Author: Gerald O'Connell

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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Strange Days

Strange days have found us Strange days have tracked us down They’re going to destroy Our casual joys – The Doors . Every day brings something new. The unthinkable becomes normal. The impossible becomes mandatory. We are living in truly strange times… Do you remember when things were really humming? It seems like only yesterday…

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The Friendly Face of Fascism

Daniel Trilling in The Guardian, 18 February 2020: ‘It has become received wisdom among Westminster pundits that the new winning formula in politics is to “move left on economics and right on culture.”’ Sounds like National Socialism doesn’t it? But then we think ‘Oh well, it can’t happen here.’ Maybe because we think we’re not…

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