Archive for January, 2008

The latest annual Family Expenditure Survey from Britain’s National Statistics gives some idea of how living standards have increased over the past 50 years. For example, according to the official release: “In 2006 most homes had central heating (95 per cent), a washing machine (96 per cent), a microwave (91 per cent) and a telephone […]

The New York Times has pubished a feature by Mark Bittman arguing that excessive consumption of meat is damaging the planet (27 January). A few years ago such an uncritical piece would more likely be in the Ecologist than a mainstream newspaper. Near the start of the article he argues that: “Global demand for meat […]

Barbara Ehrenreich makes an unusual analogy when she discusses the American economy in an article on The Nation website (posted 22 January): “With all the talk about how to stimulate it, you’d think that the economy is a giant clitoris.” Her initial target is the recently announced fiscal stimulus. She makes the fair point that […]

spiked has published a review by me of John Kenneth Galbraith’s Affluent Society. I argue that the book, which was first published 50 years ago, anticpates many of the key themes of contemporary growth scepticism.

spiked has run a short article by me on the backdrop to the surprise cut in interest rates by America’s Federal Reserve earlier this week.

The annual British Social Attitudes survey contains some insights into changing perceptions of inequality and of the environment. On poverty it is clear that there is widespread concern about the existence of inequality. Some 76% say the gap between those on high and those on low incomes is “too large”. However, this concern about inequality […]

Worldwrite has produced two new short films. Cash Back is a look at the importance of remittances to economic development in the third world. For the poorest countries it can be several times the amount of official development assistance or foreign direct investment. I’m a Subsistence Farmer Get Me Out of Here is an attack […]

Eric G Wilson, a professor of English at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, has written a wonderful essay on the value of melancholy as opposed to happiness in the Chronicle Review (18 January). It is adapted from his book Against Happiness which is about to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in America […]

Brendan O’Neill has an article on the BBC online website on Oliver James’s The Selfish Capitalist. After letting James explain his argument it quotes myself and Simon Wessely, professor of epidemiological and liaison psychiatry at King’s College, London, giving a contrary view. I will leave readers to look up my remarks if they want to […]

I will be giving a talk on China as the new “green peril” at the London School of Economics at 2pm on 5 March.