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My top ten posts of 2011

This has been the first full year for this blog.

In early November I moved over from, which led to a bit of disruption. But we’re now back to previous levels of traffic.

I’ve put my best arithmetic hat on to work out which are the top ten posts across the two sites over the course of the year.

So here are the ten posts which recorded the most hits:


1.            Keen insight into the monetary economy (15th November)

This post grew out of a comment on the Eurozone crisis made by Paul Mason on Newsnight. It takes the crisis as a jumping off point for discussing the work on debt deflation by the heterodox Australian economist Steve Keen. The post was picked up by the, which helped to make it my most popular post of the year by quite a large margin.

2.            Monbiot’s tax take and the embedding of plutocracy: an urgent concern for Liberal Democrats (8th Feb)

This post is a response to one of George Monbiot’s regular columns in the Guardian. My main concern was the concentration of economic power and its implications for democracy. It often is. This was the first of my posts to get into the Liberal Democrat Voice weekly Golden Dozen.

3.            Economists, implicated (19th Feb)

The film Inside Job arrived, portraying economists in an unflattering light. They both contributed to the madness that led to the financial crash and had no particular ethical problems with taking money for consultancies that deliver a veneer of academic respectability to policy positions favoured by sectional corporate interests. This post argued two main things. First, some of these problems were not actually news, if you knew where to look. Second, that there are promising move to introduce a professional code of ethics in economics – although they are meeting resistance.

4.            Tax payers and ‘the right to the city’: alternative narratives on cuts to Housing Benefit (25th April)

The focus of this post is the Coalition’s reforms to local housing allowances in the private rented sector. The Government seems to have won the arguments about the ‘fairness’ of the reforms, in the popular press at least. This post argues that one reason is that the case against the reforms is largely utilitarian. There is a lack of strong arguments of principle against the changes. The post suggests that the ‘right to the city’ argument might be a promising basis for making the case.

5.            Groundbreaking economic finding during higher education policy development? (4th April)

This post was triggered by a passing comment in a Guardian article on tuition fees in higher education. The article credits Government ministers as suggesting that the economic concept of the Giffin Good was an explanation for the upward direction in which fees were heading. The post argues that this is to misunderstand what’s going on.

6.            Dispatching rogue landlords (4th July)

This post was triggered by the first Jon Snow Dispatches programme on rogue landlords. I wrote it straight after the programme finished. It didn’t take too long, given that this has been one of my principal areas of research interest. The title wasn’t selected as anything other than a (weak) pun on the title of the Dispatches programme. But of course it meant that it was picked up by people searching online for the programme itself.

7.            Shifting underoccupiers (26th Oct)

This post was my response to the Intergenerational Foundation’s report arguing that policy should seek to encourage older people who continue to occupy large houses once their families have moved on to trade down to smaller properties, in order to free up the houses for younger families. The report generated a lot of debate in mainstream media and traffic online. Some of it came my way.

8.            Housing demand – a role for status concerns? (27th Jan)

This post followed up a talk I gave at Cardiff University, arguing that we need to augment our understanding of housing demand. It is not just about consumption of housing characteristics and investment in a property asset. Part of the demand is also for social status. Where we live is also, for some, about signalling social position. Sociologists know this. Economists haven’t really taken it on board.

9.            Liberal Democrat rebranding (27th November)

This post was put together quickly, while watching the Andrew Marr programme, in response to a couple of newspaper articles reporting on moves by the Liberal Democrat leadership to look the public image of the Party and how it communicates. The post looks briefly at some of the pros and cons of this type of approach to ‘messaging’. It topped that week’s Liberal Democrat Voice Golden Dozen.

10.          Up to the task? Dealing with housing market volatility (17th May)

This post is a review of the final report of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Housing Market Taskforce. The taskforce had been reviewing the state and structures of the British housing market for many months. Their report brought it all together and makes some policy recommendations. This was posted on the day the report was released, while I was sitting at the launch event. I was listening to Paul Mason speak. Which brings us neatly back to where we started.

Thanks for reading over the year.

And thanks if you took time to comment. I’ve found responding to comments to be as helpful in thinking about the issues as writing the posts.

Hope to see you back here in 2012. Happy New Year!

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