- Chris Dillow: Why are unions unpopular?: "Talk that Miliband is considering breaking Labour's link with the unions poses the question: why should reasonable people think distancing itself from the unions can win the party votes?… Why… are unions still seen as the big bogey man that Labour feels it must distance itself from?… I suggest four reasons…. (4) Presentation. Unions are lousy at hegemonic strategies. The rhetoric of 'fighting' and 'demands' makes them seem a tiresome sectional interest rather than a group whose interests are the national interest…. 'What's good for GM is good for America' was long a plausible slogan. The slogan 'What's good for Unite is good for Britain' has never even been tried."
How knowledge transmission should work: "The tenth anniversary of the UK’s 2003 decision not to join the Eurozone has just passed. With all my complaints about how bad macroeconomic policymaking has been recently, I thought it was worth analysing an example of a good decision…. Some will argue that these 18 studies, and the years of work that went into them, were window dressing for a decision that had already been made. I think that is simply incorrect… if the politicians involved had already made up their mind, they went to quite elaborate lengths to conceal the fact from those that worked for them…. I think the exercise was what it purported to be: an attempt by civil servants to give the best advice they could…. So why was this process close to what I consider an ideal?… Here are three ideas…. There was no existing political apparatus that was clearly aligned with potential winners and losers… a Chancellor who had a very strong respect for economic ideas… the Chancellor had to convince the Prime Minister Tony Blair, and so whatever decision he came to needed to be backed up as strongly as possible. Most people would now agree that the 2003 decision (only one the five tests were passed) was the correct one…. The decision was based on the best analysis that macroeconomics at the time could provide. It is a shame that this way of making economic decisions now looks like the exception rather than the rule."
Regina Roth: Marx on technical change in the critical edition |