.I]t’s fair to say that the invisible-hand theory’s optimistic portrayal of unregulated market outcomes has become the bedrock of the antigovernment activists’ worldview. They believe regulation is unnecessary because they believe unbridled market forces can take care of things quite nicely on their own. Darwin’s view of the competitive process was fundamentally different. His observations persuaded him that the interests of individual animals were often profoundly in conflict with the broader interests of their own species. In time, I predict, the invisible hand will come to be seen as a special case of Darwin’s more general theory. Many of the libertarians’ most cherished beliefs, which are perfectly plausible within Smith’s framework, don’t survive at all in Darwin’s
Praying for a romantic partner or close friend can lead to more cooperative and forgiving behavior toward the partner
The thesis of the death of the middle class is simple and not peculiar to Sweden: every time you try to define the allegedly most important contemporary social formation, this “middle class” breaks into two, writes Greider; one part that serves the economic power and another that has more in common with blue collar workers and unemployed, with the sans papiers and the precariat.
Research demonstrates that banks focused on retail banking in a specific geographical area perform much better at lending to SMEs – a vital activity in which everyone (apart from our big banks) agrees Britain does badly. Local co-operative banks in Austria, for example, provide 46% of SME loans even though they only account for 36% of the total loan market. In Germany three out of four SMEs have a relationship with their local Savings Bank. Canadian credit unions provide 17% of SME loans despite holding only 5% of total banking assets. Local banks in Switzerland have steadily increased credit to SMEs since the 2008 financial crisis just as large commercial banks severely cut their lending to the sector.
The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table: Pay people enough so that they’re not thinking about money and they’re thinking about the work. Once you do that, it turns out there are three factors that the science shows lead to better performance, not to mention personal satisfaction: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
The problem is simply stated: the power of the fossil fuel companies is too great. Among those who seek and obtain high office are people characterised by a complete absence of empathy or scruples, who will take money or instructions from any corporation or billionaire who offers them, and then defend those interests against the current and future prospects of humanity. This new mark reflects a profound failure of politics, worldwide, in which democracy has quietly been supplanted by plutocracy. Without a widespread reform of campaign finance, lobbying and influence-peddling and the systematic corruption they promote, our chances of preventing climate breakdown are close to zero.
I happily climb on my soapbox about this construction because (a) they is singular in common usage, so it doesn’t make sense to call it “ungrammatical” in the descriptive sense (it is completely meaningful to both speakers and listeners in their everyday speech); (b) singular they is a very useful, efficient solution to the “generic pronoun problem”; and (c) writers have been using singular they effectively and often unnoticeably for centuries, so I would like to see the current prohibition on its use in formal writing lifted.
A new study from the New York Department of Transportation shows that streets that safely accommodate bicycle and pedestrian travel are especially good at boosting small businesses, even in a recession.
Private sector dynamism versus public sector inefficiency has been the dominant political narrative of the last few decades. It has supplied the excuse for repeated, one-directional upheaval in many of the services that we rely on, and which are essential to our quality of life. At best, evidence of private sector superiority is lacking. At worst, such lazy assumptions can cost lives as well as money.
The complexity of contracts, targets and blurred lines of responsibility introduced numerous inefficiencies. For example, the FT noted that, post-privatisation, the industry employed hundreds of people just to fight over who is to blame for every minute of delay to trains
Far from running out of funds, this looks like a government with money to burn. While the poor and middle struggle to survive the crisis that George Osborne bewails, he’s giving away our money to those who need it least. So let’s support him when he calls for cuts, but demand that he directs them at the welfare state he’s running for corporations and billionaires, which is turning this crisis into a calamity.