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In defence of the labour theory of value

Chris Dillow / December 11, 2017 at 1:46 PM 33 views

Lucius has been poorly recently, which has required some trips to the vet and therefore a bill of a size that only David Davis could negotiate*. This has made me wonder: is there more to be said for the labour…

Entrepreneurs vs bureaucrats

Chris Dillow / December 9, 2017 at 12:23 PM 80 views

“The interests of Arron Banks are not those of Lloyd Blankfein” says Simon. This highlights what I suspect is an under-appreciation distinction between two types of character, albeit ones that occasionally co-exist in the same person: bureaucrats and entrepreneurs. A…

Save Democracy-Abolish Voting: A review

Chris Dillow / December 8, 2017 at 1:43 PM 61 views

In an important post, Simon writes: When politics becomes the whims and mad schemes of a small minority that only listen to themselves, unmodified by the normal checks and balances of a functioning democracy, it should be treated by the…

Why Hammond’s wrong

Chris Dillow / December 7, 2017 at 1:50 PM 78 views

Philip Hammond is copping flak for blaming the productivity slowdown on disabled workers. He said: It is almost certainly the case that by increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups and very high…

On moral self-licensing

Chris Dillow / November 29, 2017 at 1:49 PM 77 views

There’s a piece in the Guardian on hipster racism – the “domain of white, often progressive people who think they are hip to racism, which they mistakenly believe gives them permission to say and do racist things without actually being…

The politics of debt fetishism

Chris Dillow / November 28, 2017 at 1:51 PM 114 views

One of the sillier sights of the last few days has been the media’s pestering of John McDonnell over the costs of government borrowing: I’m not just thinking of Andrew Neil’s childish “gotcha” question about current debt interest payments, but…

The rich as heroes

Chris Dillow / November 26, 2017 at 1:44 PM 89 views

Here are three things I’ve read recently:  - Phil describes how opposition to a citizens’ income is based in part upon a “cult of work” – the idea that work is virtuous even if it is mind-numbing and exploitative.  -…

Notes on productivity

Chris Dillow / November 23, 2017 at 1:43 PM 109 views

As had been trailed, the OBR cut its forecasts for productivity growth and hence GDP growth yesterday. Here are some miscellaneous thoughts on this. 1. If the OBR is right, this means the 20 years to 2022 will see the…

Technical change and house prices

Chris Dillow / November 21, 2017 at 1:46 PM 86 views

There’s much talk that Philip Hammond will use tomorrow’s Budget to address the problem of high housing costs. I have little doubt that high housing costs are, on balance, a blight upon the economy. What’s less clear to me, though,…

On the Brexit "divorce bill"

Chris Dillow / November 20, 2017 at 1:32 PM 102 views

Robert Halfon says voters will “go bananas” if the government pays the EU a £40bn “divorce bill”. There might be a simple solution here. Mr Halfon is right to think it unacceptable to fund the (say) £40bn payment by raising…

The politics of death

Chris Dillow / November 16, 2017 at 1:40 PM 109 views

Austerity kills. That’s the message of new research in the BMJ: Spending constraints between 2010 and 2014 were associated with an estimated 45 368 (95% CI 34 530 to 56 206) higher than expected number of deaths compared with pre-2010 trends…. Projections…

Selecting for inadequates

Chris Dillow / November 15, 2017 at 1:47 PM 109 views

“Why are Brexit’s political champions so unimpressive?” asks Janan Ganesh. Making the same point, Simon says: The political system fails to select for competence, understanding or respect for wisdom and knowledge. But why do we have such underwhelming politicians? Here,…

Inequality, investment & trickle down

Chris Dillow / November 14, 2017 at 1:35 PM 117 views

I’ve never been sure whether trickle-down economics was a genuine theory or a straw man which leftists attribute to the right. I was therefore surprised to see Tim Worstall write in defence of the idea that: greater investment by the…

Is Redwood right?

Chris Dillow / November 13, 2017 at 1:03 PM 104 views

Frances Coppola points out that whilst John Redwood the politician is talking up the benefits of a hard Brexit, John Redwood the financial advisor is telling us to invest outside the UK. There’s a danger here of Mr Redwood’s opponents…

Tories vs the 21st century

Chris Dillow / August 2, 2017 at 12:33 PM 308 views

It’s become a cliché that the Tories want to return to the 1950s, before the age of mass migration and our entanglement with the EU. These, however, are not the only examples of Tories discomfort with the modern world. Tom…

The changing class divide

Chris Dillow / June 11, 2017 at 10:34 AM 297 views

Social class has become less important as an influence upon voting behaviour. This is one under-appreciated feature of last week’s election. Lord Ashcroft’s polls show that the social class AB split 43%-34% between the Tories and Labour. That meant Corbyn’s…

The populist paradox

Chris Dillow / December 7, 2016 at 1:59 PM 441 views

Danny Finkelstein in the Times is good on the need to resist attempts to bully the Supreme Court. He says: Our institutions – parliament, government, the courts – must serve a plural society, they must balance interests and protect rights.…

Why not centrism?

Chris Dillow / December 6, 2016 at 2:05 PM 952 views

Some people want to revive centrism. Tony Blair wants to “build a new policy agenda for the centre ground”. And the Lib Dems’ victory in Richmond Park is being seen as a warning to the Tories that it must “keep…

Elites or people?

Chris Dillow / December 1, 2016 at 1:13 PM 534 views

The votes for Trump and Brexit have highlighted a division between “elites” and the “people”. For me, though, this is the wrong dichotomy. The question instead is: under what conditions are the people right, and under what conditions are elites…

Criminally stupid

Chris Dillow / November 29, 2016 at 1:33 PM 519 views

There is a point at which stupidity ceases to be a merely intellectual error and becomes a crime. If Nick Cohen is right, the government has crossed this point. He writes: [David] Davis seems closer in spirit to a bubbly…