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When failure succeeds

Chris Dillow / April 19, 2019 at 11:56 AM 56 views

In politics, failure sometimes works better than success. This is the message of this piece by Janan Ganesh, wherein he argues that it is in Trump’s interest to fail on his promise to control immigration, because if he does so…

Broad-spectrum policies

Chris Dillow / April 17, 2019 at 1:20 PM 68 views

Is there a case for the Bank of England to target house prices? The debate, I suspect, highlights a difference in how we think about economic policy – between what might be called a single-issue technocratic approach versus a broad-spectrum…

Marxism for Tories

Chris Dillow / April 9, 2019 at 3:09 PM 130 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 122 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…

The rise of moral simplicity

Chris Dillow / April 2, 2019 at 12:56 PM 131 views

One of my best friends here in Rutland is a keen Brexiter. I fear, though, that our hysterical political times are jeopardizing such cross-divide friendships. Instead, as Dorian Lynskey has said, many people have fallen into a “childlike moral binary:…

Decadent Tories

Chris Dillow / March 29, 2019 at 1:46 PM 72 views

The Tory right’s obsession with Brexit might be a symptom of a deeper malaise – the fact that they have nothing else to offer. To see what I mean, contrast today’s Tories with Thatcher. She could credibly offer material improvement…

The consistency illusion

Chris Dillow / March 26, 2019 at 1:44 PM 107 views

The British Social Attitudes survey reports a fall in the proportion of people saying they voted Leave in the 2016 referendum and a rise in the numbers saying they didn’t vote. This is probably due to panel attrition. But it…

Against retail politics

Chris Dillow / March 21, 2019 at 1:47 PM 117 views

How did we get into this mess? The story is of course a long one, in which I would argue that austerity plays a big part. But there’s another strand I want to pick out. It’s the rise of a…

Growth & mobility

Chris Dillow / March 6, 2019 at 1:53 PM 204 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 180 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 132 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 151 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 172 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 173 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,…

On backing Chavez

Chris Dillow / January 27, 2019 at 1:08 PM 142 views

I was impressed to see Ian Dunt say he was wrong to have supported Hugo Chavez. Everybody makes mistakes: the difference is that some people have the insight to see that they do and the integrity to admit it. What’s…

On top tax rates

Chris Dillow / January 24, 2019 at 1:45 PM 141 views

I’m not happy with either the left or right’s conventional arguments about top marginal taxes. Let’s take the right’s first. They claim that high taxes disincentivize the work of the highly-skilled and in doing so reduce GDP and tax revenue.…

Brexit, & limits of empathy

Chris Dillow / December 17, 2018 at 1:55 PM 224 views

“The trouble with you son” said Bill Shankly once to a struggling young player “is that your brains are all in your head.” The great man had a point, and not just about football. What I mean is that there…

When bad government matters

Chris Dillow / December 13, 2018 at 2:31 PM 205 views

Here’s a nice contrast. On the one hand, Tim Stanley says: Britain's still absolutely fine, by the way, probably better off than its ever been. It's just politics that's a mess. If you think this is the Apocalypse, which some…

Not wearing a poppy

Chris Dillow / November 7, 2018 at 1:47 PM 243 views

I agree with Harry Leslie Smith. I too am increasingly disinclined to wear a poppy. The thing is that the nature of national remembrance has changed. For the first 60+ years after it began it was personal for pretty much…

The triumph of the liberal technocrats

Chris Dillow / November 4, 2018 at 2:24 PM 249 views

Brexiters have something in common with anti-pornography campaigners. That’s the idea that struck me whilst reading Alwyn Turner’s account of the failure to establish public harms that result from porn. What we have in both cases are failed attempts to…