The truly stagnant class in American society are young men from low-income backgrounds

Version 2In this blog post @ucdpolitics student, Muireann O’Shea, examines why America tends to look back upon the past with nostalgia, and to what extent this is bound up with perceptions of social mobility and the America Dream. The period of 1950 to 1980 saw the lowest income inequality ever in modern American history, with the top decile taking 30 to 35% of US National Income, which has increased to over 50% today (Piketty, 2014, p. 294). Economic policy in post World War II America used an increase in minimum wage to increase wages at the lower end of scale, but by the end of the 1970s, this was replaced by stark increases in pay at the very top of the income scale, leading to an “explosion of inequality” (Piketty, 2014, pp. 310-4). American minimum wage peaked in 1969 at $1.60, or $10.10 in 2013 dollars, and unemployment was below 4% (Piketty, 2014, p. 309). Yet by the end of the 1970’s rates of upward social mobility had stalled, and it has barely moved since (Surowiecki, 2014).

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The chasm of inequality: Why is the middle class shrinking?

AdamIn PewResearchCenter’s report (2015:1) they argue that lower and upper-income U.S households now outnumber the middle for the first time in decades. Despite financial gains the middle class has lost their majority income share to the upper classes and “the share of American adults living in middle-income households have fallen 61% in 1971 to 50% in 2015” (PewResearchCenter, 2015:1). However, this is not one isolated case as recent evidence suggests that Britain’s middle class is “being swiftly eroded by a new and disturbing economic reality”(McLaren,2013) with nearly 60% of Brits “defining themselves as working class” (McLaren,2013). @ucdpolitics student, Adam Costello argues that this is a disturbing trend, and that the decline of the middle class raises one very important question, why is it happening?

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Legal Discrimination: How Double Taxation Treaties Discriminate against Lower-Income Countries

HannahMultinational treaty shopping and tax avoidance is commonplace throughout the world, particularly in poorer countries. The secretary-general of the OECD, Angel Gurría, believes that developing nations lose three times more money to tax havens then they receive in aid each year (The Economist, 2015). This treaty shopping is made possible by lax tax laws which often unfairly discriminate against poorer, less developed nations. @ucdpolitics student, Hannah Twomey, argues in this blog post that it is not just tax havens that cost developing countries tax revenues. Double Taxation Agreements are legal agreements which often discriminate against lower income countries and deny them access to vital tax revenue which could be used for the development of the particular country.

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The Financial Transaction Tax: Has the Market Finally Met It’s Foe?

Billy VFollowing the Great Recession, many solutions have been put forward to “rein the markets in”, and try to plug the inequality that has been on the rise since. These have included rent controls, increased banking regulation, and efforts to harmonise corporate taxation and discourage international tax havens. Most are in agreement that the long term aim is “to create a financial system and an economy that works for all of our people, not just a handful of billionaires”. (Sanders, 2016) In this blog post, @ucdpolitics student, Billy Vaughan, argues that it is one thing to come up with convincing rhetoric, quite another to devise a detailed mechanism to tackle inequality, and in particular to shift the burden from capital to labour. Once such idea, however, is to introduce a Financial Transactions Tax, or FTT.

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#Ash-shab’yuridisqatannizam: How 140 characters shaped the world.

Hazel NOver the last decade, the power of social media as an independent media outlet has grown exponentially. Its ability to provide free and non censored information to the masses has allowed it to become a critical tool for political demonstration. @UCD_Politics student, Hazel Nolan, argues that social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook enabled and furthered the Arab Spring of 2010, as these domestic media outlets were censored by the various Middle Eastern governments. Freedom of speech as expressed through social media, she argues, gave way to the most rapid search of democratisation in a post-colonialism world.

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Ordoliberalism was the main inspiration behind EU competition law.

DanielEU-US relations have been marked by a significant volume of trade and close diplomatic ties for most of post-WWII history. Together the EU and US currently account for half of world GDP and a third of global trade (EU Commission Trade Department). The first transatlantic regulatory cooperation agreement was signed 1991 in the area of competition (Pollack, 2003, p.33). Nonetheless, despite strong efforts to achieve convergence, legal enforcement in this field is still marked by stark ideational differences on either side of the Atlantic. In this blog post Daniel Andersen argues that the US and the EU have completely opposing views on corporate monopolies, which manifests itself in the politics of anti-trust legislation, and can be traced to the economic philosophy of ordoliberalism. 

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The role of language in shaping German economic philosophy

Version 2Against the background of the Eurozone crisis, Germany’s economic thinking has been subject to intense public debate in the english speaking world, and historical experiences and cultural differences have sometimes been adduced to explain Germany’s preoccupation with balanced budgeting and independent central banking. In this post Caroline Bhattacharya argues that German economic policy is deeply intertwined with the German language.

All member-states of the  Eurozone got a flavour of the peculiarities of German economic thinking in recent years, with the German government romanticising the ideals of the ‘German export model’. In light of Germany’s crisis management, and it’s commitment to economic nationalism, there has been a renewed discussion – predominantly among Anglo-American commentators – whether there is a distinctive school of German and Austrian economic thinking, commonly referred to as ordoliberalism.

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With No Direction Home?

Labour mobility imbalances between European Core and Periphery: evidence from Italy and Portugal

fotoprofiloIn this post Vincenzo Maccarrone argues that much of the debate on the European economic crisis has concentrated on the presence of structural imbalances between Northern and Southern European countries[1]. When discussing this inequality most commentators focus on the differences in current accounts or in financial flows. However, little focus has been given to another aspect of the Euro crisis: the development of South-North migration flows. He asks whether this element of inter-European disparity something we should be worried about?

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The EU Global Strategy: The perils of pragmatism

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The following blog post is part of an ongoing conversation on on the EU Global Strategy published on the Global Justice Blog of the GLOBUS H2020-funded research programme Reconsidering European Contributions to Global Justice.


The delivery of the EU Global Strategy does indeed renew the EU’s commitment to adapt to today’s challenging times. It is also notable that the strategy was delivered in the hours following the momentous Brexit referendum result, almost as a direct riposte to those expecting/hoping for a collapse of European ambition and a weakening in the broader European project. At the same time, the follow up to the strategy may be revealing something of disconnect or contradiction between the two elements of ‘smart power’ identified by Mai’a K. Davis Cross.

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The Political Economy of Brexit: London Will Adapt.

AidanEveryone is trying to second guess the negotiating strategy of Theresa May, and how the EU will respond. No country should be more concerned about this than Ireland, the only EU country to share a border with the UK. Next week, the Irish government will host an all Ireland civic dialogue.  Political economy considerations have never been more important.

In hindsight Brexit might be conceived as a long-term inevitability, which can be traced back to the structural fault-lines of EU enlargement, and the free movement of peoples into Europe’s largest ‘open’ labour market. Helen Thompson, a professor at Cambridge has suggested as such:

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