Archive for January, 2009

The February 2009 issue of History Today has an article by Keith Thomas, a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, on the emergence of a consumer society in Britain from the 17th century onward. He argues: “What we see during the 17th and 18th centuries is the gradual emergence of a new ideology, accepting the […]

Spiked has published an extended version of my review of Paul Krugman’s book on “depression economics”. An earlier version appeared in Fund Strategy. Sean Collins has a review in the same issue of the spiked review of books which examines how the current financial crisis can be linked to the real economy.


In: Uncategorized

29 Jan 2009

I am having enormous problems finding a title for my book which pleases me, my agent and my publisher. I have tried numerous permutations of words such as abundance, affluence, growth, progress and prosperity but with no joy. No doubt there is scope for some lateral thinking but I am stumped for now. Anyone who […]

Today’s Financial Times has a substantial feature on the debate on the weaknesses of GDP as a measure of human welfare. It has some interesting material although ultimately is a weak piece. It does not appreciate that in many respects GDP underestimates the contribution of growth to human welfare. And it sees the discussion as […]

Happy chickens?

In: Uncategorized

27 Jan 2009

What is a happy chicken? The question occurred to me while watching the awful television documentary by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, a British celebrity chef, on Chickens, Hugh & Tesco Too. I won’t discuss the programme in general except to say it featured the Old Etonian campaigning against supermarkets selling cheap chicken. What struck me most was […]

Benjamin Barber, an American political theorist writing in the Nation, favours austerity but dresses it up as a cultural renaissance. On the one hand he says that people must consume less: “The crisis in global capitalism demands a revolution in spirit–fundamental change in attitudes and behavior. Reform cannot merely rush parents and kids back into […]

Neuroskeptic has sent me a link to his incisive critique of Oliver James’s notion of Affluenza. I do not know who Neuroskeptic is but he makes some telling points.

The New Economics Foundation, a British think tank, has launched a comprehensive report and related website on national accounts of well-being for European countries. It is designed to further the organisation’s case that economic growth should be downplayed in favour of subjective measures of well-being. Among other things the website features: • Robert Kennedy’s famous […]

Unicef’s report on the State of the World’s Children 2009 provides a reminder of how far the world still is from being developed. Evidently more than 500,000 women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, and nearly 4 million newborns die within the first 28 days of life.

Just came across a report on Green Jobs (PDF) produced by Worldwatch Institute and published by the United Nations Environment Programme in conjunction. The project was in conjunction with the International Labour Organization, International Organization of Employers and International Trade Union Confederation. With the inauguration of Barack Obama as president the Green New Deal has […]