Rereading Richard Layard’s Happiness: Lessons from a new science (Allen Lane 2005) I unexpectedly came across a useful reference. Evidently for primitive societies for which there are records over 20% of all male deaths happened through war. This figure is far higher than for the twentieth century, even taking the two World Wars into account. […]
An article in today’s New York Times discusses the remarkable changes to human bodies over the past century (“So Big and Healthy Grandpa Wouldn’t Even Know You”). It is fairly well known – although not as widely recognised as it should be – than humans are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. But […]
Almost a year ago I wrote a spiked essay called “Why people hate fat Americans” (see bar on left). It argued that that obesity was increasingly being used as a metaphor to attack “over-consumption” more generally. Now a new bestseller seems to have joined the fast-growing genre. Insatiable: Competitive Eating and the Big Fat American […]
Three short versions of Worldwrite documentaries, putting the case for real development from different angles, are now available on the internet. Bisease story – A letter to Geldof looks at Bob Geldof’s broken promises to a Ghanaian village. Damned by Debt Relief examines the grim reality of the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative on […]
The advocates of happiness put the argument against affluence in an apparently positive form. Why be obsessed with material advancement, they argue. Instead humans should be content with their well-being. It certainly sounds like a humanistic approach. I do not intend to put the arguments against this viewpoint here. Instead I will provide links which […]
My interest in anti-growth sentiment started while working on Cowardly Capitalism, my book on the global financial markets. I began to realise that the critics of the markets often assumed that financial instability was a result of economic dynamism. If only the economy was less dynamic, they seemed to be arguing, then the financial “casino” […]
Once you start looking you find numerous examples of anti-materialism. Today I came across two before even arriving at work. BBC TV’s Breakfast programme included an item on the proposal by David Miliband, Britain’s environment minister, to introduce swipe cards to ration carbon usage. Supporting the proposal, on the green side of the couch, was […]
Martin Wolf, the chief economics commentator of the Financial Times , is one of the most consistently interesting writers on economic growth and development. Unfortunately his work is generally only available to those who buy the FT or subscribe to ft.com. But those who can get hold of a copy are usually rewarded. For example, […]
Steven Rattner, managing principal at the Quadrangle Group, argues in today’s Wall Street Journal that “income inequality has become the next global warming”. By this he means that widening inequality will become a big election issue in America. Evidently the Democrats are slowing moving to capitalise on the question. The misunderstandings in the inequality discussion […]
My day job is as the editor of Fund Strategy magazine, a weekly magazine for investment advisers, running a core editorial team of seven people. Most of it is too technical to be of interest to non-professionals but occasionally I write articles from a broader perspective. Where possible I will put these, or at least […]
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