Posts by Matt Bishop

Dr Matthew L. Bishop, Associate Fellow, SPERI & Senior Lecturer in International Politics, University of Sheffield

Making the unpolishable Brexit turd sparkle?

The economic logic of hard Brexit has always been a chimera, and our political class is finally waking up to the impossibility of delivering it in any meaningful sense During the New Labour years, Peter Mandelson was regularly maligned for the infamous quote about being ‘intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich’. This statement was often taken out of context, … Continue reading

13 July 2018 by Matt Bishop
Categories: SPERI Comment Tags: , , , ,

Labour’s Titanic Brexit nightmare

Matthew Bishop

In even flirting with leaving the EU Single Market, the UK is heading full steam towards an iceberg of historic proportions, and this will destroy Labour if a change of course is not pursued We are plausibly living through the endgame of a neoliberalism that has drastically over-reached itself. The great value of Corbynism is its recognition of this essential … Continue reading

24 July 2017 by Matt Bishop
Categories: SPERI Comment Tags: , , , ,

Brexit and free trade fallacies Part Two

Matthew Bishop

The British government is displaying an abject grasp of global trade politics; ironically the EU red tape the Brexiteers wish to burn is the very basis on which the ‘free trade’ they hope for rests In the previous post, I discussed how negotiations around ‘free trade’ and the agreements that sustain it are no longer really about tariffs.  Rather they … Continue reading

16 January 2017 by Matt Bishop
Categories: SPERI Comment Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Brexit and free trade fallacies Part One

Matthew Bishop

Modern trade politics is about regulatory harmonisation and attracting flows of investment, and this calls into question the very idea of ‘trade’ as we have understood it until now On taking up office as Secretary of State for Brexit, David Davis caused consternation – and mockery – when he appeared not to understand EU trade law, suggesting the government would … Continue reading

11 January 2017 by Matt Bishop
Categories: SPERI Comment Tags: , , , , , ,

High hopes: what now for the cannabis ‘green rush’ under Trump?

Matthew Bishop

The likely evolution of cannabis policy highlights the domestic and external political economy constraints facing President Trump In the aftermath of a presidential election in which Hillary Clinton won by well over a million votes but still ultimately lost the White House, it would be easy to be despondent about democracy in the US. Yet the flipside of an American … Continue reading

28 November 2016 by Matt Bishop
Categories: SPERI Comment, USA Tags: , , , ,

What if the national economy is like a household budget?

Matthew Bishop

An inexpert population frequently internalises misleading economic ideas: experts should consider engaging on these terms rather than always trying to get the economics ‘right’ In 2012/13, there were 571,334 Year 11 students in UK state schools. Just under half went on to AS Levels the following year, of which only 23,049 took economics, or 8.9% of the total. We can … Continue reading

20 September 2016 by Matt Bishop
Categories: SPERI Comment Tags: , , , , ,

The Coming Crisis: Is the long-predicted crisis in China finally coming?

Matthew Bishop

A gathering storm is visible on the Chinese horizon, yet the country seems better prepared to ride it out than many predict. China has apparently been on the cusp of a crisis for decades. In the 1990s, as industrialisation gathered momentum, neoliberal economists regularly advocated ‘shock therapy’ of the kind undertaken disastrously by Russia as a way of staving it … Continue reading

4 May 2016 by Matt Bishop
Categories: China, Development, Economics, Finance, SPERI Comment, The coming crisis Tags: , , , ,

Cannabis in the USA Part II: … losing the (drug) war?

Matthew Bishop

Reforms represent just one battle in a bigger war that is far from over In the previous post, I discussed how cannabis reforms in parts of the US were gathering pace. Yet, paradoxically, progress in this area could actually conceal an intensification of the general ‘War on Drugs’. Legalising states in the US remain in violation of the federal Controlled … Continue reading

17 December 2015 by Matt Bishop
Categories: Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, USA Tags: , , , ,

Cannabis in the USA Part I: winning the battle…

Matthew Bishop

Ambitious reforms to cannabis policy in the US are long overdue, with cracks finally appearing in the edifice of the failed ‘War on Drugs’ Drug prohibition has failed utterly. It has neither stemmed demand nor supply, while creating powerful mafias and a desperate trail of violence. It is not based on evidence or logic. As regularly noted by Professor David … Continue reading

15 December 2015 by Matt Bishop
Categories: crime, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, USA Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Restaurant tipping: a very British affliction

Matthew Bishop

The recent furore over gratuities exemplifies Britain’s low-skill, low-investment political economy There is an infamous scene in the Quentin Tarantino movie, Reservoir Dogs, where Mr Pink, played by Steve Buscemi, refuses to proffer a tip after a meal.  He argues that this should not be automatically expected for simply doing one’s job, particularly when distinctions are arbitrarily drawn between different … Continue reading

13 October 2015 by Matt Bishop
Categories: Economics, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Tax, USA Tags: , , , , , ,

Reforming FIFA?

Matthew Bishop

The issue lays bare the broader trade-offs between democracy, efficiency and legitimacy that epitomise global governance One of the most remarkable outcomes of the corruption scandal that has engulfed the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is the rapidity with which its formerly impenetrable headquarters in Zurich has come to resemble a fetid goldfish bowl, the inhabitants of which finally … Continue reading

16 June 2015 by Matt Bishop
Categories: Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Sport Tags: , , , , , ,

‘Non-doms’: keeping the baby, losing the bathwater

Matthew Bishop

Non-domiciled tax status is not intrinsically illegitimate; the problem is its abuse by wealthy long-term British residents and citizens whose foreign domicile is spurious I have a dirty secret: I’m a non-dom!  As a British citizen, the UK remains my ‘domicile’ – essentially my permanent residence – even though I’m tax-resident in Trinidad where I currently live and work. For … Continue reading

14 April 2015 by Matt Bishop
Categories: Economics, Inequality, SPERI Comment, Tax Tags: ,

‘Osbornomics’: forever blowing bubbles?

Matthew Bishop

How does the Chancellor succeed in telling such a positive story about his management of the British economy when it contradicts so much of the evidence? As the 2015 budget illustrated, George Osborne is undeniably one of the shrewdest politicians in Britain today.  He is not, in my view, a very good Chancellor, though, and overall his stewardship of the … Continue reading

31 March 2015 by Matt Bishop
Categories: British growth crisis, Debt, Economics, Inequality, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Tax Tags: ,

Singaporean lessons?

Matthew Bishop

Singapore is often held up as a model of development, and it does indeed carry some interesting lessons for other countries, both small and large, to consider A question my Caribbean students often ask is: ‘why can’t we be more like Singapore?’  By this, they mean a small country with high levels of development, which is safe, clean, and generates … Continue reading

24 February 2015 by Matt Bishop
Categories: Development, Economics, Housing, SPERI Comment Tags: ,

The new geopolitical economy of oil in the Americas

Matthew Bishop

The recent collapse in oil prices is a mixed blessing: from the vantage point of the Caribbean the implications are perplexing and disturbing When I moved to Trinidad in 2009, a country blessed with a flourishing hydrocarbon industry, I marvelled at the fact that it cost barely £10 to fill my car with petrol.  But global oil prices were hovering … Continue reading

27 January 2015 by Matt Bishop
Categories: Debt, Economics, Environment, Finance, Global crisis, SPERI Comment, trade, USA Tags: , , , ,

Defending the market?

Matthew Bishop

The free market is indeed under attack, but mostly from the self-serving ideology of the Right and its supporters in big business During the British Conservative Party conference, one pundit argued on BBC radio that the inheritance tax threshold should urgently be raised in order to stimulate ‘enterprise’, a long-held objective of the party.  This followed George Osborne’s exasperated conference … Continue reading

12 November 2014 by Matt Bishop
Categories: Economics, Political theory, SPERI Comment, Tax Tags: , , , , , ,

What is Labour’s narrative?

Matthew Bishop

Without an effective story about the past, the present and the future, Labour will be unable to shape a new British political economy grounded in fairness After four years of the most radical Conservative government in living memory, many genies are out of bottles, much damage has been done, and we are still only in Act One of the play. … Continue reading

7 August 2014 by Matt Bishop
Categories: SPERI Comment

Reparations for slavery?

Matthew Bishop

The legacy of the slave trade lives on and forces us to think about political economy in new and uncomfortable ways In the mid-1700s, a number of highly overleveraged Jamaican sugar plantations suddenly and unexpectedly collapsed.  Trevor Burnard has recently questioned whether this represented ‘an early warning that West Indian planters were not the masters of the universe in the … Continue reading

20 March 2014 by Matt Bishop
Categories: Employment, Human rights, SPERI Comment, trade

The unravelling of Chavismo?

Matthew Bishop

The unique experiment represented by the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela is potentially on the brink of a painful and protracted crisis One of the most difficult jobs we have as analysts of political economy is cutting through the fog of debates that are polarised between seemingly irreconcilable viewpoints.  The unfolding crisis in contemporary Venezuela presents us with just such a … Continue reading

25 February 2014 by Matt Bishop
Categories: Development, SPERI Comment Tags: , , , , ,

A centrist political economy for Britain: Part 2

Matthew Bishop

We need to coalesce around a new politics which recaptures the spirit of the post-war consensus Which current national UK political leader enjoys the healthiest mandate from the electorate? The answer – with a 44% share of the vote in 2011 – is Alex Salmond. More importantly, why is Salmond so popular? Could it be because his Scottish National Party … Continue reading

5 September 2013 by Matt Bishop
Categories: British growth crisis, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment