speri.comment: the political economy blog

Beyond dirty development: can the Right do subsidy reform right?

Reforming subsidies should be a core element of the G20 sustainability agenda Lurking in the margins of every G20 Summit is the issue of fossil fuel subsidies. Year after year, leaders quietly repeated their commitment to phase out inefficient subsidies. Year after year until Trump appeared on the scene, that is. In 2017 the commitment disappeared, and it made no … Continue reading

6 December 2018 by
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The unintended euro and the problem of Italy

The fate of Italy will determine what kind of monetary union, and with which member-states, can survive The present confrontation between the Italian government and the European Commission over the size of Italy’s budget is another episode in a long-running drama about whether Italy’s membership of the euro is compatible with any viable monetary, fiscal, and political structure for the … Continue reading

30 November 2018 by
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The G20 in Argentina needs to address its own failings as well as the many problems facing the global economy

Tony Payne

Argentina’s laudable attempts to raise issues vital to Latin America and the wider developing world are likely to fall on deaf ears. But, if the G20 is going to stop drifting from summit to summit and get to grips with genuinely global challenges, it needs to establish a modest but permanent secretariat and appoint an influential secretary-general, writes Tony Payne … Continue reading

23 November 2018 by
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Artificial intelligence and the transformation of production and work: towards inclusive prosperity?

Inclusive prosperity requires an education system to provide people with the skills and experiences to avoid ‘technological unemployment’ Brexit is the most important event in this nation’s recent history. Yet, I am tired of the Brexit debate. The difficulty is with the quality of the debate rather than with Brexit. The debate is partial, inward-looking and distorted. The economy has … Continue reading

20 November 2018 by
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Inequality in Scotland: despite Nordic aspirations, things are not improving

20 years after the Scotland Act was passed, how has Scotland fared in its aspiration to reduce inequality? When it comes to social policy, Scottish politicians have tended to look across the North Sea, rather than the Atlantic, for inspiration. The desire to follow the more progressive Nordic model on issues of social and economic inequality has become one of the defining … Continue reading

13 November 2018 by
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Germany’s non-rebalancing of its mercantilist model

Contrary to recent claims that Germany has ‘quietly rebalanced’ its economy since the Eurozone crisis began, when German policy is viewed from a more long-term perspective, there has been little in the way of meaningful rebalancing In a recent LSE blog, Donato Di Carlo presents empirical evidence for what he considers a ‘quiet rebalancing’ of the German economy. Using 2010 as a … Continue reading

12 November 2018 by
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Reprogramming national economies and the reshoring of manufacturing

Successful industrial strategy requires a long-term policy framework that encourages entrepreneurship and economic activity The on-going prosperity of the UK requires a long-term strategic vision that works beyond the policy myopia that comes with five-year electoral cycles. This vision must focus on developing the wider framework conditions that will underpin economic activity. A core element of this vision must include … Continue reading

8 November 2018 by
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What is the financialisation of food and why should we care?

This blog discusses Professor Jennifer Clapp’s recent visit to Sheffield where she presented work from her latest book project and current research on the financialisation of food In October this year, the University of Sheffield was privileged to host the world-leading food and International Relations scholar Professor Jennifer Clapp, Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability and Professor … Continue reading

7 November 2018 by
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“Gender-sensitive trade”: buzzword or basic principle of post-Brexit trade policy?

Brexit could provide an opportunity to create a more gender equitable global trading system, but immediate and potentially radical action will be needed As political leaders mull over the road ahead in the wake of another Brexit summit (on October 17th) that seemed to deliver little in the way of progress, Theresa May‘s Government is eager to send positive messages … Continue reading

25 October 2018 by
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Damned if we don’t, damned if we do: a sideways look at Ciaran Driver and Grahame Thompson’s Corporate Governance in Contention

Craig Berry

Arguments for shareholder primacy are deeply flawed, but that does not mean that companies in liberal market economies will readily deviate from this norm. For reformers, the question is what is feasible and which alternative is likely to work tolerably well… The advantage of implementing management-led stakeholding is that it can be initiated, if not completed with minimal structural changes … Continue reading

22 October 2018 by
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Ethical Certification Doesn’t Eradicate Forced Labour

In the tea industry, on almost every indicator we used to measure labour standards, certified plantations fared about the same, if not worse, as non-certified plantations. Buying ethically certified products makes us feel better about the things we buy, but what evidence do we have that these programs actually work? Staring at tea boxes lining the grocery store shelf one … Continue reading

21 October 2018 by
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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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