The intellectual justification for austerity lies in ruins. It turns out that Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, who originally framed the argument that too high a “debt-to- GDP ratio” will always, necessarily, lead to economic contraction – and who had aggressively promoted it during Rogoff’s tenure as chief economist for the IMF –, had based their entire argu- ment on a spreadshe
Everyone already knows how much of Theresa May’s platform, policies and even rhetoric are directly stolen from Ukip. Nigel Farage himself publicly pointed it out this Sunday: not only had May taken Ukip’s major policy issues (immigration, grammar schools, bashing EU bureaucrats), he said, “She is using exactly the same words and phrases that I have been using for 20 years.
For thousands of years, the struggle between rich and poor has largely taken the form of conflicts between creditors and debtors—of arguments about the rights and wrongs of interest payments, debt peonage, amnesty, repossession, restitution, the sequestering of sheep, the seiz- ing of vineyards, and the selling of debtors’ children into slavery.
Our society is addicted to work. If there’s anything left and right both seem to agree on, it’s that jobs are good. Everyone should have a job. Work is our badge of moral citizenship. We seem to have convinced ourselves as a society that anyone who isn’t working harder than they would like to be working, at something they don’t enjoy, is a bad, unworthy person.
In the wake of the murderous attacks in Paris, we can expect western heads of state to do what they always do in such circumstances: declare total and unremitting war on those who brought it about. They don’t actually mean it.
The theory of value presented in the next essay was developed in the 1980s (largely by anthropologists in the University of Chicago) and ‘90s (largely by myself) so it occurred to me, this being a new millennium and all, it might be helpful to the reader to provide something of an update. Something to demonstrate how this rather abstract theory can be useful for something.
This article examines the role of values in the political discourse of the last decade in the US. It embarks from what many observers had described as a puzzle: the fact that significant parts of the American working class voted against their economic interests but in line with what they perceived to be their values.