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Willing the ends but not the means

Chris Dillow / August 22, 2017 at 12:39 PM 125 views

There’s a link between two of my recent posts which I’d like to bring out. It’s that actually-existing centrists and rightists make a mistake of willing the ends but not the means. For example, centrists rightly want us to remain…

A better centrism

Chris Dillow / August 21, 2017 at 12:53 PM 211 views

Several readers have complained about my criticism of centrism. “Your idea of centrism is not mine” they say. To which I say: now you know how I feel when rightists claim that centrally planned economies discredit socialism; they are attacking…

On zero-sum thinking

Chris Dillow / August 19, 2017 at 11:44 AM 255 views

One reason to welcome Steve Bannon’s departure from the White House is that it represents a setback for zero-sum thinking. His idea that the US is at “economic war” with China embodies an us vs them mentality: what’s good for…

Centrism: the problem, not the solution

Chris Dillow / August 17, 2017 at 11:57 AM 228 views

There’s talk, much of sceptical, of the formation of a new centre party. For me, this misses the point – that centrists are the problem, not the solution. Owen Jones is bang right to say: It is the economic order…

Job polarization

Chris Dillow / August 16, 2017 at 12:23 PM 243 views

Today’s labour market figures show that we’re seeing job polarization – a relative decline of middling jobs. My chart shows the point. It shows changes in employment by occupation since 2010, when employment troughed*. You can see there’s been a…

The behavioural economics paradox

Chris Dillow / August 15, 2017 at 12:25 PM 176 views

People aren’t as daft as some behavioural economists would have us believe. This is the message of a new paper by Olivier Bargain and colleagues. They studied the choices of British workers of how long to work, and found that:…

The social mobility lie

Chris Dillow / August 14, 2017 at 1:05 PM 224 views

Sonia Sodha writes: if we care about social mobility, then we should care about reducing assortative mating.  To which Tim Worstall replies that this requires serious infringements of freedom. I agree with Tim. Social mobility is the enemy of freedom.…

Entrepreneurial Marxism

Chris Dillow / August 11, 2017 at 12:47 PM 311 views

Carl Packman on Twitter has described my vision of socialism as “entrepreneurial Marxism.” I like that. Entrepreneurial Marxism is necessary, roughly compatible with Marx, and feasible. Let’s start with the necessary. Here, we Marxists have a paradox. On the one…

Game of Thrones & ethical misjudgments

Chris Dillow / August 10, 2017 at 12:28 PM 91 views

Is Daenerys the real villain of Game of Thrones? asks Matt Miller. Logically, he has a point; there was more than a grain of truth in Cersei’s denunciation of her. Her claim to the throne is founded on no more…

My socialism

Chris Dillow / August 9, 2017 at 11:48 AM 214 views

Looking at critics of Venezuela makes me feel like intelligent religious believers when confronted with some new atheists: they’re attacking nothing I believe in. The shortcomings of the Chavez-Maduro government in no way whatsoever undermine my conception of socialism. What…

Choice in economics

Chris Dillow / August 6, 2017 at 8:10 AM 230 views

The other day, I woke up thinking I fancied toast for breakfast rather than my usual muesli. I got up, got dressed, put the kettle on…and got myself a bowl of muesli. Force of habit overcame my conscious choice. I…

Fiscal policy with a flat Phillips curve

Chris Dillow / August 3, 2017 at 11:47 AM 62 views

It’s widely agreed that the Phillips curve is flat, that low unemployment is not stoking up wage inflation – though perhaps this has been true for longer than thought. This poses the question: what are the policy implications of this?…

Tories vs the 21st century

Chris Dillow / August 2, 2017 at 12:33 PM 211 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…

Reinventing the wheel

Chris Dillow / July 31, 2017 at 12:13 PM 200 views

In both the UK and US, wage inflation has stayed low despite apparently low unemployment – to the puzzlement of believers in the Philips curve. Felix Martin in the FT says there's a reason for this. The “dirty secret of…

Brexit: an interminable debate?

Chris Dillow / July 28, 2017 at 1:18 PM 247 views

David Aaronovitch has a nice piece in the Times on the stories that Trumpites and Brexiters can tell themselves to avoid admitting being wrong*. I’d add another problem – that the ratio of noise to signal is so high that…

Trade deal? Yawn.

Chris Dillow / July 27, 2017 at 12:36 PM 189 views

One of the most elementary distinctions in economics (and in life) is that between instruments and objectives. Interest rates, for example, are only an instrument whereas the objectives are price and output stability. I fear, though, that this distinction is…

Marriage & wages

Chris Dillow / July 26, 2017 at 12:57 PM 243 views

Actor Tom Chambers has caused a row by claiming that “many men's salaries aren't just for them, it's for their wife and children, too." As a justification for the gender pay gap, this is lousy. But there’s a core of…

In defence of the state pension

Chris Dillow / July 25, 2017 at 12:26 PM 227 views

“Should we pension off the state pension?” asks Robert Colville. The answer is: emphatically no. Quite the opposite. There’s a case for increasing it. Robert is right that the cost of the state pension will rise over time. The OBR…

The changing class divide

Chris Dillow / June 11, 2017 at 10:34 AM 223 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 367 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.…