SEJ Blogs

Our blogs are short commentaries on current affairs issues.

Labour’s Austerity Problem

Simon Wren-Lewis

One of the political/economic soap operas over the last year has been the UK Labour Party’s agonising over the perception of its economic competence. The story always starts with current polling data: either Miliband’s personal ratings or Labour’s rating for economic competence. It then often seeks to find the answer to these problems in the […]

Why European Progressives Stick To Austerity

Henning Meyer

Writing about the recent French government crisis in the New York Times, Paul Krugman raised some uncomfortable questions. He worried about the ongoing dominance of austerity illogic on this side of the Atlantic and what this says about public discourse and the effectiveness of progressive forces. He criticised the UK Labour Party for its unwillingness […]

The Future Of Work – Humans Need Not Apply

Henning Meyer

I am currently reading a lot on the emergence of a digital society and what it means for the future of work, living and inequality. Especially Jeremy Rifkin’s Zero Marginal Cost Society and The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee are worth reading. Mind Change by Susan Greenfield is also on my reading […]

Mario Draghi At Jackson Hole

Simon Wren-Lewis

To understand the significance of yesterday’s speech (useful extract from FT Alphaville here), it is crucial to know the background. The ECB has appeared to be in the past a centre of what Paul De Grauwe calls balanced-budget fundamentalism. I defined this as a belief that we needed fiscal consolidation (austerity) even when we were in a liquidity trap (i.e. interest rates […]

Balanced Budget Fundamentalism

Simon Wren-Lewis

Europeans, and particularly the European elite, find popular attitudes to science among many across the Atlantic both amusing and distressing. In Europe we do not have regular attempts to replace evolution with ‘intelligent design’ on school curriculums. Climate change denial is not mainstream politics in Europe as it is in the US (with the possible […]

Charting Decline In Europe

David Lizoain

Two years have passed since Mario Draghi promised to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro. The bond markets have calmed down but the crisis of the euro zone has not yet abated. Isolated pieces of positive information do not automatically imply a sustained recovery let alone justify triumphalism. While improving marginally, the rate of unemployment […]

Macroeconomic Forecasting And Intelligent Guesswork

Simon Wren-Lewis

Macroeconomic forecasts produced with macroeconomic models tend to be little better than intelligent guesswork. That is not an opinion – it is a fact. It is a fact because for decades many reputable and long standing model based forecasters have looked at their past errors, and that is what they find. It is also a […]

The Best News US Democrats Will Hear All Summer

George Tyler

Evidence Confirms That Open Primaries Dilute Republican Extremism Since 2010, conservative Republicans have gridlocked the US government, creating the most toxic political environment since the antebellum era. Critical to that tactic has been pay-to-play, enabling staunchly conservative donors to empower party activists, especially tea partiers holding views outside the mainstream. These activists fight well above […]

Work, Worth And Wages

Robert Reich

What someone is paid has little or no relationship to what their work is worth to society. Does anyone seriously believe hedge-fund mogul Steven A. Cohen is worth the $2.3 billion he raked in last year, despite being slapped with a $1.8 billion fine after his firm pleaded guilty to insider trading? On the other hand, what’s the […]

If Minimum Wages, Why Not Maximum Wages?

Simon Wren-Lewis

I was in a gathering of academics the other day, and we were discussing minimum wages. The debate moved on to increasing inequality, and the difficulty of doing anything about it. I said why not have a maximum wage? To say that the idea was greeted with incredulity would be an understatement. So you want […]

David Cameron’s European Migration Straw Man

Henning Meyer

He has done it again! Today, Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, in an article published in the Daily Telegraph, put forward openly discriminatory policies against EU citizens. He announced that the UK would reduce the period of time non-British EU citizens could receive certain benefits to three months (how this can be legal under EU law is unknown […]

Do We Need A Single-Member Private Limited Liability Company (SUP)?

Wolfgang Kowalsky

The European Commission has once again issued a legislative proposal which jeopardises workers’ rights. The proposal for a “single-member private limited liability company” (SUP in European jargon) would create a 29th regime in company law. It goes down the same road as those previous company law proposals (like the European Private Company) which bypass rules […]