Category archives for SPERI Comment

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
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Localising pension fund investments: opportunities and challenges

Pension funds could play an important role in achieving a more balanced economy, but new investments should prioritise benefits for members above all else Regional economic imbalances – that is inequalities in the outcomes between different regions and localities in the UK – have long been a cause for concern for politicians and policy-makers. In response, pension funds, with their … Continue reading

9 July 2018 by
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The Political Economy of Brexit and the Future of British Capitalism

Two symposia in New Political Economy bring together academic experts to examine the implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in key economic policy areas In March 2017, the British government invoked article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, officially beginning the negotiations for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) – the so-called ‘Brexit’. … Continue reading

2 July 2018 by
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Peace walls and other social frontiers can breed crime and conflict in cities

Identifying social frontiers is the first step to understanding what impacts they have on the people living nearby In several cities across Northern Ireland, so-called “peace walls” mark the boundaries between Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods. Erected amid the Troubles which started in the late 1960s, the barriers were intended as a temporary measure to prevent outbreaks of violence between the two communities. … Continue reading

28 June 2018 by
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Frankfurt and Paris as financial centres after Brexit

Scott Lavery

The City of London is likely to remain as Europe’s pre-eminent financial centre after the UK leaves the EU, but new research shows how Frankfurt and Paris seek to ‘capitalise’ on the fall-out from Brexit Brexit creates an opportunity for alternative European financial centres such as Frankfurt, Paris Luxembourg and Dublin. However, no comprehensive academic research on the emerging competition between … Continue reading

26 June 2018 by
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Understanding vulnerability to forced labour in global supply chains

Forced labour is prevalent in the tea and cocoa industries and is happening in the context of widespread labour abuse In my remarks at an ETI Ethical Insights discussion on what drives modern slavery in global supply chains, I outlined findings from my Global Business of Forced Labour project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The project systematically mapped the business … Continue reading

25 June 2018 by
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Why the smallest states fail to secure special treatment in global trade politics

There are four reasons why Small Island Developing States and Small Vulnerable Economies fail to secure special and differential treatment (SDT) and Preferences as global norms In Part One of this blog I argued that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Small Vulnerable Economies (SVEs) are not present in the academic debates on small states and international norms. I also … Continue reading

22 June 2018 by
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What will Brexit mean for UK climate action?

Our research reveals that the UK is at risk of letting climate change slip off the agenda at a time when attention and action has never been as important With the ‘Brexit day’ deadline, at the end of March 2019, rapidly approaching, many are still puzzling over what exiting the European Union (EU) will actually mean for the UK. One … Continue reading

21 June 2018 by
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Intangible concerns: Goodwill and the risk of pro-cyclicality in corporate America

Much has been written about the growth of debt since the Great Financial Crisis. But whilst leverage is a worry, much less has been written about the problem of asset quality As someone writing about derivatives as the last crisis hit in 2007 (or 2008 depending on your markers), I always try to keep track of those markets which have … Continue reading

20 June 2018 by
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Ahead of the African Union Summit: How to boost East African economies?

This month’s African Union Summit is poised to probe widespread corruption but a closer look at East Africa also reveals other pressing issues, not least rising political uncertainty, economic instability and violence. With the 31st African Union Summit around the corner, the African Development Bank recently underscored its support for East Africa’s bid for industrialization. But the region continues to show poor … Continue reading

19 June 2018 by
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The ideological shifts, economics and geopolitics of the Italian elections

The agenda of Italy’s new anti-liberal, Eurosceptic and pro-Russian government could have significant ramifications far beyond Italy This post elucidates on the three key implications following the 2018 Italian general elections and the recent appointment of Italy’s new government: the consolidation of anti-liberal ideologies, the impact of a potential Italian exit from the euro on global financial stability, the geopolitical … Continue reading

12 June 2018 by
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Book Review: Extracting Profit: Imperialism, Neoliberalism, and the New Scramble for Africa

Lee Wengraf provides an important reminder that Africa’s position within the world economy is heavily determined by its unequal insertion into the global capitalist system and ongoing manifestations of imperialism. A focus on politics within African countries might offer further pointers as to how this status quo is reproduced and how it might be changed. The idea of ‘Africa Rising’ … Continue reading

11 June 2018 by
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Three lessons the labour movement must learn from the Fight for 15 at Walmart

Social media, the power of reputational damage and effective communications are powerful tools for trade union organising Across Europe trade union strength is diminishing. In many countries union membership is falling. Even where membership and collective bargaining appear robust this is mainly due to legal supports rather than unions’ retaining structural power. Sectoral agreements are being hollowed out and the … Continue reading

8 June 2018 by
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A call for the revival of political and economic education

Political and economic education is pitiful, and via political parties, the education system and trade unions, it desperately needs to be revived One way we participate in democracy is by voting. Another may be protesting, or through supporting some trade union action. However we engage, we are doing so armed with some knowledge about the current state of affairs, and … Continue reading

7 June 2018 by
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Embracing data is key to the future of unions

Learning to read and predict our changing environment through strategic use of data is crucial for the survival of trade unions “Will you be happy when the last union office turns its lights off? Is that what success looks like?” This is a challenge Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, sometimes lays down to employers and HR professionals, evoking an … Continue reading

6 June 2018 by
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Building up the bundle of sticks. New ideas for union organising

A new mini-series of blogs, published by SPERI and openDemocracy, will present new ideas for how unions can organise and engage with the workforce. “A trade union is like a bundle of sticks. The workers are bound together and have the strength of unity … A worker who is not in a union is like a single stick. She can … Continue reading

5 June 2018 by
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How does the geographic spread of a bank’s subsidiaries affect its value?

Georgios Efthyvoulou

Our new research show that the values of banks in emerging countries are highly responsive to their internationalisation strategies From the mid-1990s and up until the onset of the global financial crisis, the internationalisation of financial institutions increased dramatically. The main contributing factors to this phenomenon were the liberalisation and deregulation of financial markets, the higher demand for international financial … Continue reading

4 June 2018 by
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Missing: the smallest states are absent in international political economy analysis

Small Island Developing States and Small Vulnerable Economies are not present in the academic literature on international norms. A new two-part blog will consider why. Broadly speaking, small states have made significant contributions to global norms in international relations, meaning, they have contributed to establishing standards of expected behaviors for countries to adopt. However, except for a few scholars looking at … Continue reading

1 June 2018 by
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The politics and economics of Brexit

Brexit may dominate in the UK but it is just one of several challenges to governance and integration facing the EU The British referendum on continuing membership of the European Union (EU) in June 2016 represented a turning point in the relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and the EU. In March 2017, the British government under Prime Minister Theresa … Continue reading

25 May 2018 by
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Book Review: Flawed Capitalism: The Anglo-American Condition and its Resolution

Scott Lavery

David Coates’ critique of Anglo-American capitalism is devastating; his optimism about transforming it is welcome. The left must now develop a political strategy capable of overcoming structural barriers to reform Global orders rise and global orders fall. That much we know. The difficult questions arise when we examine those moments of transition between phases of capitalist development. The post-crash world … Continue reading

23 May 2018 by
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