What really happens when your local bank closes

We have become used to trading accusations about the way the big banks – which account for practically all banks in this country – have been progressively turning their back on the real world in favour of the speculative one.

A new report by World Development Movement and Friends of the Earth Europe sets out how they are increasingly involved in speculating in food derivatives – pushing up the price of basic foods – and financing land grabs in Africa.


Alternatives emerging from the Greek crisis

Greece is gripped by an official self-fulfilling rhetoric that ‘there is no alternative’ to a hard-line, socially divisive, austerity-driven return to business-as-usual. It’s a policy in which, to misquote a famous ditty ‘it’s the rich who get the pleasure and the poor who take the pain.’ In this case, however, the poor includes the vast majority of Greek society.


Still horribly confused about entrepreneurs

It is hard not to agree with the chairman of the Treasury select committee, Andrew Tyrie, who late last year claimed that the government’s approach to growth is ‘incoherent’.

I am not sure whether he meant quite the same as we do when he says that. Certainly it was hard to agree with him that the Big Society and the green agenda are irrelevant to economic recovery – quite the reverse.


Osborne vs Moody’s

George Osborne versus the credit ratings agencies. It’s a shame they can’t both lose, but in the meantime the rest of us – the real losers in all of this – might take some small pleasure in watching our esteemed Chancellor squirm like a trapped weasel. Much of what Moody’s says is a blunt statement of the unpleasant facts. The UK has “materially weaker growth prospects over the next few years”. More

Would there have to be chaos?

"A disorderly default would set the country on a disastrous adventure. It would create conditions of uncontrolled economic chaos and social explosion. The country would be drawn into a vortex of recession, instability, unemployment and protracted misery…”


How to save Greece from the technocrats

A year or so ago, an internet joke dropped into my inbox about a man who goes to a motel and asks the manager to put a $100 bill in their safe.

While he’s out, the manager uses it to pay off some bills, and it circulates rapidly around town paying off more bills, before it is used to pay a bill at the motel and it goes back into the safe.

“That is how a stimulus package works,” says the joke.


Quantitative Easing is stimulating commodity trading, not the real economy

Originally posted at Left Foot Forward.

As the economy slides towards recession, the Bank of England yesterday announced it was creating a further £50bn worth of ‘quantitative easing’ (QE).


6 months after the riots and communities are taking the lead

This week marked the six-month anniversary of the English riots. While the media spotlight may have moved on, the affected communities are still struggling to come to terms with what happened.


Why we should welcome the happiness agenda

Writing in G2 yesterday, Suzanne Moore argued that the "happiness agenda is just a way of making huge social problems seem personal". While she is right to highlight the danger that the well-being movement could be used to promote individualism, there is great value in collecting data on individual well-being and better understanding how it is affected by aspects of people's lives. More

The costs of overfishing

Fisheries are perpetually held up, by biologists as well as economists, as the perfect example of managing a resource terribly. The problems are straightforward and well-understood, the solutions equally so, yet fisheries continue to deliver poorly for coastal communities, the economy as a whole, and not least the marine environment. The blame has tended to fall on the overwhelming influence of vested interests. More

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