The Beauty of a Green New Deal is that it will pay for itself.

The Beauty of a Green New Deal is that it will pay for itself.

In September 2007, as credit was “crunched” and the financial crisis began to unfold, a group of economists and environmentalists, including the future Green party MP Caroline Lucas, met regularly in my small London flat. Supping on comfort food and wine, we argued furiously while drafting a plan we hoped would transform the economy and protect the ecosystem. We called it the Green New Deal. Little did we know that the ideas we seeded then would be adopted by a shooting star of the Democratic party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as part of her bid for a New York congressional seat in 2018.

The Rogue Prorogation and the English-Scottish judicial divide

As the pressures and contradictions of no-deal Brexit pressure threaten the unity of the United Kigdom, further fissures are to be seen through the prisms of judical reasoning, in which English and Scottish judges view and interpet the world in utterly divergent ways.

The English High Court has curtly dismissed the claim that the Prime Minister’s decision to seek prorogation of Parliament.  By contrast, the Scottish Court of Session (hearing the case on appeal) has held that the advice was for an improper purpose and so unlawful. Both decisions are the subject of appeal to the UK Supreme Court, to be heard on 17th September.

South Africa's moribund economy: searching for recovery in the wrong places

South Africa is an economy whose poverty, inequality and waste of human capital (unemployment) are only comparable to a country at war. The heinous cost of macroeconomic incompetence, capture or both must rank, in terms of resource misallocation (destruction of economic value), among the most expensive economic dislocation in the world, comparable to the crimes of apartheid and colonialism projects.

 The nation’s primitive understanding of money and indeed banking leads to the misguided use of tools that are highly anti-developmental but also tools that are drivers of financialisation in the economy with their attendant currency risks, poverty, unemployment and inequality generation.

Jeremy Corbyn's inner circles - from the FT

Jeremy Corbyn's inner circles - from the FT

On 3rd September, 2019 the Financial Times published a visual survey of figures around Jeremy Corbyn, Opposition leader and head of the British Labour Party. The story can be found here: Ann Pettifor, Director of PRIME features in it. There is one minor error: Pettifor did not ‘step away’ from advising the Corbyn team after the European Referendum of 2016. The other economists on the advisory board stepped away…. Pettifor was the only one to remain. The following are extracts from the story.

Rethinking Britain – How to build a better future

 Published this month by Policy Press in partnership with PRIME and the Progressive Economic Forum (PEF), Rethinking Britain is not only for the many – it’s also written by the many. As a result, it doesn’t set out the vision of one or two people, but instead offers the assessment of a wide range of experts, who are working in or studying the areas we cover. We not only set out the problems and suggest policy solutions to address them.  Our aim is to help improve life for people living in today’s Britain.

From Hammond on to Johnson - where next for fiscal policy?

As Mr Johnson takes over as Leader of the Conservative Hard Brexit Cult, and by virtue thereof as Prime Minister, it is timely to take a quick look at what his economic and fiscal policy options are - at least in the lead up to DD-Day (Do or Die) on 31st October. It’s equally important to take stock of Mr Hammond’s record as he quietly fades away after three years as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Minor Mystery of the Euro’s Trade Effect

I do not consider an increase in inter-country trade a good thing in and of itself, though that view is common among economists and in the media.  For most economists increased trade reflects a putative more efficient international allocation of resources derivative from competition on a global scale. 

 Rarely noted is that free trade theory is consistent with a decline in bilateral trade due to the likely possibility of different demand preferences between countries and, more esoteric, re-switching of techniques.  Except in technical articles one tends to find the blanket generalization that liberalising trade increases bilateral and multilateral flows and that is unambiguously a good outcome.  In that context I look at EU trade patterns since the euro’s use became generalized in the early 2000s.

Of vaulting ambition, Macbeth, and what GATT Article 24 actually says

Boris Johnson is a moral (or is it amoral?) coward, dispenser of racist remarks, teller of untruths and general political fantasist. Driven by ambition and lust for power, he appears to have no principles to guide him save expediency and openness to self-serving opportunity.

But sometimes, the truthless soundbite that seemed so useful for a particular moment leaves its author or articulator exposed. And thus it is with Mr Johnson’s “GATT 24” untruth which has now unravelled, and forced Johnson into a rare ‘clarification’.. After all, when even Liam Fox says you’re wrong, you know you’re on a sticky wicket.

Thus Spoke the Bond Market

Will market volatility amidst global trade tensions and uncertainty cause a global recession? Although the world’s major central banks had managed to avoid risks in the first week of June, despite some small variations at some maturities, the United States yield curve remained more or less as it was at the beginning. What will happen in the not-so-distant future?

International coordination saved the finance sector, but not the world

2018 was the 150th anniversary of the TUC, and the 70th anniversary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD. As part of the celebration of these achievements, the TUC’s Economics and Social Affairs department organised an event “Lessons from the Great Financial Crisis” - on 12th November, 2018 – the day after Armistice day, and 100 years after the ending of the First World War.  Several speakers, including ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown, were invited to address the gathering of trades unionists, thought leaders and economists. Below is a transcription of Ann Pettifor’s contribution.

The metaphors of economics and austerity

Conservative economists commonly use three metaphors of potential doom – meteorological, seismological and medical – when arguing for austerity. In addition. there is the economy as “runaway train” that has to be slowed and brought back “on to the right track”. And we must not forget the most enduring metaphor – the national economy is a household that needs prudent management, if disaster is not to strike the whole family.

How to transform the EU – and build solidarity between its members

If we are to restore stability within Europe, and if we are to defeat the authoritarian ambitions of extreme political forces, then restoring policy autonomy to democratic governments by managing capital mobility is essential. Economic forces cannot be detached from their entanglement with democratic, political institutions. A new European Clearing Union would help to restore a common purpose to the European project, and to defeat the rising ride of authoritarianism.

Economic Guidelines for a better European Union

Whether the UK finally leaves or remains a Member of the EU, progressives are generally united in viewing the existing Treaty and legislative rules on economic oplicy as dangerously dysfunctional. In their second joint paper, emeritus Professor John Weeks and PRIME co-director Jeremy Smith set out proposals for “Economic Guidelines for a Better Union - facilitating policies that enhance not constrain EU economic policy”.

TV discussion “Eurozone Future: Is the eurozone really on the brink?”

On Wednesday (6th March) PRIME’s co-director Jeremy Smith was invited by TRT World TV channel to take part in their Roundtable discussion on the future of the euro and eurozone, hosted by David Foster.  His co-panellists were Valentina Romei, FT, Vicky Pryce, Chief Economics Adviser to the CEBR and via skype from France, Philippe Waechter, Ostrum Asset Management. 

UK economy 2010-2018 - the devastating impact of the age of austerity

While updating our data for GDP per head of population from OECD and ONS, and doing some quick calculations, I realised a startling fact. The present age of austerity, starting with the 2010 Coalition government, and on to the Cameron / May Conservative governments, has to date been the worst since records began for average annual change in GDP per head. And if we exclude years of recession, it has been by far the worst.

Are We Heading towards a Synchronised Global Slowdown?

The global economy is heading towards a downturn. However, is the world prepared to deal with the consequences? Whether it is a slowdown or recession, it remains to be seen as to what the future would hold for the banking systems of Eurozone and China, and the global stocks in general.

Why the left must now unite against Brexit

Although Theresa May has survived to fight another day as Prime Minister, the of her Brexit deal in parliament has blown the debate wide open. The Prime Minister has called on MPs to "put self-interest aside" and "work constructively together" to find a way forward. In this context, the Labour Party’s next steps are critical.

The debate about Lexit is now irrelevant. The only form of Brexit that is possible is one that will entrench the status quo or empower something far worse. The left must unite against it.

The economic consequences of Brexit?

It is my view that there can be no ‘soft’ Brexit, given divisions within the governing party; given the rules of the Single Market; given the threat to the future of the Union if exceptions are negotiated for Britain; and given the political and logistic complexity of the Northern Ireland border. We are therefore headed either to Remain, or for a ‘hard’ Brexit. If it is to be the latter, we will automatically leave the EU on 29 March, 2019. 

To Secure a Future, Britain Needs a Green New Deal

This is an extract from a chapter in Economics For the Many (Verso, 2018) edited by Rt. Hon. John McDonnell MP. The chapter was written in August, 2017. 

If we are to secure a sustainable, stable and liveable future for the people of Britain, then implementation of the Green New Deal will be vital. Not just for the sake of the ecosystem, but also for the sake of rebuilding a stable, sustainable economy. A sustainable economy will be one dominated by a “Carbon Army’ of skilled, well-paid workers.