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Modern Monetary Theory? More like Magic Money Tree

Modern Monetary Theory? More like Magic Money Tree

As the Brexit process unfolds, the possibility of a Corbyn government has become much more tangible. Last month, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, wrote to the Treasury to say that in power he would require them to “widen the range of economic theories and approaches in which

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If there is something fishy about influencers, why do we take the bait?

If there is something fishy about influencers, why do we take the bait?

Social media influencer, Yovana Mendoza, provided an amusing diversion from Brexit last week. The 20-something vlogger built a very lucrative personal brand around veganism. She amassed over 3m followers on YouTube and Instagram by advocating a raw vegan diet and 25-day water fasts. All seemed to be

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This Nobel-winning economist can tell you why there’s no Brexit consensus

This Nobel-winning economist can tell you why there's no Brexit consensus

Should pure blue sky research be funded? Certainly, the answer from government-backed research councils seems to be “no”. The emphasis is increasingly on research which has immediate practical applications. Yet seemingly esoteric research can shed light in quite unexpected areas. For example, a PhD thesis written by

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Emojis are a better metric for wellbeing than traditional data methods

Emojis are a better metric for wellbeing than traditional data methods

HMRC’s programme to make tax digital continues to roll out. Anyone with a small business will know about the imminent deadline of 1 April, when VAT returns become digital. Quick to seize an opportunity, several companies have developed software to ease the task. The digitisation of tax

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Economics could teach Theresa May a thing or two about tackling knife crime

Economics could teach Theresa May a thing or two about tackling knife crime

Knife crime continues to dominate the headlines. What can be done about it? Economics does not pretend to provide all the answers. But, perhaps surprising to some, it has a lot of useful insights to offer on crime. Gary Becker was a professor of both economics and

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Like the myth of a flat Earth, the socialist conspiracy theory never dies

Like the myth of a flat Earth, the socialist conspiracy theory never dies

The idea that the Earth is flat is a rapidly growing trend on social media. The Flat Earth Society’s Twitter feed has the best part of 100,000 followers. The fact that the planet is a sphere has been known since at least the time of the ancient

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Time for an honest talk about the costs of climate action

Time for an honest talk about the costs of climate action

Sydney University’s Centre for Complex Systems does innovative work on a broad range of topics. But spending the last couple of weeks there has also given me a wider perspective on some familiar themes. Climate change is, quite literally, a hot topic in Australian politics. The country

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Why we should allow second-rate universities to go bankrupt

Why we should allow second-rate universities to go bankrupt

The political spotlight remains focused on Brexit, but an important dogfight is developing in the area of higher education. The specific issue is whether universities in the UK should be allowed to go bankrupt. It is not merely a theoretical question. In the past year, a number

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Looking out for the next financial crisis? Keep an eye on spiralling debt

Looking out for the next financial crisis? Keep an eye on spiralling debt

Concerns are growing that another financial crisis is imminent. No less important a figure than Kenneth Rogoff wrote last week that “the next major financial crisis may come sooner than you think”. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the IMF, shot to fame with his 2008 book

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What’s the point of economists? Look to America’s tech giants to find out

What’s the point of economists? Look to America’s tech giants to find out

Despite the dire predictions from the economics profession about Brexit, the UK economy is doing well. Growth continues at a steady pace. An all-time record 32.4m people are in work. Unemployment has fallen to levels not seen since the mid-1970s. In contrast, the Eurozone is on the

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