The origins of the Industrial Revolution

By Leander Heldring, James Robinson, Sebastian Vollmer in Economics and Finance

Economists have long studied the causes of the Industrial Revolution, relying frequently on comparisons between England and other European countries to understand “Why England and not France or the Low Countries?”. Many hypotheses have been advanced – from the abundance of cheap fuel in the form of coal (Pomeranz 2000, Fernihough and O’Rourke 2014), to […]

Newsletter – November 2017

By Allston Mitchell in Letters

Welcome to The Global Dispatches, This month we publish a review of Rajko Grlić’s latest film “The Constitution”, an excellent, profound and moving tale set in an apartment block where the tensions of ex-Yugoslavia are played out; Peter Oborne, the former chief political commentator of the Telegraph, looks back at the Balfour declaration noting that […]

“The Constitution” by Rajko Grlić

By Allston Mitchell in Arts and Culture

“A love story about hate” is the subtitle of Rajko Grlic’s film, set in an anonymous apartment block in a Croatian city.  Two families are brought together when Vjeko, a middle-aged Croatian school teacher who spends his days looking after his bedridden and embittered father and his nights dressed as a woman, is badly beaten […]

The Soviet economy 1917-1991

By Mark Harrison in Economics and Finance

In the 1980s, the Soviet Union was famously described as “Upper Volta with rockets”.1 This unjustly disparaged the history and culture of the country now known as Burkina Faso. It was also unkind to the Soviet Union, a country that was larger and richer by orders of magnitude. There was a grain of truth, however: the […]

100 years after Balfour

By Peter Oborne in Politics

OCCUPIED WEST BANK – Exactly 100 years have passed since British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour wrote his famous letter to Walter Rothschild, promising that Britain would help to create a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. Current prime minister Theresa May says that the Balfour Declaration was “one of the most important letters in history”. It led […]

Global politics at a crossroads

By David Held in Politics

Many states today claim they are democratic, yet the history of their political institutions and processes reveals the fragility and vulnerability of many democratic arrangements. The history of twentieth century Europe alone makes clear that democracy is a remarkably difficult form of government to create and sustain. And, today, we are witnessing the resurgence of […]

Babiš’ Czech Republic: too thin a gruel?

By Michal Simecka in Politics

Central European politics is taking a dangerous turn. After the success last weekend of right-wing populists in Austria, today’s elections in the Czech Republic are likewise set to deliver a more Eurosceptic, and less liberal, government in Prague. The ultimate fear is that Andrej Babiš, a Slovak-born oligarch and media mogul whose ANO (Yes) party […]

Dreamer’s Gate

By Irene Dogmatic in Arts and Culture

In the village of Collector, (population c.300) halfway between Goulburn and Canberra, stands an amazing piece of folk art. It was begun in 1993 by Tony Phantastes, an outsider artist of Dutch origins who is married to Emmy King. Emmy is the niece of famous German-born Australian sculptor Inge King, who moved to Australia from […]

George Steiner: The Gift of Memory

By Geoffrey Heptonstall in Arts and Culture

Truth is unarguably the essential quality of all civilized exchange in public or private life. If we lose the value of truth we surrender by default all the values which support the thin crust on which we tread precariously above the primeval swamp. On the other hand, Steiner argues, the obsessive pursuit of absolute truth […]

The October 2017 Newsletter

By Allston Mitchell in Letters

Welcome to the Global Dispatches, This month, an interview with Filmmaker Jo Ruxton, the producer of “A Plastic Ocean”, a documentary released last year to highlight the devastating impact of global plastic pollution on marine environments and the threat it poses to human health; Hersh Shefrin, the Mario L. Belotti Professor of Finance, Santa Clara […]

Plastics are making our oceans sick

By Olivia Boyd in Uncategorized

Filmmaker Jo Ruxton is the producer of A Plastic Ocean, a documentary released last year to highlight the devastating impact of global plastic pollution on marine environments and the threat it poses to human health. Ruxton worked for WWF and the BBC before co-founding the non-profit group Plastic Oceans, which works to raise awareness of […]

The Scale of Pentagon Waste

By Harry Blain in Features

Everyone hates government waste. President Trump believes it is “our moral duty to the taxpayer” to “make our government leaner and more accountable,” and his political opponents seem to agree. And yet, when called to vote on an extra $80 billion a year for the most profligate public agency in the country, the overwhelming majority […]

Richard Thaler, Nobel laureate

By Hersh Shefrin in Economics and Finance

Behavioural economist Richard Thaler is the 2017 recipient of the economics Nobel Prize. Yet despite having been president of the American Economic Association (AEA) in 2016, he is no regular economist. In fact, Stanford economist and past AEA president Robert Hall once characterised Thaler as his “favourite offbeat economist”. The award marks Thaler’s transition from […]

AIIB invests in Egyptian solar

By Liu Qin in Environment

In July, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, approved US$660 million in funding for 11 Egyptian solar plants, with an installed capacity of 490 megawatts. These projects are being co-financed by the AIIB with additional funding of US$210 million. This follows investments in Egyptian solar from other development banks, […]

The Neymar Bubble

By Eran Yashiv in Economics and Finance

Neymar was transferred from Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain (PSG) for €222 million, on 3 August 2017. It has caused many of us to consider whether football players are a good investment, and question how their prices can be justified. To approach this issue from a serious economic perspective one needs to reflect on the […]

Catalonia: now what?

By Patrice de Beer in Politics

And now what ? What will happen on and after October 2, after the referendum organised by the autonomous Catalan government and its failed repression by the central Madrid government ? For weeks analysts, observers and media throughout Spain and Catalonia have been asking – with growing anxiety – that question while the battle between the two […]