Delivering a people’s bank

This horrible something will include rising unemployment, bankruptcies, home re-possessions and businesses shutting down on the High Street and elsewhere. So much we know.

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Why the hedge funds are on the way out

The hedge funds 'shorted' the banks, helping drive them into disaster, just as they have made a massive amount over the past week by shorting the stock market. Imagine in ten years time Chinese hedge funds shorting the US dollar, as the hedge funds did to the Far Eastern currencies in 1997. The mere possibility reveals the truth: we can't go back to business as usual. American national security rules out the old dispensation.

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Green New Deal Round-Up

Naomi Klein - author of The Shock Doctrine and No Logo - kicked things off last month, when she encouraged activists to take to the streets and demand for a New Deal. Meanwhile, there are some encouraging signs that the Green New Deal Group's calls for 'creating and training a carbon army of workers' in green collar jobs are being heard in government. More

How one crunch infects the others

This is worrying, not just because it may undermine the solvency of the insurers along with the banks - a clear example of the climate crunch affecting the credit crunch - but because of recent revelations about how short-sighted our financial services are.

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Five ways to well-being, and other tales

In Five Ways to Well-being, we reviewed the empirical evidence collected by Foresight from hundreds of research studies across the world. The outcome is a set of five different kinds of daily activity that, according to the latest and best evidence available, promote well-being and help to buffer against mental health difficulties.

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Blame the system

It was especially interesting to hear how John Humphrys went straight for the five ways when interviewing Professor John Beddington on Today this morning. Humphrys claimed that our suggestions were a bit obvious and Pollyannaish, and the fact that people weren't already doing them meant that they had somehow "chosen" not to.

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Our debt-fuelled economy has left us ill-equipped to weather the storm

It was not so long ago that Gordon Brown claimed to have abolished 'boom and bust'. As we enter what everyone now thinks will be a deep and prolonged recession this claim is looking - being as generous as possible - a little over optimistic.

The government is keen to stress that the current crisis was not 'made in the UK', and it is certainly true that this is now a global crisis that no country can insulate itself from completely.

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Green New Deal Round-Up

After UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed UNEP's call for a Green New Deal, several prominent politicians, including Gordon Brown and US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, have taken an interest. More

More credit card worries

Further to last week's post about credit card debt, here's an interesting nugget from the British Psychological Society's research digest.

Hundreds of participants were given a credit-card bill with an outstanding balance of £435.76 and asked how much they could afford to pay off, given their real-life finances. Crucially, half the participants were shown what the minimum compulsory payment was and half weren't.

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Local resilience is the key to well-being

In the name of "modernisation", the government has insisted on competitive commissioning, a narrow focus on financial efficiency savings, and investment through the private finance initiative (PFI) that builds up long-term debts. It has shown a strong preference for large, aggregated contracts. In other words, public services have been subject to the same blind faith in market forces as the rest of the economy.

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