Archive for May, 2007

Spiked has published a review by me of a book on Africa in its new monthly review of books. I argue that Giles Bolton’s Poor Story embodies what has become a typical combination of grandiose pronouncements and low horizons

This week’s Fund Strategy included the following comment by me on Blair’s economic record. It is hard to separate Tony Blair’s economic legacy from that of Gordon Brown. Both have played a key role in developing a narrow-minded approach to economic policy making over the past decade. And both have enjoyed considerable luck in being […]

Martin Wolf has reviewed an important book in today’s Financial Times. The Bottom Billion (Oxford University Press) argues in effect that a return to empire is needed to solve the problem of African poverty. Given that the author is Paul Collier, the director of the Study of African Economies at Oxford university, it should be […]

Two prominent American economists have written a justification for income inequality. Gary Becker, a Nobel laureate, and Kevin Murphy, winner of the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association, argue that widening inequality can be “beneficial and desirable”. In an article on they point out that in China the rise in income […]

The debate I took part in on the “Battle for Affluence” at the Battle of Ideas conference on 28 October 2006 can now be viewed on video. It fears me along with Avner Offer of Oxford University, Mark Easton on the BBC, Nicholas Crafts of Warwick University and Jenny Davey of the Sunday Times. More […]

This week’s Fund Strategy included the following comment by me on sustainability. There is also a related cover story but it is too long to put on this blog. It can be reached through – you need to register but it is free. The fund management industry seems to have taken on sustainability as […]

Professor TN Srinivasan of Yale has written a sharp rebuttal to Robert Wade on the world economy (see 1 May post) in a letter to the Financial Times. Srinivasan challenges Wade’s contention that only China has enjoyed a sharp reduction in poverty. India too has experienced substantial poverty reduction: “India’s average annual rate of growth […]

Professor Lord Richard Layard, British government adviser and chief happiness guru, has argued that the central purpose of schools should be to teach “the secrets of happiness”. He says he supports a new generation of teachers who specialise in “emotional intelligence” – inculcating values to pupils. The response of the National Union of Teachers is […]

Russell Jacoby, a professor of history at UCLA, has written an astute review article in the Nation on the redefinition of capitalism in terms of consumption. Although the idea is not new in itself a new book on consumer culture by Benjamin Barber, a political theorist, takes it further by arguing that the latest stage […]

American Prospect, a US magazine, has teamed up with Demos (an American think tank rather than the British one of the same name) to produce a special report on “Ending poverty in America”. It is striking how it defines poverty in terms of ethics rather than having anything to do with political struggle or power. […]