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With the holiday season upon us we are launching our summer reading list. All are available free and on-line. You can save these articles on your iPhone or iPad's reading list by opening the links on Safari and tapping on the share icon (the box with an arrow). To print these articles please use the print icons, where available, on the webpages to ensure proper formatting.
Political developments over the last few years, among them the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump, have led to increasing criticism of the democratic process. Some venture that ‘epistocracy’ – rule by experts – might be a better alternative. This article explores the practicalities and potential pitfalls of a system where only ‘those who know best’ make political decisions. (9 pages)
The passports-for-cash market is booming. Up to 40 countries now run active economic-citizenship or residence programmes which allow people to purchase citizenship or residence rights in return for investing in the national economy. In an era of globalisation and mobility citizenship has become a commodity – at least for the well-heeled. This article from 1843 magazine examines the motives of those buying passports and the incentives for the nations selling them. (7 pages)
The Chinese government is developing a ‘Social Credit System’ to rate the trustworthiness of its 1.3 billion citizens. The system, now being tested by volunteers and expected to become mandatory by 2020, tracks a wide range of activities – from shopping habits, to health, to social media activity – to produce a ‘Citizen Score’ which gauges trustworthiness. People with low scores will be penalised, with plans including restrictions on internet speeds, access to restaurants and the removal of the right to travel. This Wired article analyses an unsettling experiment in monitoring and controlling human behaviour. (9 pages)
Here is our choice selection of the "and finally" news stories from the Monday Briefing in 2017. Credit goes to my colleagues for tracking down these stories and for forging the right pun or quip. The Monday Briefing is taking a break until Monday 8th January. In the meantime the Deloitte economics team - Ian, Debo, Alex, Rebecca and Tom - wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Our Christmas Quiz offers an eclectic test of knowledge of economics and business. The answers, and a brief explanation of the factors at work, are at the end of this note.
- Which of the following countries has the most affordable housing market relative to incomes, according to The Economist’s house price affordability index?
The Monday Briefing reached its tenth birthday over the summer. This week’s Briefing offers some thoughts on the lessons we’ve learned and the errors and successes we’ve made along the way.
Perhaps the most obvious lesson is that the economy depends on a stable financial system. In getting this right before the crisis, and emphasising it in the Briefing, I can’t claim great prescience. The devastating effect of the bursting of Japan’s banking and asset bubble in the early 1990s provided me, and others of my generation, with a graphic illustration of the effects of a financial collapse.
Invention lies at the heart of industry and economics. The question of what systems best foster innovation and which innovations have the greatest effect on economic welfare have long occupied economists.
Over the last year the author and economist Tim Harford has presented a BBC radio series describing the fifty innovations he believes have ‘made the modern economy’.
Economists disagree on lots of things, but on one thing at least there is a consensus. Productivity, or the efficiency of production, is the main driver of human welfare. The data bear this out. Consider that growth in living standards in the UK since the late nineteenth century has been driven entirely by rising productivity. It is not surprising that improving productivity is the Holy Grail of economic policy.
Do you have enough leisure and free time?
If the answer’s no, you are not alone. Most of us feel time pressured and, often stressed in our lives.
On the face of it this is surprising. Most us have more free time and work fewer hours than ever.
In 2016 the average UK worker put in 266 fewer hours a year than in 1970, equivalent to reducing the working year by over seven weeks. It’s a similar story across Europe, and working hours have also declined in famously workaholic societies like the US, South Korea and Japan. In many countries, especially in Europe, holiday entitlements have also improved.
With the holiday season almost upon us we are launching our summer reading list. The Economics Team read dozens of articles to come up with our top six picks for summer reading. All are available free and on-line. You can save these articles on your iPhone or iPad's reading list by opening the links on Safari and tapping on the share arrow next to the address bar. To print these articles please use the print icons, where available, on the webpages to ensure the whole article comes out. The Monday Briefing will continue to run throughout the summer.
By about 9am last Friday my capacity for surprise had been almost exhausted by the Labour Party’s stunning performance in the General Election. Still, I was a bit puzzled by the phlegmatic reaction of financial markets to the news of a hung parliament.
There was no panicky sell off as we saw last year following the Brexit vote. The fall in the pound was a fraction of that seen last June. The FTSE100 equity index was down over 3% on the Brexit news a year ago; last Friday it rose 1%.
In the wake of the financial crisis the West has witnessed a rise in radical politics of the right and left. One explanation is that the crisis has exacerbated the effects of more longstanding social and economic change.
Two seminal research papers by Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton and Princeton economist Anne Case shed new light on this phenomenon. In a quite remarkable piece of research Deaton and Case examine the effect of adverse economic change, poor education and low social capital on white, working-class Americans.