AI, Automation, Globalisation, and the Inevitability of Socialism

There is a long and honourable literary tradition of dystopian visions based on and around the idea of mechanical and/or electronic usurpation of the role of human labour and the resultant impact on social stratification: In H G Wells’s The Time Machine (1895) there are two social classes, the leisured minority Eloi and the Morlocks…

Continue reading AI, Automation, Globalisation, and the Inevitability of Socialism

The Extraordinary Politicisation of Climate Change

Weird isn’t it? The way that climate change becomes a right/left issue, the way that proponents and opponents line up congruently with their political views. The science itself is politically neutral, and scientists are almost unanimous in their view that climate change is both real and damaging. And yet, for all the hard evidence, there…

Continue reading The Extraordinary Politicisation of Climate Change

A UK Sovereign Wealth Fund and a UK National Investment Bank Are Not Separate Issues

In previous posts I have set out the case for both a UK Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and a UK National Investment Bank (NIB). In each instance I didn’t pay much attention to the question of implementation. Turning to that issue now I aim to show that the two are highly interdependent and would deliver…

Continue reading A UK Sovereign Wealth Fund and a UK National Investment Bank Are Not Separate Issues

Opium Is The New Opium Of The People

170 years after Marx first suggested that religion is the opium of the people, his dictum still resonates as it has done down the years. The idea that society has a mechanism for distracting people from remedying the ills that really assail them won’t go away. As the grip of religion fades in increasingly secular…

Continue reading Opium Is The New Opium Of The People

How The Housing Shortage Wrecks The UK Economy

Nobody denies there is a shortage, but what is its extent? Research, conducted in 2018 by Heriot-Watt University, showed a shortfall of 4 million homes. Government targets suggest that 300,000 homes need to be created annually in order to fix the problem (The pro rata Heriot-Watt figure is 340,000). Drilling down into various estimates reveals…

Continue reading How The Housing Shortage Wrecks The UK Economy

The Case For a UK National Investment Bank

There is a problem. A serious one. A recent ONS study notes that ‘Between Quarter 1 1997 and Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2017, the UK had the lowest average value of GFCF (Gross Fixed Capital Formation) as a percentage of GDP of any OECD nation.’ And further ‘The UK has the lowest average non-government…

Continue reading The Case For a UK National Investment Bank

The Case for a Sovereign Wealth Fund

Read Aditya Chakrabortty’s piece on the fate of North Sea oil revenues and weep. He compares and contrasts British and Norwegian approaches to this spectacular windfall. Norway used the money to create a Sovereign Wealth Fund while Britain used the money to finance ‘tax cuts’. Except they weren’t really tax cuts at all. On the…

Continue reading The Case for a Sovereign Wealth Fund

Left, Right and the Proper Role of the Modern State

There is a perennially unproductive political debate in the UK about the role of the state in owning and controlling infrastructure and the means of production. In general terms the political right espouses a minimisation of the role of the state, while the left has a bias towards maximising the role of the state. The…

Continue reading Left, Right and the Proper Role of the Modern State

Four Things UK Politicians Should Have Told Us But Didn’t

First Thing: The UK economy is addicted to immigration. ‘Addicted’, because we can’t do without it. The UK economy has been predicated on immigration as a remedy for economic ills for two hundred years. At first cheap labour was imported from Ireland to build railways, ships, and to work in new factories. The ‘economic ills’…

Continue reading Four Things UK Politicians Should Have Told Us But Didn’t