US GDP up but…profits down

The US GDP revised data for the third quarter of 2014 came out today. US economic growth was revised up from a 3.5% annual pace to 3.9%. The US economy had expanded at a 4.6% rate in the second quarter. So it has now experienced the two strongest back-to-back quarters of growth since the secondContinue reading “US GDP up but…profits down”

I’m a celebrity – get me out of here!

Myleene Klass is a sort of B-list celebrity in Britain ( She comes from a family of musicians, quite well-off, went to private school, studied at the UK’s prestigious Royal Academy of Music, became a professional musician and pianist, eventually joined a successful pop band and is now a model for various food and clothingContinue reading “I’m a celebrity – get me out of here!”

The hidden crime of capitalism

A recent estimate was made of the economic cost of varied human action globally. The annual economic burden of smoking on health services, shortened life expectancy and illness was found to be the greatest at $2.1trn a year, closely followed by the losses from wars and armed violence around the world and by obesity. TheseContinue reading “The hidden crime of capitalism”

Red warning lights

Speaking at the close of the G20 summit of world leaders in Brisbane Australia, British Prime Minister David Cameron exclaimed that “red warning lights are flashing on the dashboard of the global economy”, threatening another recession. Of course, Cameron was not talking about the UK economy, which is going great guns, according to the BritishContinue reading “Red warning lights”

How capitalism survives

Last weekend, I attended this year’s London version of the Historical Materialism conference (, which for those who don’t know is an annual gathering of mainly Marxist academics, students and activists organised by the Historical Materialism journal. A host of papers and book launch presentations are made, often bringing out new ideas in the analysisContinue reading “How capitalism survives”

From Poroshenko to Putin – it’s all downhill

The temporary truce between Ukraine and Russia seems over, with the news that the Kiev government has launched a new offensive against the separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine, which are backed by the Russians. This military upsurge has followed quickly after the two elections in Ukraine. The first was in the bulk of the country, where the pro-EUContinue reading “From Poroshenko to Putin – it’s all downhill”

The world economy in low gear

Next week, all the leaders of the top G20 nations meet in Brisbane Australia. The OECD has issued its latest forecast for global economic growth for that meeting to consider ( It’s the usual mantra from the all the international agencies, namely that global growth is still “stuck in low gear” i.e. well below theContinue reading “The world economy in low gear”

Who won the US congress mid-term elections? – the no vote party again

Who won the elections? The Republicans! Well, yes. But the real winners were yet again the no vote party. We don’t yet have the turnout of voters for the 2014 mid-term Congressional elections, but it is probably around just 40% of those of voting age. That means that 60% of adult Americans did not reckonContinue reading “Who won the US congress mid-term elections? – the no vote party again”

CLASS and inequality

Last weekend, I attended a symposium hosted by CLASS, the Centre for Labour And Social Studies (clever acronym, eh?). This is a left-wing think-tank in the UK funded by various large left trade unions in Britain ( It aims to promote a better analysis of the nature of the capitalist crisis in the UK andContinue reading “CLASS and inequality”

The story of QE and the recovery

There were two interesting developments in the world economy last week that some have called a sea change. First, the US Federal Reserve bank ended its programme of what is called ‘quantitative easing’ (QE). This is the purchase by the central banks of government, corporate and real estate bonds paid for by ‘printing money’, orContinue reading “The story of QE and the recovery”