Economic data, images, stories that matter from Adam Tooze. More organized and coherent than twitter. More freewheeling than what you might read from me in FT, Guardian, Foreign Policy, LRB, SocialEurope etc.

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Chartbook's top posts of the month

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Chartbook 1311 HN points 07 Jan 23
“In some periods they explain practically all major events, and in most periods they explain a great deal … But even greater than the causal is the symptomatic significance of fiscal history. The spirit of the people, its cultural level, its social structure, the deeds its policy may prepare … all this and more is written in fiscal history. He who knows how to listen to its message here discerns the thunder of world history more clearly than anywhere else.”
Chartbook 1097 HN points 29 Jan 23
In Ones and Tooze this week Cameron and I took on the question of tanks for Ukraine. It, if I am honest, a topic I’ve been waiting to do a session about. I’ve been preoccupied with tanks since I was a little kid. As a small child, perhaps 6 years old, I remember learning that my birthday, 5 July, was the anniversary of the battle of Kursk, the biggest tank battle in history, fought in July 1943. I was surprised to hear that the battle was not in France or North Africa, but in the Soviet Union and I set out to draw, on a giant folding stack of printer paper, the kind that used to be fed through dot matrix printers, every one of the German and Soviet tanks engaged.
Chartbook 936 HN points 01 Feb 23
Following a panel at Davos on deglobalisation and a flurry of comment about polycrisis, I picked up those themes in my monthly column for the FT. Thanks to my lovely editors, the piece was squeezed into the paper on Tuesday. In this newsletter I want to tease out some of the points buried in the compressed version of the op-ed. The passages in quotes are from my original draft (before editing by the FT team):
Chartbook 856 HN points 22 Jan 23
Back in December last year, the collapse of FTX set off a train of thought, which was less about crypto than about the place of SBF’s arrest, the Bahamas. Over last four years, the island chain has taken on an outsized role in my life. In the summer of 2019 Dana and I bought a tiny cottage on the outer islands chain of the Abacos that within weeks was destroyed by hurricane Dorian, the historic storm which swept through the islands between 1 and 3 September 2019.
Chartbook 803 HN points 20 Jan 23
In the last ten years, the familiar boundaries of the political debate on the US have been challenged by a convergence of arguments about racial justice, economics and inequality. This conjunction in its contemporary form dates back to the early 2010s when the ferment in economic debates in the aftermath of 2008 and the differential impact of that crisis on black and latino households, coincided with the election of Barack Obama, the Occupy movement, which spawned the 1 percent v. 99 percent discourse, the upsurge in interest in inequality supercharged by the success of Thomas Piketty’s book and the eruption of Black Lives Matter in July 2013.
Chartbook 709 HN points 25 Jan 23
As 2023 begins, policy-makers around the world are still trying to figure out how to respond to the lurching acceleration of inflation that began in the second half of 2021 and that now seems to have crested. In 2022 it was all hands on deck. In Europe, where the energy price shock was most intense, a wide range of policies were debated and deployed including price controls and large fiscal subsidies. Now, as the sectoral price shock begins to ebb, the focus is less on price controls or large fiscal transfers and once again on the central banks. The balance the central bankers have to strike is delicate and their main instruments - interest rates and quantitative tightening - are blunt. How quickly will they move from QE and QT? Will they continue to raise rates in large or small increments? Where will they stop? What is the terminal rate? And when they might contemplate bringing rates back down again?
Chartbook 602 HN points 03 Feb 23
The upheaval rocking the Adani business empire is one of the dramatic global developments of the last week. I was delighted that The Wire saw fit to pick up and republish Chartbook #190. I’ve long harbored a secret ambition to join the ranks of the Wire-wallahs. Cam and I also featured the Adani story on the Pod this week.