"We have seen how poverty accelerates conflict, how it creates recruits for terrorists and those who incite ethnic and religious hatred, how it fuels a violent rejection of the economic and social order on which our future depends’"
Governments still rely on economists steeped in orthodox thinking for advice. If things are to change, a clearer understanding of how the economy works is needed, not just by economists and policy-makers, but also by the wider general public – a voter who votes in ignorance forges the chains that bind him. Economists have erected round their subject an intimidating barrier of jargon and maths, but this site and the books in our catalogue are intended to give the layman, the voter, a grasp of the basic principles.
Anthony Werner, Publisher
The majority of the author’s professional life has been spent in banking and the computer industry. He had senior roles in the design of new technologies for banks by multinational companies and in the application of these technologies by banks. He discovered the economic teaching of Leon MacLaren in the late 1970s and has run public courses teaching these ideas for many years .
ISBN 9780856832918 | Price: £14.95
This was the headline of a report in the Guardian of a conference hosted by the Treasury in London ‘in answer to critics who argue that economists failed to spot the 2008 crash because they ignored the impact of financial markets and relied on outdated theories’.
Welcome as this is, the suggestion is that it is financial markets that undermine stability, but this overlooks an underlying cause of instability in financial market. This is the property market, more precisely the market in land. This was first noted in 1983 by Fred Harrison in The Power in the Land which revealed the cyclical nature of land markets in Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, the pattern being so similar that it suggested the timing of the next crash was predictable. Having witnessed the repetition of the boom-bust pattern in 1989-92, Harrison felt emboldened in 1997 to predict the next peak in 2007 with the crash following in 2008. This prediction was reiterated in 2005 in Boom Bust: House Prices, Banking and the Depression of 2010. While a depression may have been avoided, this was at the cost of a massive taxpayer bailout and quantitative easing.
The Financial Times also commented on the need for a new economics in an editorial on 13th November. In a subsequent letter published in the FT, Brian Hodgkinson, the author of A New Model of the Economy pointed out that the failure to recognise land as a separate factor of production is a ‘key omission from current models of the economy’. As he spells out in his book, the ‘flat earth’ models economists employ are totally unrealistic because they ignore the huge influence of spatial location, which gives rise to economic or Ricardian, rent.
In Ricardo’s Law, Fred Harrison reveals how ignorance of the law of rent creates the perverse situation where low-income taxpayers fund infrastructure improvements that enrich the affluent. Whether the overhaul of the economic curriculum will take cognizance of this or not remains to be seen.
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In recognition of her work to create a new body of Earth Law, international environmental lawyer and activist, Polly Higgins, has been appointed to the Arne Naess Chair for Global Justice and the Environment at the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), an international research institution at the University of Oslo, which promotes scholarly work on the challenges and dilemmas posed by sustainable development. Previous holders of the Chair include James Lovelock and Stephan Harding.
In March 2010 Polly Higgins proposed to the United Nations that Ecocide be made the 5th Crime Against Peace.
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