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That was the title I was given to talk about for a conference organised by the European Commission in February. It was hard not to be defensive: many people, academics and NGOs anticipated round the water cooler that ‘a lot’ of people might come, but anything more specific, even if it is a range of numbers, demands particular methodological tools. It is not just picked up along the way. Scenario building is a useful, but narrow field of academic research and most academic researchers don’t try to predict the future. In one sense some of the challenges facing Europe have …

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Most governments know a lot about their debt but little about their assets. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, as governments mobilized to manage their public debt, they largely ignored their public assets. Some countries, such as the Baltic states and Portugal, took steps to appraise their wealth, but most did not. The United States, for example, chose not to participate in a 2011 initiative by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to evaluate the size and composition of state-owned firms in member countries. But a better understanding of public commercial assets — defined as government …
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In this article, I argue that there exists a dangerous positive feedback loop between land value, embodied in house prices, and the banking system which lies at the heart of modern economies. In response, policies are required to capture more land value for the public good, perhaps through alternative forms of taxation or the creation of public land banks, to help minimise speculative investment in an effort to reduce rising inequality. Different types of banks focused on business lending may also be required. The UK and German economies are compared to shed light on alternative policies. Andrew Haldane, the Bank …
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If you ask a person in the street ‘how is money created?’ they will probably look at you blankly. A couple might hazard a guess and say the Bank of England. There’s a Chinese proverb that says: ‘The fish is the last to know water.’ Money is all around us, playing a role in almost everything we do, yet it can be difficult to understand. We are swimming in a society that depends on money—that’s become obsessed with money—but few of us know where it comes from or how it actually works. A landmark paper[1] released by the Bank of …
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If the Scottish independence referendum has taught us anything, it has shown the ability of a vote on a non-partisan question to reshape the subsequent partisan political landscape. As with the Scottish referendum, the referendum on the United Kingdom’s continued EU membership is likely to generate a high level of interest and engagement. Turnout could well exceed general election levels. It could also spell electoral disaster for Labour in the next general election. Many in the Labour Party assume that the party’s unified stance in favour of remaining in the EU will be politically beneficial, particularly in contrast to a …
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Politicians are the least trusted of all professions in this country. Scandals involving expenses, sex or drugs certainly do nothing to reverse this trend but there is a more omnipresent reason for this rank distrust: what politicians say. Spin, misinformation and downright lies are commonplace in modern politics as votes are fought over tooth and nail. In turn this incomplete information is passed to the electorate, often via the media. Some media outlets then add their own layers of spin, misinformation and lies often through hyperbole and simplification. During the AV referendum in 2011 David Farrell and colleagues found that …
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China’s resurgence, particularly since the turn of the century, has had global repercussions, as any number of studies of this phenomenon attest. The longer-term implications for one of the most significant coalitions in global history – transatlantic relations — are potentially profound, and potentially profoundly disruptive. The China phenomenon is frequently depicted at official and unofficial levels as having put European-US ties under strain, mostly arising from a confluence of the growing significance of Asia in US economic and strategic policy; Europe’s political and economic malaise; and China’s more confident and assertive external policies that include the prospect of enhanced …
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