speri.comment: the political economy blog

The world as we know it is a world that never was

Craig Berry

Donald Trump’s election reminds us that world order is based on American imperial power, not liberal ideals – the American empire’s unravelling will now be accelerated There has been much anxiety expressed in recent days on what the election of Donald Trump in the United States, on the back of the Brexit vote in Britain, says about ‘us’ (whether the … Continue reading

7 December 2016 by
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How new donor countries are reshaping the development aid landscape

Gail Hurley

Development aid is increasingly being provided by middle-income economies. This is a significant change in a shifting global aid landscape A growing number of countries in Central and Eastern Europe (such as Croatia, Serbia, Poland and Romania) and in central Asia (e.g. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) are now opening formal development aid agencies.  I recently delivered a United Nations Development Programme … Continue reading

6 December 2016 by
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The grief before the storm

David Coates

Overcoming the grief caused by Trump’s victory requires us to analyse the sources of our pain When Hillary Clinton gave her concession speech on November 9th, admitting defeat to an opponent who had received a lower share of the popular vote than she had, many of her supporters in the room with her, and those watching from afar, actually wept … Continue reading

5 December 2016 by
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The odd case of Jeremy Corbyn’s increasingly right-wing Labour Party

Glen O'Hara

Labour’s recent economic policy positions highlight a curious rightwards drift under Corbyn and McDonnell The chaos and dissent so obvious within the UK Labour Party since its 2015 General Election defeat has helped to cover up its actual dearth of policies.  It is by no means incumbent on any Opposition to put forward a fully-worked-out roster of actual plans, especially … Continue reading

1 December 2016 by
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Apple’s tax affairs open the door for global corporate tax reform

ebra-mikler

By blaming governments for their tax affairs corporations like Apple are inviting the responses they least desire: increased taxes and global tax regulation Global corporate tax avoidance is estimated to cost governments around the world US$240 billion in foregone revenues each year. Put this figure in the context of the uncertain economic environment across Europe since the 2008 financial crisis, … Continue reading

1 December 2016 by
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Brexit, May & Trump: the dangerous illusion of ‘taking back control’

ben clift100x100

The analytical frame of ‘economic patriotism’ helps explain the rise of xenophobic populism and its failure to acknowledge the complex realities of our economic interdependence Contemporary politicians, particularly those with demagogic inclinations, pretend to their electorates that they can pull all the necessary levers of economic policy to exert control over the national economic future.  2016 has provided powerful examples … Continue reading

30 November 2016 by
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The view from COP22: frustration, uncertainty and Nordic leadership

Kaisa-Pietila-100

This month’s UN conference mixed post-Paris optimism with concerns about future climate change governance Earlier this month I was given the opportunity to attend the second week of the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakech, as part of the University of Sheffield and Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures delegation. … Continue reading

29 November 2016 by
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High hopes: what now for the cannabis ‘green rush’ under Trump?

Matthew Bishop

The likely evolution of cannabis policy highlights the domestic and external political economy constraints facing President Trump In the aftermath of a presidential election in which Hillary Clinton won by well over a million votes but still ultimately lost the White House, it would be easy to be despondent about democracy in the US. Yet the flipside of an American … Continue reading

28 November 2016 by
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Scotch mist: Brexit and independence

Paul Sutton

The SNP is using the uncertainty caused by Brexit to remake the case for independence – yet the warning signs about Scotland’s economy should already be on In her recent SPERI Annual Lecture Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister for Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), cited a report by Strathclyde University’s Fraser of Allander Institute which estimated that … Continue reading

24 November 2016 by
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Mandatory transparency, discretionary disclosure

Genevieve LeBaron

New transparency regulations in some places theoretically require companies to report on forced labour in their supply chains, but a new review finds that’s not what’s happening The challenge of governing labour standards globally has never been greater. Incidents such as Apple’s detection of ‘bonded servitude’ at its major subsidiary factories in China; the discovery of slave labour in the Thai prawn industry, … Continue reading

23 November 2016 by
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Trump, Brexit and neoliberalism

Simon-Wren-Lewis-100

To understand the twin electoral disasters of 2016 we need to consider the central role played by austerity and the media Simon Wren-Lewis is the winner of the 2016 New Statesman/SPERI Prize for Political Economy. Tonight he will deliver his Prize Lecture to a sold-out audience in London. How do we explain the two great Anglo-Saxon electoral disasters of 2016: … Continue reading

22 November 2016 by
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A time for governing in prose (and spreadsheets)

Andy Westwood

Philip Hammond is facing significant political and fiscal challenges which mean his first Autumn Statement is likely to be a sobering affair Winter is approaching, there’s snow upon the ground. The queue of bids for support is getting longer as we count down the days to this week’s Autumn Statement.  Everyone wants to be at the front of the queue … Continue reading

21 November 2016 by
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The Green New Deal: an idea whose time has come

bailey-craig-100

Theresa May’s new government can seize the opportunities of the political and economic climate and announce a Green New Deal in this week’s autumn statement “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: … Continue reading

21 November 2016 by
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Macroeconomic governance since the financial crash

Andrew Baker

Acknowledging the redundancy of silo governance will be a vital first step in creating the new macroeconomic institutional arrangements we need The most distinguishing feature of the macroeconomic governance frameworks that emerged throughout the world in the 1990s was the creation of a number of narrowly focused institutional silos (fiscal, monetary and financial regulation). In the aftermath of the financial … Continue reading

17 November 2016 by
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Brexit and the British state

Mick Moran

Focusing on the ‘left behind’ thesis ignores the real message exposed by the referendum: the UK is a fragmented and fast dissolving state Despite all the uncertainties generated by the referendum result of 23 June, one assertion is now commonly made with increasing confidence: that support for a ‘leave’ vote was a protest from those left behind by the twin … Continue reading

16 November 2016 by
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Anything you can do, we can do better: Manchester’s devolution journey

georgina-blakeley-100

The election of a new metro-mayor in 2017 won’t be an end point to devolution, but just another step on Greater Manchester’s long road to devolution On May 5th 2017, voters in Greater Manchester will wake up to a new metro-mayor.  Yet will the victor be capable of delivering progressive devolution which goes beyond the current limitations of the agreed … Continue reading

15 November 2016 by
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Trump and Brexit

Andrew Gamble

Trump’s victory and Brexit could unravel the western economic and political order which has been the framework of world politics for the last seventy years Trump’s victory in the US presidential election has been compared to the vote for Brexit. Both were driven by the anger and despair of the white working class, and their rejection of the liberal, cosmopolitan … Continue reading

11 November 2016 by
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First thoughts on the Trump victory

David Coates

There is no quick fix to the Trump phenomenon, but to win again the US centre-left must build broad class alliances that include the white poor There are times when being right is a luxury too far. This is one of those times.  It was possible to see Trump coming, but it was also possible – until about midnight on … Continue reading

10 November 2016 by
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Treasury Control and the prospects for green industrial strategy in Britain

Martin Craig

The Treasury’s powers and priorities impinge upon environmental, energy and industrial policies. Understanding and reforming them is a vital step for creating a green industrial strategy The recent consolidation of the industry and energy portfolios in the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has sparked considerable speculation among environmentalists and policy analysts, especially given the removal of … Continue reading

10 November 2016 by
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Manufacturing decline and Britain’s ‘radically redundant’ industrial policy

Craig Berry

Industrial policy is being rediscovered, again, but the incompleteness of the policy-making environment means it will fail to halt the ongoing decline of manufacturing Gordon Brown in 2008. David Cameron in 2010.  And now Theresa May in 2016. Since the financial crisis, Britain has had three prime ministers, and each one has promised a manufacturing renaissance based on a more … Continue reading

9 November 2016 by
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