The UK housing market is booming - for the rich. Paul Sagar looks at how the exposition of buy-to-let purchases systematically channels wealth and income to those who are already well-off, at the expense of those who are not. And this, he argues, is no accident or inevitable economic outcome, but a direct consequence of government policy.
In the second of his two-part series, Paul Sagar suggests that to understand what Neo-liberalism is not, we would do well to look at the intellectual history of recent economic theory. Drawing on work by James Forder, he suggests that we presently labour under a collective misapprehension about the terms of modern political economy.
The term Neo-liberalism is a staple of contemporary political discourse. But what does it actually mean? In this two-part article Paul Sagar draws on recent work in political economy to suggest that we are astonishingly unclear about what this key term signifies. Engaging with recent work by Helen Thompson and Martin Wolf, he argues that it is in fact hard to pin down where neoliberalism or its alternatives stand between the market and politics.
Boris Johnson's recent remarks about inequality at the Centre for Policy Studies are more than just another provocation. In fact, the idea that inequality was part and parcel of economically advanced societies harks back to Mandeville, Kant and Smith. Johnson shows that the controversial theoretical postulates of the eighteenth century have become the political commonsense of the twenty-first.
Was Margaret Thatcher a visionary leader who fundamentally changed the landscape of British politics? Or was that landscape already changing, with Thatcher merely overseeing developments that were more or less inevitable? Despite the mythos of contemporary British politics, and of the Conservative Party in particular, there are strong reasons to be doubtful of Thatcher's status as an economic and political visionary. Examining the development of offshore finance - and of Whitehall's inability to keep pace with this - indicates that Thatcher's role has been grossly overstated in the popular imagination. Realising this, however, must lead us to question the future prospects for societies like ours.
It may surprise readers to learn that the government has spent the last three years persistently undermining and obstructing Britain’s seventh largest export industry.