Economists trying to figure out what is going on in the UK economy, and specifically why the number of people saying they are self employed is so high, should perhaps look no further than recent data on on-line selling by households from the Office of National Statistics...
We are witnessing a crisis of wellbeing at work. Official statistics paint a picture of a nation that is stressed, anxious, overworked and insecure. UK employees work some of the longest hours in Europe, and over half of them are worried about losing their jobs. Far from being the price we pay for a competitive economy, this is economically disastrous: sickness absence alone costs the economy an estimated £100billion a year, and longer hours are associated with worse productivity. Our relentless search for growth is not only destroying the quality of our lives: it's failing even on its own terms.
I was recently in China for the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of New Champions. This 'summer Davos' draws Global Growth companies, tech entrepreneurs, young global leaders and scientists from around the world each September...
The latest plan to bring our two trading blocs closer together has been met with similar levels of cynicism, but will lay the foundations for a trading future that will keep the EU and US at the forefront of international commerce, progress and prosperity.
Did anyone spot the commitment in both the main parties' conference speeches to create a new workforce of thousands of young people - millions even - paid just £2.73 an hour? Actually the initiative wasn't just spotted but welcomed, alongside promises on zero hours contracts and the National Minimum Wage.
Today I am issuing a challenge. I want all FTSE 100 companies to sign up to Time to Change. The tens of millions of people who support them to be in that elite club work in incredibly demanding circumstances. Not only is it right their employees get the support and advice they need about their mental health, but the employers will set a shining example for the whole business sector to follow.
TTIP will subject Europe to American-style 'light touch' regulation for corporate take-overs and practices. It will drape a constant shadow of uncertainty over public services in the form of possible aggressive private take-overs.
More is it at stake than immediate political positioning. The agendas adopted now will define the policy space for most of the next parliament... Perhaps the present consensus on the haste of deficit reduction is deserving of greater scrutiny than is currently afforded by much of the UK's political class.
Following his landslide electoral triumph in May, Narendra Modi's first act as Prime Minister of the largest democracy on earth was to travel to the Kashi Vishwanath temple and offer prayers on the banks of the Ganges...
This week in Birmingham I seemed to spend a lot of time answering the same question from journalists. "Why is everyone here so upbeat?". My answer was always the same "Because we have a plan - a strategy - we can see it's working, and we're sticking to it."
David Cameron and George Osborne have presided over an unprecedented cost of living crisis. Yet listening to the Prime Minister on Wednesday you might be left with the impression that the economy has been fixed and that life is getting easier for most people. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Ed Miliband's policy is ill-conceived, based on the widely held assumption that employers recruit migrants rather than invest in their UK born workers. As with much recent immigration policy, it is based on opinion rather than evidence. More importantly, it fails to recognise a real issue in the under-utilisation of migrants' skills.
A cynical reading of the Chancellor' speech, therefore, would note that having announced that £25billion of spending cuts are needed, he only detailed where £3billion would be found. What about the other £22billion? It's a safe bet that we will not hear much about them before the general election.
Whoever takes over from Boris should take heart from de Blasio's victory and be bold. This is not quick-fix politics: it calls for sustained stewardship of our city and its economy. But a brave mayor could lead that conversation, challenge the orthodoxy and change not just London but the national trajectory too.
Miliband's speech was strong on recognising the problems that society faces: his enthusiasm for meeting "real people" on his walkabouts can leave him in little doubt that the crisis many face is a real one. But a nine pence an hour real increase in low wages over the five year term of a Labour government is no substitute for the far more radical solutions that will be necessary to achieve the social justice for which he clearly yearns.
If Britain's minimum wage is to live up to New Labour's 1997 promise of delivering millions from in work poverty, change is needed. A starting point would be reforming, rather than ignoring the Low Pay Commission. The system is broken, but the fix is at hand.