Tag: Economics

Steven Pinker’s inconvenient truths

Another great podcast from CapX’s Free Exchange series. In this episode, Steven Pinker discusses his recent book, Enlightenment Now.

It’s a fascinating book, but I confess I’ve been reading it all year. The takeaway is clear but the wealth of data takes time to digest. The book is worth the work, but this 30-minute podcast will give you the gist.

The podcast you can hear, here.

You can also get it on iTunes, here.

Photo credit: Rose Lincoln / Harvard University

George Orwell and the Left – @ASI

Madsen Pirie, at the Adam Smith Institute, has a piece on George Orwell, his writing and his impact.

He is still highly relevant, rewarding us not only with his fluent prose, but with his honesty. He self-identified as a socialist and a man of the Left, yet he saw and wrote about what people actually did in the name of socialism. His refusal to excuse the cynical brutality of those who claimed to carry its banner but betrayed all of its ideals, made him many enemies on the Left.

Worth a quick read, here.

Gig economy vs. talent economy?

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:

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Death of Venice

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.”

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What does a freelancer look like? Survey from @FlexJobs

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.

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Freelancer? Are you ready for the coming storm?

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.

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Tax-man rapped for aggressive approach to freelancers

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”.

Two pieces in The Times, here and here.

The report from the House of Lords committee, here.

 

Image via Pixabay.