Has Germany’s bubble finally burst?

As recent economic data shows, the German economy is dramatically slowing. Exports experienced their biggest fall for five years, growth forecasts for the next year have been downgraded by research institutes. It is quite possible that the country is already in recession. These are not just cyclical developments. A much bigger swing is on the way, which will end all talk about the economic powerhouse in the heart of Europe. [...]

The value of global talkfests

Unless there is some intrinsic value in government officials, central bankers and their advisors talking to each other, there is precious little that our global economic diplomacy has to show for. At least one should not expect any concrete outcomes, or even growth creating outcomes from such meetings. [...]

Fighting bad government policy the South African way

Two countries, two successful internet entrepreneurs, two clashes with government. Last week we witnessed an epic Twitter battle between Trade Me founder Sam Morgan and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce over the usefulness of research grants. Meanwhile, founder of Thawte Consulting and the Ubuntu Linux OS, Mark Shuttleworth, won a long legal fight against the South African Reserve Bank. [...]

Juncker’s multi-billion stimulus phantom

Juncker has not even started his new job as President of the European Commission yet and he is already showing why there was so much resistance to his appointment, particularly in economically liberal and conservative circles. In the pursuit of his policies, he is free of any guiding economic principles and indifferent to legal constraints. [...]

The joys of forming a European government

The problems with forming the European Commission are manifold, but there is only one written rule: Every EU member state will be represented by one commissioner, nominated by national governments. The difficulties begin once you realise that there are numerous unwritten rules to be considered when putting together the new Commission. [...]

An acid test for French-German diplomacy

In the past, a French prime minister or president visiting Germany would have not only been greeted with military honours but also been treated with polite interest and respect, maybe even admiration. After 15 years of monetary union, which was meant to bring Europe’s nations closer together, only the diplomatic formalities of this past are left. [...]

Time for Key to define his place in history

Key has proved himself to be an exceptionally skilled politician, especially when operating with slim majorities. This term will show whether history will also judge him as one of New Zealand’s great Prime Ministers. If he is bold enough in his third term, it might even secure him a fourth term. [...]

Colbert’s legacy lingers on

We do not need big plans and visions and we do not need government to think on our behalf. We need the state to guarantee property rights, enforce contracts and provide a stable set of political and economic institutions. [...]

Why Scotland’s vote has Brussels spooked

As Scotland votes on independence from the UK today, it would be courageous to speculate on the result. Recent opinion polls have been so tight that the referendum could go either way. But whatever the Scots decide, the implications will be severe -- not just for the (still) UK but also for the EU as well. [...]