Mark Carney: recently joined the board of Stripe, which was founded in Silicon Valley by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison. Photograph: Alan Betson

Former governor of the Bank of England suggests how to fix financial system

Obsessing about zero Covid means emerging data about indoors versus outdoors, dosing intervals, vaccine efficacy in total or in various age groups and all of the emerging evidence about what works (or doesn’t) is neglected

Ad hominem attacks and credentialism are all the rage these days

Depending on which looking glass you use, we are either borrowing from ourselves or printing the money. Or, ultimately, a bit of both. Photograph: Davd Sleator

Paschal Donohue should not take any cues from UK on what to do in a post-crisis world

Bond markets are signalling trouble for all of us as yields rise. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If bond markets really misbehave, we might not be able to offer as much Covid supports

US president Joe Biden is taking to heart the advice of his new treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, “to go large”. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg

US embarks on massive stimulus programme to set economy on different path

A watershed moment awaits: when enough people have been vaccinated and hospital capacity restored, will we nevertheless remain heavily restricted because of fear?

Will economies remain limited for years to come and how will we pay for this?

A health worker is injected with a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the Edouard Herriot hospital in Lyon. Photograph: Olivier Chassignole/AFP via Getty Images

We should be told why some governments are not using the vaccine on older people

The EU has been slower than most major economies to fund vaccine development and to approve their use. Photograph:  Aizar Raldes/AFP via Getty Images

‘If the people of Europe decide their leaders have yet again failed them, the political backlash could be severe’

The zero-Covid debate: a vanishingly small number of countries have, more or less, succeeded with such a strategy.

Zero-Covid debate highlights tough decisions awaiting every country

US president Donald Trump will leave Washington on Wednesday morning, hours before the inauguration of his Democratic successor Joe Biden. Photographs: Jim Watson and Angela Weiss / AFP

Biden’s first key act as president will be to agree with Trump – at least on one thing

The more Covid-19 cases, the greater the potential payoff from pursuing a one-dose regime but there are obviously risks involved. Photograph: Tino Romano/EPA

Sometimes we have to go with our instincts, while owning up to how unreliable they are

Annie Lynch, 79, from Dublin is administered the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as the first person to receive it in Ireland, at St James’s Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: EPA/MARC O’SULLIVAN / POOL

As the UK will discover post Brexit, economies are enhanced by connection and how we reconnect ourselves will impact on the speed (...)

In saying that the deal contains ‘no non-tariff barriers’, Johnson revealed, again, that he hasn’t bothered reading what he has signed. Photograph:   Adrian Dennis/AFP

Chris Johns: Free trade agreement was completed in record time, but it’s far from over

“Today’s energy revolution is green but will also lead to much cheaper electricity prices. In turn, that should boost productivity growth.”

Advent of abundant green energy promises to unleash new phase of global productivity

Prime minister Boris Johnson.  Tabloid  and Tory MP  jingoism over deployment of warships in the English Channel reminds me of the headlines during the Falklands war.  Photograph: Getty Images

If English nationalists do not belong in the EU they do not belong in any kind of political union. That includes the UK

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier arriving at Brussels Midi station on December 5th,  after the last round of Brexit talks in London

Thatcherite market reforms in 1986 resulted in an explosion in finance activity and jobs. Is that revolution about to go into reve(...)

The parties we all want to throw could start quite soon – provided economic policy plays its part

Pandemic has prompted a fundamental rethink of the fiscal rules

Released from lockdowns and other restrictions, we will want to spend. Consumer spending sprees will prime the recovery pump.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

We need to grow our way out of our debt mountains rather than tighten purse strings early

According to leading Brexit commentator Prof Chris Grey: ‘Cummings is a type, very familiar in business … not as smart as they think; geek-macho; too impressed by pop-science … going from job to job leaving a trail of destruction for which they never have to take responsibility.’ Photograph: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

Boris and Trump fill key positions based on loyalty rather than competence

One of the many ways of looking at who voted and why reveals that very poor and very rich people were more likely to be Trump voters. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Chris Johns: ‘Woke’ politics are a turn-off for many people who just see political correctness on steroids

I have American friends who believe the divisions that Trump has exploited are now so deep that the country will ultimately split. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg

Winner-takes-all capitalism by definition produces many losers. That can leaves us disappointed and lead to dysfunctional politics

A closed shop on Dublin’s Henry Street. Official policy represents a gamble. The main bet is that we won’t have to wait too long before a  vaccine arrives. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Chris Johns: ‘Rolling lockdown’ until a vaccine arrives is an abject failure of policy

“Why will a shorter lockdown not just be a mini, even less worthwhile, version of the first time we tried it?” Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/

Even the WHO is sounding cautious about the net benefits of national lockdowns

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe ‘has correctly identified the sectors most at risk, the people most obviously suffering’. Photograph: Julien Behal

Chris Johns: Budget 2021 speech leaves leaves political opponents ‘clutching at thin air’

Pubs and restaurants are at the epicentre of all this. Where is the data that says they are the spreaders of the virus? Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Imagine the bailout that would be given if the virus affected lawyers, bankers, politicians?

In this binary world of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, everything is political  so the economics becomes irrelevant

Our politicians could level with us on the Covid crisis, but for various reasons they chose not to

Advertising billboards for Boohoo and Pretty Little Things, a Boohoo brand. The company has grown rapidly since its founding in 2006. Photograph: James Akena/ Reuters

If inequality is to be properly tackled, minimum and living wages need to rise substantially

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson attends a service  marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey in  London on Sunday.  Photograph:  Aaron Chown/AFP via Getty Images

The next few months will see great change as the real economic fallout becomes apparent

 British political adviser Dominic Cummings and prime minister Boris Johnson: Britain is Britain with all of its strengths and weaknesses. Johnson-Cummings have played to those weaknesses. Photograph: Peter Summers/Getty

Chris Johns: Time to permit Britain leave EU without deal it clearly does not want anyway

If Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe can keep the economy in as reasonable shape as possible, we stand a good chance being pleasantly surprised by the post-pandemic landscape. Photograph: Julien Behal

Fiscal conservatives say we need to tighten the purse strings; bond yields say otherwise

Walkers on Dollymount beach practising social distancing. Photograph: Alan Betson

Chris Johns: We need adult conversations about risks and an end to the idea there’s one correct Covid-19 path

HSE staff and volunteers from NUI Galway simulating Covid-19 testing. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

A scientific truth needs to be known: if we don’t change course, the money will run out

The algorithms deployed to predict exam results in the UK appear to have penalised children from poor backgrounds and/or underachieving schools. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Ireland still has an opportunity to learn from mistakes made by UK with results algorithm

More activities, not only financial transactions and routine medical appointments, may move online, heightening the importance of digital equality. Photograph: iStock

Technology could make retail banks the next travel agents – and the changes won’t end there

The economy might not be looking like a V but the profits and share prices of a few technology companies certainly are. The industry’s four biggest companies, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook, reported a combined $28 billion in profits on Thursday. Photograph: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Big names benefit from fast-track Covid recovery as mainstream economy struggles on life support

Faced with an unknowable future with few apparent upside risks and plenty of the downside variety, the Government was correct to surprise with the size of the July stimulus package. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography/PA

Making decisions during a pandemic is like driving a car with limited visibility

Even before the coronavirus, the complexities of the modern world gave rise to heightened anxiety.

Chris Johns: the rise of anxiety has propelled people toward those who peddle certainty

Masked passengers  at Dublin Airport earlier this month. Photograph: Colin Keegan

Closing Ireland to countries that have the virus would mean being shut for a very long time

A  “reopen” demonstration in Pennsylvania  in April: Often, but by no means always, the “left behind” are white, older people without post-secondary education.

Globalism has been wrongly blamed for social woes and mass destruction of wage levels

Shut the economy down for long enough and the resources necessary for a functioning broad-based health service begin to be impaired

Economic lockdown just creates unemployment but does not stop the deaths

Employers need not wait for governments to act on the issues thrown up by the Black Lives Matter protests. Photograph: Chris Creese/The New York Times

Inequality, in all its forms, is everyone’s responsibility

Britain’s then Brexit secretary Dominic Raab (now its foreign affairs secretary) and the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at a news conference in Brussels in July 2018. The UK has said it will not seek an extension to current trade talks, raising the prospect of World Trade Organisation rules applying to goods between the two from the end of this year. Photograph: REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

With no trade deal in sight, it is still unclear what Brexit will mean for the Irish Sea border

Prof Philip Nolan, chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group. One encouraging aspect of Irish Covid-19 policymaking has been a willingness to embrace conditionality

Japan, for instance, looks like it has managed Covid-19 well, but nobody seems to know why

Seapoint in Dublin. Has  Covid-19 permanently altered our behaviour? Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

This recession is not like previous ones so there is precious little to learn from being fixated on them

A near-deserted Grafton Street.

Central banks must continue to lend without limit to governments for as long as needed to counter the damage caused by the pandemi(...)

The choice between individual and collective action lies at the heart of disputes over the timing of the end to the coronavirus lockdown.   Photograph:  Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Prioritising individual freedom leads some to want the virus to run unchecked and to let those most at risk take their chances

Governments should keep much more spare capacity, more redundancy: rather than just-in-time cost management, just-in-case is what is needed.

Chris Johns: Firms cannot be set up to cope with systemic crises, but governments should be

The State will have no problem financing a large deficit while the ECB is hoovering up supply in the bond market. Photograph: Daniel Roland/AFP via Getty

Chris Johns: Now is the time to ignore orthodoxy. Europe is having a bad crisis – it’s every country for itself

Banning parties isn’t very human but doesn’t carry much of a GDP cost.

It’s obvious to everyone that some sort of reopening must happen relatively soon

Brexiteers, climate change deniers and fans of Trump all have a similar narrative, one that says we should never have locked down in the first place. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Opening things up gradually alongside a comprehensive test, trace and isolate regime stands a chance of success

Assuming the return on equities is the same as over the past, that fund will be sufficient to pay out the equivalent of today’s State pension. Photograph: iStock

When everyone becomes an investor, corporate behaviour will change for the better

Everybody has a shopping list for the post Covid-19 world. Most of us will demand a better health service, an end to homelessness and lower inequality. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

It’s time for debt forgiveness: anyone worried about ‘moral hazard’ needs to just get over it

British army truck deploying  in London. The nearest Britain got to revolution was the electorate’s rejection of Churchill and the creation of the welfare state. It could have been worse

Chris Johns: A massive stimulus will be needed once economies are off life support

Apple’s €13 billion in back taxes – plus interest – could furnish Ireland €15 billion to help combat the economic damage of coronavirus. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

An escrow account holds €15bn in Apple taxes. In a changed world, we should use it

British prime minister Boris Johnson with chief medical officer Chris Whitty(left) and Patrick Vallance, its lead science adviser. Photograph: Bloomberg

From dealing with Covid-19 to formulation of a blockbuster budget, the boffins are back

Coronavirus: Immediate and decisive action is needed from governments everywhere

The single method to bring much of the coronavirus uncertainty to an end would be the discovery of an effective vaccine. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert

Uncertainty biggest danger as analysts fret about duration of coronavirus impact

Britain’s home secretary Priti Patel at Imperial College London last Tuesday, where she announced plans for a new points-based immigration system. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Are Johnson and Cummings implementing the will of the people – or gaslighting them?

The peculiar way in which the UK is currently being run sees Boris Johnson as the chairman of the board and Dominic Cummings (above) as the unelected CEO

Dominic Cummings might have the independence of the Bank of England in his sights

Two of the most successful economies in the world bred Donald Trump and Nigel Farage as the dominant politicians of the era, men who feed exclusively on grievance.

Are Donald Trump and Nigel Farage the products of societies unable to focus on the big picture?

Brexit’s economic consequences won’t matter. The first order of business is banishment from the headlines. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Securing any EU trade deal and regional development in the UK are steep challenges

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and  candidates at the launch of the party’s  general election manifesto at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Documents are random ideas designed to please maximum number of voters

Medical card protests in 2008. ‘It is in the narrow economic interests of older people to receive higher State pensions at as young an age as possible.’  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Sinn Féin’s absurd promise to lower retirement age an explicit grab at a populist lever

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: maybe he  should chill out a little

Don’t be surprised if more house-building has less impact on prices than you might expect

Chief adviser Dominic Cummings and British prime minister Boris Johnson.

Chris Johns: Boris Johnson’s chief adviser wants to disrupt the machinery of UK government with ‘weirdos’ and ‘misfits’

Economists notice that self-reported levels of happiness decline after we achieve middling incomes. Photograph: istock

Nothing but economic growth has ever lifted humanity out of misery

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson and US president Donald Trump attend at the NATO leaders summit in Watford, Britain on  December 4th. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Pool/Reuters

Chris Johns: American voters are facing as stark a choice in 2020 as Britons did recently

If the US is any guide the UK’s fiscal position is set to deteriorate markedly while the bond market quietly snoozes in the corner. Photograph: iStock

Boris Johnson might have stumbled on to something by promising to blow the budget on spending rises rather than tax cuts

British prime minister Boris Johnson:  His genius was assembling a coalition of (former) steelworkers and Surrey stockbrokers. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/Reuters

Johnson would like to banish Brexit from the headlines – he’s as bored by it as we are

“Deep political cynicism is fuelled by the lies. The thing about those lies is that they obviously work.” Photograph: Toby Melville/AFP via Getty Images

Tories’ Brexit alliance of rich and ‘left behind’ is recipe for disappointment

British  prime minister and Conservative leader Boris Johnson. Former UK minister  Nye Bevan  said  a Tory election victory and an intelligent electorate were a contradiction in terms. Photograph: EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

Johnson’s election slogan Get Brexit Done will turn out to be the biggest lie of all

 British prime minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. “In the UK, badly-managed abundance has generated political chaos.” Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/AFP

More public spending funded by somebody else’s higher taxes simply does not add up

‘Billionaires are difficult to wipe out. Wealth taxes are tough to collect and the wealthy adept at avoidance.’

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg may take on billionaire Donald Trump. How has it come to this?

The more UK prime minister Boris Johnson promises a quick trade deal with the US, the higher will be the barriers with the EU. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Boris Johnson doesn’t mean what he says he might be sincere about avoiding an extension

Just how the ECB’s incoming boss, Christine Lagarde, resolves the arguments over what to do about Europe’s under-performing economy will be of far greater significance than Brexit

Global economic upheavals pose a greater threat to Ireland than anything in the UK

Dominic Cummings, special adviser to the British prime minister, Boris Johnson. Universally hailed as some kind of genius, Cummings is a candidate for some revisionist history

Is Dominic Cummings the Rick Astley of politics?

Figures depicting British  prime minister Boris Johnson  and his special adviser Dominic Cummings  during a pro-EU demonstration in London

The strength of British culture and its institutions may have been tested to destruction

 Boris Johnson:  he wants to do lots of deals, not least with the US. But the logic of the promised close relationship with the EU means that deals with other countries become much harder

Logic and facts have an annoying habit of asserting themselves: perhaps the only surprise is that it took so long

 Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe.

Budget 2020: a holding exercise framed by Brexit

When  two countries  share a common border the absence of a customs union necessitates customs checks. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Chris Johns: The absence of trust within the UK and between Britain and its partners is the most obvious Brexit narrative

A worker walks past the Conservative Party branded sign that reads ‘Get Brexit Done’ outside Manchester Central convention complex ahead of the party’s annual conference. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFPGetty Images

None of possible outcomes of forthcoming election will resolve UK’s poor fiscal position

Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist: “People are seeing globalisation as a venue by which rich corporations like Apple and Google can effectively escape taxation while hard-working citizens in France or Germany continue to pay high taxes.” Photograph: Sasha Maslov/New York Times

Chris Johns: Ireland’s genius to notice US government policy not to tax their global corporations

French economist Thomas Piketty has transformed our understanding of inequality via an extraordinary research programme.

Piketty’s call for more aggressive redistribution may finally be answered by politicians

 British prime minister Boris Johnson: he probably doesn’t care about Brexit in any fundamental sense. His priority is winning an imminent general election. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Chris Johns: I see an election in the next few months, with every likelihood of a Johnson victory

With each step along the road to the October 31st no-deal Brexit, political chaos gets steadily worse. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Bank of England reveals link between Brexit uncertainty, investment and productivity

Chris Johns: Trump’s trade wars, Brexit, monetary and fiscal policy mistakes and climate change point to a very bumpy ride ahead

Sterling doesn’t have the comfort of the dollar’s reserve status. Nor the resilience of the US economy. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hard Brexit on October 31st won’t be the end, merely the start of an even more chaotic phase

“Householders may cheer the prospect of being paid to borrow but they won’t enjoy the accompanying falls in house prices that economic stagnation would bring about.” Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

A Danish bank is offering a 10-year mortgage bond which carries a negative rate of interest

Boris Johnson: he  seems to think his treasury is home to a secret multibillion stash of used fivers. Photograph: EPA

Hardcore Brexiteers know that the economic hit is coming and don’t care

Would today’s generation of house buyers be quite so keen on the hassle of ownership if they thought that prices are destined not to rise for at least a generation?

Chris Johns: Property is king but its primacy is a recent phenomenon

Facebook’s foray into banking via the creation of a crypto currency could be the last throw of the disruptive dice: there are few profit streams left for tech to usurp. File photograph: The New York Times

Tech giants can learn from fall of big investment banks and how they mistook super-normal profits as new norm

Many studies, including at least one by Nobel prize winners, suggest that human happiness peaks at levels of income far below those of the successful lawyer and banker

It would help if we taught that the need for cash is not necessarily infinite

The Irish economy will look very different depending on the nature of Brexit. Things are either going to stay roughly the same or they are not. That’s the sum total of our knowledge

Chris Johns: framing a budget while pondering the existential question of Brexit might best be left to philosophers

Boris Johnson acts as if the greatest insight to be drawn is the one explained in Bohemian Rhapsody: ‘nothing really matters’. Nothing but himself, of course. Photograph: Darren Staples/Bloomberg

The political imperative of never admitting a mistake is leading UK down a very dark path

Global storm clouds: economic growth fluctuates, particularly over the short term, for all sorts of reasons

The constant threat of war between Russia and the US didn’t derail the global economy – and didn’t happen

Trump, for all his flaws and contradictions has a peculiar kind of authenticity That’s a key difference between Trump and most of the candidates for job of leader of the UK - and also the current incumbent Theresa May.

Unlike Trump, Tory leadership candidates say things they almost certainly don’t believe

The thing that affects equities the most these days is the latest tweet from Donald Trump. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Trade wars, slowing economic growth and uncertainty run the risk of recession in a US election year

Boris Johnson leaving his London home on the day of the European elections on May 23th. Photograph: Luke Dray/Getty Images

A hard Brexit led by Boris Johnson as prime minister could lead to the break up of the UK

Nigel Farage at a rally with the Brexit Party’s European election candidates at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh, Scotland,  on May 17th. Photograph:  Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Is the prospect of Nigel Farage as future British prime minister any more fanciful than a Trump presidency?

Capitalism has gone all Game of Thrones, and that’s not a good thing, says Chris Johns.

A system that is rigged to produce only a few winners is utterly unsustainable

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