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Economists baffled by UK snowstorm


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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A circular economy of sorts

Circular economy

One of the tell-tale signs that it is Davos week is that the media publish a raft of techno-utopian stories about just how great the economy is going to be in future even as it collapses around our ears (stock market bubbles aside) in the present.  One such was Elizabeth …

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How broadband got cheaper without you noticing

Chancellor inflation

If you are one of millions of struggling households, inflation is all about prices.  More to the point, despite statistics to contrary, since the crash of 2008 we have seen the cost of living increase even as our incomes stagnate. But suppose you are a politician with an election to …

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