Influences on my economics

There are three books which have changed my thinking about economics over the last few years. I originally questioned whether these books are revolutionary but they have added to my thinking in very basic ways. These books all look to address the economics of information, or the wealth unleashed by I.T. and the internet. My thinking about this started in the early 1990’s, Dan Remenyi at Henley Management School introduced me to the ideas that Information was the 4th Factor of Production, that Industrial Age economics was insufficient as it was unable to explain why companies that invested in negative or zero profit IT projects, as measured by ROI, outperformed those that didn’t, and that an industrial age balance sheet was incapable of evaluating an information system asset.

The three books all relate to the evolution of society and its economics, the empowering of knowledge workers and their relationships with Capital, and hence capitalists. …

New-ish corporate stakeholders

Peter Drucker & Will Hutton developed and articulated theories of stakeholder constraints on corporate behaviour. Of course, as far as Marx was concerned the only moderator of corporate behaviour was the proletariat, the organised working class; but these later theorists argue that suppliers, consumers and neighbours/regulators are also now inhibiting factors on the company with in my version of the model, neighbours and their law enforcement entities should be having a final word. Law enforcement should be interpreted broadly to include the HSE, HMRC (for low wages and tax compliance), the Equal Opportunities Commission and now the Information Commissioner’s Office. Much of consumer and environmental protection is enforced by local authorities.

The development of feminism, and latterly green (consumerist) responses to companies, including now, campaigns against climate change are new factors in the neighbourly and employee stakeholder constraints upon the company. …

Does QE work?

In an article in the Guardian, Will Hutton examines the use of QE and the failure of the Bank and Treasury to use it to stimulate investment. Increasing investment is both an expansion of demand, it creates income for its suppliers, and capacity for the economy. The Government and the Bank’s ideology will not permit them to use QE to buy corporate debt and so is doomed to fail to meet the needs of business investment and productivity improvement.

QE creates asset inflation, including house prices; it does not increase demand. …