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Smart consumers. stupid voters

Chris Dillow / August 21, 2019 at 1:02 PM 24 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 70 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…

The Peterloo paradox

Chris Dillow / August 16, 2019 at 12:35 PM 102 views

From one perspective, there’s something odd about the commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre. You can be forgiven for thinking that there should be nothing party political about these. The protestors were demanding a wider suffrage. One…

The trade deal fetish

Chris Dillow / August 13, 2019 at 12:52 PM 98 views

John Bolton says the UK can strike a quick trade deal with the US. This reminds me of an under-appreciated fact – that it is not trade rules that are significantly holding back UK exports. Brute facts tell us this.…

Tories against Thatcher

Chris Dillow / August 10, 2019 at 12:24 PM 147 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…

Economics & identity

Chris Dillow / August 8, 2019 at 12:21 PM 123 views

Simon says that a no-deal Brexit is pretty much in nobody’s interest and so represents a victory of the “force of ideas rather than interests”. I largely agree, but I wonder whether the distinction between ideas and interests is so…

The missing backlash

Chris Dillow / August 2, 2019 at 12:26 PM 152 views

Dani Rodrik asked a good question on twitter the other day: why has there been so much backlash against free trade but so little against finance? In the UK, it’s moot whether there has been a backlash against free trade.…

Johnson’s spending challenge

Chris Dillow / July 31, 2019 at 12:35 PM 116 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…

Against adaptation

Chris Dillow / July 28, 2019 at 12:17 PM 110 views

One under-rated determinant of political debate lies in the fact that we become accustomed to some things but not others. I’m prompted to say this by reactions on Twitter to my questions about Mark “Herr Juncker in the bunker” Francois:…

Centrists against evidence

Chris Dillow / July 25, 2019 at 12:14 PM 114 views

In an excellent piece, Martin Sandbu says the state has more power to tax companies than we had thought, and calls for us to move away from “learnt helplessness in the face of inequality and stagnation”. What we need, he…

The Technology Trap: a review

Chris Dillow / July 24, 2019 at 1:01 PM 345 views

The historian Suetonius wrote that, when approached by a man offering a cheap technology for transporting heavy columns to Rome the emperor Vespasian refused to use the device for fear it would displace workers. “How will it be possible for…

Labour’s antisemitism problem

Chris Dillow / July 19, 2019 at 1:00 PM 208 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 156 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 220 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 297 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 256 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 319 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 289 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 237 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 247 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…