The case for a basic income – time to rethink incomes and work

Britain is facing a cost-of-living crisis, one that is driven by falling real pay.  There is growing concern, not just about the level of unemployment, but about under-employment; people who are in theory in work but in practice cannot earn enough to make a decent sufficiency.  The biggest cohort receiving benefits is people in work; […]

Nothing strange about the death of English liberalism

Reading Nick Clegg’s New Year message was a sad and sobering affair (leaving aside any impatience at the growing habit of politicians great and small issuing such messages).  It read as really little more than excuse-mongering and post-hoc rationalisation in defence of policies that appear to rub against the natural grain of the Liberal tradition; […]

The triumph of the commons: why Elinor Ostrom matters

The death of Elinor Ostrom, economist, radical and first woman to win the Nobel Economics Prize, seems to have passed largely unnoticed in the Anglo-Saxon world; a look at the #ostrom hashtag on Twitter in the hours following the announcement of her passing showed tributes in many languages, for once English not in the majority.  […]

The Curse of PPE

There has been quite a lot of debate recently about how the British political class is dominated by Oxbridge.  And I read quite often  – especially on Twitter – comments along the lines of “If Cameron has a first in PPE at Oxford, how come he’s so ignorant about …” or “If Cameron got a […]

Marx and Machines of Loving Grace – thoughts on Adam Curtis’ film

Last night the BBC broadcast the first part of All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace – the first of three, as ever an important, visually-arresting and hard-hitting piece of work. He starts by exploring the works of Ayn Rand and their influence on American intellectual life, weaving this with an account of how […]