Jane Hardy

The fight for equal pay

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In the first of a three-part series, Jane Hardy sets out the history of women’s struggle for equal pay, which is longer than you might think. In the next installments she will look at more recent battles.

Despite the huge expectations raised by the Equal Pay (1970) and Sex Discrimination (1975) Acts, four decades later the gains for women in the workplace are mixed. Between 1975 and 1995 only 2,000 cases under the equal pay legislation were taken to court. By the 21st century it became clear that discriminatory pay for women was alive and kicking. The restructuring of pay grades in local authorities in the name of equality had, in some cases, left women with worse pay than men.

Instability and crisis in China

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Despite its meteoric growth rates, China may not be the economic juggernaut the Western media portrays. Jane Hardy uncovers the structural tensions and the workers' movements challenging the global superpower.

According to the International Monetary Fund the US has been knocked off top spot in the global economy and replaced by China. This further heightens the hype about China. But a recent book by Matthew Crabbe, Myth Busting China’s Numbers, is critical of some of the statistics. If you take spending power per head, for example, the picture is very different.

UK economy: smoke and mirrors

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Conflicting figures and competing forecasts for Britain make confusing reading for anyone trying to make sense of what is going on in the economy.

In early autumn 2013 chancellor George Osborne was trumpeting economic recovery, but between October and November 2013 there was a sudden slump of output in construction, and manufacturing flatlined.

By January the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was making optimistic predictions about the British economy, and the coalition is crowing over the rise in employment.

Thatcher's economic legacy

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When Thatcher was elected in 1979 the fortunes of British capitalism were lagging behind its competitors after decades of poor performance. Her economic policies as a package reflected the desire of the British ruling class to break the power of the workers' movement in the workplace and, through higher unemployment, to increase the profitability and competiveness of British capital.

Under the banner of so-called "supply side" economics her economic assault to restore the competitiveness of the British economy was three pronged. First, trumpeting the virtues of free markets, privatisation was the centrepiece of her policies. By value, almost half of the stock of public assets was transferred to private ownership during Thatcher's term of office - including utilities such as telecommunications, gas, electricity and water and flagship firms such as British Airways.

Enter the bankers

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The growing crisis in the eurozone has left many observers and politicians reaching for apocalyptic language. The Financial Times's leading economist, Martin Wolf, declared "What is at stake today is...the stability of the European - perhaps the world's - economy", while German chancellor Angela Merkel described it as the "toughest hour since the Second World War".

The growing crisis in the eurozone has left many observers and politicians reaching for apocalyptic language. The Financial Times's leading economist, Martin Wolf, declared "What is at stake today is...the stability of the European - perhaps the world's - economy", while German chancellor Angela Merkel described it as the "toughest hour since the Second World War".

Universities Inc

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Outbursts of anger from students and academics greeted the plans of philosopher AC Grayling to establish the New College of the Humanities (NCH) - a new for-profit private university with fees of £18,000.

Peter Hall, a financier who has donated more than £450,000 to the Tory party, has provided the money to promote his vision of a market-driven education. To dismiss the NCH merely as a finishing school for the super-rich (which it will be) fails to capture its significance.

Workers and recession

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Jane Hardy takes issue with a new study which claims that workers haven't suffered too badly in the recession

A recent book edited by Paul Gregg and Jonathan Wadsworth claims to look at what has happened to employment in the UK during the recession. They puzzle about why Britain has had the biggest recession since the Second World War with a fall in GDP of 6 percent, while claiming that the loss of jobs has been relatively "benign".

The state of the global economy

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Bankers and bosses appeared cheerful at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos. But the state of the global economy remains precarious

Last month the global ruling class - the bankers, political leaders, the CEOs of top multinationals and their acolytes - met for the World Economic Forum at the luxurious Swiss ski resort in Davos.

Band of warring brothers

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The spending review comes at a time of high international tension, as governments around the world compete to escape economic ruin. Jane Hardy analyses the global "currency wars".

Financial pundits have given up scrabbling for the green shoots of recovery. New York professor Nouriel Roubini said on 14 October, "The growth rate is so low it's going to feel like a recession even if technically it's not a recession." On top of that he has predicted that there is a 35 to 40 percent chance of a double dip recession. The recovery in the US, the heartland of global capitalism, looked extremely fragile. In mid-October the dollar hit a 15-year low and unemployment increased, and 18 months into the so-called recovery jobs are still being shed.

Cracks and crisis in the Eurozone

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The leaders of eurozone countries are desperate to avert a full blown currency crisis, but they are divided by conflicting interests and fearful of workers fighting back.

"It was a stand-up argument. He was shouting and bawling," said one Brussels official. "It was Sarkozy on steroids," said a European diplomat. The European ruling class were in disarray as another, potentially even more damaging, episode of the world crisis unfolded in the eurozone.

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