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Economy

Closer to the edge

A closer look at the supposed explosion in job vacancies provides a clue to the deeper features of a crisis which is only just beginning. The first thing to note is that vacancies are far from even across the economy.

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What then are we to become?

According to Boris Johnson, the economic dislocation which appears to be gathering pace across the UK is merely “a period of adjustment after Brexit.” In Johnson’s formulation, those who would turn the clock back are tacitly in favour of the low-pay and poor working conditions which were encouraged when the …

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A crisis of affordability

Western capitalist economies don’t really do shortages.  There are a few stand alone exceptions such as a music festival or a sporting event, where demand so outstrips supply that queues form.  But for the most part – as we saw last week with the eye-watering rise in wholesale gas prices …

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Wrong for a different reason

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – A well-meaning but not particularly bright left-leaning US politician – made a stir earlier this week by wearing a figure-hugging dress emblazoned with the slogan “Tax the Rich” to the prestigious 2021 Met Gala.  Since the slogan was clearly political, it wasn’t long before the various political …

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Can this leopard change its spots?

Perhaps the most contentious – and least asked – question about industrial civilisation concerns its origins.  Why, of all the potential places in the world, should a small group of islands in the northeast Atlantic have emerged as the cradle of industrialisation?  Many possible reasons have been put forward, including: …

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Who determines prices?

One of the consequences of the response to the pandemic and the disruption from Brexit is that labour shortages are appearing across the low-paid sectors of the economy.  So much so that even the metropolitan liberal Guardian has begun to wonder whether the benefits of higher wages for the low-paid …

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Exergy-driven crisis

Media has little in the way of memory and the rest of us struggle to remember much of what happened more than a week ago.  And so, the narratives we use in an attempt to make sense of the rapidly changing world we are living in, tend to revolve around …

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A rising tide sinks all boats… eventually

Have you heard that ice cream causes murder or that global warming has led to an increase in piracy? Apparently in Maine, consuming more margarine leads to more divorces, while increased US spending on science, space and technology results in increases in suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation.  Actually, these …

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Crisis hiding in plain sight

Putting a positive gloss on the news is especially important as we attempt to recover from a pandemic.  And if that positive gloss is green in colour, so much the better. And so yesterday we were treated to the news that: “More electric vehicles were registered than diesel cars for …

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Running out of things to tax

The increase in oil prices is filtering through to consumers according to the BBC: “Petrol prices have reached an eight-year high after nine straight months of rises… the average price of a litre of petrol is now 135.13p, a level not seen since September 2013, as rising oil prices push …

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