The politics of the inheritance tax have exploded in the UK over the past couple of weeks, ever since the Conservative Shadow Chancellor promised to raise the threshold to £1 million pounds a couple of weeks ago. Which is odd since hardly anyone pays it and as taxes go it is easily avoided. In the Guardian a good article by Andy Beckett links it to an increasing sense of financial insecurity and a failure by politicians to build a discourse around the value of social mobility and the problems caused by social and economic inquality.
The price comparison site uSwitch got quite a lot of PR at the weekend for a report which said that UK disposable income had fallen to its lowest level for ten years (the report’s not on their site, but there’s a reasonably detailed summary in the Telegraph.) The coverage is generally about consumers running to stand still. But I wonder if this – along with some other economics trends – is a sign that we’ll have to change some long-standing assumptions about the economy.
There was an article in Technology Guardian last week about an Irish innovator who was developing a prototype of a wave power generator in the Galway Bay. It captured well the obsessive nature of much innovation. But from a futures perspective the most interesting part of the article was a passing comment by a British scientist on the plan. (more…)
The north-east’s DOTT ’07 project is probably the most innovative thing happening in the UK at the moment in terms of thinking about how design for sustainability works at a regional and local level. It culminates in a festival in Gateshead which opens in about ten days. Ahead of time, they’ve produced a booklist for the festival site.
I blogged a few weeks ago about the slow death of hard format music, and suggested that the music industry was reverting to an earlier model in which the song was the unit of currency. Radiohead has offered a twist on this by announcing that its new record, In Rainbows, will initially only be available from its site – and fans can pay what they choose for the download. (more…)