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

Brexit Party campaign rally at Mill Farm, home of AFC  Flyde, in Wesham on Saturday. Last week’s local elections saw a large electoral shift towards parties that are anti-Brexit. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Local elections point to Remain but big parties sell mantra of ‘need to deliver Brexit’

The Irish Central Bank: along with the Bank of England and the European Central Bank, it will have a new head  soon.

Chris Johns: Brexit and Europe’s banks will generate storms for whoever is in charge

Actor Emma Thompson takes part in the Extinction Rebellion protest at Oxford Circus in London

Chris Johns: No policy maker has been able to implement the changes eco-warriors want

Supporters of the Brexit Party at the first public rally of their European Parliament election campaign, in Birmingham on Saturday. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Brexit will stay mired in fantasy until economic reality is acknowledged

EU Council president Donald Tusk with British prime minister Theresa May in Brussels. Whatever happens next on Brexit, the British have entered a permanent state of negotiation with the EU. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

The opening terms of the no-deal talks have already been revealed by Brussels

A pro-Brexit yellow vest protester demonstrating outside Downing Street in London. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Britain feels more extremist than even before and people won’t retreat from their deeply held positions

Taylor Swift: economic genius

Chris Johns: Big Data allows economists to come up with new answers to old questions

The most sinister aspect of the whole thing is the way in which Brexit is a project of an ultra right wing faction of English nationalists

Brexit Britain has gone from the promises of sunny uplands to sounding like Gloria Gaynor – ‘we will survive’

A Pro-Brexit protester demonstrates outside Downing Street in London at the weekend.  Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

‘Debating with a narcissist is like trying to assemble an Ikea flatpack with the wrong-sized Allen key’

Bank of England governor Mark Carney is loathed by the Brexiteers because his facts don’t fit their narrative. Photograph: Reuters

They are blamed for everything in an age where expertise is distrusted and dismissed

An actor playing the part of Theresa May leads a pantomime unicorn. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

We are used to everything being blamed for Brexit – now everything is blamed on Brexit

One of the silliest games played by hyper educated people, who really should know better, is any attempt to explain short term movements in stock markets

Property is, in fact, a touch more volatile than most of us seem to realise while stocks produce the best returns of any asset cla(...)

Anti-Brexit protesters in London last month. Photograph: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

No major political party in UK caters for voters who embrace enlightenment values

Have US interests rates peaked for the current cycle? Maybe. Above, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

A global recession is forecast, but something is keeping inflation and interest rates down

Another clock ticks, zero trust exists and the EU will know exactly what it wants: it will, also, hold all the cards

It cannot be repeated often enough that the backstop was asked for by Theresa May

English elite: only two things matter – to win the argument and to promote the interests of my class. Photograph: Jimmy Sime/Getty

The debating chambers of Eton and Oxbridge do not care for compromise

A Leave supporter arguing with a Remain supporter outside parliament in London.The  police  have been “briefed to intervene appropriately” if the law is broken. Photograph:  Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

While billionaire backers of the Leave campaign will make money either way, it is the young who will pay the price

Richard Hulskes, co-founder of Amsterdam-based technology company Wewolver, with a robot at the Web Summit. Photograph: Eric Luke

We should embrace technology to make our working lives more productive

Inequality is not inevitable and does not flow automatically from globalisation. Governments make choices that directly determine the level of inequality. Photograph: AP

Impact of government policy means increased inequality is not inevitable

‘My hope, if not forecast, is that we have seen the peak in residential property prices. Perhaps for this generation, not just for the current cycle.’

While fiscal issues remain, we do not live in the dystopia described in too many articles

Donald Trump has fired the last remaining adult in the White House and is promising a prolonged battle with Congress unless he gets funding for his Mexican Wall

Immigration is blamed for problems it never causes and rarely gets credit for its benefits

Brexit ultras: the Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and the Ukip MEP Nigel Farage at a Leave Means Leave rally on Friday. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty

Chris Johns: An economic, political and social catastrophe grows more likely by the day

Theresa May might be one of the last prime minister of a United Kingdom

Chris Johns: As the UK fragments, the DUP are ideal candidates for this year’s Darwin award

Bank of England governor Mark Carney: he was described by Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg as “a failed second-rate Canadian politician who is talking down the pound”. Photograph. EPA/Will Oliver

Most Brexiteers cheerfully rubbish expert economic analysis, and claim there is nothing to fear from any kind of Brexit

British  prime minister Theresa May arriving to give a press conference after a special meeting in Brussels of the European Council to endorse the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement. Photograph: Getty Images

Disgruntled Leavers do not typically live in economically successful parts of the UK

Brexit worries: Banking crises often come from surprising places.

Chris Johns: Could it spark a recession? Or a banking crisis? It certainly is not over

Former UK foreign minister Boris Johnson and former Brexit minister David Davis.

The lesson of the first World War is that terrible things happen to ordinary countries who neither desired nor deserved what happe(...)

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe ahead of Budget 2019: modern budgeting is a continuous process, not something suited to one-off events. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Chris Johns: Annual budgeting exercises can distort economic behaviour

Amazon’s decision to up the pay of some of its warehouse employees (to $15 an hour) has  rung alarm bells. Photograph: Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

Trump’s economic advisers see reds under every bed, a sign power elites are worried

Nero’s violin playing amidst chaos and destruction that he caused has contemporary resonance in Boris Johnson’s newspaper columns

Chris Johns: Just wait a few years and the UK will be clamouring to join the euro: Reality has a habit of intruding but it can tak(...)

Pro-European Union demonstrators protesting  outside the Houses of Parliament in central London. Photograph:  Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Mood music suggests a deal is more likely but business still coping with uncertainty and disruption

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe arriving at the Department of the Taoiseach prior to announcing Budget 2019. A slightly simplistic view of the budget is that it is the result of a shouting match between vested interests. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Chris Johns: Nakedly political process pays no heed to long-term needs of the economy

The New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan. US equities are flirting with all-time highs but this is far from the case elsewhere in the world. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Many financial commentators believe conditions for another crisis are taking shape

What should the Government do, particularly in the context of the budget? Photograph: Alan Betson

Chris Johns: The banking crisis reminds us how ‘events’ disrupt even the best-laid plans

Lehman Brothers collapsed weeks before the Irish government issued its blanket bank guarantee.

Chris Johns: Banks have successfully resisted global regulatory efforts to make them safe

UK prime minister Theresa May has been negotiating a Brexit deal while a sizeable minority in her party do not want any kind of deal at all.

Chris Johns: Britain’s ever-changing stance erodes faith in its reliability as a partner

“A Brexit that pleases nobody in Westminster now seems likely – just about – to be passed.” Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Attention to detail of life after split from EU is noticeable only by its absence

Most of us can’t handle the data. Much of what we think we know is, in fact, wrong. Many of the things we take for granted have little basis in fact, or history

Chris Johns: Data scientists are going to put most of us out of work

Official data and, particularly, anecdotal evidence suggests that Dublin prices, at least, have stopped rising. Photograph: Alan Betson

Overvalued house prices are pernicious but try getting vested interests to admit that

Versailles, 1919: the failure of the first World War’s winners to foresee the consequences of the treaty they forced Germany to sign led to Hitler’s rise. Photograph of William Orpen’s painting courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Chris Johns: Nobody will win if the UK is allowed to crash out of the European Union

Three new courses should be compulsory for all students. They should be taught philosophy, curiosity and how much is enough. Photograph: Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images

Chris Johns: Some of the most miserable people I know have lots of money

A bureau de change near Victoria Station in London. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Sterling volatility seems inevitable even if the City is betting that some deal will be agreed

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has much less room for manoeuvre in the budget than predecessors had. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Spend more on education and infrastructure, leave tax rates alone and sort out healthcare

British prime minister Theresa May presents the prize for best sheep during a visit to the Royal Welsh Show last week.   Photograph:  Christopher Furlong/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Chris Johns: It seems contemporary Tories act like ‘Brideshead Revisited’ characters

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