speri.comment: the political economy blog

Does Congressional experience lead to US governors securing higher state funding?

New research shows that governors who have previously served in Congress prior to taking office as state governor increase the transfers to their state The years since the election of Donald Trump have been a rollercoaster in US politics. The mid-term elections take place on the 6th November and could make or break Trump’s presidency. Losing control of the House … Continue reading

19 October 2018 by
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Costing the country: Britain’s finance curse

The finance industry is not the golden goose claimed by its vast public relations team: it looks much more like a cuckoo in the nest A new report from Andrew Baker of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, Gerald Epstein, University of Massachusetts, and Juan Montecino, Columbia University, NY, suggests that the cost to the UK economy in terms of lost growth potential arising from hosting … Continue reading

9 October 2018 by
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Towards a post-crisis moral political economy?

Recent calls for economic justice, and particularly intergenerational justice, suggest a new post-crisis moral political economy could be emerging It was once said that the Church of England was ‘the Conservative Party at prayer’. Those days, however, seem long gone and the ideological distance that has grown between those two venerable British institutions was clear for all to see in … Continue reading

8 October 2018 by
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The Schizophrenia of UK (De) industrialisation Policy

Far from radically rebalancing the structure of the UK economy, Theresa May’s industrial strategy seems destined to entrench the UK’s deindustrialisation It is now over a decade since the run on Northern Rock augured the onset of a financial crisis whose reverberations are still being felt in the British political system. The response to the crisis, not least the austerity … Continue reading

2 October 2018 by
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The Endemic Problem of Forced Labour in Global Tea and Cocoa Supply Chains

What do tea and cocoa have in common? Both products are widely consumed by households around the world; the early world market for both industries was intertwined with the history of colonialism; and in today’s global economy, both products are made with forced labour. Over the past two years, I’ve led The Global Business of Forced Labour research project, funded by the … Continue reading

27 September 2018 by
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An ex-investment banker’s reflection on corporate governance failure at Lehman Brothers

Lehman’s internal board minutes show the bank’s leadership failing to grasp the situation as ‘quantifiable risk’ turned into genuine uncertainty The author has asked for their identity to be withheld  I’d been working in investment banking in the United States, and more particularly in fixed income/asset backed-lending, for a number of years prior to the onset of the financial crisis. … Continue reading

20 September 2018 by
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What do Global Megatrends mean for the financing of the SDGs?

Gail Hurley

How finance is raised and spent must be transformed to effectively meet the enormous challenges of the 21st century The International Labour Organisation (ILO) recently reported that the world economy will need to spend at least US$ 7 trillion extra on social care by 2030 to cope with demographic changes worldwide. Rising birth rates and increased life expectancy mean there … Continue reading

19 September 2018 by
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Book review: Race and the Undeserving Poor

Robbie Shilliam’s brilliant book highlights the historical importance of race in social and welfare policy in Britain and in so doing makes a crucial and timely intervention into contemporary progressive debate Explanations of Brexit, Trump and populist movements elsewhere have tended to divide opinion between those who emphasise social class and those who emphasise identity, particularly race. Robbie Shilliam’s important … Continue reading

17 September 2018 by
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2008 is dead, long live 2008! Or, how we learned to imagine the unimaginable

What’s changed in the ten years since the global financial crisis in 2008? In looking for the lightning strike of structural change, do we overlook or take for granted how the 2008 crisis has opened up space for reimagining how we organise our economies? The collapse of Lehman Brothers, on 15th September 2008, is the event that most identify as … Continue reading

6 September 2018 by
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If this is capitalism, where are the price signals?: The glacial effects of passive investment

In the 10 years since the 2008 crash, the ‘passive-aggressive’ tendencies of large index funds have reshaped how modern capitalism operates The capacity for disruptive innovation within finance is part of its continued appeal for political economists post-crisis, whether it is the speed of algorithmic-trading, the growth of fintech or the darker recesses of the shadow banking sector. But the … Continue reading

3 September 2018 by
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African capitalisms, infrastructure and the role of urban real estate in political settlements

Exploring how capital intersects with contemporary urban forms can help to bring Africa to its rightful position at the forefront of global debates on capitalist transformation. This series on capitalism in Africa has so far provided some excellent reflections focused primarily in two areas: first, the utility of the concept of capitalism (seen as being both historically contingent and culturally … Continue reading

22 August 2018 by
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#MeToo and Harvey Weinstein: Telling stories of vulnerable bodies

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, the #MeToo and #TimesUp hashtags campaign have become internationally recognised as a symbol of resistance against sexual and gender-based violence and abuse. The campaigns inspired people to tell their stories of everyday abuse, assault and discrimination but how much difference can a social media campaign make? This is the fifth blog in a series … Continue reading

17 August 2018 by
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Constructing the Weinstein story: the political economy of scandal

While the Weinstein scandal has generated a pseudo-systemic critique of sexual violence in the workplace, economic inequalities still determine who gets scandalised and who gets to respond This is the fourth blog in a series on the political economy of the Weinstein scandal Popular podcast The Guilty Feminist released two episodes of the show relating specifically to ‘Weinstein culture’. Comedian … Continue reading

16 August 2018 by
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“I was a thing: not a nobody, but a body”: The political economy of the body & the Weinstein scandal

Hollywood’s commodification of women’s bodies must be recognised as a contributory factor when questioning the (un)shocking prevalence of sexual violence and abuse. Therefore, to fully understand the political economy of the Weinstein scandal, it is necessary to foreground the body This is the third blog in a series on the political economy of the Weinstein scandal Salma Hayek’s searing essay … Continue reading

15 August 2018 by
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Who pays for sexual harassment?

Calculating the economic costs of sexual harassment obscures its underlying wrongs – as does the disparagement of people that ‘sleep their way to the top’. The Weinstein scandal calls both of these approaches into question This is the second blog in a series on the political economy of the Weinstein scandal The dominance of orthodox economics in society is hard … Continue reading

14 August 2018 by
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The political economy of the Weinstein scandal

This blog series introduces some preliminary research from SPERI’s PREPPE programme, a project that asks: What can political economy tell us about the Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement? And what can the Weinstein scandal and #MeToo movement teach us about political economy? The Weinstein scandal is well known: An initial exposure of the systematic sexual violence of Hollywood producer … Continue reading

13 August 2018 by
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US investors drive growing top income inequality in Britain

New findings show that the Americanization of British firm ownership causes substantial increases in executive pay Income inequality, and the increasing concentration of income and wealth at the top of the distribution, have become a major cause for concern in both scholarly and public debate. The share of income taken by the top one per cent in the UK has … Continue reading

1 August 2018 by
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The changing politics of regionalism in Asia-Pacific

Ahmad-Risky-Umar

Recent development in the Asia-Pacific region show how regionalism is a ‘dynamic’ political project rather than merely an institution and rule-based political order In the latest Shangri-La Dialogue, hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, India and other participants embraced Indo-Pacific cooperation as the new platform for regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific. Coined firstly by Japanese Prime … Continue reading

30 July 2018 by
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‘Global Britain’ equals Osbornomics squared

Craig Berry

The tussle over Brexit within the Conservative Party is actually a debate about the UK’s future place in the global capitalist order. Boris Johnson is merely taking remainer George Osborne’s vision to its logical conclusion, while in pinning her hopes on continental capitalism, Theresa May is arguably the real fantasist Since the resignation of Boris Johnson and David Davis, ostensibly … Continue reading

27 July 2018 by
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Unions in the 21st century: adapt to survive, co-opt to grow

Could a clever campaign make support for unions an integral part of corporate social responsibility? It has always surprised me how rarely trade unions are raised in the conversation on forced labour. Their fundamental purpose is to secure better conditions for workers, in part by using collective action to identify and rectify the structural and systemic problems occurring within their … Continue reading

27 July 2018 by
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