What we learned this week

Not much progress has been made on the long-promised clamp down on tax dodging. If you haven’t been following the Guardian’s special report on the ‘paradise papers’, it’s an important and all too familiar story.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that NEF was hoping to lay some groundwork for a cooperatively owned alternative to Uber. You can chip into the funding of it here if you’re so inclined.

When the British government was taken to court over arms sales to Saudi Arabia, one of the arguments in the defence was that Britain couldn’t have known that weapons would be used on civilian targets. But the sales of bombs and missiles to Saudi Arabia has risen by 500% since the start of the offensive in Yemen.

And in other news, a keen eyed reader pointed out that p45 of the Asian Development Bank’s book Unflooding Asia: The Green Cities Way is a direct lift from my post on water plazas. Slack.


  1. The University of Sussex has produced a report that a zero growth economy could mean fewer financial crashes and higher wages. However the flip-side is “more frequent substantial drops in employment”. That’s mass unemployment to you and me. You win some, you lose some.


  2. Lack of capital is the big problem with co-operatives. Its why they can work taking over existing businesses but aren’t very good at establishing new areas. Think of the billions of investor capital Uber has spent promoting to drivers and the public the concept of app hailed cabs. Now we know it works it is fairly cheap to enter that they created market.

    1. That depends on the scope. Most cooperatives don’t need to be or want to be a global brand. It would indeed be practically impossible to raise the funds for a global challenger to Uber. But what you can do is create quality local alternatives on a city by city basis, possibly sharing the back end technology to keep costs down.

  3. Other news. Douglas McWilliams of the Centre for Economics and Business Research has estimated that the rise of lifestyle economics, people, especially millennials, taking lower paid work to prioritise a more attractive lifestyle may have cost the UK as much as £80 billion in lost GDP since 2008 through reduced growth by 4 per cent of GDP and just under a quarter of the measured productivity shortfall. If this trend hadn’t occurred the government would have collected £36 billion more in tax last year and the budget deficit would have been only £10 billion.


    1. Guilty as charged. Not sure if I qualify as a millennial, but my own lifestyle choices contribute to that effect. But does the economy exist to serve people, or do people exist to the serve the economy?

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