End-of Year Edition

OUR correspondents on the biggest business and finance stories of 2014, and what will make headlines next year

End of year edition

OLIVIER BLANCHARD, chief economist at the IMF, on tumbling oil prices, the continued US economic recovery and which countries look vulnerable in 2015

That ranking

OUR list of influential economists has attracted lots of attention, much of it critical . In no particular order, it ignores women; privileges gaffes over real influence; and leaves out the most important economists of all, central-bank governors. Some of the criticism is constructive, but much of it misunderstands how and why it was put together. This is not a ranking of the most influential economists of 2014, but a list of those economists who got most attention in the last quarter of 2014.

The road to nowhere near Wigan Pier

OVER the past few weeks, debates over British fiscal policy have been conducted under the shadow of George Orwell's "The Road to Wigan Pier", a powerful description of the poverty he found in the north of England in the 1930s. On December 3rd, George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, in his Autumn Statement, announced plans to turn Britain's deficit, which stood at £108 billion ($169 billion) last year, into a surplus of £23 billion by 2020. Because the government does not want to raise taxes to fund these plans, public spending is forecast to fall from 41% of GDP today to just 35% by the end of the decade.

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