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Measuring competition

Chris Dillow / June 8, 2018 at 12:27 PM 122 views

How do you measure competition? I ask because on yesterday's PM programme Lynsey Hooper claimed (15 min in) that Amazon's broadcasting of some Premier League games next season means that "competition is now fierce." I'm not sure this is right.…

Britain’s open borders policy

Chris Dillow / June 5, 2018 at 12:36 PM 131 views

Whilst cycling the other day, I crossed the Leicestershire-Rutland border. And I was shocked to see…nothing. No border controls, no passport checks, no customs officials. Here in Rutland we have an open borders policy. Any riff-raff can move in. I…

Why the MPC needs experts

Chris Dillow / June 1, 2018 at 1:33 PM 190 views

There’s no doubt that Jonathan Haskel is an excellent appointment to the MPC. What we should be asking is rather: isn’t he over-qualified? What I mean is that not much hangs upon interest rate decisions. The Bank’s own work estimates…

Does economics matter?

Chris Dillow / May 27, 2018 at 11:01 AM 183 views

Does economics matter? I ask because I suspect I would understand political debate better if I realized that it doesn’t. Everybody tends to over-rate the importance of their profession: it’s part of deformation professionelle. Lawyers over-rate the importance of the…

Corbyn: the heir to Blair

Chris Dillow / May 25, 2018 at 1:04 PM 168 views

It’s not 1997 any more. This shouldn’t need saying, but attacks on Jeremy Corbyn such as this from Ian Austin suggests it does. He accuses Corbyn of wanting to turn Labour into “something very different” from its traditional mainstream social…

Food: a class issue

Chris Dillow / May 24, 2018 at 1:02 PM 170 views

I’m pleased to see Phil McDuff joining free marketeers in complaining that anti-obesity strategies of the sort promoted by Jamie Oliver will hurt the poor. For me, though, there’s a deeper and nasty question here: if we can’t trust the…

Rationalism, rationality & reasonableness

Chris Dillow / May 23, 2018 at 12:10 PM 154 views

Rationalism and rationality, wrote Deirdre McCloskey, “are not often found in the same company.*” Robert Wright’s piece on the myth of perfectly rational thought reminded me of that saying. People who claim to be rationalists are often not wholly rational.…

Job Guarantee: Marxist or Keynesian?

Chris Dillow / May 11, 2018 at 1:07 PM 224 views

For decades there has been a debate about the differences and similarities between Marx and Keynes. The question of whether we should introduce a job guarantee highlights this debate: is it a means of supporting capitalism, or a challenge to…

The socialism of moralizing fools

Chris Dillow / March 27, 2018 at 12:55 PM 194 views

How can the Labour party have gotten into such a mess that it can be credibly accused of anti-Semitism? An under-appreciated part of the answer, I suspect, lies in the fact it is dangerous for politics to be seen as…

The illusion of knowledge

Chris Dillow / March 17, 2018 at 1:00 PM 250 views

More information does not mean that we make better decisions, or even good ones. Some laboratory evidence for this comes from some experiments (pdf) at Princeton. Alexander Todorov and colleagues asked subjects to predict the results of basketball games. Half…

Getting away with murder

Chris Dillow / March 6, 2018 at 1:30 PM 260 views

Simon reminds us of the massive costs of fiscal austerity: not just a loss of around £10,000 per household, but tens of thousands of deaths, despair for millions of victims of a harsh benefits system, and the economic cost and…

Labour: the party of business?

Chris Dillow / February 27, 2018 at 1:51 PM 171 views

Is Labour now the party of business? This is the question posed by the fact that the CBI has endorsed Jeremy Corbyn’s support for the UK to be part of a customs union with the EU. I know, I know.…

Hired: a review

Chris Dillow / February 21, 2018 at 1:39 PM 230 views

For some time, I’ve asked that journalists leave the Westminster Bubble and look instead at ground truth. I’m delighted, therefore, that James Bloodworth has done just this. His latest book, Hired, describes his experiences of working on low wages –…

Brexit: an unending dream

Chris Dillow / February 1, 2018 at 1:46 PM 239 views

Simon says Brexit is a fantasy: There is nothing about the case for Brexit that is based in reality. This is why everything Brexiters say is either nonsense or untrue. This poses the question: will they ever acknowledge reality? I’m…

Why economists should look at horses

Chris Dillow / January 27, 2018 at 12:15 PM 245 views

“If economists wished to study the horse, they wouldn’t go and look at horses. They’d sit in their studies and say to themselves, ‘What would I do if I were a horse?” Two things I’ve seen recently remind me of that…

On capitalist hegemony

Chris Dillow / January 18, 2018 at 1:42 PM 317 views

How much can a Labour government achieve within the confines of a capitalist society? I ask because of a recent tweet by Paul Mason: taking power is not enough; behind the state, the elite have line after line of trenches…

On anti-meritocracy

Chris Dillow / January 7, 2018 at 1:42 PM 255 views

There’s a link between Toby Young’s appointment to the Office for Students and the revelation that his staff regard Donald Trump as a child. What we have in both cases are examples of anti-meritocracy. Both men have achieved office not…

Tories vs the 21st century

Chris Dillow / August 2, 2017 at 12:33 PM 503 views

It’s become a cliché that the Tories want to return to the 1950s, before the age of mass migration and our entanglement with the EU. These, however, are not the only examples of Tories discomfort with the modern world. Tom…

The changing class divide

Chris Dillow / June 11, 2017 at 10:34 AM 473 views

Social class has become less important as an influence upon voting behaviour. This is one under-appreciated feature of last week’s election. Lord Ashcroft’s polls show that the social class AB split 43%-34% between the Tories and Labour. That meant Corbyn’s…

The populist paradox

Chris Dillow / December 7, 2016 at 1:59 PM 579 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.…