London economic dominance through financial markets

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Or think of climate change bringing persistent rain, followed by the flood waters of the Thames meeting a particularly high spring tide coupled with a storm surge. It is now thought that in a good year for overseas recruitment London universities may admit more students from outside the UK than from places in the UK outside London.

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That is a far thornier problem. The competitiveness agenda, driving us into this race, is intellectual nonsense resting on elementary fallacies, lazy assumptions and confusions.

In the early s, negative equity was worse in London, not in the north.

London economic dominance through financial markets

Low taxes usually come a distant fifth, sixth or seventh in their wish-lists. These narrative challenges need to be addressed if the lost city sub-genre is to carry on, and carry on it almost certainly will. Some argue that levels are higher in central Paris. No other country came close to the gap of percentage points between extremes that exists in the UK. Various cities, including Venice and Amsterdam, have held and lost the title throughout history. But if parliament were to be relocated outside London, where would that be? We briefly trace the history. Many people argue that there is little justification for giving planning permission for new buildings within London with fewer than five storeys. And it is not just for jobs that people are coming to London. When Dora and her friends reach Parapata they have to deal with traps, puzzles, and the spectacle of fabulous treasure and lost magical power — all in a movie that crams in jokes, teen angst and a cartoon monkey too. A plan is needed for the north, we are often told; but that is impossible if there is no plan for London. The agenda systematically shifts wealth upwards from poor to rich, distorting our economies, reducing growth and undermining our democracies.

We are permanently at a tipping point, we are told: all that investment is about to disappear down a gurgling global plughole unless we cut taxes and deregulate, NOW, I tell you. There is literally no limit to the extent to which corporate players and the wealthy wish to free-ride off the taxes paid by the rest of us.

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As Andrew Evans of Capital Economics has pointed out, however, the regional disparities in the UK are still enormous even when the plutocrats of Belgravia and Mayfair are removed from the equation. To get a taste of this, ponder the difference between a failed company, such as Carillion, and a failed state, such as Syria. Some do understand that if other countries follow suit with this competitiveness agenda, a race to the bottom ensues, leading to ever-lower corporate taxes, laxer financial regulation, greater secrecy, looser controls on financial crime and so on. Existing greenbelt land needs to be swapped, acre for acre, for land that really should never be built on; land where we should expect more floods as rainfall becomes more erratic. It just became easier and cheaper to live, and far more obviously necessary to plan. Many people in Britain, it is true, are ambivalent about all this. We are not in some imaginary global race where everywhere is becoming similarly unequal. Why are the protests so muted? London is small compared to, say, Seoul, or Tokyo; consequently its economic dominance is even more pronounced. But these are not the visions that Blair, Cameron, May, Trump and other finance-captured leaders have been pushing. Many people argue that there is little justification for giving planning permission for new buildings within London with fewer than five storeys. Better financial regulation brings benefits, while also scaring away the wealth-extracting predators.

Known as The City of London, it was established a few years after the Roman invasion in AD 50 on the north bank of the river Thames and even has its own mayor and governing body called City of London Corporation.

Satisfying the wishes of innumerable pairs of buyers and sellers never results in an equilibrium.

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It just became easier and cheaper to live, and far more obviously necessary to plan. The pound was consistently overvalued, interest rates relatively high, in a country that saw a declining manufacturing sector. The Bank of England says so.

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Cynics see PFI as an expensive way for successive governments to hide their borrowing and spending, by outsourcing it all to the private sector. There are respectable arguments along all these lines. If we can topple it, we can tackle the finance curse. There is a trade-off, they think, between doing the right thing and preserving our prosperity. The gap between the second-best-performing sub-region of Britain the oil-and-gas-rich north-east of Scotland and west Wales was 92 percentage points — again the biggest in the EU. Words such as competitiveness and related terms such as the even more fatuous UK Plc are wielded to trick millions of taxpayers into thinking that it is in their own self-interest to hand over goodies — tax cuts, financial deregulation, tolerance for monopolies, turning a blind eye to crime and more — to large multinationals and financial institutions. Sink or swim.
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How did London come to be the world’s greatest financial hub?