At Work (Part 2)


Last week I provided my reading list for developing the right character for work that I give to new members of my team. This week, I’ll give my reading list for the knowledge base they need to have in the financial industry. Some of the books are easy to read cover to cover whichever industry you are in, others are worth dipping into and out of, while some are very technical. If I’ve missed any good books let me know: Continue reading “My Reading List For Success At Work (Part 2)”

5 Areas Japan Leads the World (2 mins)



In economic circles (and even outside), many look down on Japan, whether it is because of the “lost decade” after the 1980s bubble burst, an ageing population or its apparent lack of appetite for radical change. But such superficial ideas mask much that is impressive about Japan. Here’s five lesser known areas where Japan leads the world: Continue reading “5 Areas Japan Leads the World (2 mins)”

Which Is the Cheapest Country To Buy An I-Phone?


I travel a lot and so often compare prices of the same items to see which country is the cheapest. This is especially the case with expensive small devices like I-Phones, but I’m never quite sure whether I have got the best deal.

So I’ve trawled through Apple websites by country to find the cost of buying a standard issue I-Phone 6s. Continue reading “Which Is the Cheapest Country To Buy An I-Phone?”

Why Is Extremism On the Rise?


I recently came across an excellent paper called “Going to Extremes: Politics after Financial Crisis, 1870-2014” by Funke, Schularick and Trebesch (2015). It conducts one of the first ever studies of how politics changes after financial crises in 20 advanced economies going back over one hundred years. It seems very apt given the changes we are seeing around the world. The study has four main conclusions: Continue reading “Why Is Extremism On the Rise?”

From Greek Drama To Shakespearean Tragedy (5 min read)


Shakespeare. You cannot get more British than that. His works are taught in schools across the country, revered by the guardians of British culture and promoted as the quintessential British cultural icon abroad. With the UK’s referendum to leave the European Union, it may be time to fall back on such an icon to help forge a new path for Britishness. Continue reading “From Greek Drama To Shakespearean Tragedy (5 min read)”

Has Democracy Failed? (3 min read)


After last week’s UK referendum result to exit the European Union (EU), I wonder whether democracy has its limitations. At the very basic level, one would hope that voters are knowledgeable over the issue at hand, and that each political group vying for votes will be held accountable for their promises.

Yet, with the prospect of Brexit now on the horizon, I’ve been looking into the mechanics and consequences of exit and its mind-bogglingly complex. Continue reading “Has Democracy Failed? (3 min read)”

Mermaid Spotted – The Rise of China and Secular Stagnation


I gave the following lecture to students on the International Finance course at the London Business School on 3 June.

(Biggest movie of 2016)

Let me start with a question. Which movie has made the most money this year in any one country? No, it’s not Captain America: Civil War, it is actually Mei ren yu (The Mermaid). It has so far made $530m in China. This compares to Captain America’s $380m in the US. The reason for highlighting this is to show how big the Chinese economy has become. At over $11trn it is the second-largest economy in the world after the US ($17.8trn) and more than the double next-placed Japan ($4.7trn). Back in 2007 before the financial crisis, China was only a quarter the size of the US, rather than two-thirds the size and it was smaller than Japan. Continue reading “Mermaid Spotted – The Rise of China and Secular Stagnation”

Is the FinTech Utopia Just Around The Corner?


Utopia: noun  uto·pia  \yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ə\; an imaginary and indefinitely remote place; an impractical scheme for social improvement

There is a common belief today that a coming technology utopia will solve all our problems with the financial system. This type of belief is not new – take a look at these quotes from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s:

 “The hottest item in the stock market these days is not a security but an automated quotations system called NASDAQ that is speedily revolutionizing the over-the-counter market…The new electronic system gives bid and asked prices on about 2,500 counter stocks” (“The Counter Revolution: NASDAQ Bringing Competition To Wall St”, New York Times, April 4, 1971) Continue reading “Is the FinTech Utopia Just Around The Corner?”

Economists have a lot to learn from ‘The Big Bang Theory’


Here’s an op-ed I wrote for the Financial Times back in July 2014:

The 300m or so people who were alive 2,000 years ago are each reckoned to have had access to goods and services worth, on average, about $800 a year in today’s prices. It was not an opulent lifestyle but, for the first millennials, making money was not an all-consuming concern.

In the east Buddhism taught the virtues of renouncing worldly things and earning a livelihood without doing harm, the so-called Noble Eightfold Path. Continue reading “Economists have a lot to learn from ‘The Big Bang Theory’”

The Most Crony Capitalist Countries In the World

Rolls royce

crony , noun,   \ˈkrō-nē\,  a close friend of someone; especially : a friend of someone powerful (such as a politician) who is unfairly given special treatment or favours” (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

I discovered that The Economist maintains an index of the most crony capitalist countries in the world. That is, countries where the rich have cosied up with the government for their personal gains. They look at a bunch of developing countries and five rich industrialised countries. The worst five countries are: Continue reading “The Most Crony Capitalist Countries In the World”