David Lewis is ramping up a food fight of epic proportions. The chief executive of Tesco has launched a spin-off chain of discount supermarkets called Jack’s (named after Tesco’s founder Jack Cohen). The aim is to become more competitive with German chains Aldi and Lidl, which have been saturating the market with cheaper products since their arrival in the UK ... Continue reading
Housing and Planning
We tend to conceptualise the housing crisis in terms of affordability - and justifiably so. Over the last two decades, the ratio of median house prices to earnings in England and Wales has more than doubled. Back in 1997, house prices represented, on average, around 3.6 times workers’ annual gross full-time earnings. By 2016, however, ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration
Now might seem an odd time to be considering new free trade deals with the US, when President Donald Trump has just escalated his trade war with China by imposing new tariffs on $200bn worth of goods. The UK, meanwhile, is still focused on resolving the uncertainty surrounding its future trading relationship with the EU. Talking seriously ... Continue reading
Markets and Morality
One of the most talked-about books of 2009 was The Spirit Level, by the social epidemiologists Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson. They have now released a sequel, The Inner Level, the theme and format of which is uncannily similar to the original. A series of chapters make the case for income inequality causing a wide range ... Continue reading
When Ash Sarker of Novara Media declared “I’m literally a Communist, you idiot” in a now-immortal exchange with ITV host Piers Morgan, her remarks spawned op-eds, memes and even T-shirts, hawked for 20 quid a pop by the "literal" capitalists at... Novara Media. It’s easy to laugh. Sarker is clearly an extreme case, whose views ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
Faux-outrage and faux-indignation are normally the preserve of the political Left. When your social status depends on your imaginary moral superiority, you need to constantly reassert that status, and nowadays, the most common way to do that is through performative moral indignation. However, the political Right sometimes does it too. In particular, the Brexit vote ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Will the view from the next hill be worth the effort of climbing it? Should you spend time learning the guitar? Though no money is involved, these are still economic choices: decisions about how much resource (e.g. time and effort) to spend in pursuit of something we value. To help us analyse and make such ... Continue reading
Education
In recent decades, governments around the world have ploughed huge resources into trying to increase entrepreneurship rates in their countries. It’s not hard to see why. New businesses create a disproportionate share of new jobs. Some analyses have attributed differences in employment growth between countries to the existence of even a small number of new ... Continue reading
Nutrition is, at present, a provisional science. Studies are published every week which update the orthodox positions on everything from proper fat consumption to the relative virtues of different lettuces, and it can take time for consensus to emerge from the chaos. To a layman, this academic landscape can be difficult to navigate, and so ... Continue reading
Labour Market
Following an article I wrote about last week’s IPPR Commission on Economic Justice report, a correspondent argued that we should concentrate on the ‘cold, hard facts’ in discussing these issues. This used to be the theme of the old TV programme Dragnet, where the cops always seemed to want to know “Just the facts, ma’am”. ... Continue reading