Our public services are in dire need of investment. And it is time to ask what we want our public services to actually do for us. That’s the view of group of economists and campaigners who are pushing for something called ‘Universal Basic Services’ – a radical expansion of high-quality public services for all to areas like transport, childcare and social care. More than 70 years after the creation of the welfare state and the NHS, is it time to reimagine the public services we should all expect? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by NEF Principle Fellow Anna Coote and openDemocracy Economics Editor Laurie Macfarlane.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Anna Coote, Laurie Macfarlane
‘Low-skilled’ or ‘high-skilled’. An ‘economic net contributor’, or ‘a drain on public services’. For decades, immigrants have been treated as scapegoats for everything from failing public services to violent crime. And much too often, as less than human But how did we get here? How did the public conversation about immigration become so toxic? And is there another way forward – an alternative to the hostile environment? This week, New Economics Foundation is at SOAS with a live audience and Maya Goodfellow, author of ‘Hostile Environment: How immigrants became scapegoats’.
It’s one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. But unlike the phone, the car, computers and indoor plumbing, the weekend is still stuck in the 1930s. As productivity increased, the promise of shorter working hours always seemed just out of reach. But now, there’s a campaign to make the 4-day week a reality within our lifetimes. Obviously many people would love to work less. But what would it mean for the economy? And what would it take to make it a reality? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Alfie Stirling, Head of Economics and Aidan Harper, Researcher at the New Economics Foundation.
More and more of us are renting for longer – not by choice, but by necessity. In cities especially, more people are renting into their thirties, forties and beyond, sometimes raising children in rented flats with no long-term security. Rents are sky high. Saving for a deposit can take a decade or longer. And for many people, property ownership seems unachievable. But what if we could do something about it? Could rent controls be the answer? To help answer this question, Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Hanna Wheatley, researcher at the New Economics Foundation and co-author of a NEF report on rent controls, and Eva Freeman, private renter and member of the London Renters Union.
If you’ve been listening to the Weekly Economics Podcast for a while, you’ll know that we think there’s much more to economics than GDP. But it still dominates the way politicians and much of the press talk about the economy. Now though, there are lots of new proposals for measuring what counts. So what should replace GDP? And how would it change society? That’s our big question today, that Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is discussing with Guardian economics correspondent Richard Partington and NEF fellow Annie Quick.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Richard Partington, Annie Quick
The polls show that while previous generations became more conservative with age, millennials are staying left wing for longer. And age and education now seem to be the big dividing line in our politics, replacing class as the key division. So what’s going on? And what are the political implications of Generation Left? That’s our big question on the Weekly Economics Podcast this week and to help us answer it, Ayeisha is joined by Keir Milburn, author of Generation Left, and lecturer in political economy and organisation at University of Leicester, and Shelly Asquith, a political advisor at Unite the Union.
It’s been a busy year for the climate movement since last summer’s scorching heatwave. Extinction Rebellion shut down the streets, the school strikes saw thousands of young people take a stand, and the Green New Deal has shot to the top of the political agenda – for now, at least. Last month Parliament passed a motion to declare an ‘environment and climate change emergency’. Meanwhile, Theresa May is trying to use the last weeks of her premiership to build some sort of legacy, including a new target for net zero climate emissions by 2050. So, against that backdrop, what should the climate movement do next? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined this week by Hannah Martin from Greenpeace and Green New Deal UK.
Algorithms have a huge influence on the way that we see the world. We increasingly understand news through social media. But the algorithms that underpin our every interaction with the digital world are not neutral. They are created by humans, and reflect the biases of the people who write them. We hosted Safiya Umoja Noble, author of Algorithms of Oppression, to discuss her recent book with Kirsty Styles for this live episode of the podcast. Content warning: in this episode there is discussion of sexual content and pornography that some listeners might find offensive.
It’s been 4 years since Kirsty Styles and James Meadway told the story of neoliberalism, from Hayek to Thatcher to the end of history. But now, the band is back together, alongside NEF chief executive Miatta Fahnbulleh. It’s 2019, the world is on fire, and it’s time to change the rules.
New Economics Foundation ran in 2015 a series where they tell story of neoliberalism, from the beginning. They call it A Beginner’s Guide to Neoliberalism and it is as relevant as ever. It’s presented by the journalist Kirsty Styles alongside James Meadway, who at the time was chief economist at the New Economics Foundation.