A stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo tracks plunging global indices yesterday. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

What caused Friday’s stock plunge? What does it mean for the future? Nobody knows, and not much. Attempts to explain daily stock movements are usually(...)

Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says the retirement age should be pushed back to “68 or 70”. Photograph: Gretchen Ertl/Reuters

Something strange is happening in the Republican primary – something strange, that is, besides the Trump phenomenon. For some reason just about all th(...)

 US president Barack Obama: his signature healthcare policy was mentioned nine times during  last week’s prime-time Republican debate. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

What did the men who would be president talk about during last week’s prime-time Republican debate? Well, there were 19 references to God, while the e(...)

US president Barack Obama: why have the human consequences of economic troubles been muted? The main answer is that Puerto Rico is part of the US fiscal union. Photograph: Uri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday the government of Puerto Rico announced it was about to miss a bond payment. It claimed that, for technical legal reasons, this wouldn’t be (...)

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has spoken recently about attempting to ‘phase out’ Medicare. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Medicare, the US federal health insurance scheme for people over 65, turns 50 this week, and it has been a good half-century. Before Medicare went int(...)

A euro exit will be essential to write down much of Greece’s debt. Photograph: Reuters

There’s a bit of a lull in the news from Europe, but the underlying situation is as terrible as ever. Greece is experiencing a slump worse than the G(...)

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks during a town hall campaign stop  in Hudson, New Hampshire. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Americans work longer hours than their counterparts in just about every other wealthy country; we are known, among those who study such things, as the(...)

Alexis Tsipras speaks to media in Brussels. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg.

Suppose you consider Tsipras an incompetent twerp. Suppose you dearly want to see Syriza out of power. Suppose, even, that you welcome the prospect of(...)

Greece’s debt problem reflected irresponsible lending as well as irresponsible borrowing, and in any case the Greeks have paid for their government’s sins many times over

Europe dodged a bullet on Sunday. Confounding many predictions, Greek voters strongly supported their government’s rejection of creditor demands. And (...)

Pensioners waiting outside a closed National Bank branch and hoping to get their pensions, argue with a bank employee in Iraklio on the island of Crete. Photograph:  Reuters/Stefanos Rapanis

It has been obvious for some time that the creation of the euro was a terrible mistake. Europe never had the preconditions for a successful single cur(...)