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Is the Financial Times getting better?


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The Financial Times gave out free subscriptions to NHS staff this spring so I've been reading it regularly this year.  It seems to have improved since Lionel Barber left.  The opinion pieces are still the same half-baked filler, but FT pulled apart the statistics of the vaccine data in a way that the dumbed-down BBC couldn't, it broke the Wirecard story and I think Lombard seems better than when I last read it regularly a few years ago.

Historically, FT's slogan was "No FT, no comment."  Under Barber it became more "No FT, no problem."  Maybe things are looking up for financial journalism?  

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More a smug corporatist rag.

Recycled company press releases passed off as news without critique e.g. bank/Nationwide/EA says house prices to boom next year etc.

Brexiteers are stupid and racist because they voted for Brexit.  Brexit is caused by stupidity and racism because Brexiteers are stupid and racist etc.

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Ive been reading the FT since I started FT work ~28 years ago.

Only the WE one mind.

I seemed a lot better back then.

I remember the good ole days when the online copy was free - bar LEX.

I moved to all-digital when they started charging ~50/y.

Mainly to avoid the good awful 'How to spend it supplements' which just went in recycling.

Checking Lionel Barber was ed from 2005 -> 2020.

Inm that time theyve changed ownership from Peatson to Nikkie

He did come across a a Europhile Blair type - all ******** no substance, naïve.

They no longer have an Editor column piece. Its FT editorial  board says ... now

However ..... he did set up/allow FTAV to be created and run. I used to enjoy the midday chat, which has now stopped. However the FTAV section, which is free, is very very very good.

I do wonder how Mr B felt, after all his brexit bad, Euro good, ending his term on the Wirecard scandal, which showed how lousy n bent the German - and by fault, the entire EU financial sector is.

Wirecard has dammed Europe as a financial centre for the next 10-20 years. Seriously.

The senior German regulator was buying Wirecard stock FFS.

SO not only is bent, hes also ffing gormless.

In summary:

I read the Companies + Market + Opinion/Lex daily No other UK paper comes close to providing anything similar.

I skim read some of the Opinion, avoiding a lot of commentators.

I been tread some of the weekend features.

I like the Big Read feature which pops up a every few days.

They still allow comments on some (anything involving muslim/islam has comments disabled)

The comment sector is absolutely flooded with Europhiles. I cannot work out if they are daft LibDems, civil service types or Russian spies or people with 2nd homes in France.

I was banned for years or rather - Only you can see your comments.

There was gormless Martin Wolfe article where, after 2002-2008 of him saying banks are great, they know what they ae doing, market has priced the risk, he did a 'what went wrong' article, where he expressed surprise that, rather than lending to productive assets in the economy, 90%+ of bank lending went on real estate.

To have a supposed Uber-macro economist, Davos man, 'towering intellect' to have not bothered to have looked who and what banks are lending to as as their books expand 3x-4x times is just not credible.

I dont have a lot of time of macro economists ....

Gillian Tett had a good crisis, calling it right, even though she was a minor columnist then, and now gets a free rein to write whatever.

 

 

 

 

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There was gormless Martin Wolfe article where, after 2002-2008 of him saying banks are great, they know what they ae doing, market has priced the risk, he did a 'what went wrong' article, where he expressed surprise that, rather than lending to productive assets in the economy, 90%+ of bank lending went on real estate.

To have a supposed Uber-macro economist, Davos man, 'towering intellect' to have not bothered to have looked who and what banks are lending to as as their books expand 3x-4x times is just not credible.

I dont have a lot of time of macro economists ....

Gillian Tett had a good crisis, calling it right, even though she was a minor columnist then, and now gets a free rein to write whatever.

 

 

 

 

I don't read ft much but Tett is ok true. Wolfe. Interesting about his views on banks pre GFC. Currently he's saying high inflation/IRs impossible because it's all under control, priced etc isn't he?

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More a smug corporatist rag.

Recycled company press releases passed off as news without critique e.g. bank/Nationwide/EA says house prices to boom next year etc.

Brexiteers are stupid and racist because they voted for Brexit.  Brexit is caused by stupidity and racism because Brexiteers are stupid and racist etc.

That was exactly my opinion of it. House prices & EU = Divine, Brexiteers and higher interest rates* = sins.

Because it's all a cult nowadays! If it's come under new leadership now, I might take a look.

* No evidence they hated high interest rates. Just a hunch because of their other love/hate items.

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I don't read ft much but Tett is ok true. Wolfe. Interesting about his views on banks pre GFC. Currently he's saying high inflation/IRs impossible because it's all under control, priced etc isn't he?

I think its some hedging.

The Economist had a issue on Will inflatio nreturn?

20201212_LDD001_0.jpg

The answer is - Yes.

Inflation is built in the economic cycle.

Theres an entire new sector -software intensive orgs, which are winning.

The old -stuff - retail, banks etc, are shedding the old skills and moving to the new ones.

The whole handling of inflation from 2000 was totally gormless.

You had China join the WTO, who exported massive good disinflation, hammering the private sector jobs.

The UK has had massive inflation - in public sector jobs/pay and in housing.

Neither are tracked by UKGIV, which mainly tracks goods inflation.

They repeated the daft - QE did not cause dilation.

Why would it? Its going to the governments. people - bar benefits and public sector workers -  are not getting a snuff on it.

The initial QE/'printing' was to banks whod already lent the money 2002-2008, causing housing inflation FFS.

One thing I've never seen wither the FT or TE discuss is maybe wage inflation is supressed because there are so many people not in work - they put hand out and get an index linked pension or benefits.

Also maybe people are happy for their house to go up massively in price and sacrifice wage increases, as they are able to hold their housing position i.. letting their houses 'earn' their money.

What do you thinks going to happen when London/SE houses prices falls gather pace and starts being felt?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Checking Lionel Barber was ed from 2005 -> 2020.

Inm that time theyve changed ownership from Peatson to Nikkie

He did come across a a Europhile Blair type - all ******** no substance, naïve.

They no longer have an Editor column piece. Its FT editorial  board says ... now

However ..... he did set up/allow FTAV to be created and run. I used to enjoy the midday chat, which has now stopped. However the FTAV section, which is free, is very very very good.

I do wonder how Mr B felt, after all his brexit bad, Euro good, ending his term on the Wirecard scandal, which showed how lousy n bent the German - and by fault, the entire EU financial sector is.

Wirecard has dammed Europe as a financial centre for the next 10-20 years. Seriously.

The senior German regulator was buying Wirecard stock FFS.

SO not only is bent, hes also ffing gormless.

Lionel Barber being made a Chevalier in the French Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur for his "contribution to high-quality journalism, and the Financial Times' positive role in the European debate" pretty much sums up his position on Europe.

FT Alphaville is indeed very good, and free.  I particularly liked this piece on private healthcare:

NMC Health: presented without comment

 

 

There was gormless Martin Wolfe article where, after 2002-2008 of him saying banks are great, they know what they ae doing, market has priced the risk, he did a 'what went wrong' article, where he expressed surprise that, rather than lending to productive assets in the economy, 90%+ of bank lending went on real estate.

To have a supposed Uber-macro economist, Davos man, 'towering intellect' to have not bothered to have looked who and what banks are lending to as as their books expand 3x-4x times is just not credible.

I dont have a lot of time of macro economists ....

Gillian Tett had a good crisis, calling it right, even though she was a minor columnist then, and now gets a free rein to write whatever.

I guess Martin Wolf gives a certain type of reader what they want to read with his "the market is always right" line.

Edited by Will!
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Lionel Barber being made a Chevalier in the French Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur for his "contribution to high-quality journalism, and the Financial Times' positive role in the European debate" pretty much sums up his position on Europe.

FT Alphaville is indeed very good, and free.  I particularly liked this piece on private healthcare:

NMC Health: presented without comment

 

I guess Martin Wolf gives a certain type of reader what they want to read with his "the market is always right" line.

Im not sure its that simple, even for economists.

The market gives you a price, that all.

Its up to you to decide if the price is right.

Wolfe channelled that gormless fk-headed dumb  self-belief  that seamed to oozed from the moron Greenspan - that the banks were somehow better run and knew what they were doing, and that the regulator

I think thats more of a dumb academic economist, pollical belief that took hold from the early 90s.

Even to the extent of that dumb belief that banks 'would not lend money to people who'd not be able to pay it back'

Stupid. Japan provided a blue print to what happens when banks balance sheets get out of control.

The UK even had a mini run with Abbey national basically going bust, hushhush in the late 90s.

 

 

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Im not sure its that simple, even for economists.

The market gives you a price, that all.

Its up to you to decide if the price is right.

Wolfe channelled that gormless fk-headed dumb  self-belief  that seamed to oozed from the moron Greenspan - that the banks were somehow better run and knew what they were doing, and that the regulator

I think thats more of a dumb academic economist, pollical belief that took hold from the early 90s.

Even to the extent of that dumb belief that banks 'would not lend money to people who'd not be able to pay it back'

 

It’s an appealing technocratic fantasy:  other than a few tweaks, just leave the economy  alone and it will sort itself out to provide Non-Inflationary Continuous Expansion.

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It’s an appealing technocratic fantasy:  other than a few tweaks, just leave the economy  alone and it will sort itself out to provide Non-Inflationary Continuous Expansion.

But in the even it goes a bit wrong launch the largest public bailouts in economic history and pretend that's fine.

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The Financial Times gave out free subscriptions to NHS staff this spring so I've been reading it regularly this year.  It seems to have improved since Lionel Barber left.  The opinion pieces are still the same half-baked filler, but FT pulled apart the statistics of the vaccine data in a way that the dumbed-down BBC couldn't, it broke the Wirecard story and I think Lombard seems better than when I last read it regularly a few years ago.

Historically, FT's slogan was "No FT, no comment."  Under Barber it became more "No FT, no problem."  Maybe things are looking up for financial journalism?  

Now n then, old bits of Barberdom surface:

Opinion Student finance

A student debt jubilee could kickstart US economic recovery

Loan forgiveness must be carefully targeted and accompanied by broader reforms
 


Millennials have overtaken baby boomers as America’s largest bloc, and they and those younger than them will comprise nearly as many voters as all older generations combined in G7 countries by the end of the decade. But large swaths of younger Americans reject the country’s political system. Research by the Centre for the Future of Democracy shows that a far lower percentage are supportive of democracy than boomers, Gen X, or, of course, the interwar generation.
 
 
Perhaps that’s because they have so little economic stake in the system. Millennials make up close to 25 per cent of the population but hold only around 3 per cent of US wealth. Boomers, who held 21 per cent of wealth at the same period in their lives, still control the vast majority.
 
That’s one key reason that Democrat Joe Biden campaigned for president on cancelling $10,000 of student debt for every federal borrower, a $400bn proposition. Crushing student debt — the average four-year college graduate has $30,000 of it — prevents young people from buying homes, cars and other consumer goods. That is, in turn, a major headwind for the economy.
 
Top rated comments:
 
Nonsense.  This is the most regressive fiscal policy of all time.  
 
Why should the blue collar workers who never went to University in the US (who are making less than college educated Americans) have to pay for the debt of the richer students who attended university??  Most of them getting useless, dubious degrees (mostly left leaning propaganda posing as an education) with no job prospects except to agitate against the economy/free enterprise.
 
This would be the largest tax transfer in history from the poor to the rich (intellectual?) class.   If you can’t get a university degree that will allow you to pay the debt you have accumulated - The gov’t should not lend you the money.   
 
Time to completely overhaul the education system that is churning out useless education, while enabling students to sit around for four years complaining about how wrong the system is
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Now n then, old bits of Barberdom surface:

Opinion Student finance

A student debt jubilee could kickstart US economic recovery

Loan forgiveness must be carefully targeted and accompanied by broader reforms
 
 

I think this is the real heart of the piece:

    Even the wealthy have trouble putting enough away for their children’s tertiary education when four years at a prestigious school costs more than $200,000. I have a stable, well-paying job and yet have had to do substantial freelance work on the side for a decade to fully fund both my children’s college savings accounts, known as 529 plans.

Putting them through school debt-free was always a personal goal of mine, since my own parents did so for me with far fewer means. My mother, a school teacher, worked every summer for years to bring in extra funds and so did I, from age 12. My father stayed in a job he hated until I graduated from my Ivy League university.
 

Journo who needs to bang out 900 words by their deadline writes about something on their personal wishlist.  I understand the need for spacefillers in paper newspapers, but I'm not sure why a website needs them.

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to be fair it would be very fair to cancel student loans, boomers got uni for free.

or at least remove all interest and make it payable only after 15 years, what students can afford to repay realistically after uni when getting set up in life, especially with house prices what they are

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I quite like the FT now and have a subscription. 

The Telegraph, my old rag, is now a joke. Contrary to the "Torygraph" nick name, it used to have fairly balanced articles and a breadth of topics it covered. Recently it has turned into some sort of apologist rag for the Brexit Incompetents - with articles written by Batshit Mad Journalists cloned from a genetic hybrid material of Daniel Hannan and Mark Francois. 

 

 

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The Financial Times gave out free subscriptions to NHS staff this spring so I've been reading it regularly this year.  It seems to have improved since Lionel Barber left.  The opinion pieces are still the same half-baked filler, but FT pulled apart the statistics of the vaccine data in a way that the dumbed-down BBC couldn't, it broke the Wirecard story and I think Lombard seems better than when I last read it regularly a few years ago.

Historically, FT's slogan was "No FT, no comment."  Under Barber it became more "No FT, no problem."  Maybe things are looking up for financial journalism?  

It depends on which bit of the BBC you are consuming. TV news is awful, radio 4 better, and More Or Less, excellent. But I think Tim Harford works for the FT :). Ann McElroy also does well and her 'day job' is at The Economist (which I took for years). The BBC offers different levels of depth to different segments. 

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to be fair it would be very fair to cancel student loans, boomers got uni for free.

or at least remove all interest and make it payable only after 15 years, what students can afford to repay realistically after uni when getting set up in life, especially with house prices what they are

It's only payable at a certain wage and gets written off, so it's not a million miles from this. Maybe raise the starting point so it cuts in later, more of a taper, but a longer period before it's written off? Going back to a fully state funded version would mean an increase in taxes, but then also the government would potentially be in control of numbers and universities less independent (note that they are not actually public sector). It's... complicated. 

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I think this is the real heart of the piece:

    Even the wealthy have trouble putting enough away for their children’s tertiary education when four years at a prestigious school costs more than $200,000. I have a stable, well-paying job and yet have had to do substantial freelance work on the side for a decade to fully fund both my children’s college savings accounts, known as 529 plans.

Putting them through school debt-free was always a personal goal of mine, since my own parents did so for me with far fewer means. My mother, a school teacher, worked every summer for years to bring in extra funds and so did I, from age 12. My father stayed in a job he hated until I graduated from my Ivy League university.
 

Journo who needs to bang out 900 words by their deadline writes about something on their personal wishlist.  I understand the need for spacefillers in paper newspapers, but I'm not sure why a website needs them.

I miss the days when journalists just reported the facts and kept their opinions to themselves. I guess it is because these days there is so much bandwidth they have to fill the extra space with something. I notice this on the BBC very much. If you watch the News at 10, it comes across as quite balanced, just reporting the facts. I think this is because they don't have space for anything in terms of opinion. Then go onto their website or watch the news channel and its a festival of left wing neo liberal ideology.

As far as economies go, economies are perfectly capable of looking after themselves without any intervention. It's just that people don't like the results when they are (well, to be more correct, they don't like the bust, they are normally quite happy with the boom).

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Most of them getting useless, dubious degrees (mostly left leaning propaganda posing as an education) with no job prospects except to agitate against the economy/free enterprise.

That covers virtually no students km the USA. A lot are doing science, maths, medicine, very few are doing anything notably left wing and very few are politically active against capitalism. It's an ill-informed trope. 

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It's only payable at a certain wage and gets written off, so it's not a million miles from this. Maybe raise the starting point so it cuts in later, more of a taper, but a longer period before it's written off? Going back to a fully state funded version would mean an increase in taxes, but then also the government would potentially be in control of numbers and universities less independent (note that they are not actually public sector). It's... complicated. 

Why would the government want to be in control of the numbers of anything ?

I thought the whole Nu Labour idea was to cram as many people into University as possible.

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I miss the days when journalists just reported the facts and kept their opinions to themselves. 

When do you think that was the case? Opinion has been a feature of newspapers for at least 100 years. In 1981 The Beat wrote a satirical song, 'Cheated', about tabloids that could have been written yesterday. Ditto 'Sunday Papers' by Joe Jackson in 1978.

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Why would the government want to be in control of the numbers of anything ?

Er... Because paying for their education is a cost and the government ALREADY controls numbers even when only paying part of the costs (STEM subjects cost more than £9000/yr to deliver, and even with subsidy, they make a loss, but the government doesn't let universities fill up on English students to make up the balance sheet). 

If the government was paying all the costs they'd want to control numbers to meet spending requirements. 

 

I thought the whole Nu Labour idea was to cram as many people into University as possible.

Er... Labour hasn't been in power for over ten years and the expansion started under Major. You'd do better looking at figures not knee-jerk politics a decade out of date. 

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That covers virtually no students km the USA. A lot are doing science, maths, medicine, very few are doing anything notably left wing and very few are politically active against capitalism. It's an ill-informed trope. 

Really?

There's liberal arts colleges on every corner.

 

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It depends on which bit of the BBC you are consuming. TV news is awful, radio 4 better, and More Or Less, excellent. But I think Tim Harford works for the FT :). Ann McElroy also does well and her 'day job' is at The Economist (which I took for years). The BBC offers different levels of depth to different segments. 

More or Less is ~30min/week.

try listening to Womans Hour.

 

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