speri.comment: the political economy blog

Repost: Brexistential Crisis – what would Cassandra say?

Colin Hay

In January Colin Hay, SPERI’s co-director, predicted that Britain would vote to leave the European Union in 2016. Today as that prediction (in the manner of Cassandra) comes to pass we’re reposting Colin’s article which goes on to make two further predictions about the break-up of Britain and a second financial crisis. Prediction is a dark art – a terrain … Continue reading

24 June 2016 by
Categories: EU Referendum, Europe and the EU, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The Coming Crisis: The dangers of indecent work

Genevieve LeBaron

To prevent another economic crisis, we must address the spread and normalization of indecent work Global capitalism’s promise was to pull people out of poverty by creating decent work. It hasn’t delivered, and an escalating jobs crisis is now at the centre of the global economy’s ‘gathering storm.’ As of 2014, over 200 million people in the world were unemployed … Continue reading

22 June 2016 by
Categories: SPERI Comment, The coming crisis | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

China and the UK’s EU membership: questions beyond the referendum


Despite the increasingly important UK-China economic ties strong Chinese opposition to ‘Brexit’ has been ignored Whilst President Obama publicly weighed into the referendum debate in the UK, offering a strong defence of the UK staying in, we know little about what other states, including emerging powers like China and India, think. This is surprising – the ‘Leave’ campaign has made … Continue reading

21 June 2016 by
Categories: China, SPERI Comment, trade | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brexit, the PIIGS, and the eurozone crisis


Misleading narratives on the causes of the eurozone crisis have played into the hands of those campaigning for Brexit The eurozone crisis has played into the hands of those campaigning for Brexit. Whilst, fanciful headlines on ‘federal Europe plots’ and gushingly Eurocentric hot-takes have dominated the referendum campaign, those who have been paying attention to the fates of countries like … Continue reading

21 June 2016 by
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EU structural funds and the potential impact of Brexit on the North


With the EU providing important funding for the economic development of poorer regions, uncertainty looms for the North if Britain votes to leave Whilst the threat of ‘Brexit’ poses many uncertainties for the UK a whole, its impact would not be nationally uniform but would differ across regions. The ramifications would be not simply economic, but also relate to the … Continue reading

20 June 2016 by
Categories: EU Referendum, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Resisting Labour Reforms in France

Heather Connolly

The current industrial action will test the ‘reactionary radicalism’ of French unions and the Government’s ability to introduce reforms On 4th November 2015, France’s labour minister, Myriam El Khomri, launched reforms designed to rewrite the labour code.  France’s labour code is more than 3,500 pages long in its latest edition, plus vast amounts of supplementary case law.  This fact makes … Continue reading

16 June 2016 by
Categories: Employment, Europe and the EU, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Trade Unions | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Coming Crisis: why global governance doesn’t really work

Tony Payne

Serious problems undermine the current regime and create a significant ‘global governance deficit’ Nobody can say that the major institutions of global governance haven’t noticed the possibility that a further global economic crisis might be brewing. The World Bank warned in January this year that a ‘perfect storm’ could be building in the global political economy. It was worried by … Continue reading

15 June 2016 by
Categories: SPERI Comment, The coming crisis, Tony Payne | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Mortgage debt and wages: A comparison of Britain and Denmark

James Wood

Different approaches to mortgage debt may impact wages, how homeowners engage with employers and welfare services, and economic growth One of the primary motivations for homeownership in advanced economies is securing the home as a financial asset. Whilst this is widely recognised, the impact of mortgage debt on aggregate wages is not. This post looks at how taking on mortgage … Continue reading

14 June 2016 by
Categories: British growth crisis, Debt, Economics, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

From socialising capital to socialising capitalism

Craig Berry

Stewart Lansley’s advocacy of the sharing economy is the right idea at the right time, but social wealth funds would be a problematic instrument Stewart Lansley’s valuable 2012 book The Cost of Inequality offered one of the few sustained attempts to link inequality to the causes of the 2008 economic crisis, insofar as it was deemed a core characteristic of … Continue reading

9 June 2016 by
Categories: Economics, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Coming Crisis: The migrant crisis and the future of the European project

Nicola Phillips

The economic, political and social consequences of failing to respond effectively to the migrant crisis risk accelerating European disintegration Digesting the relentless news stories about the devastating numbers of lives lost in the Mediterranean, the living conditions endured by the human beings seeking passage into and across Europe, and the increasingly incoherent political responses of European leaders, there can be … Continue reading

8 June 2016 by
Categories: Europe and the EU, SPERI Comment, The coming crisis | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Authoritarian but Flexible: Turkey and recent labour market reforms


The AKP’s reforms to ‘flexibilise’ the labour market will weaken workers’ rights and further consolidate authoritarian neoliberalism in Turkey In the last few years, ‘authoritarianism’ has been used widely by mainstream academic circles, Western media and international civil society organisations to define the character of the political regime under the AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi or the Justice and Development … Continue reading

7 June 2016 by
Categories: Economics, Employment, Europe and the EU, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rio de Janeiro beyond the Olympic Games and the Zika controversy

Giselle Datz

The real malaise of Rio is not just the Zika virus epidemic, but a fiscal and governance crisis that has engendered its own set of increasing dangers On May 26th, a group of renowned scientists published a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) calling for the 2016 summer Olympic games taking place in Rio de Janeiro to be ‘postponed … Continue reading

3 June 2016 by
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The Democratic primaries in the shadow of neoliberalism

David Coates

The Clinton/Sanders battle exposes the challenge of the centre-left to overcome its pre-crisis accommodation with neoliberalism One way of grasping what is now at stake in the on-going battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is to set that clash in the shadow of the Reagan/Thatcher neoliberal revolution of the 1980s. That revolution kept Democrats out of the White House, … Continue reading

2 June 2016 by
Categories: Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Tax, USA | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Coming Crisis: political economy and the ‘other crisis’

Martin Craig

How we diagnose and respond to the ‘socio-ecological’ crisis is essential to our understanding of any ‘coming crisis’ These are anxious times for political economists, as this blog series attests. A crisis is coming (if it’s not already upon us). Decisive changes are needed to avoid dire consequences. But what exactly is this ‘coming crisis’? At first sight the prior … Continue reading

1 June 2016 by
Categories: Climate change, Environment, SPERI Comment, Sustainability, The coming crisis | Leave a comment

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
Categories: SPERI Comment, Tax | Tags: | Leave a comment

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
Categories: Economics, Europe and the EU, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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
Categories: SPERI Comment, The coming crisis | Leave a comment

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

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