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28.03.13

Sweden was remade through reform

I had this in the current Progress magazine and on the Progress website today.

Just as David Cameron jetted off to India during last month’s parliamentary recess, Ed Miliband was making his way to Sweden. The destinations were deliberately chosen: for each leader, each country represents something about where he sees Britain and where he wants to take it. Why, asks Cameron, must the UK rid itself of costly European Union regulation, reform welfare and improve schools? Because countries like India are bringing vast armies of cheap, motivated and increasingly well-educated workers to the ‘global race’. We must reduce our labour costs by trimming regulation and welfare, he argues.

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29.09.12

Without the EU, we’re just Little England to Beijing and Delhi

I had this on Comment is Free earlier this year.

Brussels cannot be bypassed via Beijing, contrary to the bullish claims of the Daily Express today. Instead, the quickest route to Beijing continues to run through Brussels. While the Express is right to celebrate trade figures that show increasing UK trade with non-EU states, it is wrong to infer from this that the EU is irrelevant to the UK’s future prosperity.

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11.09.11

Blue Labour goes global

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

Blue Labour seems less in fashion than previously. It was never the answer to every challenge facing Labour. But it does have contributions to make to Labour’s renewal. Whatever it is, blue Labour seems defiantly rooted in our country and the traditions which have shaped and continue to comfort and inspire its people. Global and jet-set it isn’t.

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09.01.11

The globalised middle: social justice is key to more easing, less squeezing

I had this on Labour Uncut last week.

Tony Blair made adaptation to globalisation a Labour leitmotif. Yet the existence of the “squeezed middle” is a symptom that he did not finish the job. Today’s globalisation is more about the rise of Asia than was the case when Blair became party leader. Easing the squeezing requires better adaptation to this Asian age.

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19.08.10

Asia’s rise, British business and Mrs Duffy

HSBC commissioned the Futures Company to report on the key considerations for European business of Asia’s rise. The final product,  Looking East: The Changing Face of World Business, tells a daunting story. Globalisation has entered a new stage and the sooner its lessons are absorbed by European businesses, politicians and policy-makers the better.

Globalisation brings opportunities and threats. While this observation has become cliché, it remains true. But the nature of these opportunities and threats is rapidly changing. Failing to keep pace with these changes threatens the health not just of European business but also European society. Mrs Duffy confronted Gordon Brown with some of the insecurities generated by globalisation. These insecurities may become more visceral if the next stage of globalisation is not properly responded to.

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23.11.09

Where will our exports come from?

Given today’s high-profile CBI conference, it seems an opportune moment to ask a fundamental question about the British economy which follows from two basic facts about the current economic situation. These facts are these: First, we have a weak pound, which makes British exports relatively more competitive. Second, the fabled BRIC economies are showing their resilience by leading the charge towards global economic recovery. So, the basic question: How can the British economy take advantage of the weak pound and enjoy a British economic recovery based on strong export growth? What can we produce that the likes of Brazil, Russia, India and China, as well as the developed world economies, want?

The rise of the BRICs means that we need to give new consideration to where exactly our comparative advantage now lies. But the latest figures suggest that the British retain more of an appetite for spending than talents for producing. This brings welcome reassurance that British consumers now feel confident enough to start spending again, but suggests that, in spite of the pick-up which the weak pound provides, we seem set to return to the habits which have had us be amongst the surplus economies in the global imbalances that have been one of the characteristics of recent years. 

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03.06.09

China and contested modernity

I think I am noticing something of a theme in the Economist of late. On 28 May they noted:

“How times change. When George Bush’s treasury secretaries first visited China, Wall Street was booming, America’s economy was growing and the president’s emissaries routinely lectured their Chinese hosts on the need for freer financial markets and a more flexible yuan. But as Tim Geithner, the current treasury secretary, prepares to make his maiden trip to Beijing on May 31st, Wall Street is synonymous with greed and failure, America’s economy is on its knees and it is the Chinese who have been doing the lecturing. With America’s budget deficit soaring and the Fed’s printing presses running at full speed, China is complaining loudly of the risks that inflation and depreciation pose to its huge stash of dollars, and arguing for an alternative to the greenback as the world’s reserve currency”.

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20.05.09

Must Europe wither?

The point of Roger Casale, which I highlighted in my last post, seems all the stronger in light of an observation made by Martin Wolf today.

“The relationship between the US and China will become more central, with India waiting in the wings. The relative economic weight and power of the Asian giants seems sure to rise. Europe, meanwhile, is not having a good crisis. Its economy and financial system have proved far more vulnerable than many expected. Yet how far a set of refurbished and rebalanced institutions for international co-operation will reflect the new realities is, as yet, unknown”.

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30.01.09

The immense power of human vanity

Lionel Barber, FT editor, thinks that one of the most underrated events of the past year was “the G20 summit in Washington featuring the leading industrialised nations as well as Brazil, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia”, because it “lay bare the new political constellation in the world, with power shifting to east of the Euphrates”. This video gives a funky illustration of this power shift and the exceptional nature of our times. Faceback is citied in the video as an illustration of the role of technological innovation in making our times exceptional. Mark Zuckerberg of this social networking site has been described by Barber as the person that he most admires in the media. “He is cool, understated, and possessed of a brilliant business focus and an understanding of the power of human vanity”. To what extent is the eastwards political power shift driven by technology and to what extent is technology driven by human vanity?

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30.01.09

The immense power of human vanity

Lionel Barber, FT editor, thinks that one of the most underrated events of the past year was “the G20 summit in Washington featuring the leading industrialised nations as well as Brazil, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia”, because it “lay bare the new political constellation in the world, with power shifting to east of the Euphrates”. This video gives a funky illustration of this power shift and the exceptional nature of our times. Faceback is citied in the video as an illustration of the role of technological innovation in making our times exceptional. Mark Zuckerberg of this social networking site has been described by Barber as the person that he most admires in the media. “He is cool, understated, and possessed of a brilliant business focus and an understanding of the power of human vanity”. To what extent is the eastwards political power shift driven by technology and to what extent is technology driven by human vanity?

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