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Ann Pettifor

Ann Pettifor

I’m Ann Pettifor, author and analyst of the global financial system, and co-author of The Green New Deal (2008). I predicted an Anglo-American debt-deflationary crisis back in 2003, and in September, 2006 published The Coming First World Debt Crisis (Palgrave). I am known for my work on the sovereign debts of low income countries and for leading an international movement for the cancellation of debts, Jubilee 2000.

Articles by Ann Pettifor

Blame economists for decades of false security

August 28, 2023

And for the cataclysmic gap between theory, policy and ecosystem collapse.[This article was first published on Ann’s Substack site, System Change, on 21st August 2023]The Financial Times’s Lex column is legendary.The editor, Jonathan Guthrie, argues that it is “the oldest and arguably most influential column of its kind” having first appeared in 1945. Lex is written by a collective – there are no author bylines because that would be inaccurate, writes Guthrie. The name is “a riff on the Latin phrase for ‘Law of the Markets’” and the column is for “anyone interested in the story of global capital viewed through the prism of corporate news.”In other words, Lex is for the very serious people.So it was with some interest my attention was drawn to the latest ‘Lex in depth article’,¹ titled ‘how

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Blame economists for decades of false security

August 28, 2023

And for the cataclysmic gap between theory, policy and ecosystem collapse.
[This article was first published on Ann’s Substack site, System Change, on 21st August 2023]
The Financial Times’s Lex column is legendary.
The editor, Jonathan Guthrie, argues that it is “the oldest and arguably most influential column of its kind” having first appeared in 1945. Lex is written by a collective – there are no author bylines because that would be inaccurate, writes Guthrie. The name is “a riff on the Latin phrase for ‘Law of the Markets’” and the column is for “anyone interested in the story of global capital viewed through the prism of corporate news.”
In other words, Lex is for the very serious people.
So it was with some interest my attention was drawn to the latest ‘Lex in depth

Read More »

Blame economists for decades of false security

August 28, 2023

And for the cataclysmic gap between theory, policy and ecosystem collapse.[This article was first published on Ann’s Substack site, System Change, on 21st August 2023]The Financial Times’s Lex column is legendary.The editor, Jonathan Guthrie, argues that it is “the oldest and arguably most influential column of its kind” having first appeared in 1945. Lex is written by a collective – there are no author bylines because that would be inaccurate, writes Guthrie. The name is “a riff on the Latin phrase for ‘Law of the Markets’” and the column is for “anyone interested in the story of global capital viewed through the prism of corporate news.”In other words, Lex is for the very serious people.So it was with some interest my attention was drawn to the latest ‘Lex in depth article’,¹ titled ‘how

Read More »

Central bankers, inflation “cousins” & the real threat to the global economy

July 3, 2022

Kaye Wiggins in the Financial Times explains that private equity groups, including Blackrock, deliberately inflate the value of their own assets – by buying and then selling said assets to themselves. She shows that the buyout business resembles a pyramid scheme with “circular” deals sold between and within private ownership at high valuations – fuelling asset price inflation.
“Windscreen repair and replacement company Belron, which operates internationally under brands including Autoglass and Safelite, was valued at €3bn in 2017, when US buyouts group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice agreed to buy a 40 per cent stake.…In December last year, CD&R sold a minority of its holding to a trio of new investors: Hellman & Friedman, BlackRock’s private equity business and the Singaporean sovereign wealth

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Central bankers, inflation “cousins” & the real threat to the global economy

July 3, 2022

Kaye Wiggins in the Financial Times explains that private equity groups, including Blackrock, deliberately inflate the value of their own assets – by buying and then selling said assets to themselves. She shows that the buyout business resembles a pyramid scheme with “circular” deals sold between and within private ownership at high valuations – fuelling asset price inflation.“Windscreen repair and replacement company Belron, which operates internationally under brands including Autoglass and Safelite, was valued at €3bn in 2017, when US buyouts group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice agreed to buy a 40 per cent stake.…In December last year, CD&R sold a minority of its holding to a trio of new investors: Hellman & Friedman, BlackRock’s private equity business and the Singaporean sovereign wealth

Read More »

Central bankers, inflation “cousins” & the real threat to the global economy

July 3, 2022

Kaye Wiggins in the Financial Times explains that private equity groups, including Blackrock, deliberately inflate the value of their own assets – by buying and then selling said assets to themselves. She shows that the buyout business resembles a pyramid scheme with “circular” deals sold between and within private ownership at high valuations – fuelling asset price inflation.“Windscreen repair and replacement company Belron, which operates internationally under brands including Autoglass and Safelite, was valued at €3bn in 2017, when US buyouts group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice agreed to buy a 40 per cent stake.…In December last year, CD&R sold a minority of its holding to a trio of new investors: Hellman & Friedman, BlackRock’s private equity business and the Singaporean sovereign wealth

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The conferment of an honorary doctorate at Helsinki University: my speech.

June 14, 2022

This is a speech delivered to the staff of the University of Helsinki, and to hundreds of students awarded masters’ and doctorate degrees, on the auspicious day of 20th May, 2022. One of the requirements of the conferment committee was that all speeches should include another language. I therefore began mine in Afrikaans. After the pause below, I summarise the content of the opening paragraphs, so bear with me…Ek wil net kortliks sê dit is n baie lang pad van die klein dorpie, Odendaalsrus, in die Oranje Vrystaat van Suid-Afrika – na die grootse en vooraanstande universiteit von Helsinki. Maar dit is die lang pad wat ek gery het om vanaand hier te wees..saam met julle almal – ere Jubilee doktorsgrade, doktorsgrade en meesters.My Oupagrootjie aan my pa se kant was ‘n kommandant in die

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The conferment of an honorary doctorate at Helsinki University: my speech.

June 14, 2022

This is a speech delivered to the staff of the University of Helsinki, and to hundreds of students awarded masters’ and doctorate degrees, on the auspicious day of 22nd May, 2022. One of the requirements of the conferment committee was that all speeches should include another language. I therefore began mine in Afrikaans. After the pause below, I summarise the content of the opening paragraphs, so bear with me…

Ek wil net kortliks sê dit is n baie lang pad van die klein dorpie, Odendaalsrus, in die Oranje Vrystaat van Suid-Afrika – na die grootse en vooraanstande universiteit von Helsinki. Maar dit is die lang pad wat ek gery het om vanaand hier te wees..saam met julle almal – ere Jubilee doktorsgrade, doktorsgrade en meesters.
My Oupagrootjie aan my pa se kant was ‘n kommandant in die

Read More »

The conferment of an honorary doctorate at Helsinki University: my speech.

June 14, 2022

This is a speech delivered to the staff of the University of Helsinki, and to hundreds of students awarded masters’ and doctorate degrees, on the auspicious day of 20th May, 2022. One of the requirements of the conferment committee was that all speeches should include another language. I therefore began mine in Afrikaans. After the pause below, I summarise the content of the opening paragraphs, so bear with me…Ek wil net kortliks sê dit is n baie lang pad van die klein dorpie, Odendaalsrus, in die Oranje Vrystaat van Suid-Afrika – na die grootse en vooraanstande universiteit von Helsinki. Maar dit is die lang pad wat ek gery het om vanaand hier te wees..saam met julle almal – ere Jubilee doktorsgrade, doktorsgrade en meesters.My Oupagrootjie aan my pa se kant was ‘n kommandant in die

Read More »

Rentier capitalism is profoundly risk-averse

February 25, 2022

The following article is based on my speech notes for a presentation to University College London’s Global Business School for Health on 22nd February 2022. The webinar was titled: Health Innovation through Capital and Private Equity Markets webinar.The question panellists were asked to address was this: “….whether capital and private equity markets are actually driving forward better and sustainable health innovation?”I argued that private capital and private equity markets – far from driving forward sustainable health innovation – are contributing to rising rates of mortality from preventable diseases worldwide. The most egregious case of this failure of private capital to support sustainable health innovation was made stark by the COVID19 pandemic.My case rests on the experience of

Read More »

Rentier capitalism is profoundly risk-averse

February 25, 2022

The following article is based on my speech notes for a presentation to University College London’s Global Business School for Health on 22nd February 2022. The webinar was titled: Health Innovation through Capital and Private Equity Markets webinar.
The question panellists were asked to address was this: “….whether capital and private equity markets are actually driving forward better and sustainable health innovation?”
I argued that private capital and private equity markets – far from driving forward sustainable health innovation – are contributing to rising rates of mortality from preventable diseases worldwide. The most egregious case of this failure of private capital to support sustainable health innovation was made stark by the COVID19 pandemic.
My case rests on the experience

Read More »

Rentier capitalism is profoundly risk-averse

February 25, 2022

The following article is based on my speech notes for a presentation to University College London’s Global Business School for Health on 22nd February 2022. The webinar was titled: Health Innovation through Capital and Private Equity Markets webinar.The question panellists were asked to address was this: “….whether capital and private equity markets are actually driving forward better and sustainable health innovation?”I argued that private capital and private equity markets – far from driving forward sustainable health innovation – are contributing to rising rates of mortality from preventable diseases worldwide. The most egregious case of this failure of private capital to support sustainable health innovation was made stark by the COVID19 pandemic.My case rests on the experience of

Read More »

PRIME’s 2022 forecast

January 3, 2022

Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME’s official name) is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in England and Wales. It is company no. 07438334 and its registered office is at 11a Hatch Road, Pilgrims Hatch, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 9PU.We collect cookies on this website through web analytics. For more information, please read our Privacy Policy.

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PRIME’s 2022 forecast

January 3, 2022

Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME’s official name) is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in England and Wales. It is company no. 07438334 and its registered office is at 11a Hatch Road, Pilgrims Hatch, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 9PU.We collect cookies on this website through web analytics. For more information, please read our Privacy Policy.

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PRIME’s 2022 forecast

January 3, 2022

Each year the Financial Times invites economists to answer an economic survey for the British economy. This is PRIME’s submission.
1. UK economy
Will the UK economy outpace or lag behind other developed economies in 2022 and why?
UK trade performance on imports and exports has been among the worst of all OECD economies, with Brexit exacerbating the pandemic. This significant fall in total trade (compared to 2018) is an outcome, or consequence, of weak economic activity at home. Flat business investment is an ongoing key constraint. That is why we expect the UK will perform (in GDP terms) below the level of advanced economies in 2022. Annual GDP likely to rise by around 3.5-4% (well below HMT’s ‘comparison of independent forecasts’ which range up to 8.1%). UK GDP fell further in 2020 than

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Reclaiming Central Banks

September 21, 2021

This article first appeared on the Project Syndicate website on 21st September, 2021

Fifty years ago, a US president closed the gold window, ended capital controls, and launched a new era of globalized finance. The “Nixon Shock” reshaped the international monetary system overnight, and then gradually changed the status of central bankers. Instead of acting as servants of the domestic economy, monetary policymakers have become masters of the globalized and financialized world economy. And this development bears directly on our ability to tackle the problems of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Despite their technocratic mystique, central bankers are politically appointed public servants on government payrolls, and still derive their authority from the taxpayers in their respective

Read More »

Reclaiming Central Banks

September 21, 2021

This article first appeared on the Project Syndicate website on 21st September, 2021 Fifty years ago, a US president closed the gold window, ended capital controls, and launched a new era of globalized finance. The “Nixon Shock” reshaped the international monetary system overnight, and then gradually changed the status of central bankers. Instead of acting as servants of the domestic economy, monetary policymakers have become masters of the globalized and financialized world economy. And this development bears directly on our ability to tackle the problems of climate change and biodiversity loss.Despite their technocratic mystique, central bankers are politically appointed public servants on government payrolls, and still derive their authority from the taxpayers in their respective

Read More »

Reclaiming Central Banks

September 21, 2021

This article first appeared on the Project Syndicate website on 21st September, 2021 Fifty years ago, a US president closed the gold window, ended capital controls, and launched a new era of globalized finance. The “Nixon Shock” reshaped the international monetary system overnight, and then gradually changed the status of central bankers. Instead of acting as servants of the domestic economy, monetary policymakers have become masters of the globalized and financialized world economy. And this development bears directly on our ability to tackle the problems of climate change and biodiversity loss.Despite their technocratic mystique, central bankers are politically appointed public servants on government payrolls, and still derive their authority from the taxpayers in their respective

Read More »

Industrial Policy’s Comeback?

September 15, 2021

This is my comment on a major article on Industrial Policy in the Boston Review, published in September, 2021. The leading article was by Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Rainer Kattel and Josh Ryan-Collins.

In their well-executed argument for a new approach to economic policy, Mazzucato, Kattel, and Ryan-Collins spell out how governments could develop an industrial policy to shape and drive innovative opportunities for the future. They rightly demolish the folk tales of neoliberalism: the elevation of markets to mythical status, the reverence for allegedly “independent” central bankers, the skepticism of government action, and the deregulation of trade and foreign direct investment.
I deliberately use the word “could,” however, because a lot hangs on future conditions. While the authors

Read More »

Industrial Policy’s Comeback?

September 15, 2021

This is my comment on a major article on Industrial Policy in the Boston Review, published in September, 2021. The leading article was by Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Rainer Kattel and Josh Ryan-Collins.In their well-executed argument for a new approach to economic policy, Mazzucato, Kattel, and Ryan-Collins spell out how governments could develop an industrial policy to shape and drive innovative opportunities for the future. They rightly demolish the folk tales of neoliberalism: the elevation of markets to mythical status, the reverence for allegedly “independent” central bankers, the skepticism of government action, and the deregulation of trade and foreign direct investment.I deliberately use the word “could,” however, because a lot hangs on future conditions. While the authors offer

Read More »

Industrial Policy’s Comeback?

September 15, 2021

This is my comment on a major article on Industrial Policy in the Boston Review, published in September, 2021. The leading article was by Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Rainer Kattel and Josh Ryan-Collins.In their well-executed argument for a new approach to economic policy, Mazzucato, Kattel, and Ryan-Collins spell out how governments could develop an industrial policy to shape and drive innovative opportunities for the future. They rightly demolish the folk tales of neoliberalism: the elevation of markets to mythical status, the reverence for allegedly “independent” central bankers, the skepticism of government action, and the deregulation of trade and foreign direct investment.I deliberately use the word “could,” however, because a lot hangs on future conditions. While the authors offer

Read More »

Quantitative Easing: how the world got hooked on magicked-up money

July 25, 2021

Going cold turkey would finish off a dysfunctional global financial system that’s now hopelessly addicted to emergency infusions. The only solution is surgery on the system itself.This article first appeared in Prospect magazine on 16 July 2021. The world economy is a mess. The system, notionally governed by the invisible hand of the market, is no longer governed in any meaningful way: private excess puffs up bubbles that government indulgence ensures can never burst. We seem condemned to volatile commodity prices, wild capital flows, worsening imbalances in trade, taxation and income, and—before long—the next sovereign debt crisis. And then there’s inequality. During lockdown, the total wealth of billionaires rose by $5 trillion to $13 trillion in 12 months, the most dramatic surge ever

Read More »

Quantitative Easing: how the world got hooked on magicked-up money

July 25, 2021

Going cold turkey would finish off a dysfunctional global financial system that’s now hopelessly addicted to emergency infusions. The only solution is surgery on the system itself.
This article first appeared in Prospect magazine on 16 July 2021.
The world economy is a mess. The system, notionally governed by the invisible hand of the market, is no longer governed in any meaningful way: private excess puffs up bubbles that government indulgence ensures can never burst. We seem condemned to volatile commodity prices, wild capital flows, worsening imbalances in trade, taxation and income, and—before long—the next sovereign debt crisis. And then there’s inequality. During lockdown, the total wealth of billionaires rose by $5 trillion to $13 trillion in 12 months, the most dramatic surge

Read More »

Quantitative Easing: how the world got hooked on magicked-up money

July 25, 2021

Going cold turkey would finish off a dysfunctional global financial system that’s now hopelessly addicted to emergency infusions. The only solution is surgery on the system itself.This article first appeared in Prospect magazine on 16 July 2021. The world economy is a mess. The system, notionally governed by the invisible hand of the market, is no longer governed in any meaningful way: private excess puffs up bubbles that government indulgence ensures can never burst. We seem condemned to volatile commodity prices, wild capital flows, worsening imbalances in trade, taxation and income, and—before long—the next sovereign debt crisis. And then there’s inequality. During lockdown, the total wealth of billionaires rose by $5 trillion to $13 trillion in 12 months, the most dramatic surge ever

Read More »

Bill Gates: Save the jetset

March 21, 2021

Bill Gates: How to avoid a climate disaster : Review for the Times Literary Supplement, published on 12 March, 2021.When I first began to use computers in the 1980s, my Techie pals in the opensource community were dismissive of Microsoft’s ‘clunky’ and vulnerable software and advised me against using its products. But I disagreed. In the eyes of geeks, the software may have been badly coded but it was accessible for me, a non-geeky beginner. For each glitch I just hit ‘update’ and Microsoft programmes were patched up.Bill Gates brings those breezy and accessible characteristics to his book How to avoid a Climate Disaster. In explaining the technological solutions he believes necessary to tackle climate breakdown, he is careful to use laypersons’ terms, making his book as accessible as were

Read More »

Bill Gates: Save the jetset

March 21, 2021

Bill Gates: How to avoid a climate disaster : Review for the Times Literary Supplement, published on 12 March, 2021.
When I first began to use computers in the 1980s, my Techie pals in the opensource community were dismissive of Microsoft’s ‘clunky’ and vulnerable software and advised me against using its products. But I disagreed. In the eyes of geeks, the software may have been badly coded but it was accessible for me, a non-geeky beginner. For each glitch I just hit ‘update’ and Microsoft programmes were patched up.
Bill Gates brings those breezy and accessible characteristics to his book How to avoid a Climate Disaster. In explaining the technological solutions he believes necessary to tackle climate breakdown, he is careful to use laypersons’ terms, making his book as accessible as

Read More »

Bill Gates: Save the jetset

March 21, 2021

Bill Gates: How to avoid a climate disaster : Review for the Times Literary Supplement, published on 12 March, 2021.When I first began to use computers in the 1980s, my Techie pals in the opensource community were dismissive of Microsoft’s ‘clunky’ and vulnerable software and advised me against using its products. But I disagreed. In the eyes of geeks, the software may have been badly coded but it was accessible for me, a non-geeky beginner. For each glitch I just hit ‘update’ and Microsoft programmes were patched up.Bill Gates brings those breezy and accessible characteristics to his book How to avoid a Climate Disaster. In explaining the technological solutions he believes necessary to tackle climate breakdown, he is careful to use laypersons’ terms, making his book as accessible as were

Read More »

Bill Gates: How to avoid a climate disaster: review for the Times Literary Supplement

March 21, 2021

When I first began to use computers in the 1980s, my Techie pals in the opensource community were dismissive of Microsoft’s ‘clunky’ and vulnerable software and advised me against using its products. But I disagreed. In the eyes of geeks, the software may have been badly coded but it was accessible for me, a non-geeky beginner. For each glitch I just hit ‘update’ and Microsoft programmes were patched up.
Bill Gates brings those breezy and accessible characteristics to his book How to avoid a Climate Disaster. In explaining the technological solutions he believes necessary to tackle climate breakdown, he is careful to use laypersons’ terms, making his book as accessible as were those early MS programmes.
True to his original profession as a coder, Gates reduces the challenges the world

Read More »

Bill Gates: How to avoid a climate disaster: review for the Times Literary Supplement

March 21, 2021

When I first began to use computers in the 1980s, my Techie pals in the opensource community were dismissive of Microsoft’s ‘clunky’ and vulnerable software and advised me against using its products. But I disagreed. In the eyes of geeks, the software may have been badly coded but it was accessible for me, a non-geeky beginner. For each glitch I just hit ‘update’ and Microsoft programmes were patched up.
Bill Gates brings those breezy and accessible characteristics to his book How to avoid a Climate Disaster. In explaining the technological solutions he believes necessary to tackle climate breakdown, he is careful to use laypersons’ terms, making his book as accessible as were those early MS programmes.
True to his original profession as a coder, Gates reduces the challenges the world

Read More »

Bill Gates: How to avoid a climate disaster: review for the Times Literary Supplement

March 21, 2021

When I first began to use computers in the 1980s, my Techie pals in the opensource community were dismissive of Microsoft’s ‘clunky’ and vulnerable software and advised me against using its products. But I disagreed. In the eyes of geeks, the software may have been badly coded but it was accessible for me, a non-geeky beginner. For each glitch I just hit ‘update’ and Microsoft programmes were patched up.Bill Gates brings those breezy and accessible characteristics to his book How to avoid a Climate Disaster. In explaining the technological solutions he believes necessary to tackle climate breakdown, he is careful to use laypersons’ terms, making his book as accessible as were those early MS programmes.True to his original profession as a coder, Gates reduces the challenges the world faces

Read More »