Leading the way on well-being

As of today, the UK is the proud owner of the biggest official well-being data set for any single country within a single year. More

To British business, drunk or sober

The great humorist and new economist G. K. Chesterton complained once that no true patriot would ever say 'my country, right or wrong' - “It is like saying: ‘My mother, drunk or sober!’”

I was reminded of this by David Cameron’s bizarre misunderstanding of the public mood about business.


I’m a jobs snob. Iain Duncan Smith should be one too.

The last 10 days have seen things turn from bad to worse for Iain Duncan Smith and his cherished Work Programme. First Tesco was caught advertising for night shift workers who were going to get paid their jobseekers allowance (!) plus expenses. More

Should the Argentinian experience dissuade Greece from exiting the Eurozone?

In their Economist article last week, Mario Blejer and Guillermo Ortiz (former central bank governors of Argentina and Mexico respectively) argue that the Argentinean devaluation experience should constitute an example not to follow in the case of Greece. Despite Greece’s shrinking economy and devastating social condition More

A better bail-out

Recent polls show that half of all adults are 'dissatisfied' or 'extremely dissatisfied' with their bank; and 60% of British adults agree that the economic crisis has led them to trust high street banks less. 
RBS, 83% owned by the taxpayer, scores -13 on YouGov’s consumer confidence index – the least popular bank in the country by this measure.
Yet still, as the public prepares for another burst of bonus outrage, the big five banks enjoy 90% market share.

The pressure is growing for a real bank break-up

It has taken a very long time, but at last the establishment seems to be using the b-word about the UK banking oligarchy.

Yes, in order to provide the UK economy with the support it needs, we need to break up the big banks.

That is what Terry Smith, chief executive of Tullett Prebon, told the Worshipful Company of World Traders last week, also urging bonus reforms.


Greece should reject the Troika and default on its own terms

Negotiations in Greece hang by a thread. With Greece needing to meet the next tranche of debt repayments by March 20, or else face default, its creditors are jittery. The deal passed by the Greek Parliament on Sunday should pave the way for both €130bn of bailout funding, and a restructuring of Greece’s debt. But additional assurances have been demanded by the EU/ECB/IMF Troika from Greek political parties that, whatever the outcome of April’s elections, they will observe their side of the deal – austerity measures of exceptional severity. More

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.


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