Thursday , August 16 2018
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Economy

What Marx got wrong changes everything

Energy theory of value

The word “Marxist” today is more a term of abuse than the name of a particular school of economic and social ideas.  The political right throws the term at anyone who has the temerity to suggest that the state might have some role to play in refereeing the rules by …

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Dining at the virtual restaurant

Virtual restaurant

Among the more pernicious lies put about by the government and its apologists in the mainstream media is the one that blames the retail apocalypse on online shopping.  For while it is true that online retailers have experienced a small increase in traffic, this in no way accounts for the …

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Economists baffled by UK snowstorm

Snow

Following the fateful conjoining of Atlantic Storm Emma and The Beast from the East on Thursday, people have once again been behaving in a manner wholly inconsistent with the models used by politicians and central bankers to determine economic policy. In Newport, for example, as temperatures plummeted on Wednesday night, …

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Economic failure

Recession 2018

It is a decade since the world was plunged into the worst economic crisis in living memory.  Its impact is still being felt today.  Most obviously, the election of Donald Trump and the UK decision to leave the European Union would have been unimaginable in the years before the crash.  …

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Unexpected inflation in the bagging area

Supermarket bagging area

No politician wants to be associated with inflation.  The trouble is that no politician wants to be associated with budget reductions either.  So while a government might cut benefits and services aimed at people who do not vote (like young people) or people who do not support them (like disabled …

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Trickle down extremism

Trickle-down economics

Trickle down is, perhaps, the greatest of the lies perpetuated by economists.  At its heart is the claim that when states conduit currency into the bank accounts of the very rich, it will – through investment and growth – make its way into the pockets of everyone else.  So, for …

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Running the stops: an ordinary abnormality

Stock market fall

The US stock market experienced its biggest ever points fall on Friday; and prices continued to fall around the world as exchanges opened on Monday morning.  The story no doubt sold a lot of financial newspapers and sent a few policy makers into a tail spin.  But in percentage terms …

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Supermarket slump

Empty shopping trolley

In January, it became clear that UK high street retailers had recorded below-inflation sales growth.  As Tim Wallace in the Telegraph lamented: “Retailers suffered the weakest Christmas shopping growth for five years as higher prices hit family spending. “December’s retail sales rose by 1.4pc by volume compared with the same …

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Neoliberal environmentalism will not work

Neoliberal environmentalism

The solution to climate change, we are told, is via our collective purchasing power.  If, for example, we buy led lights, drive electric cars or contract with energy companies that supply 100% renewable electricity, our collective market power will force corporations to shift away from activities that produce greenhouse gases. …

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If we treated wages like inflation…

Inflation and pay

An uninformed observer might assume that the rate of inflation is calculated by simply measuring how much prices have risen.  This, perhaps, is why so many of us have lost trust in figures that say prices have only risen by 3 percent even as our rents, utility bills and food …

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