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What do bankers know about Brexit?

Bankers Brexit

Britain will be leaving the European Union in just ten months’ time.  In the event that the UK government cannot reach a deal with the remaining EU members, Britain’s exit could be abrupt, since “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”  That means no transitional period, no customs union, no …

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Bullshit jobs: late complexity in action

Bullshit jobs

Anthropologist David Graeber is hardly the first person to notice that a lot of the jobs that have been created in the past couple of decades are largely meaningless: “Everyone is familiar with the sort of jobs that don’t seem, to the outsider, really to do much of anything: HR …

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TSB Fiasco: a parable for our time

TSB fiasco

The late Douglas Adams told a story about (among other things) the origins of life on our planet.  In the tale, life was kick-started when an alien spaceship that had stopped for repairs exploded on take-off.  The reason the ship exploded was all too human.  The Captain sent a drone …

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Time to rethink monetary policy

Monetary Policy Committee

When the first stuffed platypus was presented to European scientists, they dismissed it.  “What we have here,” they opined, “is some unfortunate lutrinae onto which some scoundrel has attached various anatidae parts.”  And so the innocent little platypus, which had been minding its own business until the European explorers arrived, …

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Getting their retaliation in first


Only an economist could think that the problem facing the passengers on the Titanic was that too few of them had learned marine engineering – if only a few of them had learned to fix the hull plates that had been torn apart by a passing iceberg, they might have gone …

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Testing Goldilocks from two sides

Flying too close to the sun

The children’s story of Goldilocks famously gave astronomy the “Goldilocks Zone” – the band around a star where it is not too hot and not too cold for water to exist in liquid form.  More recently, the idea of a Goldilocks Zone has been introduced to the economics of oil.  …

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The fourth industrial revolution is cancelled

Recession desk

Earlier today, mainstream journalists were trumpeting the dawn of a new age of prosperity.  For the first time in three years, wages had, they forecast, risen faster than inflation.  It wasn’t to be, alas.  While inflation had fallen to 2.9% wages had only risen by 2.8%; leaving Britain’s workforce that …

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Recession guaranteed


Not only is Theresa May’s magic money tree real, but it just produced a really bad harvest.  To understand why, we need to understand what makes modern currency valuable. It used to be that coins actually contained precious metals.  Then, when banknotes first appeared, they could be exchanged for precious …

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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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