Modernising Henry George

Economists have traditionally considered nature to be infinite relative to the economy, and therefore not scarce, and therefore properly priced at zero. But the biosphere is now scarce, and becoming more so every day as a result of growth of its large and dependent subsystem, the macro-economy. More

Spectre of ghettoisation threatens South East as housing benefit is hammered

One of the great joys of living in London is its social and economic diversity. One minute you can be walking past million pound mansions in Kensington and the next you will find yourself in the middle of a housing estate populated by a mix of native London working classes and first or second generation immigrants from all over the world. Get on a bus or a tube and a similar mix confronts you. 


Three lessons from the Treasury’s Spending Challenge fiasco

You’ve seen the Treasury’s Spending Challenge website, right? The one which asks members of the public to tell the government how to cut. More

Well-being, advertising and another product placement consultation

We recently heard the depressing news that the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has decided that the most appropriate people to fund the Government’s Change 4 Life initiative - which encourages young people and their families to eat healthier foods and be more active in order to support their well-being – could include the junk food industry.  And in return More

We need a bigger plug for the enterprise gap

“Politicians need to be pulled up short sometimes,” says nef researcher Dr Faiza Shaheen.  “They need to be confronted by evidence that what they say isn’t quite true.”

Faiza is a labour market economist.  Her analysis of the likely impact of waiving national insurance contributions on new enterprise – not nearly enough – is likely to have an important impact as policy-makers look more closely at exactly how new business could create jobs.


Little banks, big success

You might expect that, after one of the worst banking crashes in history, that the smallest banks of all might be suffering the most.  But, at least in the USA, the credit union sector is not only doing rather well, they are doing better than the big banks.

There are 7,600 credit unions in the USA, though many of them are giants compared to their equivalents in the UK, at least in England (Ireland’s credit unions are much more established, on both sides of the border). 


Population bomb or consumption explosion?

Today, on World Population Day, the Royal Society has launched two year inquiry into human population growth and how it might affect social and economic development.

Contrary to what some might have you believe, discussing population isn’t a taboo. Rather the debate is heavily polarised between those who champion (directly or indirectly) coercive population control and those who believe following good, gender-aware development and poverty reduction is all that is necessary.


A rallying cry in the fight for justice

“So, dream with me of a fairer world, but let us take the pragmatic steps necessary to achieve it.”


The wisdom of crowds

As the hazy outlines of the Conservative’s Big Society idea begin to harden into shapes like the divisive Free Schools project, some of its problems are coming sharply in to focus. In this time of historic budget cuts, competition for government spending will be fiercer than ever. Against this background, giving groups of citizens the opportunity to bid for pots of government money for their own purposes could be a recipe for disaster. Without the right structures, the Big Society could degenerate into the divided society as groups mobilise to claim their share of what’s on offer. More

The European Union needs a sea change in fisheries policy

This is the story about a farmer who had a vast fertile piece of land where to grow multiple vegetables; the farmer sold the vegetables in the market and had a nice living. But one day the farmer burnt half of the land and started picking the vegetables from neighboring fields. Then he burnt a bit more and started picking and buying vegetables from fields which were further away. This was quite costly so he had to rely on taxpayers' money who happily helped him to continue in this absurd journey. 


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