The dominant political, financial and media establishment seems close to resolving the outstanding Labour leadership problem to its satisfaction. There will be no serious challenge from Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper, or, of course, Liz Kendal. Nor would there have been from Mary Creagh who pulled out of the leadership race, blaming Miliband’s lack of business friendliness as the reason Labour lost the election. The only difficulty might lie with Jeremy Corbyn, should he achieve the necessary nominations to stand for the leadership.
Corbyn could be dangerous to the established Tory/ New Labour Westminster consensus simply because he does not go along with it. His candidacy would challenge that Osborne-Cameron clique in a way the other candidates would fear to tread.
Continue reading Corbyn-led coalition government
Empathise with the banker, trader or fund manager looking after other people’s money, whose performance on their behalf is continually assessed and reported as the basis for a position on a league table. Two options are on offer.
1. Invest in a start-up widget manufacturer creating new employment but only offering a return of 10-15% pa and even that is at risk, or,
2. Invest in “Alternative Markets – Dedicated to providing established green sippable alternative investments. Guaranteed investment opportunities with ROI ranging from 60% to 398%. Purchasing carbon credits to offset harmful emissions is a popular carbon reducing option. Investors can invest in companies that provide credits for carbon emissions, through forestry plantations for example, which are then sold on.”
Assuming both options are perfectly legal, which way is investment likely to be made?
Continue reading Pity the Poor Banker!
Neo-classical microeconomic theory, especially in its more recent fundamentalist manifestations, has done immense damage to the real economy while nurturing the parasitic financial sector, as recounted from time to time elsewhere on this site.
Various alternative approaches have identified and addressed problems created by that theory. Welfare economics, the economics of social balance, and what is referred to as behavioural economics, have all sought to modify how the neo-classical maximising model operates. However they have not provided a clear and simple alternative to neo-classical mathematics. So the neo-classical model prevails and will survive all such challenges. Utility maximising economic man and the profit (or shareholder wealth) maximising firm, operating within an assumed to be efficient market, will continue to be accepted as the solution to maximising economic growth and social welfare. The obvious inequity of distribution between rich and poor, both within and between nations, will continue to be regretted as necessary to the utilitarian result. Moreover, it is argued, care for the environment could be more readily financed by a successful economy, rather than by one which is struggling to survive.
Continue reading Bury the Dogma
The corporate monster is destroying the world, tearing up its soil to gobble up its precious resources, fouling its air, polluting its water and damaging its climate, while rewarding the few with untold riches, but leaving the masses in poverty. That’s how things work, unless they are prevented. Free-market ideology is having a hard time right now. But maybe not hard enough.
Continue reading Moral Responsibilities of Corporate Officials
Since the financial crash, and all the stuff about speculative financial markets, hedge funds, greedy bankers and their obscene bonuses for doing precious little of real worth, and then all the stuff about global warming, and BP’s poisoning the Gulf of Mexico … with all that going on it’s difficult to stand back and take a longer view of our situation. But it may be useful and instructive to try.
DNA scholars like, Spencer Wells (‘Pandora’s Seed: the unforeseen cost of civilization’), study human evolution from the genetic record stored in our DNA. Homo sapiens separated off as a distinct species around 195,000 years ago. Human population seems to have been relatively stable for around 115,000 years while people migrated from Ethiopia across Africa and the Middle East, it is presumed in search of food supplies to hunt and gather. Then population appears to have crashed, almost to extinction, around 70,000 years ago, probably as a result of climate changes reducing food supplies. Around 60,000 years ago population started to recover and spread across the globe. Then around 10,000 years ago, a watershed in man’s history, population started its continuous expansion from a few million to over 6 billion today, with a massive increase starting in the late eighteenth century. The change 10,000 years ago was caused by the conversion from hunter-gathering to farming and 250 years ago by industrialization.
Continue reading The Long View