Caught in Europe’s competition dark ages

Antitrust law never really made much sense anyway unless you believe in the possibility of economics textbook style ‘perfect competition’. In the real world, markets are never perfect. But where market entrance is not artificially blocked by regulations, markets are usually dynamic enough to deal with dominant positions on their own. [...]

Why aren’t migrants queuing to come here?

There is a paradox: New Zealand would welcome skilled migrants, and there are a growing number of mobile high-potentials. But these people are not coming to New Zealand and are moving elsewhere instead. [...]

Europe’s predictable crisis revival

All the years of muddling through the European crisis have only produced sticky-tape solutions. They can hold the edifice of monetary union together for a while, but it is entirely foreseeable that it won’t last. [...]

An Italian hell

Just when many commentators thought the euro crisis was over, Italy’s political earthquake has put it back on the agenda. The problem is not so much that it is practically impossible to form a stable government with different majorities in the two houses of parliament. The real issue is that the anti-austerity forces in Italy have won a large majority. [...]

Stop whingeing – and get back to work

Comparing Germany’s historical experience with New Zealand’s current dollar discussion, a few things become clear. A rising exchange rate certainly poses a challenge to exporters and manufacturers. But that does not mean that they will go out of business. [...]

Four-year fixed terms? Bring it on!

Of course political observers love the spectacle and drama of elections campaigns. But all this excitement is not an end in itself. Its real purpose is to constitute both a parliament and a government that do their jobs well. And for this reason, fixed four-year terms would improve New Zealand’s democracy. [...]

Brutal data on a Western debt march

At the moment, monetary policy presents itself as part of the solution to the West’s sovereign debt crisis. If current policies continue much longer, it will become clear that it is part of the problem. [...]

Missing benefits of the high dollar

As the New Zealand dollar reached an all-time high against the British pound and keeps rising against the US dollar, the euro and other major currencies, New Zealand manufacturers are renewing their complaints about the damaging effects of our strong currency. However, currency movements usually produce losers and winners. Just as domestic exporters suffer from a rising kiwi dollar, domestic importers benefit from increased international purchasing power. [...]

The wrong kind of education

Today’s graduates are brought up and educated to believe that their imagined intellectual brilliance and personal exceptionality will make up for everything else they are lacking. [...]

Germany’s ironic mini-bubble

In recent years, however, the hitherto boring German property market has become a bit more interesting. House prices have actually increased enough to make the Germans speak of a housing boom or even a bubble [...]