San Diego leads the fightback against superstores

The Clone Town Britain reports which nef has produced since 2004 has certainly changed the terms of the debate about high streets, but we have yet to convince most places of the most important part of the argument.


The fight for fisheries must think bigger

Channel 4's Big Fish Fight has put the dire state of the world's fisheries under the spotlight. We are learning about the absurd wastage of 'discards' and that fish stocks are producing less than they used too.The solution that has got most attention so far is for British people to diversify their diet and eat a more adventurous range of species.


Towards a sharing and recycling economy

The average electric drill is used for one day a year.  The average lawn mower for rather more than that, but not much more than six, if my own lawn mower is anything to go by.  The rest of the time they just sit around cluttering up cupboards and sheds.


Why bank bonuses are our business….

Many bankers are getting highly agitated about what they see as completely illegitimate interference in their pay packets.  It’s none of the public’s business say some. Simply the politics of envy say others. Are they right?

Well, no. And here’s why....


Hard work and the Big Society

In the UK, we work longer hours on average than anywhere else in Europe. And yet we have two million people unemployed. Suppose we move to a much shorter working week?


Are we going to get a new definition of progress?

At the end of November the Prime Minister announced that the Office for National Statistics would from this April be measuring 'not just...our standard of living but...our quality of life' and on Wednesday I joined a group convened by the ONS to discuss how to do this. As one of the academics present put it, people have been arguing about this for at least two and half thousand years, the nature of the good life being one of the central concerns of philosophy, and we certainly didn't resolve it in the two and half hours we spent on the subject. More

It’s a wonderful life (for the banks)

There was a dearth of Christmas films this year on television.  I suppose the schedulers assume that we own the ones we like already on DVD or video and hardly need reminding of them.  Consequently, I had to drag out an old video copy of It’s a Wonderful Life that I keep under the stairs, just to keep the Christmas spirit going.

I’m glad I did, because it reminded me why I write this blog.  It is of course a tale of how one man’s life frustrates the drift of unbridled and unprincipled business towards barbarism.


Some festive Payment by Results

Ho Ho Ho. It’s Christmas time. A time of eating, drinking and spending time with those who are loosely genetically related to us.  But, for most of us, it isn’t all happy families. There are some family members who are generally hard work.


Happy New Year (for the banks at least)

As they look back on a rollercoaster year, the heads of Britain’s big banks are probably feeling quietly pleased at how things have worked out.  Things are looking considerably rosier than they were following the Spring election.  For when  the Conservatives, who themselves had made some threatening noises about banking reform, appointed Vince Cable as Business Secretary as part of the Coalition deal, the intake of breath from the City was all too palpable.  Prince Vince was also on the independently appointed Commission on banking with a wide-ranging scope for ra More

Why do we let food speculators give us the Chocfinger?

In the UK, we are continually presented with the idea that foreign nations stand in the way of global financial stability. For example, we allegedly can’t properly regulative hedge funds, lest they flee overseas.  But before we rush to condemn others, perhaps it is time to consider what role the UK plays in dragging down global standards?


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