Recent news on the economy is decidedly mixed. The Atlantic Blog stated it nicely: “Seven Reasons to be Pessimistic and Optimistic about the Economy.” Indeed, released reports show U.S. Retail Sales Up 1.6% in March, an uptick for the third consecutive month. As I write the Dow Jones is up almost 104 points and should close over 11,120 points. We posted a couple of weeks ago that home-purchase ‘futures’ are also up, although those numbers are muted by the fact that they are meant to predict future home purchases based on visitations and statements of intent, not pens on checks. What we might not recall is that news on the markets and the larger economy in 2007 was, um, decidedly mixed.
Today’s political debate – at least the one that will effect the economy over the medium term – is what we might do to regulate/prognosticate/soften the blow of the next business cycle (on the assumption we are really out of the previous one). Here in the US, debate is running hot-and-cold over a Consumer Protection Agency, a topic to which we shall return. For a wider, European, perspective, we would like to share a video lecture by Adair Turner (Chair of the (British) Financial Services Authority), given recently at the Institute for New Economic Thinking (our thanks to a tweet from the Huffington Post on this one!). It is a full presentation, so prepare for about fifty minutes of insight, food-for-thought, and that depreciating humour for which English intellectuals are justly famous.