80 months and counting…

At the turn of the 1900s in the US there was a progressive campaign to establish a shorter, eight-hour working day. It was opposed by the National Association of Manufacturers (Nam) as potentially ruinous to the economy – on much the same grounds that the abolition of slavery, the introduction of the maximum load line in shipping and most other progressive reforms throughout history have been opposed. In the 1920s Nam also lobbied against a shorter, five-day working week. More

Freedom fighters can be happy too

Juliet and Saamah’s letter to the Times today points some of the misconceptions in last Saturday’s leading article on well-being economics. And there’s plenty more that they could have said, given enough space. For example, the leader argues that

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Letter to the Times: Why government policy on well-being matters

Sir,

We agree that when making policy, a broad account of flourishing — including autonomy, meaningful activities and strong relationships — is more useful than a narrow focus on happiness, which risks denoting merely momentary or passing pleasures (“The end of government”, leading article, Mar 27). But given the wide range of influences on our experiences of life, government policy — however it is shaped — will inescapably affect our wellbeing, for good or for ill.

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Thinking outside the Red Box

Is it Alistair Darling, who gave the minimum nod necessary on curtailing banking excesses to appease public anger, and seems bent on returning to business as usual? Is it George Osborne, sliding effortlessly into the old Conservative comfort zone of quick, punishing public spending cuts? How quickly people forget that the cuts agenda is driven by a massive private sector, market failure. Or, is it Vince Cable who, of the three, first called the banks’ failure and is most outspoken on reform?

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New steps along the road to a Post Bank

When nef began to put together the Post Bank Coalition 15 months ago it was because we knew that this vital local economic and community network was being neglected and run down to the point where it might crumble to a few thousand post offices.

Successive governments have treated the Post Office as a series of problems which they hoped would go away- rather than as a trusted and flexible organisation which props up- and more- thousands of communities both rural and urban.

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Because it would be mental.

Jokes about climate change used to be in short supply, but fortunately climate “sceptics”* rectified all that. Here’s Richard Glover of the Sydney Morning Herald:

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Budget 2010: The far-reaching implications of economic inequality

The 2010 Budget is a reminder of just how every government decision has repercussions for economic inequality. Apart from the obvious inequality related tax changes, proposals such as the Green Investment Bank, the extension of the jobs programme for young people, the increase in the stamp duty, fuel payments, bank accounts for everyone, the freeze on inheritance tax and lack of deep-seated financial reform could all contribute to either hindering or aiding the struggle for economic equality.

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The place between fish and fishermen

Some more evidence for the benefits of protected marine reserves brought to light by a piece appearing in Science yesterday. This follows new data presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Diego, and papers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Two questions on the Green Investment Bank

How should a Green Investment Bank most effectively be set up? More

Vince Cable confused about steady-state economics

The weekend papers reported that Vince Cable is in talks with HM Treasury about becoming Chancellor in the event of a hung parliament. More

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