Why did the capitalist countries win the cold war? Why have a stock market at all? If Socialists really want to defeat Capitalism I would posit they need to answer those questions. Admittedly I'm not a Socialist, I'm a Liberal, but while there are clear differences between Liberalism and Socialism there are some areas where the two ideologies overlap and on those issues they are sometimes indistinguishable. So I care about these questions just as much as Socialists, not for exactly the same reasons but often for very similar ones.

Both Liberalism and Socialism care deeply about equalising wealth. They…


I want to present an argument about business investment and inflation. To get to that though we need to take a step back and put in some context for what I want to argue. The basic argument for how firms behave is that they alter their variable costs so as to choose a level of production that, for a given price level, maximizes their profits. They’ll use those profits to, hopefully, pay the cost of capital on any long-run costs and then distribute the remainder to the owners of the firm. Obviously, it’s possible to get into a position where…


In the great MMT wars of economics twitter I learned a rather helpful term from Simon Wren-Lewis: “the macroeconomic assignment”. MMT advocates were, as is their want, being somewhat vague about what they meant and Wren-Lewis suggested that what they were suggesting was an alternate macroeconomic assignment from the current one. I won’t be arguing for their plan today but I also won’t be arguing for the status quo either. The status quo here may be taken to mean a government that acts separately from the central bank and raises taxes and issues liabilities to match its spending. The central…


Almost every political party in an election says it's going to help small businesses. In practice this rarely means actually helping small businesses specifically, so much as business overall. Where there are schemes targeted at small businesses they are usually grants and loans that you apply for and may or may not get. What we arguably need, however, is a systemic solution to distribute corporate power more widely to ensure competitive markets. Current schemes have failed to prevent significant corporate concentration.

It helps to take a step back and think about why we want to help small businesses in the…


Now is a time of unrivaled wealth surrounded by poverty. Poverty is found in the homelessness on our streets and the family working overtime to afford rent. It is no comfort that luxuries are cheap if survival is so costly that it locks us into long hours of painful work for the lowest of wages. Liberals must now fight for change or watch as populists erode our freedoms using the currency of desperation.

Liberalism asks us to have the courage to not only strive for our own wealth and happiness but the wealth and happiness of all. That is the…


The United Kingdom has an unusual constitutional position in that it doesn't have a single document that is it's Constitution. This has been something of a frustration for many in Liberal circles and discussions on a UK Constitution have been a constant in Liberal thought for decades. A less discussed question is how to enact such a constitution should one be written, this is less simple than it first appears.

Usually when a nation gains a Constitution a revolution has just occurred or other similar collapse. This "start from scratch" situation has the advantage that usually nobody objects to the…


Just for fun let’s talk about actually sitting down and working out how to run a country like a business. How would that work and what would happen? Would it look anything like what Conservatives mean when they say “run a country like a business”? The answer is: probably not.

So how do real businesses behave? Well they try to maximise shareholder value. Value is a bit of a tricky word there because it isn’t quite the same as “returns” maximise returns means pay them the most money. Value means bring them the most of what they want and shareholders…


I like Ed Davey, I’ve only met him twice but both times he was polite and generous. He gave a speech on climate change that was honestly inspiring. In the last leadership election I was initially torn on who to vote for, and while I admit I did eventually vote for Jo that was only after she came out for UBI, which both Ed and Layla have supported this campaign. So why am I concerned about Ed now?

His campaign has had several unfortunate incidents that I think we need to talk about. There's a school of thought in Lib…


A common idea in economics courses is the idea of utility, basically how much people value things. The obvious corollary is disutility, how much people dislike stuff. For example, I like the taste of chocolate, that’s utility, and I dislike that each bar comes with health risks, that’s disutility. We tend to conceptualise free-market economics as about rewarding the creation of utility but that’s an important point of confusion. Perfectly competitive free markets do not do this. Instead, they compensate us for the disutility involved in the creation of something that has utility.

To understand this, and why it’s important…


I wanted to cover two important points that come up in political conversations that I think are vitally important but overlooked. They are two interrelated misunderstandings about economics that have fundamentally reshaped our politics for the worse and the knock-on effect has been a worse quality of life for real people. Luckily they’re actually quite easy to correct!

The first is around GDP and what it is and what it is not. When people dislike GDP their usual complaint is to say that GDP is a bad measure but I think that is wrong in a subtle but important way…

Stephen John Richmond (The Richmond Papers)

My attempt to understand policy and economics. Some ideas practical, some not. Currently Chair @CovLibDems and Council member for the Social Liberal forum.

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