Newsletter winter 2011
My new book The Human Element was launched with a debate at the RSA about new kinds of efficiency. Well, yes, it could have been better publicised. A few reviews might have been nice, but I’ve had comments from all over the world from people who sense instinctively that I’m right – including one just received via Facebook from an American GP, frustrated at the damage done by efficiency experts in her local hospital. But this profile was probably the best piece of publicity so far (and it had rather a nice picture of me in Scotland!).
He very nearly went with Kitchener on the ill-fated voyage of HMS Hampshire, but pulled out at the last moment. It may be one step too far for a counterfactual, but I’ve had a go at thinking about the way the world would have developed over the past century if Keynes had gone down with the ship – and Lloyd George who also should have been there. It’s all in the new collection Prime Minister Boris...
Why has the Left in the UK been so incredibly slow to take up the causes of the environment and development? I’ve written an essay suggesting some reasons – I mainly blame Bernard Shaw and the Fabians – in a new publication from the thinktank RePublica about how we might reframe the debate in such a way that politicians on all sides might grasp the importance of the planet
People have tried to construct a typology of complementary currencies before, but NESTA asked me and my nef colleagues to construct a map of the different kinds of exchange systems that are emerging. Once you do that, it seems to me, it becomes clear where the growth areas are and one thing becomes even clearer – there is no such thing as a perfect kind of money that solves all the problems of the world. They need to be tailored to specific jobs.
It is rather bizarre how odd the UK banking sector is. Practically every other country in Europe has a small banking sector, which is geared up and able to lend to small businesses in communities all over the country. We don’t. My briefing paper, designed for the nef seminar on local banking this month, asks whether it is time to accept that our current banking system is not fit for purpose – and work out what to do about it.