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Trading floors like this one – at the old American Stock Exchange in the 1980s – are at the heart of capitalism and financial speculation. David Foster/Flickr via CC BY-ND

Financial speculation: the good, the bad and the parasitic

The word “speculation” carries a connotation of negativity. And it’s probably fair to say that pretty much every financial crisis since the tulip mania of the 1630s can be attributed to some sort of mass…
Lending standards are so tight that even former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, center, who until recently was one of the most powerful people in the world, can’t refinance his mortgage. Reuters

Ben Bernanke among borrowers paying the price for knee-jerk home loan rules

It’s clear mortgage standards have gotten too tight when even a former Federal Reserve chairman who makes as much as US$250,000 per speech cannot refinance his home. Ben Bernanke complained about his inability…
Confused? Kemal Taner via Shutterstock

Financial literacy is shockingly low and the academy must do more

The latest survey on the basic understanding of financial terms like “loan”, “interest rate” and “budget” makes for shocking reading. The Money Advice Service surveyed 3,000 adults and found that 32% did…
Diwali celebrations in the City of London. everheardofaspacebar

Bankers should look eastwards for ethical guidance

The crash of 2008 revealed an ethical crisis in banking, one of our most powerful and critical industries. To encourage bankers to clean up their act, proposals including caps on bankers bonuses, better…
Experimenting with bubbles. Flickr/Indigo Skies Photography

Brain scans could be used to predict financial bubbles

Some shares have new owners every second. Today much of the buying and selling is done by computers, but some still rely…
Tunisia has its dangers, but it should be safe from financial collapse. archer10

How banks can help the move from dictatorship to democracy

Tunisia has been hailed as a lone success story among the Arab Spring nations. A relatively peaceful transition with a recent agreement on a new constitution has enabled the country to avoid the bloodshed…
Lift, 1, 2, 3… hold 1, 2, 3. Matt Dunham/AP

Should cagey Osborne flex his electoral pectorals?

Who lives at Number Ten Downing Street? The answer is of course… George Osborne. While his official residence may be next door at Number Eleven, it is he and not David Cameron who lives in the flat above…
This is your brain on capitalism: the city is addicted to risk, drugs and overwork. Willard

Drugs and the city: an open secret, so why no testing?

When the chairman of the ethical Co-operative Bank was recently caught on camera purchasing drugs, it became a major news story. But the links between drug-taking and Wall Street or the City of London…
Small changes to currency can have a big impact. @Doug88888

If foreign exchange markets are rigged, the solution is simple

In the latest big scandal to hit the banking sector, regulators around the world are investigating whether foreign exchange markets have been rigged. At least seven major banks have been caught up in the…
The market power of banks in funding will be challenged by the rise of super funds. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Rise of super funds will shape Australia’s financial sector

How will the shape of Australia’s financial sector evolve over the coming decades? How will the demand for finance change? Where will the supply of funds come from? Can we be confident that available funds…
Is there such thing as an ethical finance system? Proponents of Islamic finance believe so. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Can Islamic finance provide salvation for the banking sector?

Islamic finance has grown and expanded rapidly in recent years. It was recently announced that, following in the footsteps of some of its European neighbours, Germany will soon have its first Islamic bank…
Mexico’s Agustin Carstens is expected to lose out to France’s Christine Lagarde. AAP

A lost opportunity for IMF reform?

The International Monetary Fund executive board will complete interviews of the two leading candidates to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn this week, with the aim of picking a new managing director by June…
Could a bear market be on the way? Flickr

Carbon tax spooks retail investors

Half the retail investors questioned in a new survey expect the proposed carbon tax to drive down the value of their portfolio…

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