The Ecologist


Gaian Economics

A green tax? James Tobin would be spinning in his grave

Gaian Economics

Gaian Economics

Lord Adair Turner - head of the FSA and the Climate Change Committe - has ruffled feathers by suggesting a tax on currency trading. Here's why

At first blush we may be surprised to hear Adair Turner, the closest thing to crumpet the City ever produced, supporting a tax which has long been proposed by those who oppose financial speculation, the casino economy, global capitalism and everything the City stands for. But if we dig a little deeper we begin to see that this may be a very cheap way out of a very deep hole for our sharp-suited adversaries.

James Tobin was far from being one of us, and in fact was rather offended that it was the anti-capitalists who picked up on and propagated his idea for a tax on currency speculation. Until he died in 2002, his had been a fairly typical career for an orthodox economist: teaching the bogus ‘science’ at Harvard and Yale, advising the government on same, a seat on the board of the Fed., and a ‘Nobel Prize’ for developing an econometric modelling technique. How disturbed he would be... Read More...

When it comes to work, less is more

Gaian Economics

Gaian Economics

Why don't we follow the French model and take the whole month of August as holiday? It may help strengthen our economy

How embarrassing that yesterday's data from the European Statistics Office show that France and Germany are surviving the recession better than the UK and the US. The two-pronged approach of disciplining labour and liberating capital that was pursued with such conviction for the past 20 years in the Anglo-Saxon world suddenly doesn't look so clever.

I am depressed beyond measure by the thought that this is a result of France and Germany having got in first with their car scrappage schemes. First, I hate to believe that the automotive sector can provide such a significant contribution to any national economy. But more importantly, the thought that continuing to engage in the perverse alchemy of turning fossil fuels into money can possibly be a solution to the mess we are in is simply untenable.

One real difference between the Anglo-Saxons and the continental Europeans is... Read More...

Mr. Bean to explain quantitative easing policy

Molly Scott Cato

Gaian Economics

The deputy-director of the Bank of England is on a national tour to convince us of the seriousness of its policies to ease the recession. Molly Scott Cato can't wait for the punchline

This is one of those moments - like when Tom Lehrer gave up satire to commemorate the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger - when you feel that all comedians should retire because the whole universe has been created by an almighty stand-up comedian. Not so much intelligent designer as cosmic joker.

Yes, the deputy-director of the bank of England is really called Mr. Bean and he really is undertaking a national tour to convince us of the seriousness of the policy of Quantitative Easing. The BBC managed to post an online story about this with every sign of a straight face:

'Mr Bean is in Leeds on the first leg of a tour of the UK, attempting to explain what the Bank calls its "conventional unconventional" measure to counter the recession. Armed with a box of explanatory pamphlets, optimistically entitled Quantitative Easing Explained, he is on a single-handed mission to the world of gilt yields, money velocity and commercial paper to the people.'

...

Once more unto the brink

Gaian Economics

Gaian Economics

Note to politicians: surviving the current financial crisis means accepting that capitalism is broke

The world has fallen silent on the issue of the financial collapse. This blog included, interest has moved elsewhere. Perhaps we are all hoping that we can take a summer holiday from the credit crunch?

Mervyn King, to his credit, is persisting with his doggedly conventional view that public borrowing of the level that we are seeing it is unsustainable. Intermittent but persistent warnings filter through the media - real news occasionally penetrating the celebrity gossip columns that our newspapers and radio programmes have become.

A recent article in the London Review of Books gives a thorough and lengthy account of the crisis, and shares my uneasy sensation that we are pausing for breath rather than breathing easy. The debt crisis has not gone away. Some portion of the debt has been pushed onto the public and out of the private sector. And with our money we have bought insurance that the rest of the debt will... Read More...

Subversion lures: three cheers for Banksy

Gaian Economics

Gaian Economics

Banksy may be playing for laughs with his counter-culture art, but there's a serious take-home message too...

Bristol folk-hero folk-artist Banksy has returned to his roots to transform the city's Art Gallery and museum into a living exemplar of the best of modern art. Thought-provoking, wise and hilarious, it has been attracting throngs of visitors of varying shapes and sizes, ages and classes. It is a pleasure to be at an exhibition where rather than wondering what they should think or feel about the art people are just spontaneously laughing out loud. The show is on until the end of August and should not be missed.











The photo above is typical of Banksy's style - witty, provocative and challenging to contemporary culture, in this case the cheap flight. It is a prepared version of Claude Lorrain's Flight into Egypt, entitled... Read More...

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