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Divided down under

Coal mine in Queensland

Australia is the latest democracy to discover that climate emergencies are incompatible with neoliberal inequality.  In a repeat of the 2016 Brexit and Trump votes, all of the polling for last week’s general election predicted that a strong environmental platform would propel the Australian Labor Party into government.  Instead, in …

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Situating the appreciation

Inequality UK

Sir Angus Deaton is the latest apostolic legate of the econometric priesthood to be given the unenviable task of coming up with a cause and a cure for income inequality and its socio-political consequences without challenging the underlying disease.  The motivation for appointing Deaton – a Nobel laureate economics professor …

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Getting social mobility wrong

Graduate underemployment

In the years leading up to their election in 1997, the neoliberal New Labour leadership continuously repeated the “education, education, education” mantra.  In doing so, they were drawing on a deep-seated myth that lies at the heart of Western civilisation’s quasi-religion of progress.  To understand this, consider Thomas Frank’s criticism …

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An unlikely simplification

Car Wash

Technological failure of some kind was to be expected as our human impact crisis deepened.  Put simply, as the amount of energy needed by the energy sector has increased, so the amount available to power the much larger non-energy economy was bound to fall.  This, in turn, was bound to …

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The idea that broke the world

Crimean War railway

When the English and French armies landed on the shores of the Crimean peninsula in October 1853 they were ill-prepared to fight a war.  Logistics – the science of provisioning armies at a distance – was in its infancy; and armies were still expected to forage for at least some …

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Britain as Venezuela

Homelessness in the UK

A country paralysed by political crisis; people unable to access the food they need; healthcare services foundering; a ruling class completely divorced from the privations of its people; government institutions that are unfit for purpose; growing public anger that threatens to spill over into violent protest and even full-blown revolution.  …

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Solve this or you solve nothing (2)

Money printing

Money, so the song says, is what makes the world go around.  The sentiment is not lost among a growing homeless population on our streets, the millions of working families forced to turn to charity to make ends meet, or the new class of women forced to take up sex …

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Caught in the trawl net

The economic net is closing in

On both sides of the Atlantic there has been a growing public recognition of a gathering “retail apocalypse” as famous name chain stores have been plunged into bankruptcy.  The crisis, however, has only made its way into the consciousness of the mainstream media and onto the agenda of the political …

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Economic musical chairs

Economic musical chairs

Sometime last year we reached the high tide mark for the latest economic cycle.  Between 2010 and 2018 and despite anaemic growth in the real economy, stock markets had been on an uninterrupted upward march.  By the end of 2018 that had changed.  Volatility was back, producing wild ups and …

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The other side of the retail apocalypse

Preloved shops

It is no secret that the UK retail sector has experienced serious and growing problems in the decade since the crash of 2008.  For most of the period, mainstream business journalists were able to pass off the lack of growth on the High Street by blaming the Internet.  While it …

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