My PhD research builds the case for major structural and institutional changes to prepare our economy for a resource-constrained (and possibly growth-constrained) future. Specifically, I argue that environmental protections must go hand in hand with measures to diffuse rentier power and redistribute economic rents. Such an approach allows us to mitigate the threats of economic instability, inequality and insecurity that could otherwise arise from scaling down our consumption.
Some of this thinking is set out in a recent report, The UK’s Path to a Doughnut-Shaped Recovery. This report focusses on opportunities arising out of the Covid-19 crisis to transform our economy, so that it meets the needs of all today, without compromising our planet’s capacity to support the needs of tomorrow.
I have devoted a lot of attention to the challenge of reducing rent extraction through the land and housing market, without forcing thousands of homeowners into negative equity. I offer some potential solutions to this wicked problem in chapters 3 and 4 of Land For The Many, a report commissioned by the Labour Party (listen to George Monbiot and I discussing it here).
To wrest power away from the rentier class we need an organised and educated popular movement. I am proud to have helped to set up the London Renters Union to support this struggle.
I have enjoyed teaching and lecturing, for the Sustainable Cities MSc and the Ecological Economics MSc here at Leeds, as well as at Masaryk University, Roehampton University and the Centre for Alternative Technology’s Graduate School.
- Land and housing reform
- The evolution of rival definitions of rent, rentier power and rent-seeking
- Energy and climate policy
- The green growth versus degrowth debate
- The debate around monetary system reform
- Human values, framing and communications (see the Common Cause agenda)
- MSc in Ecological Economics and Ecosystem Services, University of Edinburgh
- Diploma in Social Research Methods, University of Roehampton
- BA (Hons) in Social and Political Science, University of Cambridge
Research groups and institutes
- Economics and Policy for Sustainability
- Sustainability Research Institute