Poetic Economics

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In this video economists Peter Bradley and Sebastian Berger bring together music and economics to explore the meaning and potential of poetic economics. In the first part, Peter Bradley – together with Tom Deblock – perform a song. In the interview that ensued in the second part Peter points out the song’s relevance to his economics while Sebastian answers questions regarding what he calls “poetic economics”. In particular, important aspects of re-rooting economics in poetry, art, and the humanities are discussed. 

Thank you to our wonderful first year film students Didi Valer, Marta Vitiello and Francesco Ianniello for taking the time to produce this video for us.

Find out more about our economics courses at UWE Bristol on our website. Sebastian teaches on our History of Economic thought module, which forms part of the BSc Economics and BA Economics courses, and Peter teaches Sustainable Business.

Further reading

Berger, S. (2019) Can a poetic economy cure evil?: Lessons from the Kapp-Wiechert correspondance. In: Luefter, R., ed. (2019) Wirtliche Oekonomie. Traugott Bautz Verlag. [In Press] Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/31965

Berger, S. (2018) Towards a poetic economics: Studies in Ezra Pound’s Poetry with a Hammer. In: Luefter, R. and Preda, R., eds. (2018) A Companion to Ezra Pound’s Economic Thought. Traugott Bautz Verlag. Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/28459

Berger, S. (2015) Poetic economics and experiential knowledge: How the economist K. William Kapp was inspired by the poet Ernst Wiechert. Journal of Economic Issues, 49 (3). pp. 730-748. ISSN 0021-3624 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25141

Bradley, P. (2019) Integrating sustainable development into economics curriculum: A case study analysis and sector wide survey of barriers. Journal of Cleaner Production, 209. pp. 333-352. ISSN 0959-6526 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/38953

Speakers announced for our Pro-environmental employee and consumer behaviour conference, 29 April 2019

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We are pleased to announce the following confirmed speakers at our Sustainability Research Cluster’s interdisciplinary one-day conference on “Pro-environmental employee and consumer behaviour” on Monday 29th April 2019. Please see our event page for more details.

The conference is free to attend so please book your place online now.

Dr Peter Bradley (Associate Professor of Economics and leader of the Sustainability Research Cluster at UWE Bristol) Keynote “Motivating energy conservation in organisations: Smart metering and the emergence and diffusion of social norms”.

Iain Mcguffog (Director of Strategy & Regulation, Bristol Water)- “Beyond customer engagement to a hydro social contract.”

Shane Donnellan (Senior Behaviour Change Specialist, Changeworks) Keynote – “Learning to develop as a centre for best practice for behavioural change; lessons from an environmental charity.”

Mandy Gardner (UWE Bristol)- “Values and motivations of social entrepreneurs in bringing about sustainable community production and consumption.”

Bridget Appleby (Founder/CEO, ‘Sustainabubbles’)-“Parties for the Planet- Social Connections and Sustainable Behaviour.”

Dr Ian Smith (Senior lecturer of economics, UWE Bristol) – “What kind of activist are you? Exploring notions of collective action and self-organising amongst climate change activists in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.”

Jes Rutter (CEO, JRP Solutions) Keynote – “Cognitive Energy – supporting the first fuel – UK behaviour change collective action.”   

Dr Jon Mulholland (Associate Professor in Sociology, UWE Bristol)‘How disgraceful it is that you are throwing that away’: Hand-Crafted Motorcycles as Upcycled Waste?  

Alexandra Arntsen (Birmingham City University) – “Work-Life-Environmental Balance: An Agenda for Management Practice.”

Dr Artjoms Ivlevs (Associate Professor of Economics, UWE Bristol)- “Emigration and pro-environmentalism: A long-term, community perspective.”

Dr Mark Everard (Associate Professor of Ecosystem Services, UWE Bristol) Keynote “People, nature and what this means for business.”

Nicola Andreij Rieg (Doctoral Practitioner in Sustainability, University of Surrey)- “Employee behaviour and Energy Use at the University of Surrey.”

Dr Svetlana Cicmil (Director of Doctoral Research, UWE Bristol)- Title to be confirmed

Alan Bailey (Director of The Future Economy Group Ltd)- Title to be confirmed

If you have any queries about the conference please do get in touch at bcef@uwe.ac.uk or tweet us @Bristolecfin

Autonomy launch new policy report on a shorter working week

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BCEF member Dr Danielle Guizzo Archela is an associate researcher of Autonomy, an independent, progressive think tank which aims to address the uncertainty of work in the modern era.

Autonomy is comprised from a multidisciplinary array of researchers and experts in political economy and critical theory. On Friday 1st February 2019 Autonomy launched a new policy report on a shorter working week. “The shorter working week: a radical and pragmatic proposal” outlines the case for a shorter working week and shows that there is no positive correlation between productivity and the amount of hours worked per day. The report has received praise from a number of politicians and academics.

“This is a vital contribution to the growing debate around free time and reducing the working week. With millions saying they would like to work shorter hours, and millions of others without a job or wanting more hours, it’s essential that we consider how we address the problems in the labour market as well as preparing for the future challenges of automation.” John McDonnell, Labour Shadow Chancellor

Our conventional working week and the idea of a compromising work-life balance in the UK has been debated in the media for some time. Last year in New Zealand a landmark trial of a four-day working week concluded it an unmitigated success and the discussion on how a four-day work week could be implemented long-term was opened up.

The Autonomy report has already been making headlines, and the idea of working “part-time” being standard, rather than just an option for those who can afford it, has been very popular. Below are just a few of the recent articles on the report.


Autonomy have also produced a short YouTube video to accompany the report launch.

The Shorter Working Week launch video

Please see the Autonomy website to read more and to download the full report.

Beyond pay gaps: Inequality at work

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By the researchers of the “Earnings gaps and inequality at work” project, Bristol Business School.

On 25 May 2018, UWE Economics hosted an expert workshop on ‘Beyond Pay Gaps: Inequality at Work’. Six experts were invited to share their reflections, based on their own research, on two questions:

1) What is the nature of inequality at work?

2) Is the pay gap an adequate indicator? If not, how can we improve our assessments of inequality at work?

The key aim was to foster a discussion on how to conceptualise and study inequality at work. In an earlier blog entry the workshop organisers’ provided a response to UWE’s reporting on the gender pay gap, which highlighted the fact that some progression on the gender pay gap is not in itself a sign of overall success. There are aspects of inequality at work that are captured by pay indicators and nonetheless merit our attention.

The morning session of the workshop focused on conceptualisations of inequality at work and featured the presentations of three distinguished scholars of labour and inequality. Dr Alessandra Mezzadri (SOAS University of London) drew on her long-standing research on the garment industry in India to highlight patterns of inequality and gender exploitation. Professor Bridget O’Laughlin (Institute of Social Studies) reflected on the concepts of Marx’s political economy framework as well as its conceptual gaps to study inequality at work. Professor Harriet Bradley (UWE Bristol) illustrated how a three-part conceptual framework based on production, reproduction and consumption can be used to conceptualise gender inequality at work.

In the afternoon session, three distinguished academics on gender, organisation and inequality presented on methodological approaches to study inequality at work. Dr Hannah Bargawi (SOAS University of London) discussed how a pyramid-shaped understanding of inequality at work can guide us through moving our focus between different levels of inequality. Dr Olivier Ratle (UWE Bristol) presented the qualitative methods used to study early career academics’ experience of work. Dr Vanda Papafilippou (UWE Bristol) described a range of methods from the field of sociology of education to study the workplace.

The presentations generated rich discussions on the conceptualisations of social reproduction, the complexity of inequality and the relations between the material and the cultural. The participants agreed that research on these themes is both timely and needed. Furthermore, a podcast series on ‘Feminism, Gender and the Economy’ featuring two interviews with workshop speakers will be launched in 2018/2019 academic year. Watch this space for the upcoming podcast series!

This workshop was funded by UWE Bristol. The workshop’s organisers are grateful to all participants for their thoughtful contributions and productive discussions.

What does climate change have to do with finance?

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By Yannis Dafermos (UWE Bristol) and Maria Nikolaidi (University of Greenwich)


It is now widely accepted that unless we take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, climate change will damage our economies and societies in the next decades. But will global warming also affect the stability of the financial system?

Recent research suggests that this is a very likely outcome. For example, climate-related events, such as hurricanes, floods and typhoons, might destroy the property of households and the capital of firms, leading to a systemic rise in debt defaults. These defaults could impair the balance sheets of banks, with wider implications for the stability of the financial system. At the same time, the prices of stocks and bonds issued by companies facing climate-related losses might face declining demand by investors and might be destabilised.

But things can be even worse. If at some point in time climate policies are implemented abruptly or technology leads to a sudden shift to renewables, financial investors’ confidence in the future profitability of carbon-related sectors might be undermined. This could lead to a substantial re-valuation of the financial assets of these sectors, making them more vulnerable to defaults.

However, climate-related financial risks are not the only way through which finance and climate change are linked. There is now a lively debate about the way that central banks, commercial banks and financial markets could contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy. Suggestions include the implementation of a green quantitative easing programme, the modification in the capital requirements of banks based on the extent to which they finance green investments and the establishment of climate-related financial disclosures. And although these potential interventions should not be viewed as substitutes for government climate policies, they might have a potentially valuable role to play in the fight against climate change.

In a workshop that we are organising at the University of Greenwich on 23 May, we will be discussing all these issues. The speakers of the event include Etienne Espagne (AFD), Rob Macquarie (Positive Money), Sini Matikainen (LSE), Hector Pollitt (Cambridge Econometrics) and ourselves. The event will be chaired by Charlotte Billingham (FEPS).

Please join us if you wish to learn more about the links between climate change and finance. Registrations can be done here.