Tuesday, July 24, 2012

As I wrote last month, the news from Spain provides a cold shower. The recent movement of the spread showing the difference between interest rates at which the Spanish authorities can access debt and the German counterpart has been alarming. With the spread now well over 6 per cent, Spain's debt is becoming unsustainable, and a bail-out is looking increasingly inevitable.

A rescue package for an economy the size of Spain's will inevitably put strain on other European economies. With this scenario as the backdrop, the news that Moody's credit rating agency has announced negative outlooks for Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, is unsurprising.

Monday, July 09, 2012

News that BPP, the for-profit university college, is launching cut-price degrees in nursing and psychology comes side by side with some warnings from economists who have studied the for-profit higher education sector in the United States. Kevin Lang and Russell Weinstein find that, while the returns to studying for a degree from a traditional insititution of higher education are considerable, those associated with degrees (and other qualifications) from for-profits are negligible. Similar observations have been made by Nobel prizewinner Joe Stiglitz. As the UK for-profit higher education sector branches out into health, prospective students receive a health warning about such ventures.