By 1510, university drop-out Nicolaus Copernicus had decided that the earth revolved around the sun. I learnt that, I think, in Higher Physics (though, probably not the drop-out bit).Continue reading “Copernicus: heliocentrism and economics”
Facebook appears to be on the back foot, with bad press depressing growth rates in key markets, but the appointment of Nick Clegg as Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications may be a smart move.Continue reading “Facebook’s future battles”
I’ve never been wholly comfortable with “gig economy” as an umbrella term. Too often it’s hijacked by those who want to paint independent workers as a new type of oppressed; in need of rescue from uncaring capitalism.
The reality is far from that, as successive research has shown. Independent working is most often a freely made choice.
Here’s an interesting article from Jon Younger on Forbes.com. Talking generally about adoption of the freelance economy model (is it as explosively disruptive as the hype suggests?), Younger makes an important distinction between types of freelance work:Continue reading “Gig economy vs. talent economy?”
The Times has a couple of sad pieces on Venice.
Kneeling, he touches the foundation of one of the marble columns holding up St Mark’s Basilica, which symbolised Venetian power for a millennium. Fragments come away in his fingers.
“Water now enters the church 200 times a year,” said Mr Tesserin, administrator of the 11th century Italo-Byzantine masterpiece overlooking St Mark’s Square. “The marble is literally crumbling thanks to the corrosive salt.”
FlexJobs has surveyed 1,000 (US) freelancers and found, yet again, that these are not desperate and abused individuals forced into abusive contracts by uncaring, capitalist overlords.
In fact, as TechRepublic summarises:
the average full-time freelance worker is a female Gen Xer working in the writing, marketing, editing, or creative career fields. This person works primarily for small companies and individuals, and juggles two to three jobs at a time, the report found. The average worker freelances by choice, and has been doing so for at least three years, and envisions continuing this type of career for the long-term, though they have worked at traditional companies in the past.
A recession, or at least a significant downturn, is inevitable. No-one knows when or what the cause will be, but recessions are a part of the economic cycle. Will you be ready?
It comes with the deal. If you are a sovereign professional, your sovereignty requires that you make provision for whatever fate my fling at you. That can be tough to hear if you haven’t even got the hang of saving cash for your tax bill.
Levies for allegedly unpaid taxes, no supporting calculations and no right of appeal. The House of Lords finds that HMRC has been acting aggressively and disproportionately to freelancers it suspects of having avoided tax.
From David Byers in The Times:
The economic affairs committee in the House of Lords this week said that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was overusing “disproportionate” powers that allow it to demand swift payments of unpaid tax from those it suspects of tax avoidance. Those suspected have no right to appeal to a tribunal.
Members said that accelerated payment notices (APNs) and follower notices were being aimed unfairly at lower and middle-income freelancers such as IT workers and NHS nurses, rather than the promoters of tax avoidance schemes.
Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, chairman of the committee, said the balance of power had “tipped too far in favour of HMRC and against the fundamental protections every taxpayer should expect”.
This looks interesting and useful.
The home page gets off to a great start:
A freelance graphic designer earns $25,000 for an ad campaign. A teacher drives for Uber on the weekends. An electrician owns and operates a successful small business. A stay-at-home mom sells Mary Kay cosmetics on Facebook. A recent immigrant cleans houses under the table. A retired woman knits hats to sell at craft fairs. What do these workers have in common?
There is more to what is currently called the gig economy than flavour-of-the-month media stories suggest.
The Data Hub is a collaboration between the Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative and Cornell University’s ILR School. The data appears to be all US-focused, but the lessons and many of the findings will doubtless translate at least to the UK and possibly beyond.
From last week’s Economist, a thoughtful piece on the state of the Conservative party:
If it can keep its head, though, and bring off a Brexit that does not plunge the country into chaos or paupery, then its long habit of exercising power, its ruthlessness with its leaders and its ability to mix firmness with flexibility—qualities which have made the Conservative Party the democratic world’s most successful political machine—may yet see it through. And the intellectual skills of a rising generation—not something it has always been able to count on—may, if exercised to the full, allow not mere survival, but success.
Image: Getty Images
If, like me, you’ve sometimes struggled to join the dots between the classical liberalism of, say, John Stuart Mill and the snowflakey, leftish liberalism that seems to be growing in US, and now UK, universities, this is an essential read. It offers a history and diagnosis of what is wrong with liberalism today, the challenges that need to be addressed – immigration and refugees; the social contract; China, Trump and right wing populism in Europe – and a call to arms for radical, liberal changes.
Image: The Economist