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Tim Watkins

A failure of complexity

In my last post I outlined the growing disintegration[1] of London as an example of a failing global city.  Global, in the sense that it is part of a network of megacities around the planet, around which the fabric of the global economy is woven.  As the historic money launderer …

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London: the first global city to fail

The approved version of Britain’s recent history is that, after a period of economic dislocation and political extremism in the 1970s, the Thatcher government reinvigorated the economy; ushering in a period of rising prosperity which only petered out in 2008.  As Thatcher pointed out in 2002, her greatest achievement was …

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Economic mood swings

People who have spent time in jail claim that the hardest part of a sentence is the couple of months just prior to release.  So long as the release date had been long in the future, you just hunkered down and did the time.  But the pain of confinement grew …

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The other side of the story

For the first time, the UK generated more electricity from renewables than from fossil fuels in 2020.  The obvious fly in that otherwise green ointment is that it depends on a definition of “renewables” that includes decimating North American forests and shipping the wood across the Atlantic to be burned …

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Trading safety for peace of mind

In his 1987 book, Our Own Worst Enemy, psychologist Norman F. Dixon introduces the concept of “trading safety for peace of mind.” It describes a phenomenon at the very core of human nature; our tendency to avoid bad news.  It refers to that person who chooses to believe that there …

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The Great train wreck

On a shelf in the office of Britain’s Cabinet Secretary is a folder labelled “infrastructure projects.”  It contains summaries of all of the projects for which public funding can be provided in the event of a recession.  At one end of the spectrum are various road and rail improvements – …

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Build Back Later

Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the last year, you cannot but help to have heard politicians using the phrase: Build Back Better.  This political bandwagon is borne out of desperation to find a way out of the mess they have created in responding, out of greed and …

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Seeing happy faces in the clouds

The third decade of the twenty-first century could turn out to be fantastic after all.  Emerging from the ashes and insanity of 2020, we are now set for a new age of peace and prosperity.  Who says so?  The Guardian’s energy correspondent, Jillian Ambrose: “The global economy could be on …

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A faint echo of June 1942

There was something vaguely Churchillian about Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on 12 March last year: “We have all got to be clear, this is the worst public health crisis for a generation. Some people compare it to seasonal flu. Alas, that is not right. Due to the lack …

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When inflation refuses to appear

Inflation casts a long shadow over the political economy of the modern world.  So much so that the threat of its return is still given much more weight in governing circles than the fact of its absence for more than a decade.  The reason is best understood through the eyes of …

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