The annual general meeting of KBC

I had a new KBC experience today, after being a lifelong customer and having worked for 5 years at the bank-insurance group. This time not as a client or as an employee, but as a (co-)owner of the company.  The annual general meeting of shareholders was organized in the company’s Molenbeek1 headquarters this morning. Continue reading “The annual general meeting of KBC”

Does the Islamic State employ classicists?

The recent terror attacks by Islamic State (IS) in Brussels and Paris have shown once more that the terrorists are willing to sacrifice themselves for their cause. After the suicide bombings in Brussels, IS has threatened that more attacks will follow.

By doing this, they are following a strategy that is as old as the hills. Continue reading “Does the Islamic State employ classicists?”

Latinisten onder de terroristen

De recente aanslagen door Islamitische Staat (IS) in Brussel en Parijs hebben nog eens aangetoond dat de terroristen er niet voor terugschrikken zichzelf op te offeren voor hun zaak. Na de zelfmoordaanslagen in Brussel heeft IS gedreigd met nieuwe aanslagen.

Ze volgen hiermee een strategie die zo oud is als de straat. Continue reading “Latinisten onder de terroristen”

Historische analogieën

Historische analogieën zijn nuttig omdat heel weinig politieke, sociale of economische problemen nieuw zijn. Het probleem is dat het gemakkelijk is om een gebeurtenis uit duizenden jaren geschiedenis te kiezen die in je kraam past. Daarom moet je altijd in het achterhoofd houden dat hedendaagse omstandigheden nooit 100% overeenkomen met het verleden. Het is echter interessant dat gelijkaardige verhoudingen en gevoelens tussen individuen en groepen altijd terugkomen. Hierdoor gebruiken mensen dezelfde strategieën1, onafhankelijk van waar en wanneer ze leven, welke taal ze spreken of welke kleren ze dragen. Continue reading “Historische analogieën”

Historical analogies

The reason historical analogies are useful, is because hardly any political, social or economic problem is really new. The problem is that it is easy to cherry-pick some event from thousands of years of recorded history. That is why you always need to keep in mind that no situation will match the past 100%. However, what is interesting is that similar relations and feelings occur time and again between individual humans and groups of people. This leads people to use the same strategies1, no matter what time and place they live in, or what languages they speak or what clothes they wear. Continue reading “Historical analogies”

Trump and the media

Donald Trump is a genius. Don’t be fooled into thinking he is a brainless blowhard. The man is following a very rational strategy.

The entire business empire of Trump is built around his name. For years, he has cultivated the image of a successful rich self-made man who gets things done. His name is on his skyscrapers, and he was the star of the reality TV show The Apprentice.

When Donald Trump announced that he would be running for president of the USA in the summer of 2015, he had a wealth of experience in self-promotion and in using the media to his advantage. Continue reading “Trump and the media”

Trump en de media

Donald Trump is een genie. Laat je niet wijsmaken dat hij een hersenloze schreeuwlelijk is. De man volgt een zeer rationele strategie.

Heel het zakenimperium van Trump is gebouwd rond zijn naam. Hij heeft gedurende jaren het imago opgebouwd van een succesvolle, rijke selfmade man die dingen gedaan krijgt. Naast de wolkenkrabbers die zijn naam dragen, was hij de ster van het reality tv-programma The Apprentice.

Wanneer Donald Trump in de zomer van 2015 aankondigde dat hij Amerikaans president wou worden, had hij dus al een schat aan ervaring in het promoten van zichzelf en met het bespelen van de media. Continue reading “Trump en de media”

Helicopter bonds – A reply to Nick Rowe

It is not my ambition to police the blogosphere, but since helicopter money is such a hot topic, this post will point out some inconsistencies in yesterday’s post of Nick Rowe. Keep in mind that I do not criticize him as a person! I have a lot of respect for people who are open about their thinking process, free for the whole world1 to see. Especially when they have a professional stake in this (Dr. Rowe is a professor of economics).

I have copied Nick’s post below in its entirety and put it in italics. The pictures and normal text are mine. For ease of discussion in the comments or on Twitter, I have labeled the pictures as Cases. Continue reading “Helicopter bonds – A reply to Nick Rowe”

Helicopter money part I: where does it come from?

There is a lot of talk about helicopter money on economics blogs and in newspapers lately. As usual, accounting and drawing pictures to explain their ideas are not economists’ strong suit. The predictable result are heated discussions, but not much enlightenment1. This post gives an introduction into what helicopter money is and how it affects the balance sheets and income of economic agents. In a future post, I will explain what helicopter money is supposed to achieve and under which conditions it can be an appropriate macroeconomic policy.

The idea of helicopter money is exactly as the name suggests: money is thrown from helicopters, free for all to take. Formulated a bit less poetically, somebody gives all citizens of a country a certain sum of money. This immediately raises two questions: who throws the money, and where does the money come from? Continue reading “Helicopter money part I: where does it come from?”