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About John Weeks

John Weeks is the Coordinator of the Progressive Economy Forum and professor emeritus of SOAS, University of London. His new book, Debt Delusion, will be published by Polity Press in 2019.



Articles by John Weeks

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Why the public debt should be treated as an asset

The 20th century American comedian Rodney Dangerfield had a catchphrase: “I don’t get no respect”. The public debt is the Rodney Dangerfield of government finances. It is a long term benefit tre...

Making another economic future possible: 100 policies to end austerity

The lost decade? A decade on from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), now is the time for serious reflection on where we are, how we got here and what future lies before us. In the aftermath of the 20...

Brexit disaster narrative: whose interest does it serve?

Underestimating one’s opponent and denying the possibility of the worst is not a sound political strategy.

Free markets and the decline of democracy

What is the source of the 21st century tendency to authoritarianism? The central purpose of neoliberal re-regulation is to remove economic policy from control by representative democracy.

Theresa May won the Chequers game – now Remainers must face reality

Throughout more than fifty years as professional economist, rare has been the opportunity for me to claim “I was right” – even less “I told you so”. However, the recent meeting in Chequers o...

The Progressive Economy Forum: a new initiative to solve an old problem

On 16 May Caroline Lucas MP, co-leader of the Green Party, and Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Minister for the Treasury, spoke at the launch of the Progressive Economy Forum (PEF), an organisation initiated...

Towards a definition of populism

When the right-wing Wall Street Journal, the stolidly respectable Financial Times and centre-left Guardian all refer to “populist” parties the question of definition looms large. 

The irony of Brexit as the EU lurches right

As major European governments embrace new forms of xenophobic neoliberalism, Britons want the xenophobic neoliberal Theresa May out.

The progressive priority: a social democratic Britain

The belief that the health of the British economy depends on trade policies with Europe or anywhere else comes directly from neoliberal ideology, that “openness”, globalization of trade and capital flows, bring prosperity.

No Bregrets: does Brexit hold hope for progressives after all?

Most UK progressives voted Remain, but the referendum result has brought about the welcome collapse of the Tory majority. Could Brexit under Labour provide a forward-looking social democracy?

Brits should remember the spirit of cooperation at the root of the EU single market

Commonly cited arguments for staying in the single market not only don't stand up to interrogation, they also neglect what post-WWII European trading unity was meant to be about – cooperation. 

The rise of neoliberal contempt for democracy

A shirker/striver dichotomy has for too long dominated our democracy. A system of universal provision would unite rather than divide society.

For 'Easy Brexit': May’s 'no deal' campaign rhetoric is nonsense

The Conservatives have placed Brexit disaster at the centre of their campaign, but in reality, exit negotiations will only be difficult if they make them so. 

Redefining the UK general election: it's time to move beyond Brexit

Britons are set to head to polling stations, but Brexit is still dominating debate. Is it possible to avoid a re-run of the referendum and champion social democracy instead?

Cutting to the chase: what the Brexit referendum did

Brexit means Brexit – but what does that actually mean? To understand the EU referendum results, we first have to accept its irreversibility. 

Trump and the myth of protectionist disaster

Donald Trump’s vision of a new American hegemony is a threat to world peace.  But not because he opposes trade liberalisation. 

Donald Trump and the shape of things to come

Before the end of 2017, the post-World War II global order of US hegemony will run its course, and authoritarianism will drive domestic policy.

By the numbers: Barack Obama’s contribution to the decline of US democracy

How neoliberal doctrine undermined the Obama administration and ushered in the age of Trump. 

Trump's victory represents the fulfilment of neoliberalism, not its failure

The Trump victory is not the rejection of neoliberalism but the necessary outcome of the neoliberal transformation, and all its destructive excesses.

Brexit and the rise of the far right

On Thursday 23 June 2016 the Far Right achieved its most important victory in British electoral history. 

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: read it before you vote on 23 June

Of the many strange aspects of the referendum debate is how little stress the Remain camp gives to EU protection of human rights.

Brexit and the law of unexpected consequences

The exit of Britain could contribute not to disintegration but a consolidation of authoritarian governance in the European Union.

The Tory 'remain' strategy is based on fear and selfishness

There is an obvious reason that no Tory politician would cite the Social Charter as a reason for the British electorate to vote to remain in the EU.

Five ways to slash London's lethal air pollution

London's poisonous air kills thousands of people every year. It's perfectly possible to stop this.

The cracks begin to show: a review of the UK economy in 2015 (part two)

Thus, the ultra-flexible UK labour market (“with employers in the driving seat”, in the government’s own charming words) – to be enhanced by the repressive new Trade Union Act – has had the effect of causing productivity to fall. Read part one here.

The cracks begin to show: a review of the UK economy in 2015 (part one)

On the first day of 2016 trading the FTSE 500 index nosedived. This surprised perennially optimistic business commentators, but will not surprise those who read the EREP review of the UK economy in 2015. Read part two here.

Reactions to Mr Osborne’s autumn statement

Today, UK's Chancellor George Osborne set out the Conservative Government’s fiscal plans for the current Parliament and beyond. First reactions to the Chancellor’s speech from four members of the network Economists for Rational Economic Policies (EREP).

Bread, circuses and inequality – a dishonest bargain

How does consumerism undermine democracy?

Osborne’s “Fiscal Charter” - an anti-democratic agenda

Osborne's charter is the latest move in a long line of reforms sharing a clear aim - to move decision making from the democratic sphere to the technocratic.

A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of democracy

Since Greek voters rejected Troika rule by a landslide, the Hellenic citizenry presents a threat far greater than the government it elected. It must be punished.

Is it time for Christine Lagarde to resign as head of the IMF?

The IMF disregarded its own rules and its management of the Greek debt crisis has been an unmitigated disaster. It's time for Christine Lagarde to do the honourable thing and step down.

The Greek burden: confronting neoliberal authoritarianism on July 5

Much like the mythical Atlas, Greece must carry the struggle against austerity on its shoulders as punishment for its government challenging the neo-liberal European consensus in Europe.

Greferendum - once upon a time in Europe democracy broke out

The revolt is real against authoritarianism, whatever the outcome of the referendum.

Grexit: end of the illusion

The negotiations between the Troika and Greece are a sham. Greek submission to the neoliberal EU project or forced exit was the Troika game plan from the moment Syriza formed a government.

Deficits in the EU that should worry Europeans

In Greece for the first time the EU authorities demand a government complete a programme that it has neither designed nor has a democratic mandate to implement.

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