Browsing Category Economics

Why are houses in London so expensive?

Oxford Economics’s Ian Mulheirn writes that London’s housing market isn’t expensive because of a lack of building, and building more wouldn’t lower prices. I disagree.  Claim one: housebuilding has outstripped household formation, so if anything we have a surplus of housing.  Household formation is “endogenous” – it is determined, to some extent, by housing availability. My flatmate and I count as a single household, even though…

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To the late, great, Bob Bee

Robert Bee, 1925-2017 We were sad to hear of the death of Bob Bee, 92, former Chairman of the AdamSmith Institute. He was a US citizen, but moved to London in 1978 to becomechairman of the London Interstate Bank. As a fervent supporter of liberty and freemarkets, he joined the board of the Adam Smith Institute and soon became itsChairman. He used his extensive City…

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We get it, you did a blog about vaping

I love teasing my friends who use e-cigarettes. There’s something intrinsically uncool about e-cigs – they’re gadgety, a bit silly-looking thanks to their chunkiness and the huge clouds of vapour they produce, and bring to mind the sort of middle aged geezer who hangs around CAMRA beer festivals with a beer checklist. I love to send my friend Dan photos of new vape shops that…

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Against rural broadband

Society got very excited about the invention of the car. From the 1950s onwards especially, governments around the world began huge road-building projects, bulldozing swathes of cities for huge multi-lane dual carriageways. This frenzy has subsided, and it’s largely clear how this ideological expansion reformed our cities for the worse. Highways are a crucial part of a nation’s infrastructure. Turnpikes—privately-funded and toll-financed roads—were, alongside the…

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Airbnb and discrimination

I have repeatedly blogged about discrimination, especially against women and non-whites in labour markets. On raw numbers we often see different outcomes between groups, and since we know that discrimination goes on, we often instinctively attribute these “gaps” to discrimination, as Tim Harford does in an otherwise nice piece here. But once we dial down and get more detail, the gaps often evaporate—the more employers…

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Our Economy is Optimized for Financialization

Labor’s share of the national income is in freefall as a direct result of the optimization of financialization.

The Achilles Heel of our socio-economic system is the secular stagnation of earned income, i.e. wages and salaries. Stagnating wages undermine every aspect of our economy: consumption, credit, taxation and perhaps most importantly, the unspoken social contract that the benefits of productivity and increasing wealth will be distributed widely, if not fairly.

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Don’t be scared by the elephant chart: it shows that most of us are getting richer

Despite many qualities, the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks as though he is shamefully illinformed and lazy-minded about the global economy, making hasty, ill thought out assertions about how society is so horribly unjust, and that the poor are getting the roughest deal of an economy that needs to be distributed less unevenly. Here is the actual reality of what’s been happening, illustrated in Branco Milanovic’s…

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Personal Property and Consumerism

…cash isn’t the only form of capital that can be drawn upon to generate agency: credit is almost as good as cash, if one can borrow the money at near-zero rates of interest. The intellectual/social capital implicit in entrepreneurial agency is not financial, but it empowers those who possess it in ways that cash or credit alone cannot.

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Do you need a uni degree?

GCSE results day was today; A level results have already past. The fuss surrounding them shows just how the first quarter of our life is so dominated by the pursuit of knowledge. We are driven not by interest or creativity but labour through three levels of formal verification to prove we can remember things that have been fed to us in the right order, and…

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Regional inequality: also a housing supply problem

Over the past few years compelling evidence has come out suggesting that housing policy errors are behind slow productivity growth, wealth inequality, and the cost of living crisis. But a raft of new work suggests housing policy errors might also be a key explanation for rising regional inequality in the West, and more specifically the rise of the Englands South East and the relative decline…

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Social Economy

What we need is a social economy, an economy that recognizes purposes and values beyond maximizing private gains by any means necessary, which is the sole goal of hyper-financialized economies.
Given the dominance of profit-maximizing markets and the state, we naturally assume these are the economy. But there is a third sector, the community economy, which is comprised of everything that isn’t directly controlled by profit-maximizing companies or the state.

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