On big currencies and big banks

Our report Where Did the Money Go? predicted that we were likely to be asked, as taxpayers, to bail out the banks a second time.  This was not a new thought, which is why the report got less publicity than it might have done – but it isn’t a popular thought among the commentariat or the establishment either.

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Beginning of a monetary revolution?

"The essence of the contemporary monetary system is creation of money, out of nothing, by private banks often foolish lending."

These are the words, not of a monetary crank, but of The Financial Times' Chief Economics Commentator, a member of the national Independent Commission on Banking (ICB), and probably the most decorated and prestigious economics journalist in the country.  Martin Wolf wrote them in an article last week defending the Federal Reserve's right to embark on a More

David Cameron’s plans for national measurement of well-being are a step in the right direction

Back in 2004, nef’s Well-being Manifesto for a Flourishing Society made waves by calling for the government to start measuring what really matters – how people feel about their lives. More

The rise of the zombie banks

It always makes the heart sink to hear a senior politician pleading with the banks to lend more money.  Even the threatening tone of voice carries little conviction.  In fact, this constant harping on about how the banks should lend more – though of course they should – is actually delaying the real action required to make it happen.

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Podcast: Where did our money go? Part 1

Last night nef hosted a special event at the Southbank Centre in London to celebrate and galvanise our campaign for The Great Transition. We were delighted that the event sold out, but this meant that lots of people weren't able to come who had wanted to, not to mention all of our friends and supporters who couldn't get to London last night.

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Podcast: Where did our money go? Part 2

Here's the second half of the recording from our event at the Southbank Centre last week. Highlights include Indian economist Jayati Ghosh joking that the British are like guilty masochists for willingly accepting public sector cuts, and our wonderful musicians Fanfara who played out the evening. As before, there should be a Windows Media Player box below, but if you can't see it, click here to download the MP3. Happy listening!

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Video: Big Society event at the RSA

Speakers are:

Anna Coote, head of social policy at nef; Jonty Oliff-Cooper, The Big Society Network; Patrick Butler, Head of Social Affairs at the Guardian.

Chaired by Mark Easton, Home Affairs Editor, BBC.

Read the report: Cutting It: The 'Big Society' and the new austerity

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The business people I would choose to advise the Government

So Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell is forming a group of key business people to advise the government how to cut costs but stay effective.

It isn’t clear yet who they are going to be, but they seem to be people who have a successful track record at cutting jobs, like former Asda and Boots executive Richard Baker and Nigel Rudd from the much-criticised BAA group.

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The thermodynamic roots of economics

The first and second laws of thermodynamics should also be called the first and second laws of economics. Why? Because without them there would be no scarcity, and without scarcity, no economics. Consider the first law: if we could create useful energy and matter as we needed it, as well as destroy waste matter and energy as it got in our way, we would have superabundant sources and sinks, no depletion, no pollution, more of everything we want without having to find a place for stuff we don’t want. More

The post offices and the guilds

When the new economics marks up a small victory, it seems to me we should claim it – even though others have been involved.  And there is no doubt that the decision by consumer affairs minister Ed Davey to end the programme of post office closures is a victory.

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