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  • European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right

    Britain and the rest of Europe are in a mess. Our economies are failing to deliver higher living standards for most people – and many have lost faith in politicians’ ability to deliver a brighter future, with support for parties like UKIP soaring. Are stagnation, decline and disillusionment inevitable?

  • Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After the Crisis — out now

    The financial crisis brought the world to the brink of economic breakdown. But now bankers’ bonuses are back, house prices are rising again and politicians promise recovery – all this while unemployment remains high, debts mount, frictions with China grow and the planet overheats.
    Is this really sustainable – or do we need to change course?

  • Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them

    Immigration divides our globalising world like no other issue. We are being swamped by bogus asylum-seekers and infiltrated by terrorists, our jobs stolen, our benefit system abused, our way of life destroyed – or so we are told. Why are ever-rising numbers of people from poor countries arriving in Europe, North America and Australasia? Can we keep them out? Should we even be trying?

    Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them

My column for the Brussels Times

I was interviewed on Bloomberg’s What’d You Miss on 10 November about the harm that Trump’s protectionist trade policies could do – and what that would imply for a post-Brexit Britain.

Watch it here

Posted 10 Nov 2016 in Blog, Bloomberg, Trade, Trump

So much for the end of history. Twenty-seven years to the day after the fall of the Berlin Wall heralded the collapse of communism in Europe, Donald Trump’s election as US president endangers the liberal international order that his wiser, broader-minded predecessors crafted.

Trump’s “America First,” anti-“globalist” agenda threatens protectionist trade wars, a worldwide “clash of civilizations,” the peace in Europe and East Asia, and further violence in the Middle East. His nativist and authoritarian views also undermine the shared values, faith in liberal democracy, and assumption of benign American hegemony on which the rules-based international system depends. Already in relative decline, the United States is now poised for an angry retreat from the world.

Read my latest column for Project Syndicate.

I was interviewed on BBC World Service’s On Background by Zanny Minton Beddoes and James Harding about the future of globalisation on 28 October.

Listen here, from around 7 minutes in. Also available here


Posted 28 Oct 2016 in BBC Online, Blog, Globalisation

Mayday in the UK

By Philippe Legrain Add your comment

Conservative Brexiteers – who campaigned for the United Kingdom to vote to leave the European Union – continue to blather about building an open, outward-looking, free-trading Britain. But the UK is in fact turning inward. Prime Minister Theresa May, who styles herself as the UK’s answer to Angela Merkel, is turning out to have more in common with Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front, than with Germany’s internationalist chancellor.

Read my Project Syndicate column on Britain’s illiberal turn.

Writing on “integration overstretch” in the Jakarta Post, Shofwan Al Banna Choiruzzad quotes my recent piece on EU disintegration for Project Syndicate:

The EU is feeling the symptoms of an “integration overstretch”. A rush toward deep regional integration without properly managing the real and perceived impacts of such a process created the backlash that we see today.

“To counter these forces of disintegration,” Philippe Legrain says, the EU “must do less and do it better”. The former advisor to the president of the European Commission argued that the EU’s plan for new institutions “can wait” and the priority should be on “how to raise the living standards of all”. While it is clear that ASEAN and the EU is different, I do believe that this advice also fits for ASEAN.


Posted 22 Aug 2016 in Blog, Europe

My latest column for Project Syndicate

Posted 10 Aug 2016 in Blog, Brexit, Europe, Project Syndicate

My piece for IOD Ireland

Posted 09 Jul 2016 in Blog, Brexit, IOD, Ireland

More topical than ever, my debate with Ed West for Bright Blue’s magazine, Centre Write.

Posted 01 Jul 2016 in Blog, Bright Blue, Britain, Immigration

My piece for CapX

Posted 27 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brexit, CapX

My piece for the New York Times

Posted 27 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brexit, New York Times

My On Point wrap-up piece for Project Syndicate.

Posted 27 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brexit, Project Syndicate

My piece for the New York Times

Posted 26 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brexit, New York Times

My piece for Svenska Dagbladet

Posted 19 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brexit, Europe, Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden

My latest for CapX.

Posted 16 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brexit, CapX

My latest column for Brussels Times is here.

Posted 08 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brussels Times, Immigration

I was interviewed about the merits of providing a basic income to all Swiss citizens, a proposal that they overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum on 6 June. Watch the clip here.

Posted 06 Jun 2016 in Al Jazeera, Blog, Welfare

In CityAM Mark Sands quoted me in a piece on the impact of migrants on housing and public services on 1 June.

Fellow economist Philippe Legrain, who supports liberal migration rules, slammed Fox’s comments. “This is more than dog whistle politics, it’s just demonising migrants for the failings of the British economy and the British public sector,” Legrain said.

“The bigger issue with the British housing market, which would exist even with much less immigration is planning restrictions which prevent us building extra housing. Generally EU migrants also pay in more than they take out so any pressure that exists on other public services is due to the failings of the public sector. In short, Liam Fox is talking rubbish.”

Read the full article here.

Posted 01 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brexit, Britain, Immigration

I was an expert witness to the House of Lords’ European Union Committee report into completing Europe’s economic and monetary union. In the final report published in May 2016, I am quoted several times.

Philippe Legrain… argued, in contrast, that this reduction in Germany’s surplus with the eurozone meant “that it is exporting its capital elsewhere, draining demand from the eurozone and exporting deflation to the rest of the eurozone.”… Philippe Legrain was disappointed that the Five Presidents’ Report did nothing to “tackle the issue of a mercantilist German core and the deflationary impact of that.”93

Other witnesses also criticised the narrow focus on competitiveness in the Five Presidents’ Report. Philippe Legrain said that competitiveness was irrelevant in responding to the eurozone’s challenges, and favoured “boosting productivity growth”. Focusing on ‘competitiveness’ meant: “you end up specialising in lower-end production rather than dynamically moving up the value chain and producing better goods for higher wages.”102

Philippe Legrain and Professor Jones drew attention to the structure of deposit insurance currently in place. Professor Jones noted that “the different types of German banks have different deposit insurance. That is the biggest part of the problem. Sparkassen and Landesbanken do not want to get implicated in a European system because they have their own preferential arrangements.”165 Philippe Legrain predicted that one could imagine a ‘carve out’ for the very politically powerful Sparkassen banks, similar to their arrangements under the Banking Union.166 Should EDIS be developed, the BBA supported it being embedded into the Banking Union framework, so that “the scope of banks mirrors closely the scope of single supervisory and resolution mechanism.”167

Philippe Legrain summarised the problem facing the eurozone: “We have election after election in the eurozone in which voters reject the outgoing Government, and the first thing that happens is that voters are told that they have to stick to the old policies of the government they have just rejected because EU rules say so, and I do not think that is desirable or sustainable.”210

Philippe Legrain considered that, in the immediate term, “there is little prospect of eurozone members caucusing together, simply because they disagree on so much.227

Philippe Legrain thought that the European Parliament would resist the creation of a new and separate parliament: “Such is the power of the European Parliament that it is inconceivable that you would create a separate structure … a eurozone parliament, if such a parliament were to emerge, would basically start off as a committee made up of members of the European Parliament from eurozone countries.”238

Posted 24 May 2016 in Blog, euro, House of Lords

I synthesise the views of Project Syndicate writers on the various aspects of the Brexit debate. Read the “On Point” here.

Posted 24 May 2016 in Blog, Brexit, Project Syndicate