speri.comment: the political economy blog

Onshore havens: Home, morality and tax

Rowland Atkinson

The homes and spaces of wealthy elites are a crucial missing part of the recent tax avoidance debates Recent revelations about tax avoidance have highlighted an important aspect of daily economic life – the role of space or, more specifically, the non-spaces of jurisdictions deemed to be ‘off-shore’ that are a key element of the financial system.  As sociologists and … Continue reading

31 May 2016 by
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UK regions, the European Union and manufacturing exports

Craig Berry

New analysis of the trade in goods between the UK’s regions and the EU sheds new light on the potential regional implications of Brexit It is too simplistic to claim that the UK has a single relationship with the EU. Yet the regional dimension of UK/EU relations has received relatively little attention in the public debate around the implications of … Continue reading

26 May 2016 by
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The Coming Crisis: we’re not in Kansas any more

Helen Thompson

In the surreal world of post-2008 financial markets and monetary policy ‘black swan’ events shouldn’t surprise us any more The western economic and political world that was in place before 2008 no longer exists and it is not coming back. In retrospect the last supposed boom of the middle years of the first decade of the twenty first century was … Continue reading

25 May 2016 by
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What next for Brazil’s healthcare experiment?

Valbona Muzaka

A return to neoliberal policies could threaten the future of universal healthcare in Brazil It is impossible to tell what the final outcome of President Rousseff’s impeachment process will be. With less difficulty, the crisis that has engulfed the Brazilian executive can be seen as the outcome of a political manoeuvre – not even a very sophisticated one at that … Continue reading

24 May 2016 by
Categories: SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 comment

Recovery, interrupted: Iceland and the Panama Papers


Recent revelations have reopened an angry debate about Icelandic democracy and the links between economic and political recovery Although it has been nearly eight years since Iceland’s financial crash and the ensuing ‘Pots and Pans revolution,’ protesters in recent demonstrations prompted by the Panama Papers have chanted and carried signs with the same slogans: ‘vanhæf ríkisstjórn’ (‘unfit government’) or ‘stjórnvöld … Continue reading

19 May 2016 by
Categories: Finance, Global crisis, SPERI Comment, Tax Havens | Tags: , , , | 2 comments

The Coming Crisis: systemic stabilization and the investment state


A new ‘investment state’ is needed to provide stability in the new uncertain political economy of shadow money, financial instability and demand deficiency We live in an era characterised by a confusing evolutionary dynamic relationship between financial innovation, the state and patterns of investment that we barely understand. At the core of this conundrum is the little understood issue of … Continue reading

18 May 2016 by
Categories: British growth crisis, Finance, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Sustainability, The coming crisis | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Financialization of the Italian state: at what cost?

Andrea Lagna

Modern public debt management and financial innovation have exacerbated Italy’s large, and growing, government debt The use of financial derivatives by the Italian government continues to appear in the headlines of global news media. Based on Eurostat data, Bloomberg has calculated that in 2015 derivatives-related net liabilities burdened Italy’s public debt by €6.8 billion. If we consider the entire 2012-15 … Continue reading

17 May 2016 by
Categories: SPERI Comment | 1 comment

Democracy and Eurozone structural adjustment programmes

Alexandros Kyriakidis

The European Parliament’s new role in Eurozone structural adjustment programmes is institutionally ambiguous and offers only limited democratic improvement By now, there can be little doubt that reforms to the European Union during the Eurozone crisis have impacted negatively on its democratic performance. After all, this has been a recurring and haunting ‘curse’ of the Economic and Monetary Union’s political … Continue reading

12 May 2016 by
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The Coming Crisis: secular stagnation for the UK?

Jonathan Perraton

Current economic trends suggest the UK may need to be prepared for a period of weak, and potentially zero economic growth It is now almost eight years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers heralded the global financial crisis (GFC), roughly the length of a normal business cycle. Over that time interest rates have been held at record low levels and … Continue reading

11 May 2016 by
Categories: Austerity, British growth crisis, Economics, Finance, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, The coming crisis, USA | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Why the ‘Panama Papers’ have everything to do with austerity


After the mass anger caused by tax avoidance revelations we need a wide public debate about tax, better financial regulation and, above all, about austerity We should absolutely love this leak.  The Panama Papers, which have sensationally revealed the extent of clandestine and unabashed tax avoidance orchestrated by the law firm Mossack Fonseca on behalf of its wealthy and well-connected … Continue reading

10 May 2016 by
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The Steel Crisis: Government, Multinationals and Regional Imbalance


Concerns about regional economies mean that even in an increasingly financialised and globalised steel sector the government is maintaining stewardship responsibilities Steel, the essential raw material widely understood as the precondition for industrial development, has been thrust into the centre of the debate about the UK’s economic future by the threatened closure of the last major basic mills. Into the … Continue reading

5 May 2016 by
Categories: Austerity, China, Development, Economics, Global crisis, Northern Powerhouse, SPERI Comment, Sustainability | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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
Categories: China, Development, Economics, Finance, SPERI Comment, The coming crisis | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking beyond the end of the Latin American Pink Tide

Adam Fishwick

Despite recent electoral defeats for the left social protest and mobilisation in Argentina suggest the Pink Tide’s decline may be overstated   Guest post by Adam Fishwick, VC2020 Lecturer in Urban Studies and Public Policy, De Montfort University   The resurgence of the right in Latin America – from the recent electoral victories of the MUD alliance in Venezuela to … Continue reading

3 May 2016 by
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Britain and the EU referendum: a story of losing control?

Simon Bulmer

Controlling the case for Remain and unpacking the Leave arguments about regaining control are shaping up to be key deciding factors ahead of June 23rd It’s now two months since David Cameron reached agreement with EU partners in re-negotiating the terms of British membership. How is the referendum campaign shaping up?  How far have the imponderables of two months ago … Continue reading

28 April 2016 by
Categories: EU Referendum, Euro, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Coming Crisis: planetary instability

Peter Dauvergne

To solve the escalating environmental crisis the unsustainability of global wealth creation must be confronted, argues Peter Dauvergne in our new ‘coming crisis’ blog. Last year was the hottest ever recorded. And for the first time average global temperatures reached 1°C above pre-industrial times. This was but one sign in 2015 of an escalating global environmental crisis. Rivers of plastic … Continue reading

27 April 2016 by
Categories: Climate change, Environment, Europe and the EU, SPERI Comment, Sustainability, The coming crisis | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The European Union into the maelström


Grexit, Brexit and the migrant crisis are putting the future of the European Union under significant and sustained pressure Following the financial crisis of 2007-2008 the European Union (EU) is facing a situation that can easily be characterised as a maelström. The efforts and sacrifices incurred by European nation states in the last few decades in their attempt to converge … Continue reading

26 April 2016 by
Categories: Austerity, Europe and the EU, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The time has come for a progressive TTIP


With mounting concern on both sides of the Atlantic that trade politics only serves the interests of the elite, the time has come to use the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to refashion the global trading regime In the final pages of our book on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), written in spring of last year, we offered … Continue reading

25 April 2016 by
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Brazil on the edge: rhetoric and reality in Rousseff’s impeachment proceedings

Giselle Datz

Despite claims of a coup, Brazilian democracy has proved more resilient so far than the country’s crumbling economy On Sunday evening (April 17), more than 71% of Brazilian representatives in the lower house of Congress voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff (in office since 2011). With more than the necessary 69% of votes guaranteed, the process now moves to the … Continue reading

22 April 2016 by
Categories: Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Sustainability | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tax avoidance: Not illegal, just harmful and deviant?


The furore over tax avoidance, both by our national and international elites, reveals new social fault lines while highlighting a crisis of legitimacy to calls for togetherness and common purpose The word plutocracy combines two elements to its meaning – that of wealth and power. To live in a plutocracy, many argue, is to see the warping of the political … Continue reading

21 April 2016 by
Categories: Economics, Finance, SPERI Comment, Tax | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Coming Crisis: the monetary policy credibility trap

Jacqueline Best

In the latest blog in SPERI’s series on ‘The Coming Crisis’ Jacqueline Best asks: what do central banks and governments do when exceptions to the monetary policy rules keep piling up? Quite a few commentators have noted that central bankers have become rather less boring of late. Since the 2008 financial crisis, central banks have taken on new roles and … Continue reading

20 April 2016 by
Categories: Finance, SPERI Comment, The coming crisis | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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