Gillian Tett’s Anthro-Vision

I would struggle to find a book that I could recommend more wholeheartedly than Gillian Tett’s recently published Anthro-Vision: How Anthropology Can Explain Business and Life Tett has a stellar reputation as a financial journalist, not least built on her prescience in being one of the few to foresee the financial crash of 2008. Anthro-Vision…

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America’s Pre-Fascist Condition

I was intrigued by this story, the idea of a family abandoning its natural ties and loyalties in favour of an almost demonic political purpose. It seems to speak of a profound social breakdown, an unravelling of the natural order of things as a harbinger of approaching darkness. Characterising those of a radically different opinion…

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The QAnon Franchise

QAnon has been described, inter alia, as a conspiracy theory, an alternate reality game and as a cult. None of these descriptions are wrong, although none of them really capture the full nature of the beast. The Internet puts communications on steroids, with the result that information (whether true or false) moves at far faster…

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Corporate Brigandage

Amid the widespread concerns about growing inequality and excessive executive pay, I frequently think about Kurosawa’s classic 1954 movie Seven Samurai. It isn’t the samurai who come to mind, but rather the brigands who prey on the villagers who hire the samurai. The brigands’ business model is an effective one: they descend on the village…

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Qualitative Easing

The economic crises of 2008 and now Covid-19 have been met by waves of quantitative easing – central bank injection of money into the economy through purchase of government bonds or other financial assets. As an anti-recessionary form of monetary stimulus the policy has only been partially effective, and has had some undesirable side-effects. Principal…

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The Poison in America’s Soul

The 2016 election result can no longer be dismissed as a one-off, a temporary aberration in American political life. More Americans voted for Trump in 2020 than in 2016. So 2016 was no accident – seventy-four million Americans voted for Trump in 2020. Seventy-four million Americans were prepared to vote for a climate change denying…

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‘Everything Needs to Change, So Everything Can Stay the Same’

Giuseppe di Lampedusa In times of economic crisis all sorts of things get turned upside down: Keynesians become Monetarists while Monetarists become Keynesians. At the same time politicians and their most senior hired hands start listening to economists (for a while at least) whom they used to ignore. In such times di Lampedusa’s insight is…

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Jungian Economics and Behavioural Economics

In a previous post I proposed that irrational economic (and politico-economic) behaviour might, in some instances, be best understood in terms of reference to Jungian archetypes. It has been suggested that my proposal is not necessarily original, and that behavioural economics has already explored various ways in which decision-making departs from the strict rationality assumed…

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Libra and the Telcos

What has happened to Libra? Facebook announced the scheme back in June 2019 in a blaze of publicity, almost immediately followed by a massive negative reaction: central banks on regulatory grounds; commentators on dystopian grounds; just about everybody on the grounds of Facebook’s reputational difficulties. Although there have been no formal announcements of closure, it…

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Covid-19 and the Old Gods

From the very beginning there was something disturbing about the government’s daily virus briefings. Something I couldn’t quite identify, something dreamlike and other-worldly. They reminded me of something but I couldn’t recall exactly what. It was Sunak’s first appearance that broke the spell and dragged an old memory to the surface. His suit was too…

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