Trying to fix American education

Two dozen state lawmakers and legislative staffers spent 18-months studying some of the world’s top-performing school systems, including those in Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, Ontario, Poland, Shanghai, Singapore and Taiwan. They concluded as follows: 1: More help is needed for the youngest learners! In the U.S, poverty is a powerful drag on the youngest learners, …

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Israel and Palestine. Enough is enough

Just over a hundred years ago, Britain’s foreign secretary Arthur Balfour signed a 67 word long statement that committed Britain for the first time to backing “the establishment in Palestine of a national homeland for the Jewish people”. Israel and its supporters duly celebrated “the anniversary of a foundational moment” in their nation’s history. Palestinian …

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Is Israel ceasing to be a democracy?

This a bit long but important to know: Israel is in the news again these days. President Trump is proposing to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, contrary to international policy. Is Israel the country that many Americans, particularly evangelicals. imagine it to be? Read on: Arabs, peace activists and Israel’s left wing have long …

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Trickle up!

Republicans, unbelievably, are once again forcing trickle-down economics on the United States, despite the idea being almost unanimously derided by reputable economists and financiers. It’s almost as if Republicans are unaware that the latest experiment in trickle-down has practically bankrupted the state of Kansas and has done little or nothing for North Carolina. They can’t …

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Inequality in the United States

According to the Guardian Weekly (November 11th) the world’s 1,542 billionaires increased their wealth this year by 17% to $6tn, a return impossible to get on most stock markets and rather a distance from the average interest income of 0.35% offered normal people by normal banks. The IMF has told western governments to increase taxes …

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Should Epicureans approve of cannabis?

Brendan O’Neill is perhaps one of my least favourite British columnists. I disagree with him on almost everything, from Brexit to student politics and the populist right. But his article this week is really interesting. O’Neill laments the effect of legalised cannabis on the culture of Los Angeles. He decries how it has become all …

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A looming disaster

A “disorderly Brexit” is now seen as “almost inevitable” by the world’s biggest banks. That, at any rate, was the gist of the observations sent to the Chancellor by the City of London Corporation’s Catherine McGuinness, after days of meetings with Wall Street bosses and Washington policy wonks. With continued access to the single market …

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Universal Basic Income

I’m aware the topics I’ve been posting on have been very wonkish and policy-orientated recently. I’ll do something less serious next time, but I thought I’d give my take on an increasingly popular idea amongst economics. Also be warned, the post is necessarily lengthy.  Perhaps the most glaring contradiction of present-day ‘late’ capitalism is the …

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The under-taxation of tech companies and online retailers

As a general rule, I don’t believe in high taxes. Partly because I believe they make economies less vibrant by discouraging investment and reducing disposable income. But also because of the principle that people, for the most part, have a right to keep what they have earned. Governments should only take what is necessary to …

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Why do we still change our clocks in Autumn and Spring?

In the 19th century, the railroad connected people across distances so great that time zones needed to be implemented to align rail schedules. In the 20th century, the aeroplane eliminated all time zones, at least for pilots and airport personnel. Time is about coordination. Some people think that daylight saving time (DST) nowadays does more …

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