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Tag Archives: Economics & Ideology

To Loot or Not to Loot? How Public-Private Partnerships Harmed Turkey

This article first appeared in the Indian journal Economic and Political Weekly on 18 July 2022. A Murder in Konya Konya is a province in Turkey. On 6 July 2022, about an hour before I started writing this article, a murder news hit the Turkish pages of the internet: “In Konya City Hospital, a patient shot and killed a cardiologist and his secretary today.” Whether the assassin committed suicide or the private security killed him is unknown, although there are both rumours. City hospitals,...

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

 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...

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

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,...

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Rentier capitalism is profoundly risk-averse

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...

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

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...

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From efficiency to sufficiency – the path to a just transformation

PRIME has from the start intended to rethink economic theory to take on board the ecological crisis and its human impacts. It has played an important role in developing the idea of a Green New Deal, the radical strategy to combine decarbonisation and other practices to ensure the integrity of the natural environment alongside the advancement of human wellbeing and greater equality. Much GND thinking has focused on making production and consumption more eco-efficient by decoupling economic...

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Karl Polanyi’s “Present Age of Transformation”: the Bennington Lectures 80 years on

 As 2020 draws to a close, and with a new US President due to take office in a few weeks, we want to mark – if a little late in the year – the 80th anniversary of Karl Polanyi’s five lecture series at Bennington College, Vermont, which he called “The Present Age of Transformation”.  PRIME is proud to have published these in pdf format back in February 2017, with the much appreciated consent of the college, which ‘houses’ the original lecture manuscripts.  We were particularly delighted that...

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Karl Polanyi’s “Present Age of Transformation”: the Bennington Lectures 80 years on

 As 2020 draws to a close, and with a new US President due to take office in a few weeks, we want to mark – if a little late in the year – the 80th anniversary of Karl Polanyi’s five lecture series at Bennington College, Vermont, which he called “The Present Age of Transformation”.  PRIME is proud to have published these in pdf format back in February 2017, with the much appreciated consent of the college, which ‘houses’ the original lecture manuscripts.  We were particularly delighted that...

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To save the climate – don’t listen to mainstream economists

Ann Pettifor’s The Coming First World Debt Crisis (Pettifor 2006) was the first book to warn of the approaching 2007 Global Financial Crisis. More than decade after that crisis, its cause—excessive private debt, created primarily to finance asset bubbles rather than productive investment—is still with us, while we are entrapped in a pandemic crisis, and on the cusp of a climatic one. Figure 1: Private debt levels over the history of capitalism Looking forward to the next ten years, and given...

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From a troubled horizon to a better world?

The Covid-19 crisis is deepening existing fissures and adding new threats to an already scarred and anxious world. As a localized health crisis became a global pandemic, many countries put broad swathes of their economies into a policy induced coma to halt the spread of the virus and ease the burden on overstretched health systems. As a result, the global economy will experience a recession this year on a scale not experienced since the 1930s. The damage will be both lasting and severe,...

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