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About John Mills

John Mills is a businessman and economist. He is chairman of direct to consumer retailer, JML, and has published widely as an economist. He sits on the openDemocracy board and is a donor to oD. His most recent book is Exchange Rate Allignments.

Articles by John Mills

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Brexit – The Uncivil War: The former Chair of Labour Leave responds

As we look for ways through the current Brexit impasse, it’s crucial to understand both the key role played by Labour Eurosceptics in swinging the vote – and that movement’s long history.

John Mills, chair of Labour Leave, explains his hopes for Brexit

John Mills, entrepreneur, economist, and Labour donor, defied the party leadership and campaigned for Britain to leave the EU. We ask the chair of Labour Leave what he wants from Brexit.

Why Trump won

Globalisation's losers are biting back. The introduction to John Mills' pamphlet.

We need to rebalance the British economy

Britain's economy has deep, structural problems. Investment The proportion of GDP invested by the UK is lower than almost anywhere else in the world. Excluding intellectual property, the ratio ...

There is much upon which we can only speculate, but the hard facts tell us to leave

No one can predict the future. But based on the information we have, Britain should vote for Brexit.

Why the UK’s economic policies will fail by 2020

The government doesn't seem to grasp that the foreign payments deficit has a direct impact on its ability to get the national budget back into surplus. Unless it changes tack it will continue to fail.

Britain will vote for Brexit, because the EU cannot give us the Europe that we want

Britons want a free trade, inter-governmental Europe - yet this is not what the EU is, and it's certainly not where it's headed. Because such fundamental reforms would be needed, Brexit will be the result.

Why the UK’s housing market is in such disarray

The dramatic drop in private and public house building in the UK rests on a significant imbalance between supply and demand.

Neither Corbyn or the others will end austerity in Britain unless they unleash the growth of manufacturing

None of the Labour candidates has an economic approach that will prove viable but it is essential to oppose austerity, what is the solution?

Why the UK’s economy is still grossly out of balance

Investment is low, the trade deficit is growing, and what growth we have is largely driven by ultra-cheap money and asset inflation. This is unbalanced and unsustainable.

High-tech isn't enough: Britain needs to stop pricing its low-tech goods out of the world

The new book Progressive Capitalism in Britain encourages a narrow focus on high-tech exports. Instead, Britain must allow its medium and low tech exports flourish too.

Britain's dysfunctional economy cannot last - but we can fix it

Because sterling is much too strong, manufacturing as a percentage of GDP in the UK has shrunk from 32% as late as 1970 to the unviable level of barely 10% now.

Why it is much easier than most people think to fix the UK economy

We need to move investment to those areas with the highest returns for society as a whole. The best way to do that is to fix our over-valued currency.

The 2008 crisis and the role of exchange rates and trade flows

The 2008 crash wasn't simply a financial crisis. We must also look at the wider economics imbalances which had built up and which directly contributed to the unstable state of the world's finances.

6 arguments against devaluation that don't stack up

There is nothing to stop us reviving the UK economy via resurgent performance in manufacturing, exporting and import substitution provided we get the cost base charged out to the rest of the world on a competitive basis.

Is Piketty right, is growing inequality inevitable?

Reducing inequality is a complex task and will required a broad mix of reducing unemployment, increasing manufacturing jobs, lowering debt and cracking down on tax avoidance.

Holtham's response is not grounded in statistical reality

Logo-There is an alternative

The growth rates in question have indeed been achieved in the UK before - in the '30s, following a devauation. It is disappointing that Gerry has not engaged with the proposals more fully, nor put forward some of his own in response.

Is the government's current growth strategy unsustainable?

Logo-There is an alternativeDelve into the data and you soon find that the British economy is not in a healthy state at all...

There is no puzzle about Britain's low productivity

Logo-There is an alternative

Britain, almost uniquely, does not invest in itself.

There is an alternative: the British economy can thrive once more

Logo-There is an alternative

As things stand, the British economy faces a future of decline. But it doesn't have to be this way - there is an alternative. Here, we publish a full pamphlet from John Mills outlining his plan for the British economy after 2015. For a summary, see here.

The UK isn't investing anything in its future

When all things are taken into account, the UK is in effect investing nothing in its future economy. The coalition may have conjured some temporary growth, but we need serious change if we wish to avoid long term decline.

Response to Curzon Price on a British devaluation

Devaluation alone is not the solution to the UK's economic woes. But it is the necessary foundation needed for other policies to work.

The scale of debt in the western world now threatens a serious collapse

There can likely be no repeat of the 2008 bailouts, sovereign states do not have the capacity. But the accumulating debt is now so large, the point of no return may have been breached. Euro collapse could trigger far wider meltdowns.

Why cutting expenditure won't reduce the UK's deficit

The deficit is the consequence, not the cause, of Britain's financial problems. Reducing it would require big increases in spending from corporates and consumers. Could the trade balance component be the easiest route out of austerity?

"Currency war" rhetoric obscures the real need for realignment

Global economy remains so imbalanced that significant currency shifts are needed, not only to help pull the West out of its slump but to ensure a stable and viable world for us all.

Foreign ownership of British assets has damaged our economy

Unlike any other developed nation the UK has sold off considerable amounts of its major industries and assets to overseas owners. This has weakened democratic control of industry, inflated our exchange rate and seriously undermined our manufacturing base. Here's why.

Norman Tebbit exchange with John Mills - how to fix Britain's industry

John Mills and Norman Tebbit discuss Britain's approach to manufacturing, home-grown industry, foreign ownership of assets, the exchange rate, and re-examine the choices of former governments and how they have affected Britain's economy today.

Mills responds to Curzon-Price on productivity, wages and the UK's low earners

We may not be able to do much about the top decile protecting their earnings, but we can drive the bottom up if we focus on areas of existing strength in productivity - here's why

Why devaluation could reduce inequality

It is not just Britain's balance of trade that would be aided by a substantial devaluation but also inequality and the host of ills it brings with it. John Mills explains why in this second round of articles from the debate Devalue or Else.

Mills replies to Skidelski: without more devaluation nothing will turn round the UK economy

In this thoughtful reply to Robert Skideslky, John Mills examines the UK's trade performance post-crash and argues that, though requiring a more rounded industrial policy as a whole, any measures taken without further devaluation will fail to turn the economy around. 

A price that matters

Reproduced with thanks to Civitas, in this 2012 pamphlet John Mills sets out the case for devaluation as the best means of returning the British economy to balance and prosperity. It is published here in full, except for tables and footnotes, as part of OurKingdom's new series - Devalue or Else!

Economic and social good sense requires the UK to target a lower exchange rate

The exchange rate is the most important single price in the economy: it determines the price of goods for export and the real value of foreign-owned debt. The UK needs a more competitive external sector and can achieve it by much greater quantitative easing

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