Archive for July, 2007

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has produced two related reports on inequality in Britain. Poverty, wealth and place in Britain, 1968 to 2005 looks at how the gap between rich and poor has risen to its highest level for 40 years. It also shows how the the rich are increasingly living in areas segregated from the […]

Helen Johns and Paul Ormerod have written a useful critique of the idea that government policy should be focused on happiness in today’s Financial Times (“Don’t ask the state for happiness”). Their thoughts are based on their Happiness, Economics and Public Policy, which is published this week by the Institute of Economic Affairs. Among the […]

I have belatedly discovered a great letter by Michael Savage, an investment banker, criticising the idea that happiness is a desirable goal for humans to pursue. It was published in the Financial Times on 28 June. I have reproduced it in full below. Sir, Even if “emotional resilience” and “the habits of optimism” can be […]

Spiked has published an article by me on the displacement of GDP as a measure of human welfare by broader social indicators. I argue that the statistical debate hides a more general anxiety about popular prosperity.

This week’s Fund Strategy included a review by me of David Smith’s new book on China and India. A few years ago David Smith, the economics editor of the Sunday Times, was giving a talk on the world economy to a group of businessmen in London. After someone asked a question about China and India […]

This week’s Fund Strategy included a comment by me on changing patterns of world trade. Agriculture has become a relatively niche enterprise in modern industrial economies. However, the latest 10-year Agricultural Outlook from the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations highlights some important trends*. These apply […]

The Economist has some peculiar but useful coverage of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in this week’s issue (7 July). Its comment on global poverty seems unclear about whether to welcome or oppose them. It says” “the MDGs can justifly claim to generate a bit of buzz about duties a government might neglect.” But it […]

An article published today on the Guardian’s comment is free site shows how apparently radical views on inequality and corruption can lead to conservative conclusions. Salim Lone, a columnist for Kenya’s Daily Nation and former spokesman for the UN mission in Iraq, starts by bemoaning Africa’s poor record on development. He goes on to argue […]

This week’s Fund Strategy included a comment by me on Gordon Brown’s decade as chancellor of the exchequer. The conventional wisdom is that Gordon Brown’s 10-year tenure as chancellor of the exchequer was a success. One of the main arguments against this view is his abject failure to meet his stated aim of closing the […]

Niall Ferguson, a professor of history at Harvard, had a review of Paul Collier’s The Bottom Billion in today’s New York Times (also see posts of 14 May and 6 June). Ferguson argues that the most high profile recent debate on Africa has been between Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University and William Easterly of New […]