Category Archives: Finance

Who is Treasury under secretary for international affairs?

The job of under secretary for international affairs at the US Treasury is a hugely important job which few people have ever heard of. It’s a political position, which means the decision as to who gets it is made not … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | 3 Comments

Race and mortgages

Everybody knows that American blacks pay more for their groceries than American whites do. The same, it seems, is true of mortgages. (Update: I just, you know, actually read this first sentence. And no, it doesn’t mean that American mortgages … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | 7 Comments

Stock and flow

I’ve already made it very clear what I think about credit cards: this post is an attempt to flesh out one theory of how and why they work the way they do – to the benefit of banks and the … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | 7 Comments

All counterfeiting statistics are bullshit

At the end of May, the US Congress passed the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act. Faced with a huge and growing problem, the Congress acted decisively: simple possession of counterfeit labels can now mean the confiscation of an entire … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | 39 Comments

Is debt relief aid?

UK charity Action Aid has been getting quite a bit of press today with its report that only one-third of G7 overseas development assistance (ODA) is "real" aid. The rest, they say, is "phantom aid". (If you’re interested, the full … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | 4 Comments

Financial quacks

Whenever I rail against journalistic innumeracy, which is often, I tend to point out that journalists are normally creative arts-graduate types, who frequently have very little grasp of numbers. In turn, this means that they’re at risk of being taken … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | 9 Comments

Freakonomics

Last year, I said some nice things about Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, or at least about an article they wrote in the New York Times Magazine: The best piece of all in the magazine, however, doesn’t look big, it … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | 27 Comments

Sweden and theWashington Consensus

Both Paul O’Mahoney and Stefan Geens link to a piece by Daniel Brook in Dissent magazine entitled "How Sweden Tweaked the Washington Consensus". It’s mainly interesting, I think, for confirming Stefan’s prejudice about leftists and their degree of understanding of … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | 6 Comments

232 Broome Street

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine. "You know everything, Felix," she said, perspicaciously. "Instead of buying a loft, would it be cheaper to buy a loft building and then convert it into lofts?" The answer, … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | 27 Comments

Tax deductions: Your questions answered

George W Bush would never raise taxes, oh no. But according to a trial balloon being floated today in the New York Times and a few weeks ago in the LA Times, he might eliminate tax deductions, especially those which … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | 14 Comments