The UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2019, out in September, is the latest significant international science-based synthesis report to call for an urgent transformation of current socio-environmental-economic systems. The report draws on recent advances in the natural sciences and maintains that the negative trends in climate change and biodiversity loss presage the crossing of ecosystem tipping points, which […]
Social Mobility and its Enemies. Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin. Pelican. 2018.
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Have you ever wondered why those at the top tend to come from the same backgrounds? Or how severe the social mobility crisis in Britain really is—and what has, and continues to, cause it? If so, then Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin’s recent […]
The countryside is generally perceived as a quiet and restrained place, and yet it has a long history of rebellion, riots and uprising in response to external pressures and changes. The Rebecca Riots in west and mid-Wales which lasted from 1839 to 1843 have gone down in history as a period where farmers took direct action at the perceived […]
As England basks in a glorious summer of cricket and presently, for those interested, look forward to the rugby world cup in Japan, it becomes clear how sport as a form of entertainment and a multi-billion dollar industry can capture public imagination. However, for every Ben Stokes, Lionel Messi or Lebron James there are thousands of elite athletes across […]
The remarkable recovery in the Irish economy since 2013 has surprised many observers. Having been particularly affected by the international financial crisis of 2007/08, Irish economic activity has grown significantly since 2013, outpacing the rest of the euro area.
The emergence of the “Celtic Tiger” in the mid-1990s had been driven by an increasing reliance on trade. However, a property-related […]
As industry boundaries are reshaped by digitisation, firms are developing more continuous and open-ended relationships with stakeholders as well as more intense coordination among firm functions across the value chain. However, strategically responding to the new digital landscape requires rethinking how digital business models can most securely lock-in customers. I argue that, when coupled with other foundational digital strategies, […]
The Psychology of Fashion. Carolyn Mair. Routledge. 2018.
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You may not be into fashion, but you cannot escape fashion consumption. Fashion is an important way that we present ourselves to the world in our everyday life (Erving Goffman, 1956). As consumer culture conquers the world, fashion is not a peripheral, frivolous matter; rather, it holds more individual meanings […]
In June 2019, journalist Anne Helen Petersen tweeted a screenshot of the acknowledgements section of the book Downsizing in America (New York: Russell Sage, 2003). In it, the book’s authors – William J. Baumol, Alan S. Blinder, and Edward N. Wolff – thank Sue Anne Batey Blackman for her contributions, stating that she was “a coauthor in all but name.” […]
While attending the 2019 American Sociological Association annual conference in New York, I came across an advertisement that nicely captures the competing visions within the bitcoin community. The ad (Figure 1) depicts a scene from the American Revolution, illustrated in pointillist style to evoke American paper currency. A slogan, “The revolution needs rules,” overlays a throng of white men, each […]
Most work today is done in teams where employees collaborate, discuss new ideas, and share responsibilities for specific goals. While this leads to a lot of good – like greater productivity and performance – teamwork can also be demanding and cause a lot of frustration. There are coordination costs to managing teams, as well as interpersonal conflicts that put […]
War-games are old hat. Destroying a tank, a battalion, even an army, pales to insignificance compared to laying waste to an entire planet in the global heating game. Let us say, the dial to climate catastrophe is measured in parts of atmospheric carbon per million (ppm). Before the industrial era, the dial stayed at 280 ppm for millions of […]
In 2016 Dave Barnes, chief information and global business services officer of UPS, received a salary of $491,000 and a bonus payment of $251,000, while Pawan Verma, chief information and customer experience officer at Foot Locker, had a salary of $216,000 and a bonus of $664,000. Why in one case did the CIO receive the majority of his compensation in salary, […]
The Technology Trap: Capital, Labour and Power in the Age of Automation. Carl Benedikt Frey. Princeton University Press. 2019.
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It seems that barely a month can pass without new forecasts of technology-induced job losses hitting the front pages. The Office for National Statistics are at it, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); the […]
The Brazilian Amazon is in flames again. At the meeting of the G-7 in late August, France’s President Emmanuel Macron led the way in pledging millions of euros to help put out the fires. Canada, the United Kingdom, and others have followed suit. But what can this unusually generous impulse achieve? Can the floods of international money put out […]
A fortnight can be a very, very long time in politics. The plasticity of British politics has become mesmerising. A no-deal Brexit on 31st October, which for a moment looked all but inevitable, now seems to have melted into air. Sometimes, it is easy to become despondent when faced with the brutal immorality of vicious ideologues and moneyed elites. But […]
In much of the developing world, economic power is largely concentrated in the hands of a “market-dominant” ethnic minority. The classic case is southeast Asia, where the Chinese, usually a tiny proportion of the population, enjoy an overwhelmingly dominant economic position. In Malaysia, the average Chinese household had 1.9 times as much wealth as the Bumiputera (Khalid 2007); in […]