speri.comment: the political economy blog

The social economy is missing in strategies to create more inclusive growth

As more places around the UK focus on inclusive growth it is essential that the social economy is no longer left out Many discussions about inclusive growth tend to focus on the policy implications for government, and the implications for, mostly, large business. Despite some interesting discussions around corporate governance reform, there has been little attention paid to the internal … Continue reading

23 October 2017 by
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The IMF and a new politics of inequality?

Recent statements about inequality by the IMF have attracted media interest, but are they saying anything new? Last week saw the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank hold their annual autumn meetings at which they discuss big strategic issues facing the global economy.  One strand in these discussions related to the publication of the IMF’s Fiscal Monitor which contained … Continue reading

20 October 2017 by
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Forecasting inflation amid uncertainty: have we forgotten the dog and the frisbee?

The Bank of England’s inflation forecasts in the period since the Brexit vote have been largely inaccurate – is this because the Bank has forgotten the rule of thumb championed by its own chief economist? This is the fifth post in our series on the impact of uncertainty on social science It is hard to prophecise, particularly about the future. … Continue reading

18 October 2017 by
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Revisiting the developmental state 4: the ‘Beijing Consensus’ & prospects for democratic development in China and beyond

Whether China liberalises politically, as the original ‘Asian Tigers’ did, or maintains its authoritarian approach is an issue with theoretical and practical implications that resonate well beyond China’s own immediate development challenges A controversial issue in the longstanding debate on the developmental state concerns the relationship and the possible compatibility of rapid economic and industrial transformation with a democratic form … Continue reading

17 October 2017 by
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The final frontier? Promise and risk in Iran’s emerging market

Richard Woodward

Iran’s huge economic potential comes with significant risk. Foreign companies are engaging but only at arm’s length. The announcement of Iran’s preliminary nuclear deal in July 2015 and the subsequent easing of sanctions augured a brighter economic outlook for the former pariah state. Commentaries hailing Iran as ‘the billion dollar growth opportunity’ and the ‘best emerging market for years to … Continue reading

16 October 2017 by
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Devolution and austerity needs to be debated, challenged, but not ignored

Words are important for framing policy problems and also finding solutions.  We need more devolution dialogues We would like to thank Mike Emmerich, founder director of Metro Dynamics, for his blog reply, which engages with our research on devolution and city-region building. Words are important for framing policy problems and also articulating forms of state intervention with proposed solutions. What … Continue reading

11 October 2017 by
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Revisiting the developmental state 3: Fitting China into the debate

The key questions are how much China’s hybrid state and market economic structure is really focused on development and whether it is sustainable Where you think you are can depend on where you came from.  If you start mentally in the ‘liberal west’ and then go to China, the Chinese economy is much more state-guided and coordinated (and, indeed, state-owned) … Continue reading

10 October 2017 by
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Dreaming of better days risks scuppering devolution’s promise

Devolution deals are imperfect, but they are part of a hard process of reform that over the long run can deliver social and economic progress I recently put my two penn‘orth into a Twitter debate between Rob Ford of Manchester University and Andrew Adonis. The latter’s accusation was that academics overcomplicate their analysis. The former retorted that commentators often want … Continue reading

9 October 2017 by
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Why political analysis needs probability and history to address uncertainty

Unexpected political outcomes are more understandable if we locate political life in a historical and international context.  This is the fourth post in our series exploring uncertainty and the challenges it poses to social science Political punditry has had a bad couple of years. Indeed, the failure to predict the dramatic political outcomes of a number of elections and referendums … Continue reading

9 October 2017 by
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Politics has only become uncertain because the rules of the game have changed

Politics is not inherently unpredictable, but experts have failed to see major change coming because the way it is practiced has been transformed. This is the third post in our series exploring uncertainty and the challenges it poses to social science In order to predict the future of politics, we need to fully understand the present. An obvious logic, for sure, … Continue reading

5 October 2017 by
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The murky world of lobbying

Wyn Grant

Despite recent reforms, there are still concerns that the activities of lobbyists lack transparency and are insufficiently regulated Last month the London public relations firm Bell Pottinger appointed administrators following its expulsion from the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) after a complaint by South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance. Bell Pottinger had represented the Gupta family who had been accused … Continue reading

4 October 2017 by
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Revisiting the developmental state 2: why have we seen so few developmental states?

The underlying political settlement within countries too often provides political elites with insufficient incentives to enact the institutional reforms needed for further growth and structural transformation The original developmental states of East Asia had one unifying economic characteristic: they witnessed almost uninterrupted rapid economic growth for well over four decades.  This is very different from what we have observed for … Continue reading

3 October 2017 by
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Merkel 4.0: Chancellor Merkel’s marathon continues

Simon Bulmer

The election result has reduced Merkel’s authority and introduced new domestic constraints, just as space for new possibilities at the EU level are opening up Analysis of the German election held on Sunday 24th September has tended to focus on two features: the re-election of Chancellor Merkel alongside the new threat to German politics posed by the electoral success (with … Continue reading

28 September 2017 by
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Is this really an age of uncertainty?

Glen O'Hara

The recent failures of electoral polling have been over-stated. Our era is politically volatile, but not unusually so. This is the second post in our series exploring uncertainty and the challenges it poses to social science. Shocks, spills and surprises are all the political rage these days. The UK’s vote for Brexit, the election of Donald Trump as President of … Continue reading

28 September 2017 by
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Researching uncertainty

Craig Berry

The unpredictability of the present era exposes social science’s uneasy relationship with uncertainty. Yet political economists should embrace the inescapability of this condition as a key foundation of inquiry. This is the first in a new series of posts which explores uncertainty and the business of predicting the future in political research. In 2013, Colin Hay and Tony Payne claimed … Continue reading

27 September 2017 by
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Revisiting the developmental state 1: Introduction

It’s time to open up a new debate about the potential gains offered by this longstanding and core concept in the study of the political economy of development The bleak and grinding years of crisis and austerity in the West – symptoms of the decaying neoliberalism that may finally be reaching its endgame – have contrasted markedly with the spectacular … Continue reading

26 September 2017 by
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The Life Sciences should not have an Industrial Strategy

Richard Jones

Industrial policy should be driven by and framed in terms of the demand for innovation, not by the science areas which contribute to it The UK government has published the first outcome of the Industrial Strategy “sector deals” announced in the spring’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper. The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy was headed by Sir John Bell; the area is of undoubted … Continue reading

20 September 2017 by
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The Anglo-American Centre-Left and the immediate question of agency

David Coates

The Democrats and the Labour Party have been on the defensive for too long. Winning again requires a progressive re-radicalization of politics The primary problem faced by the Centre-Left in both the US and the UK is not ultimately one of programme. Adequate policy proposals abound. The problem lies rather in the lack of electoral support for such proposals, and … Continue reading

18 September 2017 by
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Overseas anti-slavery initiatives flourish, but domestic governance gaps persist

UK-based companies are ramping up efforts to combat slavery in their overseas supply chains. But companies also need to be working harder to address the severe labour exploitation taking place at home. The passage of the UK 2015 Modern Slavery Act has prompted companies to be more open about their efforts to combat forced labour in global supply chains. To … Continue reading

14 September 2017 by
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The strange still-birth of ‘Milimayism’

Tony Payne

Britain just can’t generate the politics with which to build the new reformist consensus its political economy so badly needs A key problem for Britain at the moment is that it can’t give birth to the politics that its political economy needs.  Marxists used to think this was impossible, believing that the sub-structure (political economy) would always determine the super-structure … Continue reading

11 September 2017 by
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