speri.comment: the political economy blog

If this is capitalism, where are the price signals?: The glacial effects of passive investment

In the 10 years since the 2008 crash, the ‘passive-aggressive’ tendencies of large index funds have reshaped how modern capitalism operates The capacity for disruptive innovation within finance is part of its continued appeal for political economists post-crisis, whether it is the speed of algorithmic-trading, the growth of fintech or the darker recesses of the shadow banking sector. But the … Continue reading

3 September 2018 by
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African capitalisms, infrastructure and the role of urban real estate in political settlements

Exploring how capital intersects with contemporary urban forms can help to bring Africa to its rightful position at the forefront of global debates on capitalist transformation. This series on capitalism in Africa has so far provided some excellent reflections focused primarily in two areas: first, the utility of the concept of capitalism (seen as being both historically contingent and culturally … Continue reading

22 August 2018 by
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#MeToo and Harvey Weinstein: Telling stories of vulnerable bodies

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, the #MeToo and #TimesUp hashtags campaign have become internationally recognised as a symbol of resistance against sexual and gender-based violence and abuse. The campaigns inspired people to tell their stories of everyday abuse, assault and discrimination but how much difference can a social media campaign make? This is the fifth blog in a series … Continue reading

17 August 2018 by
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Constructing the Weinstein story: the political economy of scandal

While the Weinstein scandal has generated a pseudo-systemic critique of sexual violence in the workplace, economic inequalities still determine who gets scandalised and who gets to respond This is the fourth blog in a series on the political economy of the Weinstein scandal Popular podcast The Guilty Feminist released two episodes of the show relating specifically to ‘Weinstein culture’. Comedian … Continue reading

16 August 2018 by
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“I was a thing: not a nobody, but a body”: The political economy of the body & the Weinstein scandal

Hollywood’s commodification of women’s bodies must be recognised as a contributory factor when questioning the (un)shocking prevalence of sexual violence and abuse. Therefore, to fully understand the political economy of the Weinstein scandal, it is necessary to foreground the body This is the third blog in a series on the political economy of the Weinstein scandal Salma Hayek’s searing essay … Continue reading

15 August 2018 by
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Who pays for sexual harassment?

Calculating the economic costs of sexual harassment obscures its underlying wrongs – as does the disparagement of people that ‘sleep their way to the top’. The Weinstein scandal calls both of these approaches into question This is the second blog in a series on the political economy of the Weinstein scandal The dominance of orthodox economics in society is hard … Continue reading

14 August 2018 by
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The political economy of the Weinstein scandal

This blog series introduces some preliminary research from SPERI’s PREPPE programme, a project that asks: What can political economy tell us about the Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement? And what can the Weinstein scandal and #MeToo movement teach us about political economy? The Weinstein scandal is well known: An initial exposure of the systematic sexual violence of Hollywood producer … Continue reading

13 August 2018 by
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US investors drive growing top income inequality in Britain

New findings show that the Americanization of British firm ownership causes substantial increases in executive pay Income inequality, and the increasing concentration of income and wealth at the top of the distribution, have become a major cause for concern in both scholarly and public debate. The share of income taken by the top one per cent in the UK has … Continue reading

1 August 2018 by
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The changing politics of regionalism in Asia-Pacific

Ahmad-Risky-Umar

Recent development in the Asia-Pacific region show how regionalism is a ‘dynamic’ political project rather than merely an institution and rule-based political order In the latest Shangri-La Dialogue, hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, India and other participants embraced Indo-Pacific cooperation as the new platform for regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific. Coined firstly by Japanese Prime … Continue reading

30 July 2018 by
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‘Global Britain’ equals Osbornomics squared

Craig Berry

The tussle over Brexit within the Conservative Party is actually a debate about the UK’s future place in the global capitalist order. Boris Johnson is merely taking remainer George Osborne’s vision to its logical conclusion, while in pinning her hopes on continental capitalism, Theresa May is arguably the real fantasist Since the resignation of Boris Johnson and David Davis, ostensibly … Continue reading

27 July 2018 by
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Unions in the 21st century: adapt to survive, co-opt to grow

Could a clever campaign make support for unions an integral part of corporate social responsibility? It has always surprised me how rarely trade unions are raised in the conversation on forced labour. Their fundamental purpose is to secure better conditions for workers, in part by using collective action to identify and rectify the structural and systemic problems occurring within their … Continue reading

27 July 2018 by
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Book review: Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union

Owen Parker

Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley’s new book provides a nuanced picture of why people voted as they did in 2016 There are many stories seeking to explain the outcome of the 2016 referendum on UK membership of the EU. These include stories that focus on the long-term status of the UK as an “awkward partner” since it … Continue reading

24 July 2018 by
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Making the unpolishable Brexit turd sparkle?

The economic logic of hard Brexit has always been a chimera, and our political class is finally waking up to the impossibility of delivering it in any meaningful sense During the New Labour years, Peter Mandelson was regularly maligned for the infamous quote about being ‘intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich’. This statement was often taken out of context, … Continue reading

13 July 2018 by
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Localising pension fund investments: opportunities and challenges

Pension funds could play an important role in achieving a more balanced economy, but new investments should prioritise benefits for members above all else Regional economic imbalances – that is inequalities in the outcomes between different regions and localities in the UK – have long been a cause for concern for politicians and policy-makers. In response, pension funds, with their … Continue reading

9 July 2018 by
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The Political Economy of Brexit and the Future of British Capitalism

Two symposia in New Political Economy bring together academic experts to examine the implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in key economic policy areas In March 2017, the British government invoked article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, officially beginning the negotiations for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) – the so-called ‘Brexit’. … Continue reading

2 July 2018 by
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Peace walls and other social frontiers can breed crime and conflict in cities

Identifying social frontiers is the first step to understanding what impacts they have on the people living nearby In several cities across Northern Ireland, so-called “peace walls” mark the boundaries between Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods. Erected amid the Troubles which started in the late 1960s, the barriers were intended as a temporary measure to prevent outbreaks of violence between the two communities. … Continue reading

28 June 2018 by
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Frankfurt and Paris as financial centres after Brexit

Scott Lavery

The City of London is likely to remain as Europe’s pre-eminent financial centre after the UK leaves the EU, but new research shows how Frankfurt and Paris seek to ‘capitalise’ on the fall-out from Brexit Brexit creates an opportunity for alternative European financial centres such as Frankfurt, Paris Luxembourg and Dublin. However, no comprehensive academic research on the emerging competition between … Continue reading

26 June 2018 by
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Understanding vulnerability to forced labour in global supply chains

Forced labour is prevalent in the tea and cocoa industries and is happening in the context of widespread labour abuse In my remarks at an ETI Ethical Insights discussion on what drives modern slavery in global supply chains, I outlined findings from my Global Business of Forced Labour project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The project systematically mapped the business … Continue reading

25 June 2018 by
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Why the smallest states fail to secure special treatment in global trade politics

There are four reasons why Small Island Developing States and Small Vulnerable Economies fail to secure special and differential treatment (SDT) and Preferences as global norms In Part One of this blog I argued that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Small Vulnerable Economies (SVEs) are not present in the academic debates on small states and international norms. I also … Continue reading

22 June 2018 by
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What will Brexit mean for UK climate action?

Our research reveals that the UK is at risk of letting climate change slip off the agenda at a time when attention and action has never been as important With the ‘Brexit day’ deadline, at the end of March 2019, rapidly approaching, many are still puzzling over what exiting the European Union (EU) will actually mean for the UK. One … Continue reading

21 June 2018 by
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