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I have written articles, op-eds, and book reviews for many publications, including the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, Wired, the Financial Times, The Observer, The Telegraph, and Reuters; and for several years I wrote an economics column for the New Statesman.

For an archive of my articles, columns, and op-eds, click here

For an archive of my book reviews, meanwhile, click here.

A couple of recent pieces are below.

Free Market by Jacob Soll

The Guardian |  30 September 2022

Strange things are afoot in the world of economic policy these days.

Liz Truss is, by her own account, Margaret Thatcher’s biggest admirer and a fanatical devotee of economic liberalisation.  Yet the very first act of the new Prime Minister was to enact the largest single government intervention in the UK’s history – a price cap for retail energy markets expected to cost the Treasury more than the entire NHS budget.  It is not an isolated case.

The flagship fiscal policy of Truss’s immediate predecessor as Tory Prime Minister – “leveling up” – was essentially an admission that free markets cannot be left to their own devices in allocating investment across regions.  In the world of money and finance, the era of Quantitative Easing has effectively nationalized large parts of the world’s major bond markets.   In international trade, meanwhile, the United States has morphed into the world’s leading protectionist power – whilst communist China is toasted in Davos as the last great champion of free trade.

Forget strange things – it’s more like Stranger Things.  Global economic policy seems to have stumbled through a gate to the Upside Down.

Yet how surprised should we really be by these flagrant U-turns and blatant inconsistencies?  Free Market: The History of An Idea – a sprightly new history of economic liberalism by the leading intellectual historian Jacob Soll – argues that if we understood our own economic tradition a little better, the answer would be “Not very”.

You can read my review of it for The Guardian here.

The Currency of Politics by Stefan Eich

Financial Times |  2 August 2022

2022 is turning out to be the year that puts the politics back into monetary policy.

For 30 years or more, inflation was quiescent – even despite the violent shocks of the tech crash and the global financial crisis. As a result, even the unprecedented monetary policies implemented after 2008 failed to provoke much real controversy.

But this year, things have changed. With inflation topping 9 per cent in the UK and US, the questions of when and by how much interest rates should rise – and who will be the winners and losers when they do – are back at the top of the political agenda.

That is just the start.  Public satisfaction with the Bank of England’s performance hit the lowest on record last month.  Liz Truss, the leading candidate to the UK’s next Prime Minister, has taken note, and pledged to review the central bank’s mandate.  The once sacrosanct idea of monetary policy independence is now explicitly under threat.

How should we evaluate these radical developments?  Stefan Eich’s new book provides a splendidly clear framework: you can read my review of it for the Financial Times here.