Cover of MoneyWeek magazine issue no 689

Running dry - Have we reached 'Peak Water'?

2 May 2014 / Issue 689

As water supplies dwindle and demand increases, firms addressing the problem will profit handsomely, say John Stepek and Matthew Partridge.

Read this week's cover story here

Which is best - a pension or an Isa?
How to get a steady 5% income on retirement
The meteoric rise of pop's first lady

Not a subscriber? Claim 4 FREE Issues of MoneyWeek



John Stepek

Human, all too human

I think history has proved pretty well by now that if you try to govern your economy or your population with systems that go against the grain of human nature, you’re on to a loser.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the shift of China towards a highly-controlled form of capitalism showed that whatever you thought of the ideals of communism, in practice, it didn’t work – ownership and profiting from your own work is important to people.

In the West, we’re also waking up to the futility of trying to buck human nature with the creeping retreat from the ‘war on drugs’. Prohibition of booze didn’t work, and we’re realising it doesn’t work for narcotics either. With the US steadily legalising the use of marijuana, it’s hopefully only a matter of time before these very lucrative criminal markets are shut down for good.

Now, it seems, the race is on to seriously rethink the financial system. This week, Martin Wolf wrote a piece in the Financial Times, calling for an end to fractional reserve banking.

Before you start thinking the FT has gone all ‘Austrian economics’ on us, Wolf was suggesting that money creation should be strictly controlled by the state, not outlining plans for a gold-backed currency or a system of competing versions of Bitcoin…

• Read the full editor’s letter here: Human, all too human