‘Some kind of \“happiness index\”...’

Today's Financial Times includes a full page of analysis discussing the growing movement among economists and others to produce alternative measures of economic performance and social progress. More

Good News, Bad News

The good news:

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Up to our necks

From the Washington Monthly (hat tip Matt Yglesias), comes this rather alarming chart:

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Mandelson versus the post office

To untangle the code contained here, is to understand how far the Government is from having a vision of a new economic order that we at nef can sign up to.

We say that Royal Mail is a national institution which is both a service to the people and an economic driver for small and medium sized businesses in terms of its astonishing network and Universal Service Obligation to deliver mail at a uniform price across the country.

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This way happiness lies

Instead of worshipping the invisible, and usually remote, hand of the market economy (which too often can be caught picking the pockets of the poor), you design an economic system in which resources flow and circulate effectively to serve the invisible heart of the core economy – made up of family, neighbourhood, community and civil society.

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Crunch upon crunch

Today sees the release of two rather sobering reports. First up, we have the 2008 edition of the WWF's Living Planet Report. It calculates that human beings are using natural resources up faster than the world can replenish them: this year we've overshot our ecosystems' carrying capacity by 30%. Not surprisingly, WWF have chosen to describe this situation as an 'ecological credit crunch'. Our estimated ecological debt in monetary terms is lb2.5 trillion (about twice as much as this year's credit crisis). More

Benefits for people and communities

As previous nef research expected, the recession increases the gap between wealthy and poor areas. Recent research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation the communities that already had highest unemployment have suffered the largest losses of jobs. These areas don't suffer only from a lack of employment. The downturn has also forced over half of local authorities to reduce their staff and cuts services. More

Pre-Budget Report fails to deliver the Green New Deal we urgently need

New investment to match the Government's rhetoric on climate change amounts to a tiny fraction of 1 per cent of the public support given to the finance sector. Such lack of ambition is counterproductive and a missed opportunity if Alistair Darling wants to pay down the public debt. More

NewScientist on economics

Orthodox free market economists often like to portray their discipline as being as objective and impartial as any of the natural sciences. Milton Friedman once argued that economics should be considered an 'exact science', like chemistry, physics or medicine.

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