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Brown plans crackdown on world markets

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The Guardian, reporting on the Labour Party conference with opens today, writes...

"Gordon Brown yesterday pinned hopes of reviving his premiership on a package of measures designed to tackle the economic crisis, including a drive for tighter international controls of the global money markets and a crackdown on the culture of irresponsible City bonuses. However, the prime minister also paved the way for higher levels of public borrowing, in breach of the Treasury's own rules, following the tumult on world markets last week. These will be announced to the Labour Party conference today...

"In his speech to the Labour party conference today, the chancellor, Alistair Darling, will promise to do "whatever it takes" to rectify the mistakes made by the markets, but he will make clear: 'Just as one government alone cannot combat global terrorism, just as one government alone cannot combat climate change, so one government alone cannot deal with the consequences of globalisation.' "

Are these two just playing to the gallery in a bid for support or are they serious? At least nobody can criticise the British Prime Minister for being too modest in his objectives. It's those nasty currency traders that have caused all the problems, with their greedy eyes only on those bonuses irresponsibly poured out by their employers. But who set up the conditions which rewarded such behaviour?  Who let a property bubble develop on their own doorstep? Who failed to understand the circumstances which led to the development of that bubble? Who failed to implement the one measure which would have addressed the problem at its root? It is easier to forget these questions and blame the present troubles on what is going on in Tokyo, or Riyadh, or Frankfurt or New York.

Of course, it now turns out that the UK banks had been importing trouble by purchasing bad debt from the US and treating it as part of their assets, but with the prevailing delusion that land is wealth, what regulation can stop them?

Britain leaders, of course, still imagine the country as a great power, thinking the country to be number three after the US and Russia. Is Brown thinking of sending a Task Force to punish the evil international money dealers? Is that why new aircraft carriers have been ordered for the Royal Navy? Read article here


Speaking up for LVT

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As a pleasant change, someone is speaking up for LVT, in a review of Brian Hodgkinson's Book "A New Model of the Economy", published by Shepherd Walwyn. The comments are revealing - in fact it is worth registering with the Guardian and adding to the discussion. There are some bizarre notions around.
Article by Mark Braund in the Guardian

Labour can win - here's how

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There is still a belief in the possibility of a Labour win. A few policy changes will suffice. Peter Tatchell has a programme which he outlines in The Guardian, that he thinks would do the trick. A few of the suggestions have a certain merit, others are worse than useless. Labour's problem, the Conservative's problem, the LibDem's problem, Britain's problem, is that they are not informed by a coherent view of how the economy works. Of course Peter Tatchell is not an influential political figure but he articulates a widely held set of views about what should be done, which make his suggestions worth attention.


The fall of the giants

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What is going on now in the economy is like the progressive collapse of a dam. First, a crack, then a small leak, and over the past twelve months it has turned into a breach

Third World progress and poverty

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Some developing countries, most of them in Africa, have had high levels of aid dependence - in excess of 10 per cent of gross domestic product, or half of government spending - for decades. There are widespread doubts whether this has been helpful. Last week there was a conference in Accra, Ghana, to discuss the matter. From the Campaign's point of view, there are two major objections to aid from first world governments to developing countries.


Where are the Liberal Democrats going?

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The party conference season started with the Liberal Democrats at Bournemouth. Does the party matter anyway? Where is it going? What kind of a party should it aspire to be? European-style social democrats? This implies the adoption of a blend of socialist and market policies informed by - what? Keynesian economics? Green economics? Free market economics? Raw pragamatism? Making it up as they go?

End to cheap flights will hit land values in holiday areas

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Unstable and rising fuel prices are leading to upheavals in the airline industry, with collapses of large companies such as that which occurred on Thursday becoming more common. This will lead to cuts (or an end) to cheap flights to distant places like Bulgaria and to obscure destinations nearer home. Only a couple of years agon, people were being urged to buy holiday homes in Bulgaria, where prices were fantastically low and on the increase. "Buy while you can" was the slogan. What will they be worth when the cheap flights stop?

Do the banks need more regulation?

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Should the banks be subject to more regulation to prevent the problems of the past year? Financial Times journalists Martin Wolf and John Kay have opposing views. Listen to this debate between the two, chaired by the FT's editor, Lionel Barber.

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