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Financialization as symptom

Chris Dillow / October 9, 2019 at 1:08 PM 89 views

“To understand the person you have to know what was happening in the world when they were twenty.” I was reminded of this (correct) line from Napoleon Bonaparte by reading Grace Blakeley’s Stolen. To an intelligent person of Grace’s generation,…

On commodification

Chris Dillow / October 6, 2019 at 9:51 AM 89 views

It’s a sign of our times that one of the more insightful comments this week should come not from our debased media but from a minor royal. Prince Harry’s complaint that his mother and wife have been “commoditised to the…

The trouble with capitalism

Chris Dillow / September 18, 2019 at 12:36 PM 177 views

Are the faults of capitalism curable, or are they instead symptoms of a chronic disease? This is the question posed by Martin Wolf: What we increasingly seem to have…is an unstable rentier capitalism, weakened competition, feeble productivity growth, high inequality…

A start, or an end?

Chris Dillow / September 17, 2019 at 1:00 PM 166 views

Sometimes, the simplest questions get overlooked. Just as we must always ask of any statistic “is that a big number or not?” so we must ask of any policy: is it the end or the start? I ask because of…

Capitalists for Corbyn

Chris Dillow / September 5, 2019 at 1:06 PM 196 views

The Telegraph says some (a few) investment bankers would prefer a Corbyn government to a no-deal Brexit. There are good reasons for this. This sounds a strange thing to say, given some of Labour’s rhetoric and their proposals for higher…

Smart consumers. stupid voters

Chris Dillow / August 21, 2019 at 1:02 PM 290 views

What do ordinary folk know about economics? This question has been revived by Simon, who argues that support for a no-deal Brexit is based upon “information failure” caused by our biased and inadequate media. This is in a similar spirit…

The dubious logic of commodification

Chris Dillow / August 18, 2019 at 1:12 PM 237 views

The proposal to raise the pension age to 75 reminds us of an under-appreciated fact – that there is, at least sometimes, a conflict between human flourishing and economic rationality on the one hand and the logic of capitalist accumulation…

Tories against Thatcher

Chris Dillow / August 10, 2019 at 12:24 PM 285 views

Stephen Bush expresses a widely-held opinion when he writes: Boris Johnson sees more Thatcherites when he looks at his cabinet than Margaret Thatcher did with any of hers. In a sense, however, this is very odd – because in one…

Johnson’s spending challenge

Chris Dillow / July 31, 2019 at 12:35 PM 234 views

The old myth of government finances being like household ones is about to hove back into view. Johnson is promising to increase spending on the NHS, as well as on schools and higher public sector pay, as well as offering…

Labour’s antisemitism problem

Chris Dillow / July 19, 2019 at 1:00 PM 277 views

Simon Wren-Lewis says that, faced with the prospect of a Johnson-led government, Jeremy Corbyn is the lesser of two evils and should therefore be supported. I tend to agree, but with two caveats. One is that we cannot dismiss Labour’s…

Disaster capitalism: some doubts

Chris Dillow / July 10, 2019 at 1:18 PM 256 views

Could “disaster capitalism” actually work? This is the question posed by Grace Blakeley, who writes: A no-deal Brexit is to Johnson and Hunt what the financial crisis was to Cameron and Osborne – an opportunity to rebalance power and wealth…

Who’ll defend freedom?

Chris Dillow / April 25, 2019 at 12:57 PM 286 views

In the last few days we’ve seen rightists attempt to bully Greta Thunberg out of the public sphere rather than engage with her arguments; Tony Blair’s demand for ID cards and that immigrants have a duty to integrate; and rightists…

Marxism for Tories

Chris Dillow / April 9, 2019 at 3:09 PM 376 views

The Tories have discovered a new boo-word. In the last few days, Iain Duncan Smith, Esther McVey and Suella Braverman have all used “Marxism” to mean a self-evidently Bad Thing. From one perspective, this is odd because in fact Tories…

Why rent matters

Chris Dillow / April 4, 2019 at 12:43 PM 331 views

Philip Green doesn’t get much public sympathy, but he deserves our thanks for doing one thing: he is reminding us that economists have wrongly neglected David Ricardo’s theories of rent. Mr G is fighting landlords to cut rents – as…

Growth & mobility

Chris Dillow / March 6, 2019 at 1:53 PM 401 views

Everybody knows we live in an era of secular stagnation. Everybody also knows that social mobility has stalled not just in the UK but around the world. For example, a recent OECD report found that: Since the 1990s there is…

The 1% vs the 0.1%

Chris Dillow / March 3, 2019 at 1:16 PM 363 views

Many of you might react to the FT’s story about the “squeezed 1%” by getting out the world’s smallest violin. I think this is a mistake. It reminds us that the damage done by inequality extends beyond the general social…

Brexit as symptom

Chris Dillow / February 26, 2019 at 2:04 PM 293 views

Simon says that Brexit is a “symptom of a deeper malaise” – of a dysfunctional political-media system that gave us economically illiterate austerity. I agree that austerity caused Brexit, not least because as Ben Friedman has shown, stagnant incomes make…

The irrelevant Independent Group

Chris Dillow / February 19, 2019 at 1:34 PM 298 views

The Independent Group claims to value an “open, tolerant and respectful democratic society” and to oppose Brexit. It wills the ends, but not the means. It fails to see that Brexit and intolerance are the product of economic conditions, and…

Non-expiring information

Chris Dillow / February 15, 2019 at 1:44 PM 310 views

I liked this line from this piece at Farnam Street: A lot of us are on the treadmill of consuming expiring information. Expiring information is not the same as trivia, which can be useful and interesting. It is instead knowledge…

Obstacles to full employment

Chris Dillow / February 5, 2019 at 3:54 PM 270 views

Is full employment sustainable? For me, this is one question posed by the row between Richard Murphy and Jonathan Portes and Simon Wren-Lewis over Labour’s proposed fiscal rule. Richard describes the difference between them thus: I am seeking a stable,…