Episode three of the Benefits Street documentary was relatively dull. To the extent there was a theme it was the relationship between parents and young children. Unfortunately the topic was not properly developed. The programme touched on state intervention in family life including a visit by a health visitor and by someone from Sure Start [...]
Given the furore about Benefits Street, Channel 4’s fly-on-the-wall TV documentary series, it was interesting to hear the statistics on benefits cited in the BBC Radio 4’s latest More Or Less programme. Evidently the widely reported claim that 90% of those living on Birmingham’s James Turner Street, as featured in the documentary, are on benefits [...]
Whatever criticisms people make of Benefits Street (see 11 January post) it is the only programme I have seen on British TV that has let Romanian migrants tell their own story. The second episode focused on two groups of Romanians, one extended family and one group of 14 men, and the reactions to them. With [...]
Having finally watched the first episode of Benefits Street it was striking that, contrary to the impression given in many commentaries, the welfare state was not to the fore. It would be more accurate to say social exclusion, or what is sometimes called the underclass, was the focus of the controversial TV programme. The fly-on-the [...]
This is the video of my debate on “Why isn’t poverty history yet” at the Battle of Ideas festival in London in October (Jonathan Portes, pictured). Thanks to Worldwrite for producing the video and in particular for cutting out the background noise of birds tweeting in the Barbican Centre auditorium.
The importance of ideas in understanding economic developments is both overestimated and underestimated. It is overestimated in that the overwhelming impulse of mainstream politicians today is to be pragmatic. That applies as much to David Cameron and Ed Miliband or to Barack Obama as to Mitt Romney. Of course they will sometimes modify their rhetoric [...]
This Perspective column was first published in today’s edition of Fund Strategy. It is hard to imagine many things more annoying than someone who thinks their ideas are deep and original when in reality they are banal and derivative. Purveyors of behavioural economics generally fit the bill. Although behavioural economics has several high profile exponents, [...]
This is the Frontline Club’s blog post on yesterday’s event. In my view it one-sidedly downplays criticism of the documentary.
This is my account of yesterday’s debate on the Four Horsemen documentary. An earlier version appeared as a blog post on the Fundweb web site. Last night I participated in a debate that reminded me of one of the main misconceptions in contemporary economics: that free market thinking is influential. The occasion was a debate [...]
This is the video of a debate I took part in last night at the Frontline Club last night (see 24 May post). I will be writing more about it shortly.
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