Economics & finance

'The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest'

Finance ("capital" investment) is the foundation of modern capitalist economies and society.
Here's how reform of Australian superannuation can deliver a new "third way" approach to stakeholder capitalism and transform the finance industry and society:

Also see Transforming Public Finance on how to improve funding stability and accountability for quality public service management
and Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) & World Trade for broader thoughts on macro-economic stability, equality and making 'Brexit' work....

Incidentally, if you're wondering, in response to the title of this page, "What's the difference between economics & finance?", don't worry, you're not alone.  I didn't used to know and perhaps more worryingly, it's clear that a lot of public servants, politicians and business leaders don't know either.  The answer is that finance is about money (typically investment finance) whereas economics is the theory of human "welfare"; that is, an attempt to conceptualise, analyse & model how everything interacts in society to make people happy (or not).  As such, it is concerned with and should model everything significant that's important to people, including their health, the environment, future generations, etc.  In practice this is done by converting non-financial things to a monetary value (so they can be compared with each other), although with varying degrees of sophistication, competence and honesty!  Typically economics is concerned with maximising the totality of human wealth/welfare/happiness, without regard to the equality of distribution, although I think it could and should be concerned with the latter (which could in principle be modelled using "utility" functions).

The poor understanding of economics' wide scope is probably not helped by "the economy" being used to refer to only those activities that are traded with money, which unfortunately leads some people to discount the importance of non-traded activities and others to retort that people should be concerned by more than just "economic" matters (which by definition of "economics" is an empty set!).  If used judiciously, economics can be useful for better understanding the inter-related nature of society - how changing one thing affects another & another - which can inform better decision-making and help avoid "unintended consequences".  However, the real world is not the simple free-market model some would like or pretend it to be and unfortunately it is all too common for overly-simplistic theories or even deliberately-misleading complex, "black box" economic models to be misused to 'justify' predetermined positions whilst avoiding true scrutiny (not least for transport project appraisals and greenhouse policy).  For this reason I tend to prefer simple & conceptual economic models, wherever possible.