Archive for May, 2010

The discussion of food is one of the most distasteful discussions of recent years. It tends to grossly underestimate the huge benefits of cheap food and grossly overestimate its costs. One of humanity’s great achievements over the past two centuries is to make food cheaper and more abundant. Although the global population has risen about […]

This is my comment from last week’s Fund Strategy. Last week austerity started to bite among some of the larger European nations. In Britain the Liberal-Conservative government announced £6 billion of spending cuts for this financial year. The move followed an interview by David Laws, the chief secretary to the Treasury, in the Financial Times […]

Shale gas will change the world, Financial Times, Gideon Rachman. Money can’t buy happiness but it helps: poll, Reuters. The limits of the green machine, Forbes, by Joel Kotkin. On the criticisms of Obama and BP over the Gulf oil spill, American Situation, by Sean Collins. Why the EU will thrive on Greece’s troubles, spiked, […]

The Western media are becoming hysterical over a spate of suicides at Foxconn, a Chinese manufacturer of computers and mobile phones including the Apple iPad. About 12 people (accounts of the exact number vary) have evidently committed suicide among the company’s workers so far this year. It is widely suggested that this suicide rate shows […]

So David Laws, the minister who was meant to be the point man in the British government’s spending cuts (see 23 May post), has already resigned in an (pretty lame) expenses scandal. Danny Alexander, another Liberal Democrat MP, takes over as chief secretary to the Treasury.

Interesting that David Cameron’s first major speech as Britain’s new prime minister should be on the coalition’s strategy for achieving growth through economic transformation. As is often the case with such things the headline might sound good but the details tell a different story. Cameron says the government’s first priority is economic transformation. He proposes […]

My latest review, the pseudo-radical war on economic growth, is the lead story on the latest spiked review of books.

Governments across Europe are starting to implement austerity measures. Gavin Hewitt, the BBC’s Europe editor, even talked of “the contagion of austerity” in a blog post on the subject. Italy is the latest to join the trend with the announcement of a €24 billion (£21 billion) austerity package. It follows others including Britain (see 23 […]

The call in today’s Financial Times (registration required) by Paul Collier, an expert on Africa and professor of economics at Oxford, for a practical ethics of nature is worth examining closely. His call for a humane environmentalism embodies some flawed and dangerous assumptions. Collier sets up his argument by opposing two alternative views: * Romantic […]

Anyone who doubts the authoritarian tendencies of environmentalism should listen to the BBC Radio 4 Analyisis programme by Justin Rowlatt (probably not available outside Britain). The more hard core greens, such as James Lovelock and Mayer Hillman, are in a way less scary. They are at least fairly open about their authoritarian intentions whereas the […]