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Category Archives: England

Regime matters

A recurring error in Western analysis is to not take ideology (particularly religious ideology) or regime structure seriously in analysing the behaviour of other states. Historian A J P Taylor’s famous statement that: In international affairs, there was nothing wrong with Hitler except that he was German. is a manifestation of this. But so is the […]

The evolution of social bargains — operative not normative

I was reading Yoram Barzel‘s property rights analysis (pdf) of the rise of Parliamentary government in England, when the full force of his critique of normative concepts of the rise of parliamentarianism and representative government hit me. That Iraq is busily messily falling apart, following on from–and partly a consequence of–Syria doing so, with the advance of the Islamic State of […]

The illusion of free banking

Reading Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit by Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber continues to stimulate. As one comes to appreciate how immense the damage done by central bankers has been–causing the Great Depression, Japan’s “lost decades”, the Great Recession, the Eurozone crisis–[which, I should clarify, is not the subject matter […]

Banking privilege as social bargaining: a nice case study

Have been reading Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit by Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber. It is an excellent, and highly readable, history of banking: slides from a presentation explaining the basic thesis of the book are here (pdf). The information in the book also explains a puzzle of economic history. Technologically, the key […]

The joy of a peaceful society

On Wednesday evening, I was in the Melbourne CBD, coming from a regular (second Wednesday of the month) dinner-and-talk meeting. The talk had been on the Turks Head Club, a weekly dinner group that originally met at the Turks Head Tavern in Gertrude St, Soho, organised by friends of, and centred around, Dr Samuel Johnson. The dining […]

Remember, remember the 5th of November

The evening of the 5th of November just gone, I did what I have done for the last several years. I participated in the Wizard Charlie’s Guy Fawkes Night celebration. The bonfire was in a portable bbq and the guy that was burnt was small enough to fit therein. But there were sparklers and things […]

The Turd Umpire

Michael Clarke was involved in a physical confrontation with umpire Aleem Dar and England will press the International Cricket Council to change its rules over bad light as the Ashes series ended in boos and recriminations at the Oval. Clarke revealed he told Dar not to touch him after the official appeared to push him […]

The Lays

The headmaster of a £28,000-a-year private school has indicated he is considering inviting a porn star to teach sex education to his pupils. Mark Slater, head of The Leys in Cambridge, said students at the historic school need to be aware of the unrealistic nature of the online material. It is vital that children are […]

Sometimes, there are no lessons

‘We must do something, here is something, let’s do that thing’ is one of the most seductive wrong routes those in power can take in the wake of an act of terror. Initially praised for his unwillingness to be drawn into the usual epidemic of jerking knees that breaks out whenever awful stuff happens in […]

Forever England

The soldier killed in an attack in London has been named as Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Drummer Rigby, 25, from Manchester, leaves behind a two-year-old son. Two suspects shot by police after Wednesday’s attack in Woolwich remain under arrest. A further two people have been arrested on […]