speri.comment: the political economy blog

From capitalism grounded to grounded capitalism – Part 2

Craig Berry

Even on the left, post-crisis regional economic policy in Britain has been underpinned by pre-crisis intellectual paradigms. This post argues that a ‘grounded capitalism’ approach can transform the British growth model while alleviating regional inequalities Part 1 of this essay outlined the scale of the challenge: the long-rooted nature of geographical unevenness in Britain, intertwined with broader capitalist development. Yet … Continue reading

18 April 2018 by
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From capitalism grounded to grounded capitalism – Part 1

Craig Berry

We can partly situate the grounding of Britain’s pre-crisis growth model in its geographical unevenness – but the left must also situate its response to regional inequalities in a new understanding of capitalism’s spatiality The North-South divide, albeit loosely defined, has long been part of the British pathos. The country’s political elite has, ostensibly, often sought to address the very … Continue reading

17 April 2018 by
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A Question of Value: Raising Productivity by Lowering Inequality

The focus on low UK productivity overlooks the crucial influence of inequality The latest release of UK productivity figures highlights the continuing dire performance of the lowest productivity sectors of the economy. A recent report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) demonstrates that workers in retail, hospitality and care all contribute significantly less value per hour worked than the average worker in … Continue reading

13 April 2018 by
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A review of the SPERI series, ‘Revisiting the developmental state’

Rick Rowden

Despite many changes in today’s modern global economy developmental states are needed more than ever In the fall of 2017, SPERI’s Matthew Bishop and Anthony Payne gathered essays from a group of nine development economists who produced essays on ‘Revisiting the developmental state’ (SPERI Paper No. 43). They drew upon a body of work published on the SPERI Comment blog … Continue reading

6 April 2018 by
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Doing politics differently? Metro-mayors and democratic renewal

Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region metro-mayors have been in power just under a year, but has political diversity and participation changed? The three main purposes of the establishment of combined authorities and directly elected metro-mayors were respectively economic growth, public service reform and democratic renewal. Of the three, democratic renewal was always destined to be the poor cousin. When … Continue reading

3 April 2018 by
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Don’t Panic! (At least not about inflation)

Jacqueline Best

Concerns about high inflation – a key narrative underpinning recent financial volatility – are highly suspect As financial markets have been showing their panicky side in the last few weeks, we’ve been hearing various accounts of what’s driving the volatility. One of the key narratives goes something like this: 1) wages are moving up in the United States, and 2) inflation is … Continue reading

22 March 2018 by
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After Carillion: the function of procurement in public projects

The post-Carillion debates must consider the effectiveness of local authority procurement strategies Recent concerns over the financial health of Capita and the collapse of Carillion has called into question the effectiveness of procurement processes in government contracts aimed at delivering the lowest cost to the public sector. Our research on large scale projects called into question the received wisdom of … Continue reading

20 March 2018 by
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How a new electoral law could shape the 2018 Italian elections

Italy’s new electoral law – used for the first time in this weekend’s election – could have a wide-ranging impact on the country’s politics By the end of Sunday 4th March Italian voters will discover a lot more about themselves than they have known for years, thanks to their brand new electoral law whose main target is to represent them … Continue reading

2 March 2018 by
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The politics of fear: how immigration is dominating the Italian election campaign

Growing popular concern about immigration could see the centre-right benefit in Sunday’s election The politics of fear is once again affecting the Italian elections. After debates about fake news and the promise of very expensive, and for this reason unachievable, policies, shaped the first stage of the electoral campaign, the immigration issue has been at the heart of public discussion … Continue reading

2 March 2018 by
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USS is the tip of the iceberg – our pensions system is a hot mess

The universities pension strike is a sign of the quiet crisis brewing in the UK pensions system This week, university staff have been on strike against devastating changes to their pensions, braving the freezing weather to stand on picket lines waving placards with brilliantly dweeby slogans (personal faves: “Geertz ya dirty hands off our pensions” and “The provost is an … Continue reading

2 March 2018 by
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Globalising cities and their de-globalising hinterlands: Book review

Scott Lavery

Global cities at the ‘core’ of the national economy generate deep and de-stabilising patterns of under-development in the ‘periphery’ Cities have long played a critical role in the development of global capitalism. In renaissance Europe, merchants in Genoa, Venice and Florence extended their power by integrating their urban economies into trade flows emanating from the Orient. During the 19th-century Pax … Continue reading

2 March 2018 by
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Silvio Berlusconi: what to expect from the comeback king in Italy’s election

Berlusconi’s reputation as one of Europe’s most remarkable politicians of recent decades remains fully deserved When he was booted out of office in 2011, Silvio Berlusconi’s political career appeared to enter a new, and seemingly final, phase. He was occupied less frequently in setting the political agenda than in reacting to agendas set by others. He was already elderly and support for his Forza … Continue reading

1 March 2018 by
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The radical left in the 2018 Italian election

Torn between centre-left respectability and anti-establishment protest, the Italian radical left struggles to devise a coherent and appealing political project The electoral campaign of the forthcoming Italian election on 4 March 2018 is being dominated by three main poles: a centre-right coalition led by Forza Italia (FI) and Lega Nord (Lega); the anti-establishment Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S), running alone; and … Continue reading

21 February 2018 by
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Europe (and immigration) among the new Eurosceptics in the 2018 Italian elections

Populist ‘elites vs the people’ narratives are playing upon rising Euroscepticism and concerns about immigration Recent comment pieces and public opinion data address the increasing dissatisfaction with the European Union (EU) among Italian citizens. Although Italy has always been presented and is well known as one of the most Euro-enthusiast countries, levels of public Euroscepticism have started to increase since … Continue reading

21 February 2018 by
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The UK, EU and the distance effect on trade

Despite the notion of hyper-globalisation, most trade happens with countries in close geographic proximity. Tendencies towards regionalisation and the UK’s strong dependence on EU imports seem to have been forgotten in the Brexit debate A persistent feature of the Brexit debate is the conviction among Brexiteers that the UK will be able to offset any losses from trade with its … Continue reading

20 February 2018 by
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The intricacies of coalition-making in the 2018 Italian election

Italy’s parties are engaging in complex official and unofficial coalition building. The outcome will determine who will form and lead Italy’s next government The forthcoming Italian political elections, due to take place on 4 March 2018, are both unpredictable and likely to have major repercussions both within the country and in Europe as a whole. This is due in great … Continue reading

19 February 2018 by
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The 2018 Italian election: old faces, new parties, familiar uncertainty

Over the coming weeks a new blog series with the PSA Italian Politics Specialist Group will look ahead to the Italian election on March 4th and analyse the results In under three weeks time Italy will return to the polls for what promises to be another controversial general election, with immigration and the state of the economy having been afforded a prominent … Continue reading

14 February 2018 by
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Conform or confront? Will young people turn to trade unions to address precariousness?

Our new research published today considers the perspectives of today’s young people on trade unionism – and how unions can respond The structural reasons for declining trade union membership rates among the young have been widely documented. In a nutshell, the young are increasingly concentrated in lower-value service industries which have traditionally been under-unionised. Indeed, relatively novel employment practices within these … Continue reading

13 February 2018 by
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Outsourcing firms and the paradox of time travel

Analysis of Carillion’s accounts reveals the complex interplay between the firm’s present and future, and sheds new light on which other large outsourcing firms are ‘levered on the future’ In the 1985 film ‘Back To The Future’, the hero Marty McFly travels back in time, accidentally becomes embroiled in his parents’ lives and almost causes them to split, threatening the … Continue reading

12 February 2018 by
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TARGET2 imbalances and the stagnating political economy of Europe

A new approach is needed to respond to secular stagnation and imbalances in the Eurozone The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008 and succeeding sovereign debt crisis is still making its impact felt in Europe in sluggish growth and high unemployment, particularly in the periphery. Despite, apparently buoyant and benign growth in 2017 and the glittering figure 0.6% in the … Continue reading

8 February 2018 by
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