Sectoral boasts, or a few dumb ways of sizing up the economy

This morning’s perusal of the Guardian’s brought forth a small sigh, as there just below the A level story sat the headline “UK green economy four times larger than manufacturing sector, says report”.   Now, I have been marinating myself in sectoral data for months to write this monster, and pretty much know every sectorContinue reading “Sectoral boasts, or a few dumb ways of sizing up the economy”

Is all GDP created equal?

Scott Corfe of the Social Market Foundation* has with his team produced an eye-catching report about gambling regulation**. The major headline: while gambling supports thousands of jobs in the economy, clamping down on it is nothing to worry about, because the spending currently diverted to gambling would go elsewhere. In fact, it would probably goContinue reading “Is all GDP created equal?”

There are far worse crimes than being smug

I try to avoid the Sunday press. From its echoes on Twitter, it appears to be a troll-fest through which innocents like me are unpleasantly reminded of the existence of columnists we’d thought had gone to pasture years ago.  And even the thoughtful ones, like Matthew Syed, feel an extra urge to be provocative onContinue reading “There are far worse crimes than being smug”

Keynes on how to pay for the War, and what to worry about most

It is marvellously calming to pick up a hitherto unread piece by Keynes at a time like this. For some reason, a number of the epoch-making economists of the past were also wonderful writers – I am thinking Smith, Keynes, Friedman and Hayek, whether you agree with them or not – and it is niceContinue reading “Keynes on how to pay for the War, and what to worry about most”

Some of the bailout reading I compiled

OK, so my technique when asked to write a big piece (like my newly published report on Bailout Policy for the Coronavirus Crisis) is to engage in a constant, mind-wearying conversation with myself over email and sometimes with Twitter on the back of all the stuff I read that may have some tangential relationship withContinue reading “Some of the bailout reading I compiled”

We didn’t buy pandemic insurance and can’t forever pretend that we did

Several aeons have passed since I began thinking about covid-19 bailouts (IFG pamphlet out shortly, watch this space), and still I struggle to get my thoughts straight.  During that time, the blogosphere and in particular VoxEU have drenched us in high-speed, quality thought, even as the facts on the ground have shifted at speed.  JustContinue reading “We didn’t buy pandemic insurance and can’t forever pretend that we did”

When concentrating your vote flips over into being a disadvantage

There was a fascinating discussion on my Twitter timeline with Rob Ford, Will Jennings, Iron Economist and many other distinguished people, triggered by concerns about the Liberal Democrat revoke A50 policy.  In short: the concerns expressed by some are that the Liberal Democrats might get the total majority they would need to enact this RevokeContinue reading “When concentrating your vote flips over into being a disadvantage”

The vast, unknowable potential of tactical voting

TL;DR summary: if you adjust the uniform swing so that voting patterns reflect echoes of past Labour or LibDem strength, the predicted Tory majority vanishes. If you add onto this a measure of tactical voting, their seat share might fall by dozens of seats more.  But detecting whether this is realistic is very, very hard. Continue reading “The vast, unknowable potential of tactical voting”

Conventional wisdom comes good, with a time fuse

I’ve had this thought for a while, and wanted to get it down in case it proves to be an enduring one.  We have seen recently – by which I mean, since I have been paying attention – a number of sharp examples of the conventional wisdom being overthrown. By this, I mean suggestions orContinue reading “Conventional wisdom comes good, with a time fuse”

Stoppard’s The Real Thing – and the importance of barriers to entry

We went to see The Real Thing last night at the Old Vic (me excitedly refreshing the liveblogging of the debate through the interval). I thought it brilliant, very raw, funny of course, thought provoking. What tends to wind me up about the Stoppards I’ve seen – and writers like Iris Murdoch – is thatContinue reading “Stoppard’s The Real Thing – and the importance of barriers to entry”