Morning commuters walk past the Lehman Brothers headquarters in 2008.

‘What-if’ thought experiments are fun for the protagonists but pretty useless for the rest of us

Scottish first minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond covers his eyes with cakes during a visit to Browning Bakers in Kilmarnock. Photograph: EPA/Robert Perry

Opinion: few investors have mulled what Scottish independence might mean

A student peruses the books  in Oxford. Oxford University has a student population in excess of 20,000 taken from over 140 countries around the world. Photo: Getty Images

You don’t need to be super smart to be a CEO, lawyer, accountant or government minister

Mario Draghi: until the ECB president’s most recent speech there has been no acknowledgement of the need to run growth at a higher rate or even of the possibility that fiscal austerity can damage growth in the short-term.

Fiscal fundamentalism a bankrupt policy

European policy makers “are doing everything they can to stop recovery taking off, so they should not be surprised if there is in fact no take-off. It is balanced-budget fundamentalism, and it has become religious”.

Ideology brooks no argument, despite what the facts say

Traders working at their desks in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange yesterday. Photograph: Reuters

How worried should we be about a slowdown in the German economy?

The ECB is always calling for structural reforms. Structural reforms are always politically difficult. They are only ever implemented by politicians brave and decent enough to think beyond the next election. So we hardly ever see them. Photograph: EPA

Nothing in economics to justify crude European fiscalism of today

The European Central Bank  in Frankfurt Main, Germany – weak and disappointing European growth has become one of life’s constants: one that leaves the euro area extremely vulnerable to shocks, even small ones. EPA/Boris Roessler

Our recovery outpaces that of other euro zone countries, but a wider risk remains

Thomas Piketty, the French economist whose work has fueled fierce debates about inequality. Photograph: Ed Alcock/The New York Times

The bigger debate is not over the numbers but his explanations of why inequality has evolved

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