“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable,” – John Kenneth Galbraith

As the late John Kenneth Galbraith remarked: “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” But that does not mean(...)

Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made. This famous remark of German philosopher Immanuel Kant is particularly relevan(...)

German Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann: argued “it is fanciful to believe that monetary policy tools can sustainably lift the growth potential of an economy”. Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

In 2014, we have commemorated the 100th anniversary of the start of first World War and the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The fo(...)

The decline in oil prices should be helpful to the world economy, albeit with caveats. Photograph: Getty/iStockphoto

What does the decline in oil prices mean for the world economy? The answer depends on why it has happened and how long it might last. But overall it s(...)

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. Demand deficiency syndrome has afflicted Japan since the early 1990s and the US, euro zone and UK since 2008 at the latest. Photograph: Getty Images/Flickr RM

The principal high-income economies – the US, the euro zone, Japan and the UK – have been suffering from “chronic demand deficiency syndrome”. More(...)

A man walks past a restaurant in the Dotonbori amusement district of Osaka,  Japan, yesterday. The difficulties caused by fiscal austerity have become particularly evident in Japan and the euro zone. Photograph: Reuters

David Cameron, the UK prime minister, states that “red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy”. The lights are (...)

‘Atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are at levels not seen in at least 800,000 years. In addition, human-caused emissions of such gases have risen consistently.’ Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Republican victory in the US midterm elections was a triumph for its strategy of sustained vilification of the president and obstruction of his po(...)

Haruhiko Kuroda, governor of the Bank of Japan, points to a sign as he speaks during a news conference at the central bank’s headquarters in Tokyo yesterday.  Photograph: Bloomberg

Japan is no longer governed by consensus. This is true at least of its monetary policy. Haruhiko Kuroda, governor of the Bank of Japan, launched still(...)

Following the stress tests, the European Central Bank concluded that 25 institutions, nine of them Italian, would need to add a total of €25 billion in capital. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

Will the asset quality review and stress tests conducted by the European Central Bank and the European Banking Authority mark a turning point in the e(...)

Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann. With conventional monetary policy at its limits, the choice is between unconventional monetary policy or expansionary fiscal policy. Germany is extremely uncomfortable with both. Photograph: Ciro De Luca/Reuters

Might the policies of the euro zone result in a robust recovery? My answer is no. Since the euro zone generated 17 per cent of world output in 2013(...)