Archive for September, 2009

A fascinating and important piece by William Easterly of New York University on the origins of the concept of development in British colonial discourse. It cites a key book by Suke Wolton on Lord Hailey, the Colonial Office, and the Politics of Race and Empire in the Second World War (Palgrave Macmillan 2000).

The commission of eminent international economists appointed by French President Nicholas Sarkozy to report on measuring economic and social progress (PDF) has published its findings. I have not yet had time to read its 292 pages but, judging from the media coverage, it is broadly in line with what would be expected. Its call for […]

I was particularly saddened to read of the death of Norman Borlaug, a veteran American plant scientist and pioneer of the “green revolution” (see 9 September 2009 post). Among the tributes to him are articles in the Atlantic, the New York Times, Reason and spiked. By coincidence spiked has also just started an online debate […]

The following is my comment from this week’s Fund Strategy on the intellectual crisis of economics. I also wrote a news analysis piece on the first anniversary of the financial crisis. The economic crisis of the past year has engendered a parallel crisis of economics. Economists from Nobel laureates downwards have engaged in soul searching […]

An interesting article in Time magazine on what it calls “a responsibility revolution” among American consumers. After describing how companies, even including Walmart, are becoming more “responsible” it goes on to discuss the attitudes of American consumers. “Our poll found Americans divided pretty evenly into three categories we’re calling the Responsibles, the Toe Dippers and […]

I think I have worked out the rules of “the Copenhagen climate game” – officially known as the Climate Conference in Copenhagen – in December. The aim of the game is to appear as pious as possible about climate change while playing down the practical difficulties of cutting carbon emissions. It seems the best way […]

Anyone who doubts the political degeneration of what passes for the left nowadays should read the article on “Ending Africa’s Hunger” in the 21 September issue of the Nation. From the start it derides the idea that agricultural productivity should be raised as a technological fix. Yet, in a world whose population looks set to […]

This is my comment from this week’s Fund Strategy. It is widely accepted that few economists anticipated the economic crisis of the past year. But what about the small minority who predicted imminent doom? Many are being given undue credit for their apparently accurate predictions. It is easy to forget that until last year the […]

It is hard to work out what to make of the resignation of Van Jones as Barack Obama’s adviser on green jobs. In my Fund Strategy cover story of 2 March I described Jones as a key intellectual influence on the drive to implement a green new deal. This followed some flattering portraits of him […]

Back in 2006 David Miliband, then Britain’s environment minister, proposed that everyone in the country should have an individual climate change allowance (see 20 July 2006 post). Now Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the German government’s climate protection adviser, has taken the argument a step further. He argues in an interview in Spiegel for an individual climate […]