Obama gets it, why don’t we?

I received a flurry of emails and texts yesterday informing me that Obama had just pronounced inequality as the most important debate of our time… I might have fallen over myself rushing to get to the laptop had it not already been on my lap.

Low and behold, amidst all the nationalistic rhetoric in the State of the Union address, was the message that America needs to tackle growing economic inequality, and fast.

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Hester’s bonus is a distraction

We should not be in too much of a hurry to celebrate the RBS Chief's decision to forego his annual bonus. The excessive remuneration of bankers (as well as City accountants and lawyers) is merely a symptom of a wider problem; a financial sector that has learnt how to ruthlessly exploit its privileged position in the economy.

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The EU’s fiscal compact - the most boring suicide note in history?

There’s no other way to describe it. Strip away the eurojargon, and the EU’s fiscal compact is a despairing embrace of terminal decline. Austerity will now carry the force of law. More

Stripping Sir Fred - a monumental irrelevance

Oh well, that’s alright then. They've stripped Fred the Shred of his knighthood. The financial crisis is solved. The world breathes easily.

It is an extraordinary technique, and a disastrous one, that – time after time – the British political establishment uses to avoid action. 

They narrow down the problem, increasingly absurdly, to some symbolic gesture. Then they do it, and keep their fingers crossed that history will move on.

In fact, it is tough today to work out which is the most annoying.

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Move Your Money - time to take matters into our own hands

In a single month last year, October, an estimated 650,000 people in the United States closed their bank accounts and moved their money to a credit union. They are part of a growing movement of people who are voting with their savings against the mainstream banks. What is driving it? More

Why slow finance will happen here first

Italy gave is the idea of slow food. The USA gave us slow money. It may be that the idea of ‘slow finance’, the title of a book by the fund manager Gervais Williams, may emerge in the UK.

nef’s head of banking and finance, Tony Greenham, is introducing a lecture by Williams next month.

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Is it time for spirituality in business?

The new economics is a kind of journey, asserting, putting into practice, dealing with the side-effects and moving on – and nowhere more than in the business of asserting that spirituality is also an economic concept.

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The economic case against spending cuts is simple - why isn’t Labour making it?

If you’re in a hole, stop digging. It’s generally a sound bit of advice. But as the Coalition’s pit deepens, Eds Ball and Miliband choose precisely this moment to cheer on Osborne’s efforts.

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Free time - but only if you’re rich

Last week hundreds of people turned out for our public lecture on a shorter working week, and the event received widespread media coverage. Interest in the idea of much shorter and more flexible working hours has continued to grow since we published our 21 Hours report just last year. More

Video: About Time - Examining the case for a shorter working week

Last Wednesday nef brought together a panel of three experts to discuss our acclaimed 2010 report 21 Hours. Could a shorter working week be the answer to current social, economic and environmental concerns? Watch or listen again to the full lecture and discussion below.

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