Three news stories

I wrote Bankers are people, too to help non-economists put the financial news into perspective.

Three recent news stories were no surprise to readers of my book.

  • Articles about the Paradise Papers showed how global elites hide their wealth in tax havens.

I covered previous leaks in the chapter ‘Tax evasion and offshore services’ (p. 100).

Continue reading “Three news stories”

Bitcoiners vinden het warm water uit

Bitcoin is een digitale munt. In tegenstelling tot (supra)nationale valuta zoals de euro, dollar of yen wordt bitcoin niet gecontroleerd door een centrale bank. Iedereen met voldoende computerkracht kan bitcoins bijmaken. Het is echter in het systeem geprogrammeerd dat de uiteindelijke hoeveelheid bitcoins eindig is. Continue reading “Bitcoiners vinden het warm water uit”

Green infrastructure bonds with macro strings attached: How the ECB could fulfill its mandate by fighting climate change

This is the paper I submitted to the Central Banking and Green Finance workshop organized by the Council on Economic Policies (CEP) and De Nederlandsche Bank. I wrote it to stimulate a discussion about how central banks can contribute to the fight against climate change. The text does not necessarily reflect my personal opinion. Continue reading “Green infrastructure bonds with macro strings attached: How the ECB could fulfill its mandate by fighting climate change”

Bankiers zonder geld

Banken bieden allerlei elektronische betaalmiddelen aan. Sommige bankiers rekenen erop dat ze overal met hun smartphone kunnen betalen. Maar zonder cash komen ze wel eens in de problemen.

Geert Gielens, de hoofdeconoom van Belfius, in De Tijd: “Ik stoor me eraan als ik ergens niet elektronisch kan betalen, want ik heb nog amper cash op zak.” Continue reading “Bankiers zonder geld”

“Bankers are people, too”: why that title?

Several readers have asked me why I called my book Bankers are people, too.

It sure wasn’t the working title, which was Money, Banks, and Power. The working title reflected the role of politics and regulation in real-life banking. A realistic description of the financial sector cannot neglect the world outside banks. Continue reading ““Bankers are people, too”: why that title?”

Preparing physics students for 21st-century careers

Are universities teaching physics students the things they need to succeed in the real world? The vast majority of physicists don’t work as physics professors. Jobs outside of physics departments often require skills that are less important for an academic career.

In Physics Today (open access during November 2017), professors Laurie McNeil and Paula Heron discuss how universities can teach relevant business skills, without neglecting the physics curriculum. Based on statistical data and interviews, they show that there is much room for improvement. Continue reading “Preparing physics students for 21st-century careers”

Definitely not a bubble

Calling bubbles in real time is hard, but come on:

This company added the word ‘Blockchain’ to its name and saw its shares surge 394%

and

How Floyd Mayweather helped two young guys from Miami get rich

“The boxer’s endorsement of Centra, along with a similar endorsement from the popular rapper DJ Khaled, lent a patina of credibility to a project that has ended up with more than a few problems, including a chief executive who does not appear to have been a real person and a shaky, fast-shifting business plan.”

and Continue reading “Definitely not a bubble”

#FinanceQuiz

If you’re on Twitter, please join my #FinanceQuiz. I’ll post one question a day (not during weekends). The answer will be posted the following day. The quiz covers anything money related: history, banking, famous bankers, technology…

Further reading on Blockchain and all that

There is a lot of hype surrounding blockchain1, ICOs, crypto assets, etc. You can find thousands of articles on distributed ledger technology and its potential applications.

As usual, the quality of these pieces varies greatly. Few are worth your time. Below are some links to explanations that I found useful. Continue reading “Further reading on Blockchain and all that”

Only the paranoid banks survive

“Sooner or later, something fundamental in your business world will change.” – Andrew Grove, Only the Paranoid Survive

Everyone hates banks. This has created an opportunity for business gurus, futurists and charlatans to proclaim the imminent death of banks. Stories on how technology will make traditional banks obsolete are eagerly picked up by the media. Continue reading “Only the paranoid banks survive”