Politics & Economics

Drawing of the City by Jon McNaught.

State Capture

Abby Innes

16 December 2021

The UK has the third largest lobbying industry in the world. When ministers and prime ministers with no experience in corporate governance retire into jobs in sectors they were once supposed to regulate, at pay rates beyond the wildest dreams of the average voter, are we really meant to believe that they are recruited for their good judgment?

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In Chile

Michael Chessum

16 December 2021

On​ every street in central Santiago, the face of Luisa Toledo, the mother of young revolutionaries killed during Pinochet’s dictatorship, stares down from fly-posters. Chile goes to the polls . . .

Mario Vargas Llosa

Rachel Nolan

2 December 2021

The coup​ is almost funny, if you squint. The year was 1954, and the CIA, still young and enthusiastic, had decided to overthrow the democratically elected president of Guatemala. Washington was . . .

The CFA Franc

Rahmane Idrissa

2 December 2021

Colonialism began​ as a mercantilist enterprise, with companies establishing trading posts along the ocean coastlines in the warm waters of the tropics. They used whichever medium of exchange was . . .

Imperial Narcotic

Neal Ascherson

18 November 2021

Two fantasies of greatness were in conflict: the outworn vision of a global British ‘family’ radiating from the mother country, and the idea of the Commonwealth as a mighty moral example, showing . . .

Bolsonaro’s Brazil

Perry Anderson, 7 February 2019

By comparison with the scale of the upheaval through which Brazil has lived in the last five years, and the gravity of its possible outcome, the histrionics over Brexit in this country and the conniptions over Trump in America are close to much ado about nothing.

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Let Them Drown

Naomi Klein, 2 June 2016

Environmentalism might have looked like a bourgeois playground to Edward Said. The Israeli state has long coated its nation-building project in a green veneer – it was a key part of the Zionist ‘back to the land’ pioneer ethos. And in this context trees, specifically, have been among the most potent weapons of land grabbing and occupation. 

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Where will we live? The Housing Disaster

James Meek, 9 January 2014

The government has stopped short of explicitly declaring war on the poor, but how different would the situation be if it had?

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What I Heard about Iraq: watch and listen

Eliot Weinberger, 3 February 2005

In 1992, a year after the first Gulf War, I heard Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, say that the US had been wise not to invade Baghdad and get ‘bogged down in the problems of trying...

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Moderation or Death: Isaiah Berlin

Christopher Hitchens, 26 November 1998

In​ The Color of Truth*, the American scholar Kai Bird presents his study of McGeorge (‘Mac’) and William Bundy. These were the two dynastic technocrats who organised and...

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Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

Edward Luttwak, 7 April 1994

That capitalism unobstructed by public regulations, cartels, monopolies, oligopolies, effective trade unions, cultural inhibitions or kinship obligations is the ultimate engine of economic growth...

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The Morning After

Edward Said, 21 October 1993

Now that some of the euphoria has lifted, it is possible to re-examine the Israeli-PLO agreement with the required common sense. What emerges from such scrutiny is a deal that is more flawed and,...

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Maastricht and All That

Wynne Godley, 8 October 1992

A lot of people throughout Europe have suddenly realised that they know hardly anything about the Maastricht Treaty while rightly sensing that it could make a huge difference to their lives....

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John Hume on the end of the Unionist veto in Ulster

John Hume, 2 February 1989

In recent times in Ireland we have been reminded of a lot of anniversaries. Remembering the past is something of an obsession here. The future, discussing it or shaping it, doesn’t seem...

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We must think! Hannah Arendt’s Islands

Jenny Turner, 4 November 2021

Thinking is what Arendt probably claimed to have been spending whole days doing: ‘the two in one’, ‘the soundless dialogue ... between me and myself’. She would be thinking, and...

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Cambridge Did This: Queer Borders

Tareq Baconi, 4 November 2021

Each time I return to Amman I am struck by the confidence with which younger members of Jordan’s queer community assert themselves, and the fearlessness – or innocence? – of their drive...

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Diary: In Lebanon

Stefan Tarnowski, 21 October 2021

When the anti-government protests began two years ago, the question people were asking was: ‘How do we get the politicians out?’ Now it’s ‘How do we get out ourselves?

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The Scissors Gap: China takes it slow

Rebecca E. Karl, 21 October 2021

The many young economists who devoted themselves to preventing shock therapy fell from power in 1989 when Zhao Ziyang was ousted: like Zhao, their support for the Tiananmen Square protesters had political...

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Great Sums of Money: Swingeing Taxes

Ferdinand Mount, 21 October 2021

The new fad for ‘levelling up’ doesn’t show any weakening of the Tory mindset. On the contrary, it seems that the levelling is to be achieved almost exclusively by the brilliance...

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Diary: Louisiana Underwater

Rosa Lyster, 7 October 2021

When people in Louisiana say that a city will disappear, they don’t just mean that it will be taken over by industry, or abandoned after one too many hurricanes or floods. They mean that it will...

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The new capitalist economy produced a form of civic equality. In ever more areas of daily life, men and women operated under the same formal abstract rules – the rules of the consumer marketplace...

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On the Boil

James Meek, 7 October 2021

Britain is in a particularly dire place, afflicted by four decades of free market fanaticism that left it up to commercial companies to pay for the storage of natural gas reserves against a supply crunch...

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How to Get Rich: Who owns the oil?

Laleh Khalili, 23 September 2021

Most firms operate as partnerships and, apart from Glencore, none has chosen to go public and expose itself to the scrutiny that a prospectus for a stock market listing brings. Commodities traders don’t...

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People Like You: In Burnley

David Edgar, 23 September 2021

Mike Makin-Waite​, a militant anti-fascist, was working for the borough council in Burnley when, after riots in the town in 2001, it became a stronghold of the British National Party. On...

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Kennedy was perfectly aware that nuclear missiles in Cuba posed no real threat to national security, even if they slightly narrowed America’s enormous lead in weapons capable of reaching the other’s...

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A Few Heroic Men: Naoroji’s Tactics

Priya Satia, 9 September 2021

Imperialism was the foundation of Britain’s power and wealth, and so criticism of it was integral to campaigns for liberty. It was not only Indians and the Indian diaspora who looked to Dadabhai...

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Prussian Disneyland

Jan-Werner Müller, 9 September 2021

Defenders of Berlin’s new palace claim that as home to the Humboldt Forum – a collection of objects from Africa and Asia – it demonstrates Germany’s eagerness to engage in a ‘dialogue...

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Like Ordering Pizza: Before Kabul

Thomas Meaney, 9 September 2021

American occupation has made the Taliban more disciplined fighters – with new elite battalions such as the Red Unit – and above all a more media-savvy organisation. Video footage from Kabul...

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Tesco and a Motorway: In the Coalfields

Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, 9 September 2021

The politics of class hasn’t disappeared, though its articulations have not remained the same. Deindustrialisation has led to a cascade of changes in the economy and society; its impact on Britain’s...

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Diary: A Free Speech Agenda

Sophie Smith, 12 August 2021

Those who portray themselves as beleaguered defenders of academic freedom also enjoy less tangible benefits: it’s possible for them to configure good faith criticism – the substance of academic...

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Strewn with Loot

Adewale Maja-Pearce, 12 August 2021

Because the British Museum has artefacts from so many other places the British pillaged and destroyed, and because many more people visit London than Benin City, or even Lagos, it follows that this is...

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Neither Trump nor the people around him were part of a sinister plot to subvert and ultimately take over the democratic institutions of the United States. They didn’t possess even the minimum competence...

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