Who Owns the Future?

There is no novelty is arguing, as George Osborne does, that there is no alternative to his destructive and divisive policies of austerity – TINA was, after all, the Thatcherite catch-cry and as misleading in her day as it is today. But it is surely stretching credulity too far to suggest, as John Harris does […]

If the Poor Are Worse Off, We’re All Worse Off

The Herald-DigiPoll last week cast an interesting light on the political debate as the election season approaches.  The poll showed that no fewer than 74% of New Zealanders thought that inequality had widened over the past six years – that, in other words, the rich had got richer and the poor comparatively poorer. On the […]

Playing the Neo-Liberals’ Game

The advice offered by some of its leading thinkers that Labour should switch the focus away from the role of central government and towards a greater devolution of power to the regions and communities has a fashionable ring to it.  But it is another, perhaps unwitting, admission of the left’s damaging loss of intellectual self-confidence. […]

Bankers Know Little and Care Less

We were assured last week by the Deputy-Governor of the Reserve Bank, Grant Spencer, that New Zealand exporters had “adapted to” the overvalued dollar which, as interest rates climb, will go on rising. So that’s all right then.  Sadly, though, complacent and ill-informed statements like this do nothing to alter the grim reality; the current […]

The Bank of England Owns Up At Last

For those of us who have argued for a long time that orthodox monetary policy is fundamentally misconceived, a significant milestone was achieved this week.  In an important paper published in the Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin*, three Bank of England economists have acknowledged that the overwhelmingly greatest proportion of money in the economy is […]

Why Austerity Doesn’t Work

I was honoured to be asked last year to deliver the keynote speech to the Public Services Association’s annual conference which was also the occasion of its 100th anniversary.  I have recently discovered that a video recording of that speech is available on YouTube; it can be seen here: The theme of my speech was […]

Why the Poor Can’t Put Food on the Table

The OECD revelation last week that 17.2% of New Zealanders found it difficult to afford food is a shocking and shameful statistic for any country that claims to be prosperous and developed.  It shows how far we have come from the time when it could be said that “here, there is enough for everyone.” Among […]

The Thin End of the Corruption Wedge

As an MP in Britain, I offered a free weekly advice service to constituents who needed help.  I was occasionally embarrassed by a constituent who seemed to think that any request for help should be accompanied by a gift of some sort.  The offerings were usually small in value, and were almost invariably made by […]

Housing Bubble? Blame the Banks

The news that the ANZ – our biggest bank – has increased its mortgage lending to record levels in the last quarter and accordingly made huge profits comes as no surprise.  What is surprising, though, is that the news is accepted without a scintilla of concern being expressed by those who supposedly run our economy. […]

The Risk of Denying the Values We Seek to Protect

Most people accept that the “war on terror” is a regrettable necessity. There is a clearly discernible (if hard to quantify) terrorist threat; we are certainly entitled, indeed required, to protect the innocent against unjustified violence and our society against disruption and chaos. We also recognise that what is at stake is more than lives […]