UK chancellor George Osborne is the latest politician trying to enshrine a balanced budget rule into national law. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Budget battles are nothing new. But the current attempts by so many different countries to tie the hands of tomorrow’s profligate politicians are with(...)

Banknotes worth 150 trillion Zimbabwean dollars. Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

A quadrillion is the number 1 followed by 15 zeroes. Or, to put it another way, a thousand trillion. For anyone lucky enough to possess 175 quadril(...)

 Klaus Masuch, Istvan Szekely and Ajai Chopra: neutral observers will probably conclude that the troika’s polices worked in Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

There are two different ways of looking at the crisis engulfing Greece. Syriza claims to be acting heroically, following its democratic mandate to end(...)

‘The debate over technology speaks to shifting economic structures whose implications we poorly understand.’ Robots manufactured by Spanish company Pal Robotics. Photograph: Peter Kneffel/EPA

Self-employment in the United Kingdom is at its highest-ever level. Productivity growth over the last few years has been dismal. Are these two data(...)

US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen:  peppers her speeches with references to ‘equilibrium interest rates’. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Should interest rates be now be raised in order to boost inflation? One of the worthies who sits on the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee is(...)

Bank of England governor Mark Carney: what he actually said was much more nuanced than the headlines suggested. Photograph: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg

Immigration did not play as large a part as expected in the UK general election but it is an issue that is unlikely to go away, either in the UK or ma(...)

British prime minister David Cameron at a parade to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day,  in London yesterday.   Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The first of countless commentaries have been written, all fretting over the forthcoming referendum on United Kingdom’s membership of the European Uni(...)

‘It seems to be easier to cut public sector pay than to take on pensioners.’ Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Benjamin Franklin famously said the only two things about which we can be certain are death and taxes. If he were alive today he might be tempted to a(...)

“Free money is there to spend on infrastructure: it isn’t really borrowing, more an asset swap.” Photograph: Alan Betson

“A major contributor to boom and bust has been the spending of every penny of taxes generated by recent and forecast economic growth. Similarly, when (...)

  The only institution capable of acting as an impartial judge between the Germans and the Greeks is the IMF which, sadly, has gone missing in action. Pictured: Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

It is as hard to conjure up the right metaphor as it is to figure out why nobody outside Greece seems to be worried. The risk that the euro area is ab(...)