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Economy

What productivity “puzzle?”

UK labour productivity

Despite its usual economic cheer-leading, even the BBC is forced to lament that: “UK productivity shrank in the first quarter of the year and continues to lag rates achieved before the financial crisis in 2008… The Office for National Statistics said productivity fell by 0.4% compared to the final quarter …

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How gas (and wind power) spoiled your beer

Beer CO2

It is something of a truism that rising energy prices cause inflation throughout the economy.  This is because while this is correct at the macro level, it tells us very little about the details.  Exactly who will shoulder the costs?  Which countries and which sectors of the economy will be …

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Universal Credit: more crackpot realism

Tory Foodbank

It surely cannot be long before the UK government’s hated Universal Credit reforms are put on hold.  The reform, which attempts to roll six existing benefits into one, has been blamed for increases in suicide, homelessness and use of foodbanks.  To add to the government’s problems a new report from …

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It’s employment Jim, but not as we know it

Future work in service

Unemployment is at its lowest since the early 1970s.  And yet, the economy is performing no better than it did in the early 1980s when the unemployment rate was 12 percent.  Crucially, despite the number of jobs created and the number of unfilled vacancies increasing, wages have actually fallen slightly …

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The real cashless society

Visa cashless society

If an economist tells you it is raining, I would advise you to take plenty of sunblock.  In the same way, when economists tell you how much better off we are going to be if we do away with cash, I would advise you to hoard as much of the …

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Britain’s Carillion moment

Britain's Carillion Moment

In 2008, George Osborne famously berated his Labour predecessor for “not fixing the roof when the sun was shining.”  The truth within this myth was that Blair’s New Labour had been a little too “relaxed” about people “getting filthy rich” in the boom years; leaving the public on the hook …

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Broadbent buries bad news

Victorian poverty

In an interview with the Telegraph, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England Ben Broadbent used the term “climacteric” to describe the trajectory of the British economy.  Unfortunately, while the term has a particular meaning to economists, it has a colloquial meaning that might be taken to stray into the …

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UK economic collapse gathers pace

What do polar atmospheric conditions, a Christian religious festival and the internet have in common?  Answer: they’re all excuses made by the mainstream media to pretend that the British economy is prospering.  The Beast from the East – the result of a collapsing polar vortex that pushed freezing air south …

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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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