Despite last week’s tragedies, we’re winning the fight on youth imprisonment

Last week was a tragic one in the prison system. The apparent suicide of two teenagers in separate incidents has thrown the spotlight back on the youth prison system. These incidents call into question the ability of young offenders institutions to provide proper care for the children in their care. There were many warning signs. More

Davos 2012: The Great Transformation

The theme of this year's Davos meeting was the 'Great Transformation'. Over the last three years nef has argued a similar line, promoting the need for what we call a Great Transition. 

Our unique strength as an organisation is that we have a very clear analysis of the systemic and international problems advanced economies are currenly facing. We understand how sustainability challenges link with inequality, with increasing instability of economies, and how all of these affect human well-being.

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Cap bonuses, not benefits

If nothing else, the habit of blaming the victims in times of economic crisis is remarkably consistent. Making the behaviour of people receiving welfare benefits in times of high structural unemployment the focus of debate, is a convenient political trick to distract attention from the failure of government economic policy. It was used repeatedly during recessions in the 1980s and 1990s by a government that thought high unemployment was ‘a price worth paying’ to control inflation.

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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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