Wall Street’s main indexes fell on Thursday. Photograph: Richard Drew/File/AP Photo

European shares broke a four-day winning run on Thursday, with banks reeling from the prospect of near-zero interest rates for a prolonged period, whi(...)

The People’s Bank of China headquarters in Beijing. Photograph: Petar Kujundzic/Reuters

Huge expansions in credit followed by crises and attempts to manage the aftermath have become a feature of the world economy. Today the US and Brit(...)

French economist and academic Thomas Piketty, poses in his book-lined office at the French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences  in Paris. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Thomas Piketty, the French economist who wrote a best-selling book on inequality, has defended his work against criticism by the Financial Times of sh(...)

Perhaps the biggest question of all concerns what is going to happen to China. Since 2008 its growth has become increasingly dependent on soaring credit. This cannot be sustainable. Photograph: Alex Lee/Reuters

The consensus view of the world economy has become more optimistic, for good reason. The high-income economies seem at last to be taking off; this is (...)

German chancellor Angela Merkel on a video screen as she addresses the audience at a meeting in Dresden recently. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Germany is reshaping the European economy in its own image. It is using its position as the largest economy and dominant creditor country to tu(...)

Breaking point: after a financial crisis, a huge excess of desired private savings is likely to emerge, even when rates are very close to zero. In that situation, immediate fiscal austerity will be counterproductive. It will drive the economy into deep recession.

In 1816, the net public debt of the UK reached 240 per cent of gross domestic product. This was the fiscal legacy of 125 years of war against F(...)