Category: Politics and economics

Politics and economics

On Comic Relief and charity generally: make charity history!

Here’s a post I wrote two years ago at the time of the last Comic Relief Day in 2015. I re-read it and it still resonated with me, so I’m reposting here. Sorry I’ve not been writing. I will start writing again soon on some thoughts about the nature of ‘post-truth’ and how to respond.…

WTF is going on?! Ultimate contradiction and the struggle for humanity

Dear friends, I hope that you have enjoyed your summer. I have. I’ve been off for almost all of it – first, recuperating from my injuries and, second, looking after my kids. I can’t deny that it has been tiring and occasionally exasperating being with three kids all day in what often seem to be…

Is austerity ideological?

Hello! I know this post isn’t immediately topical, particularly with the focus on the fallout from the ‘Panama Papers’. But, sadly, austerity remains topical after eight long years now and it’s a point I’ve wanted to make for a while, so here goes… Is austerity ideological? Very often we hear left-wing critics of this and…

What does the economy look like? And why does it matter?

  Question: What does the economy look like?… The mainstream economist’s answer: ‘Why! GDP, of course! ‘An economy,’ a mainstream economist might retort, ‘is nothing more than the combined economic activity of all ‘households’ in any given location – say, a region, a nation, the world. So, if you want to see what an economy…

Learning materials for current UK housing crisis

Hi there, I’ve put together these resources for the next meeting of our learning group, Oxford Democracy-Builders. It’s at 8pm on Weds 2nd December probably at the West Oxford Primary School, but I need to confirm that. So if you’re about please come along. No need to read anything. No test. It’s just a friendly…

Knowing our left from our right, Part Five: Get real, get utopian!

Hi! Welcome to this series of posts about the left-right divide in politics. Here’s the story so far… In the first post, I argued that the media portrays anything even remotely left-wing as ‘extreme’, ‘hard’, or ‘far’ left. I then offered ten beliefs I hold that supposedly made me extreme but which, I thought, made…

Knowing our left from our right, Part Four: Complexity versus simplicity

In this series of posts about the left-right divide in politics, I began in the first post by arguing that the media portrays anything even remotely left-wing as ‘extreme’, ‘hard’, or ‘far’ left. In the second post, I argued that the usual definition of left-right as expressing one’s economic preference for how scarce goods should…

Knowing our left from our right, Part Three: Social justice and human freedom

In the first of these posts about the left-right divide in politics, I argued that the media portrays anything even remotely left of centre as ‘extreme’, ‘hard’ or ‘far’ left. I said that the left-right divide was crucial and expressed ideological divisions themselves reflective of fundamental material social divisions. I then offered 10 ideas expressing…

Knowing our left from our right, Part Two: the states-versus-markets red herring

Yesterday, I started this series of posts by saying that, while anything other than overtly racist right-wing parties and movements are described merely as ‘centrist’ or ‘right-wing’, in the UK anything to the left of New Labour is described by the media as ‘hard’, ‘far’, or ‘extreme’ left. I then set out to argue that…

Knowing our left from our right: social justice, human freedom, and utopian realism

What does it mean to be ‘left’ or ‘right wing’ today? Does it even matter? There seems to be a lot of basic confusion out there coupled with a lot of instinctive contempt and fear for what is understood as left-wing politics. The media is central to the production of this contempt and fear. They…