SPERI: The Finance Curse as New Grand Narrative

   0   0 Blog, Finance Curse

Download the Finance Curse e-book for free

Buy it on Kindle, for a nominal fee.

Click on the video to see John Christensen discuss the Finance Curse.

From Dr. Andrew Baker at Queen’s University, Belfast, writing for the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI):

“In a previous SPERI blog post, I lamented the complete absence of a co-ordinating discourse or grand political narrative about the financial crash of 2008.  Instead, we have seen isolated and disjointed technical changes in policy thinking in relation to: global imbalances, tax and macroprudential regulation (MPR).  In this contribution I address a question raised in that previous piece: what kind of common framework of thought, explanation and narrative could effectively link these seemingly disparate areas of change?

The most plausible contender for such a new grand narrative is the concept of a ‘finance curse’.”

That’s our work he’s talking about. And he makes some interesting points:

“Recent efforts by the G8, G20 and OECD to tackle the epidemic scale of corporate tax avoidance can therefore be conceived as partial, implicit and incomplete attempts to address one of the symptoms of the finance curse.”

And he draws attention to a nice turn of phrase, which we hadn’t picked up on:

“The Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, refers to the vacuum cleaner effect of finance, sucking resources away from long-term growth enhancing R&D and infrastructure projects.”

Which is course is a key component of what we call the Finance Curse. He adds:

“The real potency of the finance curse concept lies not in its analytical purchase, but rather in its capacity to provide grand political narrative.  It is essentially a big picture discourse that can become the connecting explanatory glue tying together the otherwise isolated technical policy learning we have witnessed since the crash.

What’s more, the finance curse has the advantage of being easy to understand and grasp, unlike the technical policy adjustments we have so far seen.  Indeed, it is arguably the political counterpart of these more technical policy discourses.   It is both a populist discourse and a conceptual apparatus – an unusually powerful combination capable of constructing a novel and inclusive coalition that could deploy detailed evidence and careful analysis with popular support.

It’s surely time for academics, journalists, policy-makers, politicians and members of civil society to start seriously exploring the narrative of the finance curse.”

We like it, and fully agree.

As we obviously would!

Via Twitter, we’ve just seen a wonderful visual illustration of the Finance Curse, which is worth sharing.

Related Posts

UN must defend target to curtail multinational companies’ tax abuse

Photo by Luca Santori, Creative Commons LicenseThe Tax Justice Network, The Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, and the Global Alliance for Tax Justice call on the UN Secretary General to make sure the commitment to action on tax abuses by multinational companies remains part of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals.


The BVI: Responsible for worldwide tax losses of $37.5 billion a year

BVI report blogAn extraordinary report by consultants Capital Economics, for BVI Finance, claims that the British Virgin Islands are responsible for $1.5 trillion of assets invested around the world, and that these result in 2.2 million jobs and $15 billion in tax revenue. A better approximation would be that the BVI imposes global tax losses of $37.5 […]


Event: Making Tax Work for Women in the UK and Globally

Invitation_ Tax and Gender eventOn Wednesday 28th June 2017 at 16.30 our very own Liz Nelson will be speaking at an event in London that aims to bring together gender and tax justice advocates to highlight the need for coherent and gender-responsive fiscal policies to safeguard the rights of women and girls both in the UK and globally. The […]


Historic event on women, human rights and tax justice in Bogota

BogotaLast week civil society organisations, researchers, labour union activists and policy makers met in Bogota, Colombia to explore how tax justice issues can ensure governments, multinational corporations and others meet their obligations to women in order to secure their full range of human rights. The Women’s Rights and Tax Justice conference opened with a conversation […]


The Offshore Wrapper: the Panama Papers, one year on

Photos from the Protest outside PwC 1 Embankment Place, part of the Global week of action for tax justiceWelcome to the Offshore Wrapper – your weekly update from TJN.  Happy Paniversary! This week it’s been one year since the Panama Papers were leaked, and a number of organisations around the world have been marking the occasion though the global week of action for tax justice. In London, activists from the TJN and the […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top