Politics & Economics

Going to Work by Lowry, 1943

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

21 March 2020

There is a difference between a politician deciding your fate and its being left to impersonal chance. But it isn’t a dif­ference that matters much when lives are on the line. When something has to be done – and something always has to be done, even if it’s nothing – then what mat­ters is what it leads to.

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Secrets are like sex

Neal Ascherson

21 March 2020

Like sturgeons​ and swans in medieval England, public information began as royal property. Today, we understand more vividly than ever before that information is also a commodity: I have it, you . . .

Beyond Elections

Jan-Werner Müller

7 March 2020

‘Our regimes are democratic,’ Pierre Rosanvallon states in the opening sentence of Good Government, ‘but we are not governed democratically.’ There has in recent decades been a . . .

The Anxious Emperor

Richard Lloyd Parry

7 March 2020

There​ is nothing palatial about the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. It’s a park, a shaggy forest of ponds and trees, with a handful of modestly elegant modern buildings, an administrative block . . .

India’s Far-Right

Aijaz Ahmad

7 March 2020

Rashtriya​ Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India’s National Volunteer Organisation, is the oldest, largest and most successful far-right group in the world today. It is also the effective ruling power . . .

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.

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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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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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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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Chris Mullin, 19 March 2020

What to do about overseas aid has long been a problem for the Conservatives. The Department for International Development (DFID), set up by the Blair government in 1997, is widely seen as a success. To...

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Very Un-Mongol

Edward Luttwak, 19 March 2020

Now​ that the long-term confrontation between China and an assortment of countries – Australia, Japan, the US, Vietnam and other less committed fellow travellers (including the UK)...

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Wanted but Not Welcome

Jonathan Steele, 19 March 2020

In February 1947 the Ministry of Labour had sent officials to recruit displaced people languishing in camps in Germany, including Balts, Latvians, Poles, Ukrainians and Lithuanians. The programme was bizarrely...

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Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount, 20 February 2020

What is clear above all is that this prime minister does not even pretend, as previous prime ministers have usually pretended, to be merely primus inter pares. He is the Capo, the Duce.

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‘Generation Left’

William Davies, 20 February 2020

If you’re over the age of 50, the odds are that you’re happy with how it’s all worked out. If you’re under the age of 50, the odds are that you’re not, and if you’re...

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In Lahore

Tariq Ali, 20 February 2020

The day​ I arrived in Lahore, two stories dominated the newspapers’ front pages. The Supreme Court had declared the Ministry of Railways the most corrupt department in the country. No...

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Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich, 20 February 2020

Watching​ Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on 4 February, I felt that we had crossed a line. This president was setting up as the benevolent ruler of – it wasn’t...

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British Sea Power

Paul Rogers, 6 February 2020

On​ 14 April 1988, right at the end of the Iran-Iraq War, a US navy frigate, Samuel B. Roberts, hit a mine and was badly damaged. Ten of the crew were injured. The US blamed Iran – even...

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Emigrés on the Make

Sheila Fitzpatrick, 6 February 2020

Perhaps Soviet dissent was always less remarkable as an actual political movement in the domestic context than for the magnified reflection it gained in international media.

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Autopsy of an Election

James Butler, 6 February 2020

Despite abundant evidence from around the world, many people still find it hard to accept that flagrant lying is no longer a disqualification in public life, and that it might in fact be an attraction.

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‘Cosmo’ for Capitalists

Stefan Collini, 6 February 2020

It may be satisfying, though it isn’t terribly surprising, to find that the Economist has mostly come down on the side of capital in the major political conflicts of the past. More interesting would...

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Diary: In Monrovia

Adewale Maja-Pearce, 6 February 2020

Corruption and hypocrisy tend to be systemic: if you see them at the top you’re sure to encounter them at the bottom. Liberia has been rebuilt with impressive speed; the road networks are now even...

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Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz, 23 January 2020

Negotiations, as Trump and Pompeo see it, are for sissies; Iran only understands the language of force. As neoconservatives used to say at the start of America’s invasion of Iraq, ‘Boys...

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The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall, 23 January 2020

In the 1960s, when the children of the Windrush generation were arriving with their parents, there were no issues with their entry to the ‘mother country’: they were travelling internally within...

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Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali, 23 January 2020

Corbyn’s four years as Labour leader have transformed the party and it will not easily return to supporting neoliberalism and foreign wars. The leadership candidates are all aware of this fact. Even...

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What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn, 23 January 2020

Accid­ents are likely to happen, as demonstrat­ed by what appears to have been the un­intentional shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane. At the same time, Trump and his administration...

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Social Mobilities

Adam Swift, 23 January 2020

Given the outcomes to which we collectively acquiesce, and the levels of uncertainty involved, it isn’t hard to excuse many of those who – deliberately or otherwise – contribute to current...

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What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud, 23 January 2020

Bin Laden’s wives and daughters were excluded from leadership on grounds of their gender, but their brothers were unsuitable for other reasons. Siham’s son, Khalid, doesn’t seem to have...

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