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At a Price? Oil and the Economic Future


At a Price?

Oil and the Economic Future

Friday 15th January: This week’s oil price tumble to $30 a barrel may confirm the gloomy picture of the global economy. But it should also serve as a warning that geo political stability may also take a hit, explains Professor Harold James.

The oil price is often regarded as a sort of thermometer to measure the health of the world economy.  It surged in the financial crisis, and the dramatic fall to under USD 30 a barrel (from almost USD 150 in June 2008) is now being interpreted as a sign of a new impending meltdown.

It is worth thinking about how the lines of causation work.  Expensive oil produces increased costs for most rich industrial economies, and so a surge of oil prices will slow economic growth.  Spikes in the oil price were associated with global recessions in the1973-74 and 1979-80 (the oil price shocks), but also in 2000 and 2008.  A slowing of economic growth might be expected – other things being equal – to lead to a price decline.  That is roughly the story of today’s situation.  Oil prices plummeted in the immediate aftermath of the September 2008 Lehman shock, but then recovered substantially, as the vigour of emerging market growth stopped a repetition of the interwar Great Depression.  Today, the weakness in all major emerging markets – with the possible exception of India – is depressing the demand for oil.  It is not surprising that petroleum problems are now regarded as proof of global economic fragility.

Policy not Panic


Policy not Panic.
For Britain's economy in 2016,
the biggest question will be vision
Friday 8th January: The New Year has opened with turbulence in global stock markets and with George Osborne, the Chancellor telling us that the economy still faces a challenging time. The UK, he warns, is vulnerable to overseas risks and to higher interest rates at home. What, really lies ahead for the UK economy in 2016?  
Much depends upon the interaction between the economic fundamentals, policy and confidence, including developments overseas and in the financial markets. Events over the last week are unlikely to have helped business or consumer confidence as stock markets across the globe have tumbled.

Liberty Under the Law

Liberty under the Law
Right for Britain, Right for the World
As some Latin American countries opt for liberal economic systems in 2016, Jocky McLean explains that the wider constitutional underpinning of liberty is as important for their success as it is for Britain's.

Common Concern for Christians in the Middle East

Common Concern for Christians in the Middle East


Wednesday 23rd December: This week over 60 MPs and peers wrote to the Prime Minister to ask that the crimes against minorities in Syria should be treated as genocide. That letter echoed another warning by Prince Charles that Christian communities in the Middle East were ‘being targeted like never before by fanatical Islamist militants intent on dividing communities that had lived together for centuries’. In America, two Rabbisfrom the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights NGO have now added their voice to the policy discussion, calling in the Wall Street Journal for the State Department to admit these refugees to the US.

In a discussion based on this article, here Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein explain why Middle East Christians present a special case for humanitarian concern:

All Change in South America!

All Change in South America!
Britain (and the EU) may need to up the economic stakes
Friday 18th December: David Cameron will focus EU renegotiation plans on moving to a more competitive Europe. But however strong the single market may be, Europe must still trade with the world. In South America, openness and free trade are now winning the day, says Jocky McLean.
The political landscape of Latin America has changed in recent weeks. The Chavista regime in Venezuela  has suffered its first electoral defeat in sixteen years. In Argentina, the right-wing candidate for the presidential election won after twelve years of socialist rule - first by Nestor Kirchner and then his wife Cristina. Likewise in Brazil, the opposition in Congress is attempting to impeach unpopular left-wing President Rousseff. In Cuba, it is hoped that warmer relations with the US may lead to political and economic reform. South America is now re joining the global race.
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