Politics & Economics

To Serve My Friends

Jonathan Parry

15 January 2022

A lot may depend on who succeeds Johnson as party leader. In any case, it’s a fair bet that ‘Boris’, the beneficiaries of his patronage and his media cheerleaders will come to be seen as symbolic of the shortcomings of a political generation, in the same way that ‘Old Corruption’ is inseparable from ‘Robin’ Walpole and his ‘Robinocracy’.

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What is technopopulism?

Wolfgang Streeck

27 January 2022

Angela Merkel made the state seem like a service company, ready to fix people’s problems so that they could continue to live as they pleased. This helped to counter a perception of the world as fundamentally . . .

Nissan Rogue

James Lasdun

27 January 2022

Late​ in the evening on 29 December 2019, two men posing as musicians wheeled a pair of large audio equipment cases to the gate reserved for private jet passengers at Osaka’s international . . .

Did I invade? Do you exist?

James Meek

18 December 2021

It’s striking how many times, in the past few months, Putin has been accused of being behind the transport of migrants from the Middle East to the borders of the EU through Belarus, and, separately . . .

In the Cryosphere

Jenny Turner

6 January 2022

So what’s it like in there, the drum-bearer asked me when we reached the gates of the delegates-only COP26 Blue Zone, thickly fenced behind rows of anti-ram-raid bollards, with the nearby drains . . .

Bolsonaro’s Brazil

Perry Anderson, 7 February 2019

By comparison with the scale of the upheaval through which Brazil has lived in the last five years, and the gravity of its possible outcome, the histrionics over Brexit in this country and the conniptions over Trump in America are close to much ado about nothing.

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Let Them Drown

Naomi Klein, 2 June 2016

Environmentalism might have looked like a bourgeois playground to Edward Said. The Israeli state has long coated its nation-building project in a green veneer – it was a key part of the Zionist ‘back to the land’ pioneer ethos. And in this context trees, specifically, have been among the most potent weapons of land grabbing and occupation. 

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Where will we live? The Housing Disaster

James Meek, 9 January 2014

The government has stopped short of explicitly declaring war on the poor, but how different would the situation be if it had?

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What I Heard about Iraq: watch and listen

Eliot Weinberger, 3 February 2005

In 1992, a year after the first Gulf War, I heard Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, say that the US had been wise not to invade Baghdad and get ‘bogged down in the problems of trying...

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Moderation or Death: Isaiah Berlin

Christopher Hitchens, 26 November 1998

In​ The Color of Truth*, the American scholar Kai Bird presents his study of McGeorge (‘Mac’) and William Bundy. These were the two dynastic technocrats who organised and...

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Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

Edward Luttwak, 7 April 1994

That capitalism unobstructed by public regulations, cartels, monopolies, oligopolies, effective trade unions, cultural inhibitions or kinship obligations is the ultimate engine of economic growth...

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The Morning After

Edward Said, 21 October 1993

Now that some of the euphoria has lifted, it is possible to re-examine the Israeli-PLO agreement with the required common sense. What emerges from such scrutiny is a deal that is more flawed and,...

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Maastricht and All That

Wynne Godley, 8 October 1992

A lot of people throughout Europe have suddenly realised that they know hardly anything about the Maastricht Treaty while rightly sensing that it could make a huge difference to their lives....

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John Hume on the end of the Unionist veto in Ulster

John Hume, 2 February 1989

In recent times in Ireland we have been reminded of a lot of anniversaries. Remembering the past is something of an obsession here. The future, discussing it or shaping it, doesn’t seem...

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The Family Biden

Christian Lorentzen, 6 January 2022

There are a lot of apparently bullshit things in The Bidens, but it’s hard to see them as actually criminal or even especially outrageous once you accept that a politician’s family will trade...

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Short Cuts: Nigerian Oil

Adewale Maja-Pearce, 6 January 2022

Nigeria pumps out​ 1.5 million barrels of oil a day, making it the biggest producer on the continent. The multinationals – Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell et al – in partnership with local...

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Along with Mitt Romney, Adam Kinzinger and the never-Trumpers of the Lincoln Project, Liz Cheney is one of the last standard-bearers of a Republican conservatism grounded in some version of rationality....

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In Chile

Michael Chessum, 16 December 2021

A successful candidate will need to offer stability after years of upheaval and division, but there is an obvious tension between stability and the politics of radical change. It remains to be seen how...

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Short Cuts: State Capture

Abby Innes, 16 December 2021

The UK has the third largest lobbying industry in the world. When ministers and prime ministers with no experience in corporate governance retire into jobs in sectors they were once supposed to regulate,...

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Countries without Currency: The CFA Franc

Rahmane Idrissa, 2 December 2021

Where money didn’t exist, it had to be created, and this was done by credit banks with the help of government muscle: the state imposed the legal tender issued by the banks. Of course, money already...

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No Bananas Today: Mario Vargas Llosa

Rachel Nolan, 2 December 2021

The CIA equipped and paid Central American rebels, and hired US mercenaries to fly bombers over Guatemala City, dropping first leaflets then bombs, while the US navy blockaded the coast. The coup could...

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Imperial Narcotic

Neal Ascherson, 18 November 2021

The Empire Windrush, bringing eight hundred Caribbean passengers to Britain, docked at Tilbury on 21 June 1948, while the Nationality Act was still going through Parliament. Here again, myth has fogged...

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Cambridge Did This: Queer Borders

Tareq Baconi, 4 November 2021

Each time I return to Amman I am struck by the confidence with which younger members of Jordan’s queer community assert themselves, and the fearlessness – or innocence? – of their drive...

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We must think! Hannah Arendt’s Islands

Jenny Turner, 4 November 2021

Thinking is what Arendt probably claimed to have been spending whole days doing: ‘the two in one’, ‘the soundless dialogue ... between me and myself’. She would be thinking, and...

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Great Sums of Money: Swingeing Taxes

Ferdinand Mount, 21 October 2021

The new fad for ‘levelling up’ doesn’t show any weakening of the Tory mindset. On the contrary, it seems that the levelling is to be achieved almost exclusively by the brilliance...

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Diary: In Lebanon

Stefan Tarnowski, 21 October 2021

When the anti-government protests began two years ago, the question people were asking was: ‘How do we get the politicians out?’ Now it’s ‘How do we get out ourselves?

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The Scissors Gap: China takes it slow

Rebecca E. Karl, 21 October 2021

The many young economists who devoted themselves to preventing shock therapy fell from power in 1989 when Zhao Ziyang was ousted: like Zhao, their support for the Tiananmen Square protesters had political...

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The new capitalist economy produced a form of civic equality. In ever more areas of daily life, men and women operated under the same formal abstract rules – the rules of the consumer marketplace...

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On the Boil

James Meek, 7 October 2021

Britain is in a particularly dire place, afflicted by four decades of free market fanaticism that left it up to commercial companies to pay for the storage of natural gas reserves against a supply crunch...

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Diary: Louisiana Underwater

Rosa Lyster, 7 October 2021

When people in Louisiana say that a city will disappear, they don’t just mean that it will be taken over by industry, or abandoned after one too many hurricanes or floods. They mean that it will...

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People Like You: In Burnley

David Edgar, 23 September 2021

Mike Makin-Waite​, a militant anti-fascist, was working for the borough council in Burnley when, after riots in the town in 2001, it became a stronghold of the British National Party. On...

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How to Get Rich: Who owns the oil?

Laleh Khalili, 23 September 2021

Most firms operate as partnerships and, apart from Glencore, none has chosen to go public and expose itself to the scrutiny that a prospectus for a stock market listing brings. Commodities traders don’t...

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