Friday , September 17 2021
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Economy

You can never go back

I can still remember, as a toddler some 57 years ago, seeing a steam locomotive shunting coal wagons in sidings not far from where I grew up.  It wasn’t to last.  Later that year, the infamous Beeching cuts were implemented.  A couple of years later, the two-track branch line had …

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Welcome to the supply-side shock

Ordinarily, a giant container ship as long as the Empire State building is high, blocking the southern stretch of the Suez Canal, would have been the lead story on every news channel.  Around ten percent of the world’s seaborne oil goes through the Canal; some 3 to 4 million barrels …

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When one cargo cult fails…

Cargo cults have been a feature of Pacific Islander beliefs for at least as long as European and Chinese sailing vessels traded goods across the ocean.  As Peter M. Worsley wrote in a 1959 article: “Throughout Melanesia primitive men await a black Messiah who will bring them a largess of …

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Slow fuse burning

It is, perhaps, easiest to blame all of Britain’s ills on Brexit.  Failing this, the global pandemic – and our response to it – is a good candidate for blame as the economic consequences of global lockdowns and restrictions begin to emerge.  There are though, slower and deeper processes which …

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What if growth cannot return?

Unsurprisingly it is the arguments underpinning today’s UK Budget which prove more informative than the Budget speech itself.  Indeed, there were no surprises in the Budget – most of the individual policy changes having been leaked in advance.  And with the exception of the rise in corporation tax from 19 …

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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 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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