Still not shopping

My mood has brightened since my last post, which was gloomy about the recent data on the spread of coronavirus in Britain. Nonetheless, I think the easing of the lockdown is premature, for reasons set out below. Let me reiterate: I’m an economist, not an epidemiologist. Furthermore, you should never believe a forecast, especially not one about the future. And my worries last time are not (yet) being borne out. So read on at your own risk. Here is what is worrying me. a. Less than 13% of community infections have tested positive The Office of National Statistics estimates that… Read More »Still not shopping

Why I am not going shopping

I think the relaxations in the lockdown are premature. Here is why: Hospital admissions in London are going up And in England as a whole, hospital admissions are rising slightly: UPDATE 8pm Here is the same graph with another day’s data – the admissions continue to rise: 2. The number of reported deaths is up, week on week: UPDATE 8pm – here is the same graph with another day’s numbers. This is not more reassuring. 3. R, the Reproduction Number, is at or close to 1. We know this because the infection rate is, according to the ONS, “relatively stable”.… Read More »Why I am not going shopping

Do you feel lucky, punk?

I am worried that the UK Government is easing the lockdown too soon, and I am going to continue to be very careful in the coming weeks. Here’s why. I am not a doctor or an epidemiologist: I’m an economist. That means I don’t know about the biology (but I can read statistics pretty well.) Economists are famously bad at making forecasts, so you would be unwise to take any notice; but I predict that we will look back on this period as a major policy error by the UK government (sadly not the only such mistake). I hope I… Read More »Do you feel lucky, punk?

Time for a “Love Actually” moment

President Trump’s decision to cut funding to the World Health Organisation calls for a “Love Actually” moment. There is a precedent. One of George W. Bush’s first acts as president in 2006 was to reinstate the “global gag rule” which withdrew US aid from organisations that counsel women about abortions or to advocate for liberalized abortion laws in their countries. In response, the UK Government offered to make up the funding to any organisation that lost out from George Bush’s political grandstanding. As a Brit, I was so proud. The US provides about $500m a year to the WHO. It… Read More »Time for a “Love Actually” moment

The International Finance Facility for Education: The Wrong Answer to the Right Question?

Donors are considering a proposal for a new “innovative finance mechanism” to increase funding for education, based on recommendations from Gordon Brown’s Education Commission. We agree that we need to finance an expansion of education in the developing world. But sadly, the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) proposal is too good to be true.

What rights will EU citizens in the UK lose?

This is a good round-up of the rights that EU citizens living in the UK seem likely to lose, notwithstanding the government’s protestations that their rights will be largely unchanged. I list them here, but they are better explained in the article. The right to go abroad The right to fall in love with a foreigner The right to care for an elderly parent The right to have their rights independently adjudicated The right to free movement (if your family includes UK citizens The right to use an ID card rather than a passport The right to live in the… Read More »What rights will EU citizens in the UK lose?