Dame Anne Salmond: The idea there’s no such thing as society is extremely damaging

In 1987 Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, gave a speech in which she declared, “There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.” Unfortunately, however, she was mistaken. There is such a thing as society. Since time immemorial, human beings have worked together in groups beyond the individual and families to ensure their… Read more

The economic non-impact of stadiums and arenas

Peddlers of economic impact studies are modern day snake oil salesmen. Most economic impact studies would not be less credible if they were printed on toilet paper (but they would be more useful!). Exhibit A is the cost-benefit analysis used to justify the upgrade of the white elephant Claudelands Events Centre in Hamilton (see here and here, and note that tthings are not getting any better). Fudging the figures on cost-benefit… Read more

Perfect storm of events could trigger the next financial crisis

Back in 2007, the first signs of stress in the US housing market were starting to appear. Managed investment funds at Bear Sterns and BNP Paribas were forced to close, or suspend payments, as they were unable to liquidate their assets to repay investors. Following the surprising vote in favour of Brexit, several property funds (including Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management) have suspended redemptions. Once… Read more

The free market will save us all. Well. Maybe not all of us.

In Eurozine’s interview Henry A. Giroux gave an indepth argument as to why a neoliberal model is failing academia, and in turn, society as a whole. Previously mentioned on eSocSci’s blog was how academia is being hamstrung by neoliberalism, and now we look at the effect neoliberalism has on business and national economies. In his interview Giroux correctly stated that at a nation level state sovereignty… Read more

Neoliberalism, Higher Education, and why never the twain should meet.

In Eurozine’s interview Henry A. Giroux has crystallised what many academics around the globe are saying under their breaths: universities are sliding toward a more corporate style of management, where the institution is forced to operate as though it were a large company seeking profit rather than creating arenas where critical thought is fostered under the now global neoliberal economic model, and this… Read more

The Commonwealth is not an alternative to the EU for Britain

A key question in the debate about Britain’s future in Europe concerns the alternative global economic connections available to the UK. The North American Free Trade Agreement, the European Free Trade Association and free-wheeling bilateralism all have their advocates. Yet one other alternative carries particular emotional resonance: the Commonwealth. For some Brexiters the Commonwealth is the perfect… Read more

Michael Cameron: The ‘efficient’ allocation of refugees

Some time back I promised one of my students I would write about the refugee crisis in Europe. So here goes: If we had free movement of people, then refugees would simply move to their preferred location (which may or may not be a Western country). From an overall global welfare perspective, this should be the preferred solution (if you want an explanation why, Michael Clement argues persuasively that there are trillionRead more

Free market environmentalism gone wrong

I’ve been writing for some time the problems of trying to save endangered species (see here, here, here, here, and here). One potentially effective (and controversial, compared with orthodox environmental values) solutions is to grant property rights over endangered species and allow them to be farmed. Of course, this would also entail legalising the trade in endangered species. Then the farmers have incentives… Read more

Max Rashbrooke: Why inequality is such a barrier to eradicating poverty

In the arguments about how wealth and income are shared out, one of the common lines is that poverty matters, but inequality, in the sense of the gaps across all of society, is a distraction. This is usually buttressed with a reference to China: just look, people say, at the way that hundreds of millions of people have been pulled out of poverty, even as the gap between the rich and the rest has widened. Inequality doesn’t… Read more

Moana Maniapoto: We’re not alone in opposing the TPPA

You’d think that, moving about in the biggest city in the world, you’d struggle for space on the pavement. But that wasn’t so in Tokyo, despite a population of 13 million. People are respectful, considerate and quiet. Even when school kids jump into a subway carriage, they whisper. I didn’t see, let alone hear, one person on their mobile phone — and we spent a good hunk of our days on trains. Every time the uniformed… Read more