speri.comment: the political economy blog

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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Gender inequalities and sexual harassment in global value chains

To change the dynamics of gender inequality we need to change those of the contemporary global economy The new Oxfam report –Reward Work, not Wealth– is a bitter and strong message to the leaders of our globalised world; a lucid analysis of the need for bold and different actions to reduce inequalities. Such inequalities are embedded in our society, and … Continue reading

6 February 2018 by
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New shocks and old sins: economic adjustment in the age of automation and Brexit

Success or failure in responding to economic adjustment will shape not just the economics, but also the politics, of the post-Brexit era Every week we hear about new threats — via trade, tech, or shifts in consumer preferences — that will put the careers of one group of workers or another on the line. People and places are always being told they will need to adjust … Continue reading

31 January 2018 by
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How the government’s pro-remain leaflet shaped the EU referendum

New research shows how the official government leaflet successfully changed voting behaviour in the referendum Since the 2016 EU referendum, ‘who voted for Brexit?’ has quickly become a compelling area of study for academics and the media alike. In spite of the growing attention, the impact of the government’s pro-remain leaflet on individual voting intentions is unaddressed. My new research … Continue reading

26 January 2018 by
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Healthy rivers, healthy cities? The case of Sheffield and its rivers

Jon Morris

The UK Government’s new 25-year environmental plan shows the need to increase biodiversity and resilience of our waterways. This has implications far beyond the immediate health of the river system itself Theresa May’s declaration on January 11th to deliver a ‘Green Brexit’ as part of a new 25-year environmental plan emphasises the Government’s commitment to delivering cleaner water, improve biodiversity, … Continue reading

24 January 2018 by
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Beyond the madness: Donald Trump and the resetting of America’s social contract

David Coates

Away from the White House chaos an ultra-conservative Republican Party is building an America for the rich and privileged The daily circus that is the visible face of contemporary American politics keeps our gaze firmly fixed on the character of the ring-master: but it does so to our long-term cost. Why? Because all the bluster and circus-nonsense associated with this … Continue reading

19 January 2018 by
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Out of time: The fragile temporality of Carillion’s accumulation model

Carillion is the epitome of the modern financialized firm and its liquidation tells us much about risk in this phase of financialization Look anywhere on Carillion’s website and we see metaphors for its supposed tangibility and strength, from the way it advertises its Tarmac Group heritage to its list of construction achievements which in fact precede its inception. The website … Continue reading

17 January 2018 by
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Will Frankfurt become Europe’s leading financial centre after Brexit?

Frankfurt views its ‘stability’ as a key advantage in the battle for jobs and investment with other European financial centres after Brexit When the UK leaves the European Single Market, financial firms domiciled within the City of London will lose their ‘passporting rights’. This means that many UK-based banks and other financial institutions will need to relocate a significant portion … Continue reading

16 January 2018 by
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Fat Cats in paradise: Why private wealth is a political issue

Jacqueline Best

The future of liberal democracy is threatened unless growing inequality and the culture of wealthy entitlement it creates are effectively tackled This year’s Fat Cat Thursday arrived on January 4 in the UK, reminding us that it just took three days for the CEOs of Britain’s big companies to earn more than an average worker will gain from an entire … Continue reading

15 January 2018 by
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The political economy of forced labour

Genevieve LeBaron

‘Confronting Root Causes: Forced Labour in Global Supply Chains’, a new report that call for innovative approaches to tackle forced labour in global supply chains is published today. The first chapter of the report is republished here. It is by now widely recognised that effectively tackling forced labour in the global economy means addressing its ‘root causes’. Policymakers, business leaders … Continue reading

10 January 2018 by
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Young people and the normalisation of economic crisis in the UK

Our new research considers the perspectives of today’s young people on the economy, crisis and labour market change – and how they view the prospect of transforming their circumstances through politics It is now widely accepted that young people are among the groups that have been most effected by the financial crisis and its aftermath. Indeed, many of the alarming … Continue reading

8 January 2018 by
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The hard and soft powers of England’s new metro-mayors

Transport and homelessness show how Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram are using their formal and informal powers in Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region Eight months into their role as metro-mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region respectively, the policy priorities of Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram are beginning to be more clearly defined. Any reservations about the metro-mayoral … Continue reading

3 January 2018 by
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The next Brexit

The path to ‘soft Brexit’ has now been firmly established. But the real disjuncture between the UK and the EU may be yet to come The divorce deal between the UK and the European Union (EU) agreed earlier this month has effectively averted the immediate prospect of a ‘hard Brexit’. After the UK’s capitulation on a range of key sticking … Continue reading

19 December 2017 by
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The making of a movement: who’s shaping Corbynism?

No leader, no ideology can come to power — and stay in power — alone. Who are the key thinkers, organisers and behind-the-scenes players shaping Corbynism, what does its future hold, and what does this mean for civil society? Thinking too hard about British politics at the moment is liable to induce a serious case of political whiplash. After Jeremy … Continue reading

18 December 2017 by
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The geopolitics of African urban transformation

Thomas Goodfellow

Africa is undergoing an urban revolution which is taking place in the context of a sea change in global geopolitics Cities are now firmly on the international development agenda. They have a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal – number 11 – as well as UN-HABITAT’s New Urban Agenda, both the product of years of work. Among many other recent programmes of urban research, … Continue reading

15 December 2017 by
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Budget 2017: Facilitating Homeownership to build political support

James Wood

The recent Budget showed the Conservatives following Thatcher’s example of facilitating homeownership as a means to build political support The 2017 Budget introduced a series of policy measures aimed at tackling Britain’s growing owner-occupied housing crisis, which, at its core, is a crisis of affordability. Since the 1980s, house prices have increased in Britain at a faster rate than in … Continue reading

11 December 2017 by
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Capital controls are back on the agenda – but why did Britain scrap them in the 1970s?

Labour and Conservative governments in the 1970s abolished exchange controls and the reasons don’t just lie in free market ideology. Unhindered capital mobility – once understood as an unassailable feature of the modern global economy – has recently been called into question. While The Telegraph’s scare headlines may exaggerate things (‘How to protect your money from Corbyn’s threatened capital controls…’), … Continue reading

7 December 2017 by
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Can the Eurozone resolve its macroeconomic imbalances before the next crisis?

The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure attempts to prevent future economic crises within the Eurozone by remedying emerging imbalances. Precisely how to achieve this, however, has opened a struggle for the very direction of European governance November kicked off the European Semester, the EU’s annual policy coordination cycle. With the EU economy gathering momentum, but with disparities in living standards among member … Continue reading

6 December 2017 by
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