We can't escape the fact that throughout history countries are most carbon-intense and least sustainable on their way to becoming rich; not when they get there. So if the message to developing countries is that they are not allowed to develop in the same way as rich countries developed... are we sure that they will sign up to this?
Outlaw zero hours contracts and instead ensure that any individual entering a work contract is given a legal guarantee of the number of the minimum number of hours they should be required to work. It might increase the costs for corporations and may in the short term lead to a rise in unemployment, but if the economy is growing as fabulously as George Osborne announces, then the number of jobs should increase to combat this problem.
Most people are familiar with what is known as Hard Power. The idea that someone with more swords, bigger guns and overwhelming military ability can force someone to do something against their will but which is almost entirely in favour of those holding the gun. History is full of situations, the ancient Chinese, Persians, Romans all the way through to the British, French, American and Russians...
Now that the panic has subsided somewhat, I find myself asking whether Piketty's book, for an average-Joe like me, was worth reading. Hopefully, by explaining my personal experience reading Piketty, I will help other intellectually-curious, non-economist types decide whether it's worth all the effort.
In the UK the government estimates that health problems due to obesity cost the National Health Service (NHS) £5bn per year. Some of this money could surely be better spent elsewhere if we could only manage to control our diets and exercise a bit more. No wonder there is a desperate need for measures that will do this.
With the publication of HM Treasury's paper 'Scotland Analysis: Fiscal policy and sustainability' the people of Scotland have a clearer insight into the personal costs of Scottish independence... But there can be little doubt that the figure of £1,400 for 20 years given in the Treasury paper greatly underestimates the costs that are facing the people of Scotland if they vote for independence.
What is going to happen to the UK economy over the next few years? The general consensus is that the worst of the recent crisis is behind us and we can therefore expect modest growth ahead. However, my pamphlet published by Civitas on 25 March called 'There is an Alternative', paints a much gloomier picture of the future if policies remain as they are. With a radical change in policy, which the pamphlet explains in detail, the UK economy could grow at 4% to 5% per annum on a sustainable basis, unemployment could be made fall dramatically, debts would get paid off and the economy would become far better balanced. How much of all of this is realistic?
20 years ago this weekend the first multi-racial elections took place in South Africa. The apartheid policies of the National Party were tossed aside, as Mandela's African National Congress swept to power, taking close to 63% of the overall vote. In the 20 years since - the quality of life, and the economy South Africa has only gone in one direction - upwards.
"We could be poorer - or richer - than we think. We don't really know how wealthy we are." That is the opinion of Vicky Price, economist and one-time joint head of the government's economic service. Her sense of disquiet is sparked by the fact that the standard measure of a country's wealth - GDP - in fact leaves out so much.
It can sometimes stick in the throat to hear these politicians eulogising about "honour" when they seem so short of it themselves... Nick Clegg praised Tony Benn for being a "fervent defender of what he believed in", seemingly forgetting his own paltry commitment to defend students from a hike in tuition fees.