Yanis Varoufakis comments on Ireland, the UK and Brexit.

Yanis Varoufakis has a knack, rare in economists,  for saying things clearly, simply and persuasively:

Take a look at the map of Ireland. You have a small island that has to develop an economic policy for development that is common in the north and the south. London doesn’t care about Northern Ireland.

I fully appreciate and I respect the Unionist psychological need to be part of Britain. But your economy should be developed in a manner that creates synergies with the south and takes advantage of the opportunities that Ireland has as an island.

For further wisdom, including advice to watch the opening sequence of Life of Brian, for it’s ironic comment on the spliting of hairs, follow this link:


One wonders how aware  Yanis is that the Life of Brian was the cause of some hand wringing in Ireland,  both North and South of the border, when it was first released?

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Play and Creativity…

Listen to this glorious discussion which manages to combine stories about the production techniques of Brian Eno, the importance of play in learning, a goal for Arsenal by Giroud, the importance of untidiness in creativity, the screw up behind one of the great jazz recordings – and don’t miss the story of inspired coaching at the conclusion.

Play and Creativity


On Start the Week, Tom Sutcliffe considers the relationship between play and creativity. Steven Johnson examines how the human appetite for amusement has driven innovation throughout history. Writer and theatre maker Stella Duffy has revived Joan Littlewood’s 1960s concept of The Fun Palace- a ‘laboratory of fun’ for all. The economist Tim Harford advocates embracing disorder in every area of our lives, from messy desks to messy dating. Journalist and former cricketer Ed Smith believes that creativity in sport is a combination of skill and luck.

Producer: Kirsty McQuire.

This content comes from:
Start the Week


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Democracy is coming to the U.S.A…

“It’s coming from the silence /on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered/heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.”

A few lines from Leonard Cohen’s song “Democracy” as a kind of answer to the strand of pessimism which my post of yesterday provoked [on Facebook].  I note also in the respone a plea that Donald Trump’s support [and also those who supported Brexit] should not routinely be disrespected.   I agree with this. And yet I can’t see Trump’s protectionism delivering the change he promises to America’s rust belt.  I think Obama’s effort’s to bring change deserve more credit than they are given but  the banking crisis which he inherited was a huge barrier to rolling out programmes to meet the needs of those who have now turned to Trump. My own view:  ultimately the problems capitalism faces  are systemic and and a genuine solution will require a more radical change than either Trump or Obama have yet begun to contemplate. [See previous post: Post Capitalism: A Guide to the Future.]  But in the meantime why not lift your spirits with a listen to Cohen’s expression of faith in the United States of America.  [Forgive the ad]

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Post Capitalism – A Guide to the Future

I’ve finished a book, a few months ago now,   by the financial journalist Paul Mason, called Post Capitalism: A Guide to Our Future. If this kind of thing interests you I would thoroughly recommend it. As a starter you could read the review/summary I have written and posted on Amazon. https://www.amazon.co.uk/…/ref=pe_1572281_66412651_cm_rv_em…

There are many reviews probably shorter and more to the point than the one I have posted, but if you are up for my more discursive approach, here is an extract from my concluding paragraph:

Irvine Welsh has said Paul Mason has written: “the most important book about our economy and society to be published in my lifetime.” My literary diet to date has not included a great deal of economics so I am unable to comment with authority on this, but what I can say is that the ideas in Post Capitalism – a Guide to our Future, are more important than Brexit; more important than keeping the Union together or fighting for Independence for your own corner of it; whatever your great political passion may be, the themes of this book are almost certainly more important.

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Thought for the day…. [inauguration day of Donald J Trump]

“Even the president of the United States must sometimes have to stand naked.”

It’s a good day, I think, to remember these words from Mr Dylan. Should you wish to listen to them in the full glory of the original song, then enjoy this beautiful and restrained performance…it’s not a three minute pop song of course and those not already familiar with it should be warned that some commitment may be necessary to extract the full value. I am still working on it…

“Darkness at the break of noon Shadows even the silver spoon The handmade blade, the child’s balloon Eclipses both the sun and moon To understand you know to…
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The Hidden Strengths of Unloved Concrete

Well concrete may not seem like much of a subject, but Tim Harford, who normally writes for the Financial Times and hosts the excellent weekly BBC radio programme, More or Less, has a good touch with such unpromising material. It speaks to the engineer in me….

Concrete has a pretty poor reputation, yet this ubiquitous material has largely overlooked benefits.
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Basic Income – The Finnish Experiment

Basic income – an important idea, recommended in particular by Paul Mason. This Finnish experiment will be well worth watching

Two thousand jobless Finns are being given a basic income instead of welfare.
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