The Windrush scandal outraged the nation last year. But last week the Home Office reinstated deportation flights to Jamaica for criminal offenders who they say are foreign nationals. Meanwhile, parliament passed a new immigration bill last month, promising to control the “number and type” of people coming to the UK. The home secretary came under fire for proposing a £30,000 income threshold for EU immigrants. A lot of the debate we hear about immigration is made in economic terms. But it’s also about identity, race and belonging. It can be hard at the moment to imagine that a more humane immigration policy might be possible, but that’s exactly what we’re trying to do this week. Guest host Dave Powell is joined by chief exec of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants Satbir Singh, executive director of War on Want Asad Rehman, and Maya Goodfellow, author of a forthcoming book on Britain’s immigration policies.
Dave Powell, Satbir Singh, Asad Rehman, Maya Goodfellow
Davos, the super-exclusive annual gathering of the world’s political and business elite displays all the features of a petri dish for the spread of “crony capitalism”. A tiny number of extraordinarily powerful individuals meet to discuss how the affairs of all seven billion human beings should be planned and co-ordinated. It represents an environment for the growth of regulation, intervention and enhanced barriers to entry for small businesses.
All too often what we see in criticisms of capitalism are actually examples of rent-seeking and corporations trying to game the system, which amounts to crony capitalism.
But has crony capitalism like that displayed in Davos become a catch-all term? The challenge for free markets, and for capitalism, is manifold: the message is tarnished, the frames are poor, and, fundamentally, the moral case for what they achieve is missing.
On this week's podcast, the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes is joined by the IEA’s Director General Mark Littlewood and the Director of the IEA’s FREER initiative Rebecca Lowe to discuss these challenges.
This year, Saturday November 10th was Equal Pay Day – the day the Fawcett Society calculates that women, on average, essentially start working for free, because of the gender pay gap. But Office for National Statistics calculated just a few weeks back that the pay gap is the lowest it’s ever been on record. Yet Equal Pay Day hasn’t moved. It’s the same day as it was last year. A new IEA briefing, written by Associate Director Kate Andrews and Chief Economist Julian Jessop, argues that this is a result of calculating the gender pay gap in order to obtain a figure nearly 60% higher than the official data. Kate Andrews has put together a podcast to provide ‘alternative listening’ for those who don’t want to engage in fear-mongering around women in the workplace. Kate brings together women from across the political spectrum, with diverse background and views, but who all agree on one thing – that’s that there’s a positive story to tell about women who work. She asks them all: ‘What positive message do you want to send to women today’, and also asks them for a practical policy proposal to help tackle the issues that working women still face.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, is reportedly obsessed with the issue of productivity; whilst most of the electorate remain baffled. We talk to Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser and board member at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), who draws on her experience of being ‘responsible’ for productivity targets under the last Labour Government. Numerous explanations have been put forward for the UK’s poor productivity performance since 2008. Recent research suggests we have a particularly long tail of poorly performing companies in the UK, who fail to adopt innovations of the leading 1%. We consider this diagnosis next to many others, and speculate on what a newly formulated Industrial Strategy might do to help.
In this special edition of the Weekly Economics Podcast from its Archive, the issue of climate change is back on the global news agenda. We explore some of the possible solutions, debate what real action looks like and how those most affected can be the most powerful agents for change. It’s easy to feel defeated when the environmental crises we face are so immediate and huge. But action is urgently needed.
David Powell, Environment Lead at the New Economics Foundation, takes over hosting duties and is joined by Alice Bell, Director of Communications at 10:10, and Asad Rehman, Executive Director at War on Want.
Almost everyone is in favor of advancements in green energy. But we’re still a long way off from cleaner sources being able to take over from more traditional forms of energy, like fossil fuels. If we were to make the switch now, it would inevitably mean moving from a high-energy society to a low-energy society. But what would this mean in practice?
Today we’re speaking with the IEA’s Head of Education, Dr Steve Davies. Steve paints a picture of radical changes that would have to be made in order to adapt to a low-energy society. Two major changes include a return to agriculture focus in local areas, with over 30 per cent of the population needing to return to the farms to make sure communities could be fed. Furthermore, it would almost certainly mean the return of traditional gender roles, as it was the many advancements in energy in particular, that enabled women to liberate themselves out of the home and into the workforce. And while many people who advocate for a low-energy society seem to think that the things they like will continue, while the things they loathe will be scrapped, Steve argues that many conveniences, and indeed miracles, of modern society – like international plane travel and use of the internet – would be wiped out almost completely, with only the world’s elite having access to such luxuries.
New Economics Foundation weekly podcast is back with a hot topic: Environment. In this week podcast Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Dave Powell, head of environment at the New Economics Foundation, and Alice Bell, director at climate charity 10:10 to discuss one of the most fashionable economic ideas of the past decade: The idea that a little prod from government can encourage us to change our behaviour and be better citizens, maybe without even realising it. Meanwhile, good old-fashioned regulation seems to have been decidedly out of favour with recent governments – and leaving the market to just do its thing isn’t all that popular with campaigners.
When it comes to the environment, do all of these approaches have their place? What works best? And are there better or worse ways to make sure our economy doesn’t wreck the planet?
Universal basic income is now one of the most fashionable concepts in progressive politics. With automation increasing and wages stagnating, the theory is that giving everyone a set amount of money each year will liberate them to do what they want with their lives – and keep them out of poverty. But some people think universal basic income is an utopian impossibility. Others think it’s dangerous. So there’s a proposal for another solution: universal basic services. Instead of giving people money, why not guarantee all of the public services they need to live a full life? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith explores the two ideas with Barb Jacobson, Co-ordinator of Basic Income UK, and Anna Coote, New Economics Foundation Principal Fellow.
Adrian Bua is a researcher at the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity. The Centre develops research into austerity and related concepts and practices, such as crisis, resistance, resilience, renaissance and transformation. It brings together activists, students and academics working on these issues to develop new networks and projects.
Wolfgang Streeck is Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies. He is a sociologist working on political economy who analyses the trajectory and future of capitalism, democracy and the state in his recent books "Buying Time" (2013) and "How Will Capitalism End" (2016). This podcast discusses the main arguments he develops in these works.
Despite showing good signs of health for the first time in a long time, people continue to feel anxious about the state of the world’s economy.
Interviewed by the IEA’s Kate Andrews, Head of Education Dr Steve Davies explains what he believes to be the two-folded reason for this: First, the insecurity of China’s banking system, which has produced unsustainable bubbles that are bound to burst at some point. Second, the state of the world’s money system, including the extended use of quantitative easing and low interest rates, which have also created their own set of bubbles, particularly in real estate.