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New Labour: success and failure

Chris Dillow / June 16, 2019 at 10:55 AM 55 views

Did New Labour really ignore inequality? Responding to Corbyn’s claims that successive governments have neglected it for decades, Blair replies that New Labour “made the UK more equal, more fair and more socially mobile.” Both men, I think, are partially…

The Johnson puzzle

Chris Dillow / May 28, 2019 at 12:32 PM 116 views

One of the puzzles of our time is why Boris Johnson is considered – not just by Tory members but by much of the media - to be a credible contender for Prime Minister when many of us regard him…

The Tories’ structural weakness

Chris Dillow / May 23, 2019 at 12:50 PM 135 views

As a lefty, the disarray in the Tory party provides a lovely schadenfreudic coincidence – that the same intellectual failing that causes the party’s bad government also causes it to elect unsuitable leaders. This failing is an inability to see…

How inequality makes us poorer

Chris Dillow / May 17, 2019 at 12:31 PM 163 views

I welcome the Deaton report into inequality. I especially like its emphasis (pdf) upon the causes of inequality: To understand whether inequality is a problem, we need to understand the sources of inequality, views of what is fair and the…

Who’ll defend freedom?

Chris Dillow / April 25, 2019 at 12:57 PM 171 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 228 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 199 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 266 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 243 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 175 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 200 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 209 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 218 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 183 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 193 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 278 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 254 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 294 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 285 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…

Doubts about wage-led growth

Chris Dillow / September 8, 2018 at 12:28 PM 357 views

“Higher wages prompt improvements in productivity”. This is one of the central claims in the IPPR’s report this week. But I wonder: how true is it? Certainly, it can be for individual firms. An employer who pays better than the…