Whose Interests Are Served by Unemployment?

The unemployment figure announced this week at 6% and rising is a disgrace – not only a personal tragedy for individuals and families but a senseless waste of the nation’s resources that makes us all poorer. Nothing contributes more directly to growing poverty and widening inequality.  What’s more, the official statistics undoubtedly understate the number […]

A Litany of Errors

George Osborne may be just about the last person in Britain to believe that austerity offers a real path to recovery from recession and the resumption of growth – and it may be doubted that even he remains a true believer. The repeated fall back into recession, a government deficit that goes on rising, and […]


The collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 ushered in the global financial crisis, and seemed to bring an era to an end. The orthodoxy that had prevailed for thirty years crumbled overnight. Markets, it was realised, are not infallible and self-correcting; private business skills and disciplines are quite different from those needed to run […]

Leaning Against the Market

When Lord Myners proclaimed this month that “there is nothing progressive about a government that consistently spends more than it can raise in taxation” he gave support and comfort to one side of an argument that is at the heart of the new government’s agenda – what to do about the government deficit. Lord Myners’ […]

When The Facts Change

“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Such was John Maynard Keynes’ famous riposte to a critic who accused him of changing his mind about monetary policy during the Great Depression. A similar response might be made today to those, like Don Brash, who maintain that they have been […]

Politics Not Economics

As Keynes’ biographer, Professor Robert Skidelsky, says in the British Sunday papers, “it is not surprising that the old Keynesian tool kit is being ransacked” in response to the global economic crisis. After decades of being assured that “there is no alternative”, and that Keynesian economics is a dead duck, we now find that Keynesian […]

Shifting Foundations

As the global financial crisis unfolds, each country responds by seeking to protect its own institutions and economies. New Zealand is no exception. The steps we have taken have been sensible and – so far – effective in shoring up our economy as well as we can against the immediate prospects of worldwide recession and […]