Big Conversation: Is Public spending a drain on the economy or the mark of a civilised society?

Different governments follow different ideologies when deciding how to spend a nation's money, how much tax to collect and how large the State should be. The aftermath of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis has seen many governments adopting austerity measures, but are these policies essential to restoring economic health or simply an opportunity to advance the right-wing goals of individualism, market-based societies and minimal State?  With growing concern over the inequalities that capitalism seems to generate, can more left-wing policies that promote greater collectivism and State involvement offer a viable alternative? How do we, as citizens, view these issues and the State’s role as guardians of our wellbeing? Jonquil Lowe poses questions from an economic perspective that will be discussed with colleagues from the department of Politics and International Studies and Geography. Against a backdrop of recent events around migration and the new direction of the UK Labour Party, this discussion will consider many theoretical aspects as they apply to our everyday lives and asks: what can the Social Sciences contribute to our understanding of these complex issues?

Presentation time: 
Friday, 25 September, 2015 - 18:45
Presenter(s): 

David Humphreys

David Humphreys

David Humphreys Is Reader in Environmental Policy in the Geography department of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He specialises in international environmental issues, in particular forest loss. His second book, Logjam: Deforestation and the crisis of global governance, won the International Studies Association’s 2008 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award. In 2015 he was admitted as an honorary fellow to the Institute of Chartered Foresters. He is currently serving as the Social Sciences Programme Director.

Jonquil Lowe

Jonquil is an economist specialising in personal finance. Much of her work as a researcher and formerly as a journalist and consumer campaigner has concerned pensions, particularly the tension between individuals’ need for a secure income in eventual retirement and the risks and costs involved in saving over the long term.

Matt Staples

Matt Staples

Matt is a Staff Tutor (London) in Politics & International Studies. He is currently deputy chair of the new Level 1 Social Science course Introducing the Social Sciences (DD101), co-writing Preparing for Study, Learning Companion 2 and Learning Companion 3 as well as making contributions to the online teaching and audio visual elements of the course . He is a course team member of the 3rd level course A world of whose making (DU301).