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Martin McGuinness & the nature of politics

Chris Dillow / March 22, 2017 at 1:50 PM 61 views

James O’Brien tweeted yesterday: McGuinness was both a murderous terrorist & a powerful force for peace. He changed. Our furiously binary zeitgeist can't compute such change. I want to expand on this, because it tells us something about the nature…

Incentivizing politicians

Chris Dillow / March 21, 2017 at 1:49 PM 168 views

There’s a link between two of the biggest political stories of the last few days: David Davis’ admission that he hasn’t yet done a calculation of the costs of the UK leaving the EU without a trade deal; and George…

David Davis’s strategic ignorance

Chris Dillow / March 16, 2017 at 1:30 PM 214 views

At the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, Admiral Hyde Parker sent Horatio Nelson the order to retreat. Nelson allegedly raised his telescope to his blind eye, declared “I really do not see the signal”, continued fighting and won the battle.…

Deregulation fantasies

Chris Dillow / March 15, 2017 at 8:49 AM 199 views

Several people on Twitter yesterday reminded us of Liam Fox’s vision of a deregulated labour market: we must begin by deregulating the labour market. Political objections must be overridden. It is too difficult to hire and fire and too expensive…

Coping with the backfire effect

Chris Dillow / March 14, 2017 at 2:02 PM 180 views

Jeremy Corbyn has been getting a lot of stick recently, much of it justified: he seems to be the Henry VI of our time – obsessed with his own piety to the neglect of day-to-day politics despite massive and obvious…

Capitalism & creativity

Chris Dillow / March 13, 2017 at 1:41 PM 55 views

It’s increasingly difficult to distinguish between serious journalism and the Daily Mash. So it is with this piece from the excellent Andrew Hill, who describes how: executives and entrepreneurs are “microdosing” on illicit substances and submitting to transcranial magnetic stimulation…

How capitalist power works

Chris Dillow / March 9, 2017 at 1:52 PM 64 views

The two main news stories this morning both gave us an insight into how capitalist power works. The first item is the increase in NICs despite repeated Tory promises not to do so. It would be nice to think this…

On salient identities

Chris Dillow / March 7, 2017 at 1:53 PM 87 views

I have size ten feet. This is a biological fact which I cannot change. In some contexts, it’s of utmost importance, such as in a shoe shop. In other contexts, though, it’s irrelevant. This might sound utterly trivial. But it’s…

Limits of supply-side reform

Chris Dillow / March 6, 2017 at 2:07 PM 189 views

Philip Hammond says he plans to use Wednesday’s Budget to get us “match fit” for Brexit. This reminds me of an old error of Chancellors and political commentators – their habit of under-estimating just how damned difficult it is to…

Yes, slavery matters

Chris Dillow / March 4, 2017 at 1:07 PM 187 views

David Olusoga says we British should be more aware of our role in the slave trade. I agree. For one thing, slavery is not just (just!) a crime against humanity that many would like to forget. Its effects are still…

In defence of PPE

Chris Dillow / March 2, 2017 at 1:39 PM 50 views

In The Econocracy, Joe Earle, Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins accuse economics degrees of imparting into their victims narrow technical skills and rote-learning whilst discouraging critical thinking. One solution to this would be for economics to be part of a…

Labour’s crisis: Cameron’s fault

Chris Dillow / February 28, 2017 at 1:23 PM 248 views

It’s widely agreed, and also true, that the Labour party is in crisis in part because of bad leadership. What’s not sufficiently appreciated, however, is that the bad leadership is not just Corbyn’s. It’s also Cameron’s. Labour is paying the…

On manufacturing productivity

Chris Dillow / February 28, 2017 at 10:14 AM 182 views

Some people criticized my last post on the grounds that we’d expect productivity growth to have slowed down in recent years because the economy has shifted from manufacturing – where productivity gains are easier to achieve or measure – to…

Neoliberalism & productivity

Chris Dillow / February 26, 2017 at 1:08 PM 220 views

Chris Edwards says the privatizations started by Thatcher “transformed the British economy” and boosted productivity. This raises an under-appreciated paradox. The thing is that privatization isn’t the only thing to have happened since the 1980s which should have raised productivity,…

The populist paradox

Chris Dillow / December 7, 2016 at 1:59 PM 239 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.…

Why not centrism?

Chris Dillow / December 6, 2016 at 2:05 PM 727 views

Some people want to revive centrism. Tony Blair wants to “build a new policy agenda for the centre ground”. And the Lib Dems’ victory in Richmond Park is being seen as a warning to the Tories that it must “keep…

Elites or people?

Chris Dillow / December 1, 2016 at 1:13 PM 334 views

The votes for Trump and Brexit have highlighted a division between “elites” and the “people”. For me, though, this is the wrong dichotomy. The question instead is: under what conditions are the people right, and under what conditions are elites…

Criminally stupid

Chris Dillow / November 29, 2016 at 1:33 PM 358 views

There is a point at which stupidity ceases to be a merely intellectual error and becomes a crime. If Nick Cohen is right, the government has crossed this point. He writes: [David] Davis seems closer in spirit to a bubbly…

Not understanding the right

Chris Dillow / November 27, 2016 at 1:07 PM 381 views

We leftists should make more effort to understand the rise of the populist right, says Janice Tuner in the Times: After defeat you must ask why. It is easy to blame Breitbart or the tabloids, to label every Trump voter…

Forecasting GDP

Chris Dillow / November 25, 2016 at 1:14 PM 125 views

The OBR’s downbeat forecasts for the economy have caused Brexiteers to question its competence. For example, Iain Duncan Smith says it has been “pretty much been wrong on everything.” Such attacks miss two important facts. Fact one is that there…