Why equity matters more than growth: The Spirit Level

‘Growth with Equity’ is motherhood and apple pie in economic policy-making these days. But in a great new book, Spirit Level, authors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett argue that ‘economic growth, for so long the great engine of progress, has, in the rich countries, largely finished its work.’ Above a certain average income (the authors…

By admin May 6, 2009 2

Financial crises at a glance: bank crashes, geopolitics and how long til the rebound?

Here are two illuminating graphics from the Financial Times and Economist. First up is a figure from Martin Wolf’s latest column in the FT, itself based on a new paper by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, showing the proportion of the world economy affected by banking crises, from 1900-2008. Its main features are a spike around…

By admin January 12, 2009 3

Vietnam: really making poverty history

Today is ‘Blog Action Day’ (no, really) and this year’s theme is poverty, so I thought I’d write about a success story. Viet Nam, where I attended a conference last week, is arguably the greatest poverty reduction triumph of recent decades, changing so fast that it is actually visible, even to the casual observer.

By admin December 15, 2008 Off

Will we ever be able to talk about limits to growth?

Some challenging discussions on this on the New Scientist website. Here’s an extract from an article by Tim Jackson ‘The Ehrlich equation, I = PAT, says simply that the impact (I) of human activity on the planet is the product of three factors: the size of the population (P), its level of affluence (A) expressed…

By admin December 12, 2008 Off

Cuba beats USA again, this time on child welfare

I’m no apologist for the Cuban government, but it’s noteworthy that despite its much lower GDP per capita, Cuba keeps beating much richer countries in social and environmental league tables drawn up by some highly respectable NGOs. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Oxfam America contrasted the carnage in New Orleans with Cuba’s extraordinarily effective…

By admin December 10, 2008 5

The changing understanding of poverty; the latest on growth diagnostics – 2 new papers to read while you’re awaiting the US election result……

I was saddened to see that the wonderfully named Post Autistic Economics Review has presumably succumbed to political correctness in renaming itself the Real-World Economics Review, but the quality is still great and email subscription is still free. The latest issue has a very handy guide by Paul Shaffer of the University of Toronto to…

By admin December 4, 2008 Off