Among the innumerable ways in which life has got better for those of us living in rich countries over the past 200 years, one of the most easily overlooked is the price tag. In the early 19th Century, almost every purchase involved a process of haggling – very few goods or services had set prices. […]

Jeremy Cliffe made some interesting points on twitter over the weekend about the relevance of Varieties of Capitalism (VoC) theory to Britain today. Cliffe’s own BBC documentary provides a good introduction to the theory, but here is the general idea.  VoC suggests that successful modern economies can take one of two forms: they can be […]

On one account, what has gone wrong in the past 80 years is a story of materialistic greed. Back in 1930, John Maynard Keynes sketched out a utopian vision of the 21st century economy. He predicted that economic growth would be sufficient to satisfy all our wants, so that people would only need to work […]

Of all the habits I developed in five years studying philosophy, internalising the principle of charity is among the most important. Few other ideas are as valuable and relevant outside the seminar room. The principle is simple: when considering an argument, we should try to construct it in its strongest and most persuasive form. Indeed, […]

I grew up in a period when politics was boring: the era of the ‘great moderation’ and the ‘end of history’. A time when all the politicians looked and sounded the same, and had a similar acceptance of capitalism, globalisation and the welfare state. With Donald Trump settling into the White House and the UK […]

It’s nearly the end of 2016, so I decided to channel my inner Rob Fleming, and do some lists of things I enjoyed this year. May contain some good recommendations for others in 2017. Rules are that I had to ‘discover’ (i.e. read, see, eat etc) the thing for the first time in 2016, not […]

2016, I think it’s fair to say, has not been a good year for confidence in democracy. Brexit, Trump and the various ructions to come have reawakened some of the oldest arguments in political theory: that democracy doesn’t work. David Van Reybrouck ruminates on the poor quality of debate in democracy. Arguments abound that the […]