The resistible rise of Ghost Town Britain

Back in 2002, nef published a report called Ghost Town Britain, which warned of the coming tipping point which could plunge many high streets into the kind of economic oblivion of shutters and old newspapers that afflicts so many town centres in North America.

Various factors seem to be coming together to sharpen that threat again.  They include:

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Putting well-being at the heart of local places

Last year, as part of a project for a London-based charity, a colleague and I spoke to a number of people working in local government. We asked them how their day-to-day work related to well-being. Often, they were perplexed by the question. Their whole working lives had been spent trying to do things like improving the provision of services to vulnerable adults, or to create healthier local populations. Surely, they said, everything they did was about well-being.

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Beware the security guard state

You probably didn't hear about it, but a couple of weeks ago, West London’s  shiny new Westfield  Shopping centre came under attack. By middle-aged librarians. A trio of them in fact, handing out leaflets about cuts to the local library service. More

A year on from Climategate, what have we learnt?

One year ago today, an unknown hacker penetrated climate science blog RealClimate’s server and began uploading 160MB of emails and other documents swiped from UEA’s Climatic Research Unit own servers on to it. Two days later, the stolen emails found their way on to another server, and were subsequently released into the public domain. The blogosphere stirred, spluttered and boiled over. Climategate had begun.

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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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