There is a nasty – or tasty – little secret about migration, tax, and welfare which I have never heard mentioned in mainstream debate, but it needs to be. That is: single, young migrants in employment are probably an economic benefit, taking one thing with another, but when they go on to make families, most of them are almost certainly not. In short, freedom of movement for work is mostly good; freedom of settlement or citizenship, not so much. More »
Posts under ‘Economic affairs’
I am not an economist. Until early 2014, I took a fairly close interest in economic debates, and tended toward the free-market point of view, though with a healthy respect for canny government intervention, both as polities tried to produce stable growth, and as they considered redistribution of wealth. I also very closely followed the “Happiness Debate”, in which I argued that market choice and material affluence were large social, pyschological and even spiritual benefits.
The EU referendum has had very odd implications for Scotland. I was no fan of Scottish independence, but I can’t say the break-up of the UK struck me as very worrying from an English, let alone an English Tory, point of view. Now though, one can easily see a rational Scot of any political stripe thinking that if it came to leaving the EU or the UK, maybe it’s the UK that Scots need less. More »
The BHS and Sports Direct sagas have raised the question: is UK capitalism in a uniquely scuzzy phase? I am inclined to say that it isn’t but that anyway capitalism has many forms ranging from the decent to the near-criminal; from the paternalist to the devil-may-care. The problem for society is how to regulate the intolerably bad bits without killing the vigour some quite dodgy chancers (none of those invoved in the sagas in question have been proved to be so) bring to the economic table. More »
The BBC’s The Big Questions asked a panel of “experts”, and its audience, whether “the end is nigh”. I responded that it almost certainly is not. Indeed, I said, things are going rather well and humans don’t need huge reforms of their psyche – but many long for better politics and economics to come their way.
For an outing on the BBC 1 Big Questions ethics show, I pulled together some research on whether Britain was a fair society. My general view is that one should worry about the poor, on the assumption that they are unhappy because of poverty and need help. It is not a dead cert that people in need of help can be given it, of course. Moreover, it may well not matter whether (or even how much) a country is unequal. Nor is the amount of welfare spending by any means a perfect indicator of whether a country is a good place for either rich or poor to live. Other posts have discussed those themes. (Try an in-site search for “inequality”.) This one is intended to capture a picture of where the UK is compared with its neighbours, and – even more important – with other broadly comparable countries, in matters of wealth, welfare spending and educational outcomes. More »
I was asked onto BBC1’s The Big Questions (7 February 2016, Episode 5, Series 9); on BBC Radio Scotland’s Call Kaye phone-in (25 February 2016); and BBC Radio Scotland Good Morning Scotland (27 February 2016) to discuss whether Britain’s stance on Syrian refugees was morally acceptable (TBQ) and whether one had a moral responsibility toward helping them (Call Kaye) or both (Good Morning Scotland). More »
Many people in the creative, inventive and caring industries – the Brightest and the Best – have never socialised with people who openly espouse the Conservative cause, or have only met them to have a row. This why they should expand their horizons….. More »
Posted by RDN under Economic affairs on 23 April 2015. One comment.
I have been invited to discuss “Do we need The City?” at The World Traders’ Tacitus Debate 2015, Wednesday 6 May 2015, King’s College London. My response is that as an engine of public trust, we don’t, because The City says nothing of interest. More »
Posted by RDN under Economic affairs on 23 April 2015. No comments.
There is a class of Tory who would have liked to believe in a benign Establishment that looked after them, and indeed looked after everyone. Instead, they feel betrayed. Such Tories knew that (expensively and only after a fashion) the state looked after the poor; but they believed Tories should provide for themselves. By the mid-1990s many such people from every class had started businesses and bought pensions. Many watched their pensions wither, and then were whacked – let alone petrified – by the crash. More »
I more or less said what I meant to at this event for Christian Aid/JustShare in the lovely St Mary-le-Bow, in the City.