Category archives for Political theory

What is meant by the centre in political analysis?

Tony Payne

There are good grounds for thinking that the concept rests at heart on an acceptance of what Weber called ‘an ethic of responsibility’ All the talk at the moment is about the centre ground in politics, especially in Britain but also more widely too in other parts of Europe. Conventionally, this is understood as the central part of an ideological … Continue reading

21 October 2015 by
Categories: Political theory, Social science, SPERI Comment, Tony Payne | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The flawed utopianism of the SDG process

Graham Harrison

Everything is premised on an unrealistic understanding of the structures and dynamics of the global political economy Thomas Pogge and Mitu Sengupta set the scene for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as ‘that cosmopolis of the future whose foundations are now being shaped’, offering more than a hint of utopian thinking. The foundations to which the authors refer are the … Continue reading

1 October 2015 by
Categories: Development, Global crisis, Global South, Inequality, Political theory, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Sustainability | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The self-protection of European society (inside and outside the EU)

Owen Parker

Growing political turmoil in Greece, Spain and Turkey could be a precursor to a Polanyian ‘great transformation’ away from neoliberalism Many commentators on the global financial crisis and its aftermath in the European context have sought to make sense of the widespread political resistance and protest that has emerged in its wake.  Karl Polanyi, a well-known figure among political economists, … Continue reading

24 September 2015 by
Categories: Europe and the EU, Global crisis, Political theory, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paul Romer on mathiness and orthodox economics methodology

Matthew Watson

Recent criticisms of the mathiness of many economists has raised the question within the blogosphere of whether a fundamental fault-line has now punctured economics orthodoxy Over the course of the summer Paul Romer has set the economics blogs alight with his accusation regarding the so-called mathiness of many of his peers.  We can be pretty sure that this is not … Continue reading

16 September 2015 by
Categories: British growth crisis, Economics, Methodology, Political theory, Social science, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The political difficulties of ‘Corbynomics’

The problems are not really the economics at all, but much more the politics A month ago nobody had heard of ‘Corbynomics’.  Today Google records 174,000 search results.  It is becoming difficult to escape the term in any form of media.  If Jeremy Corbyn wins the Labour leadership election, its contents and claims will shape political debate in the UK … Continue reading

3 September 2015 by
Categories: British growth crisis, Debt, Economics, Employment, Political theory, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 comment

Sustainable Development Goals for all countries

Gail Hurley

Does this signal a paradigm shift in how we have to conceive of ‘development’? 2015 is a major year for international development – or so we’re told.  I’ve written before about the UN’s bold new development programme, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be agreed in New York in September.  This ambitious new development agenda calls on all governments … Continue reading

30 June 2015 by
Categories: Development, Inequality, Political theory, Social science, SPERI Comment, Sustainability | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Thought experiments in the political economy of (ecological) crisis displacement: Part 1

Martin Craig

The future crises that we confront depend, above all, on the way we choose to respond to the present ecological crisis With the term ‘crisis’ used so often and so liberally in recent years it’s worth reminding ourselves of the term’s medical etymology: namely, a moment in which the condition of a sick patient deteriorates and ‘decisive intervention’ must be … Continue reading

26 May 2015 by
Categories: Inequality, Political theory, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Sustainability | Leave a comment

What does a sustainable economy look like?

Hayley Stevenson

Research suggests the existence of no less than three distinct visions Few concepts have influenced the theory and practice of environmental governance quite as significantly as ‘sustainable development’.  Introduced by the Brundtland Commission in 1987, the term was quickly embraced in the global North and South by policy-makers and civil society alike.  Promising to reconcile environmental sustainability, social welfare and … Continue reading

3 March 2015 by
Categories: Development, Economics, Methodology, Political theory, SPERI Comment, Sustainability | Tags: | Leave a comment

Discovering and discussing the hidden costs of recovery

Forthcoming seminars at SPERI will endeavour to rethink recovery in a radical way, taking gender and social reproduction fully into account Thanks to over £500 billion of government bailout funds to banks and business, the British economy appears to be ‘growing’ again.  National statistics indicate GDP was restored to £2.52 trillion in 2013, nearly back to pre-2007-8 financial crisis levels.  … Continue reading

10 February 2015 by
Categories: British growth crisis, Debt, Economics, Inequality, Political theory, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Welfare | Leave a comment

Global capitalism and the rule of law

Robbie Pye

Christopher May bridges the disciplinary divide between law and political economy to deliver a clear and compelling account of the idea of the rule of law in global politics The ‘rule of law’ has become increasingly frequent and unquestioned in the lexicon of global politics.  Yet, as Christopher May points out in The Rule of Law: The Common Sense of … Continue reading

10 December 2014 by
Categories: Political theory, Social science, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

‘Troubled Families’ or ‘Troubled Bankers’?

Daniela and Johnna

There is no end to welfare in sight; yet welfare is no longer for the poor As we all know, the 2008 financial crisis exposed major flaws in contemporary financial markets; the continued public-policy response is an unprecedented commitment to open-ended corporate welfare to the financial services sector and, in particular, banks.  In the UK at last count, the ‘direct … Continue reading

3 December 2014 by
Categories: Economics, Finance, Housing, Human rights, Political theory, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Tax, Welfare | Leave a comment

The finance curse as a new grand narrative?

Andrew Baker

As both populist discourse and conceptual apparatus, it is capable of constructing a novel, inclusive coalition in support of the technical reforms we need In a previous SPERI blog post, I lamented the complete absence of a co-ordinating discourse or grand political narrative about the financial crash of 2008.  Instead, we have seen isolated and disjointed technical changes in policy … Continue reading

13 November 2014 by
Categories: British growth crisis, Economics, Finance, Inequality, Political theory, SPERI Comment, Tax | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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
Categories: Economics, Political theory, SPERI Comment, Tax | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Once upon a time in the West

Craig Berry

Andrew Gamble’s new book offers an unrivalled account of the neoliberal fairytale The West – the informal club of the world’s very rich nation-states – has no greater exponent than Andrew Gamble.  That’s not to say that Gamble’s account of the financial crisis and its aftermath, Crisis Without End: The Unravelling of Western Prosperity, is not hugely critical of much … Continue reading

1 October 2014 by
Categories: British growth crisis, Civic Capitalism, Development, Economics, Environment, Global crisis, Inequality, Political theory, SPERI Comment | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Piketty at last!

Tony Payne

This is a remarkable book, but not necessarily all that it has been proclaimed to be I came very late to Piketty’s party.  Contrary to received opinion outside the fold, the working routine of the modern university does not leave much time for reading books that are 685 pages long.  I’ve therefore had both the advantage and disadvantage of observing … Continue reading

18 September 2014 by
Categories: Economics, Inequality, Political theory, SPERI Comment, Tax, Tony Payne | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Inequality and the electoral system

To understand the relationship between economic and political inequality, look at what campaign professionals do (and don’t do) As Stephanie Mudge pointed out here in February, the rise in economic inequality over the last three decades has corresponded with a decline in voter participation across the OECD nations.  In the United States (and the United Kingdom), the rate of voting … Continue reading

3 April 2014 by
Categories: Economics, Political theory, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The joy and the benefit of fieldwork

By actually meeting and listening to people in New York I learnt much about how important the rating agencies were to the financial crisis, and how little has since changed in their world What is it that distinguishes an academic from a school teacher?  For me the defining feature is that we create knowledge.  That can be by reinterpreting a … Continue reading

28 March 2014 by
Categories: Methodology, Political theory, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is political science not in crisis as a result of the crisis?

Mick Moran

Economics is beginning to rethink many of its presuppositions as a consequence of the financial crisis, but political science sails blithely and complacently onwards It is a commonplace that the financial crash of 2007-9 also caused an intellectual crisis in the discipline of Economics.  That sense of crisis has had healthy results: while a minority of economists still maintain the … Continue reading

25 March 2014 by
Categories: Economics, Political theory, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 comments

Putting the ‘political’ into political economy

Stephanie Mudge

We really should care about how party politics works—or isn’t working—in unsettled times Are mainstream political parties capable of communicating meaningfully with voters and producing fresh thinking in today’s unsettled times? Most of the people I talk to don’t seem to think so. This isn’t necessarily new: political scientists have been commenting on the decline of political parties, and of … Continue reading

11 February 2014 by
Categories: Political theory, Social science, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 comment

Sea change moments and post-crash political economy

Andrew Baker

The crisis has opened the door to new ideas and policy paradigms, but politicians are yet to build upon them and create a convincing progressive agenda Political economists are pessimistic about the prospects for far-reaching and profound change following the financial crash of 2008. A common refrain is that little in the way of substantive change to the financial and … Continue reading

12 December 2013 by
Categories: British growth crisis, Global crisis, Political theory, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 comments

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