What else could the UK government spend its £4.2 billion Brexit contingency fund on?

Shutterstock The cabinet has stepped up contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit, with departments across Whitehall charged with making this a priority. Although all indications are that there is no majority in parliament for leaving without a deal, it remains a distinct possibility if no other deal can be passed before the March 29 deadline …

Pakistan’s privatisation dilemma as it seeks IMF bailout

Reluctantly seeking an IMF bailout for its balance-of-payments crisis, Imran Khan’s nascent government in Pakistan has already devalued its currency, hiked utility rates and imposed new taxes in an effort to be “ready” for IMF reforms. As if these measures were not enough to make the government sufficiently unpopular, it now faces demands to immediately …

A ‘lifetime income super-tax’ offers a new way to tax wealth and fix inequality

shutterstock The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least amount of hissing. So said Jean-Baptiste Colbert, minister of finance to France’s 17th-century “Sun King”, Louis XIV. Today, almost four centuries after Colbert’s birth, his compatriots are rioting on the streets of Paris …

Has consumerism taken over Christmas? Two marketing experts discuss

Can I get away with this amount of presents? Voyagerix/Shutterstock Christmas is a time of cheer – and shopping. For some, the commercialisation of this festive period – from column inches about Christmas adverts to the appearance of gifts and merchandise on shelves three months before – eats into the spirit of things. Below is …

Why Brexit is causing turmoil for the pound and other markets

shutterstock Uncertainty over what is happening with Brexit caused the pound to take another significant dive on December 10. It was the day before MPs were due to vote on the proposed Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the EU. The deal had backing from business leaders because of the certainty it brought and …

The business of Santa Claus in Lapland – a magical marketing gift

Shutterstock Christmas has enormous economic significance. As a regular and popular tradition, it lends itself to new ideas and innovation at a time of year when people expect to spend money. New businesses (and jobs) have emerged for party organisers, decorating services and theme parks. There is also plenty of economic activity going on behind …

Theresa May’s handling of Brexit is a classic case of bad leadership

The gauntlet, in the form of 48 letters, was thrown down, and a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s leadership of the Conservative Party took place. The prime minister fought and won. And yet even in that moment of seeming defiance, some of the flaws in her character and her approach to leadership were …

Copyright law does not protect the taste of cheese

Umomos via Shutterstock “Blessed are the cheesemakers”, runs the famous line from the Monty Python film Life of Brian. But a recent court case gives the lie to the notion that manufacturers of cheese have fortune on their side, after the court that interprets EU law ruled that cheese cannot be protected by copyright. In …

How a no-deal Brexit may affect each part of the traditional Christmas dinner

shutterstock The traditional Christmas dinner in Britain is commonly roast turkey, roast potatoes, parsnips and carrots, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, cranberry sauce, and pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon). Here’s how a no-deal Brexit could bring some bah humbug to the table. Items that are grown in the UK won’t be affected, but those …

How low will Bitcoin now go? The history of price bubbles provides some clues

The Bitcoin bubble is perhaps the most extreme speculative bubble since the late 19th century. Shutterstock Nearly 170 years before the invention of Bitcoin, the journalist Charles Mackay noted the way whole communities could “fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit”. Millions of people, he wrote, “become simultaneously impressed with …