Crypto Realists and Skeptics

The wild ride in bitcoin and ICOs continues, as the story woven by this week’s links shows. I’ve attempted to select articles that balance the hype with realism and healthy skepticism.

Good Intentions Aren't Enough: Choosing Wisely Misses the Target

Earlier this year, the Choosing Wisely campaign celebrated its 5th anniversary. Choosing Wisely is a well-funded, practice-focused organization created to reduce “wasteful or unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures.”

The Strategic Importance of Brazil

I am sharing my new article on Brazil's military relationship with the PRC, and the strategic importance of Brazil to the region, and as a partner to the U.S.  My work is based on interactions during a recent trip to Rio de Janeiro to teach a seminar and participate in an event conducted by Brazil's prestigious Naval War College. This work is originally published through the ejournal Global Americans. 

EconVue Spotlight | A Big Week in Washington

There were three big stories out of Washington this week. President Trump’s trip to Asia has nearly overshadowed news of Congress’s proposed tax changes, and for the first time since G. William Miller, the Federal Reserve will be led by a non-economist.

10-Year Retrospective: Lessons 7, 8, 9 | Three more Lessons! That's the Lot

7. Neglect of international causes

This is the most fatal flaw, as it is the one least understood  by economists, governments or bankers.

My interpretation of the crisis emphasises its international dimensions – not only in the rapid spread of the crisis but also in its root causes (see Lesson 3).

Yet this perspective is still denied, derided or ignored.

10-Year Retrospective: Lesson 6 | The State has Rewarded Bad Behavior and Bad Banks

How has the state punished the financial industry for its crimes,  corruption and anti-social behaviour?

By showering it with subsidies, privileges,  perks and by offering it protection from an angry public. And by reducing its profitability and capacity to change by piling new regulatory layers and requirements.

And this remains true not just of the UK and US. It is true of European countries as well.

There is no incentive to improve their behaviour.

10-Year Retrospective: Lesson 5 | Banks have not Regained Public Trust

This is another unavoidable lesson. Banking has not been reformed by actions taken by the state, central banks or regulators since the crisis. Indeed they have set back the prospects for improvement.

There were two main strands in the policy response to the crisis. One was monetary policy – the experiment in QE, discussed in Lessons 1-3. The other was regulatory.

Banking industry leaders have resisted all efforts to reform. That shows that in the current state of society, banking can be regulated – raising costs to society – but not restructured.

Crypto Currents

The original plan for this issue was to cover the main trends from last week's Money20/20 conference and get a sense of how banking, payments, and FinTech have evolved over the last year and what the year ahead looks like.