Finance: Research, Policy and Anecdotes

Some random summer thoughts

I am off to a well-deserved summer break, with a full and exciting fall schedule coming up.

 

Where do we stand in terms of the populist revolt against liberal democracy?  The US and the UK have been seen as the two countries most “affected” with the Trump election and the Brexit vote, an interesting observation in itself that is worthwhile some analysis. The last six months have certainly been depressing for both countries – in the UK a government that supposedly wanted to keep its cards close to the chest has turned out to have no such cards and making up policy on the go; in the U.S. a narcissistic and incompetent president who is attacking the institutions that have underpinned US democracy for more than 200 years and a Republican party that (with few exceptions) puts party above country.  On the other hand, a resounding victory in France against the extremist right-wing Front National and an increase in positive attitudes towards the EU in many countries.  Certainly an important opportunity for Europe and liberal democracy.

 

I was recently asked by a Greek blog site about my opinion on the Greek and Eurozone crisis, in case you are reading Greek.  Or use google translate as I did.

 

I was also asked to write a quick blog entry about government’s role in banking:    It is a very quick and somewhat superficial summary, but somewhat summarizes my thinking on this critical issue in finance.  

 

On a personal note: I am spending the first two weeks of my summer break in Colombia, visiting my in-laws.  City maps in Colombia have a certain system to it, with carreras and calles.  All good, and even the navigation system bought into it; unfortunately, I forgot to tell it that I meant to be in the South part of Medellin rather than the North part, with the result that instead of ending up in our hotel we ended up in the middle of a comuna (aka favela). Oh well, at least we got to know Medellin extensively and saw for ourselves how this city has transformed itself over the past 25 years, since Pablo Escobar was killed.  A metropolitan city with lots of things to offer.  One of the (many) highlights: El cielo, a restaurant that goes beyond food and drink to offer “experiences” – if anyone ever happens to be in Medellin, a must-go (the same chef has also restaurants in Bogota and Miami).

 

Coming up in September, a new e-book on German ordo-liberalism (jointly edited with Hans-Helmut Kotz) and later this year a Handbook on Finance and Development, edited by Ross Levine and me.  I will also start a one-year appointment as the Tun Ismail Ali Chair at the University of Malaya (jointly supported by UM and Bank Negara Malaysia, the Malaysian Central Bank, whose governor Dr. Tun Ismail Ali was for 18 years in the 1960s and 70s) and will spend a total of 10 weeks or so in Kuala Lumpur over the next 12 months, which will certainly be an exciting and insightful experience.