There has been a great deal of attention given to the development of the 'sharing economy' in recent years. It’s the latest in a series of labels trying to sum up the increasing use of digital online platforms which bring customers and providers of goods and services together to bargain directly. The best known examples are Uber and Airbnb, although the definition can stretch to cover eBay, a range of social and community enterprises and non-market transactions such as charity donations.
'House prices in England and Wales hit record high’ ran a headline from last month as the housing market overtook its pre-financial crisis peak. But beneath the surface of this news lies vast variation in the growth of property prices across the different regions of Britain.
When the government says times are tough and cuts have to be made, we expect public opinion to swing in favour of higher taxes to prop up public spending on essentials like healthcare and welfare. In the last major recession in the early 1990s, the British Social Attitudes survey (BSA) tracked some fairly dramatic shifts in public opinion - concern for the unemployed shot up, as did support for ‘tax and spend’.
The UK is currently experiencing climbing property prices and a growing housing demand coupled with a shortage of new supply. A microcosm of these problems can be found in London, which shows the strain being placed on the make-up of the city’s housing market.
In a recent New York Times column, economist Paul Krugman raises the spectre of a ‘growth slowdown’. ‘A growing number of economists,’ he writes, 'looking at the data on productivity and incomes, are wondering if the technological revolution has been greatly overhyped.'