Sea Life Aquarium: Shark




Closer than you think.



Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Frankfurt, Germany

Creative Directors: Hans-Juergen Kaemmerer, Ulf Henniger von Wallersbrunn

Art Directors: Hugo Moura, Hans-Juergen Kaemmerer, Mark Werner, Vanessa Violante, Xenia Arro

Photographers: Tim Thiel, Reinhard Dirscherl, Getty Images, Corbis

Agency Producer: Netti Weber

Digital Artwork: Sebastian Koehler

Chief Creative Officer: Andreas Pauli

Art buyer: Sabine Patze







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Sea Life Aquarium: Squid




Closer than you think.



Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Frankfurt, Germany

Creative Directors: Hans-Juergen Kaemmerer, Ulf Henniger von Wallersbrunn

Art Directors: Hugo Moura, Hans-Juergen Kaemmerer, Mark Werner, Vanessa Violante, Xenia Arro

Photographers: Tim Thiel, Reinhard Dirscherl, Getty Images, Corbis

Agency Producer: Netti Weber

Digital Artwork: Sebastian Koehler

Chief Creative Officer: Andreas Pauli

Art buyer: Sabine Patze







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Makita: Burj Khalifa Dubai




It all starts with the right tools.



Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Frankfurt, Germany

Creative Director: Hans-Juergen Kaemmerer

Copywriter: Benjamin Merkel

Art Directors: Hugo Moura, Hans-Juergen Kaemmerer

Photographer: Getty Images

Agency Producers: Dennis Ax, Gabi Dingeldein

Illustrator: Jack Moik

Chief Creative Officer: Andreas Pauli

Artbuyer: Sabine Patze







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Makita: Gherkin Tower London




It all starts with the right tools.



Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Frankfurt, Germany

Creative Director: Hans-Juergen Kaemmerer

Copywriter: Benjamin Merkel

Art Directors: Hugo Moura, Hans-Juergen Kaemmerer

Photographer: Getty Images

Agency Producers: Dennis Ax, Gabi Dingeldein

Illustrator: Jack Moik

Chief Creative Officer: Andreas Pauli

Artbuyer: Sabine Patze







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Makita: Empire State Building




It all starts with the right tools.



Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Frankfurt, Germany

Creative Director: Hans-Juergen Kaemmerer

Copywriter: Benjamin Merkel

Art Directors: Hugo Moura, Hans-Juergen Kaemmerer

Photographer: Getty Images

Agency Producers: Dennis Ax, Gabi Dingeldein

Illustrator: Jack Moik

Chief Creative Officer: Andreas Pauli

Artbuyer: Sabine Patze







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Braun Shaver Series 7: Hold on to your dreams



Advertising Agency: BBDO Proximity, Düsseldorf, Germany

Director: Rankin

Production Company: TwinFilm Munich

DOP: Holger Diener







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What the experts say about Britain's prospects


Six economists give their views on autumn statement


DAVID BLANCHFLOWER


Former member of Bank of England monetary policy committee


Over the three quarters from the last quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2010, the UK economy grew by 1.9%. Recall that George Osborne and David Cameron falsely claimed at the time that the economy was "bankrupt" and "like Greece". Now the chancellor is claiming the economy is on the "path to prosperity", based on growth of 1.9% over the last three quarters. Unemployment is higher than it was when the coalition was formed and youth unemployment has risen sharply. GDP per capita is essentially unchanged from when the coalition took office and the deficit reduction plan has stalled. The OBR's own data now suggests that Osborne has lowered GDP by around 1.5% a year by his reckless and failed austerity.


So where is this little burst of growth coming from? It seems that a temporary rise in consumer spending, driven by borrowing and dipping into savings, is the main driver. Maybe I have missed something and all is rosy in the economic garden. Bet I haven't, though.


NICOLA SMITH


Head of economics and social affairs, TUC


The UK's recovery is long overdue and optimists can welcome rising full-time employment levels, falling joblessness and signs that productivity is starting to pick up.


The problem is that these gains are nowhere near enough to secure the fairly shared and sustained recovery that we need. While earnings for the UK's top bankers are up by a third, across the country real incomes are still falling. Recession and stagnation have led to a wage squeeze on a scale last seen by the Victorians. Under-employment continues to rise and, where jobs are being created, a large majority are in low-paid sectors, exacerbating falls in living standards.


The UK is moving back towards its pre-crisis economic model with alarming ease, the importance of tackling our widely decried short-termist culture apparently forgotten.


Rather than conjuring up more financial bubbles, the UK needs fairly paid workers and productive businesses to create growth based on real value.


JONATHAN LOYNES


Director, Capital Economics


Not only has the UK leapt to the top of the G7 growth tables, but there are good reasons to think that the recovery is sustainable. While the recession no doubt did some damage to the economy's supply potential, there is enough slack to allow a number of years of strong growth before capacity constraints are reached and inflation pressures start to build. Indeed, falling inflation could boost growth in the next few years by easing the squeeze on households' spending power.


Meanwhile, fears that the recovery is unhealthily dependent on another housing market bubble look overdone. Yes, the London market looks frothy, but in most other areas the market is not strong enough to have generated an economic recovery. And the economic upturn stretches well beyond housing-related areas of activity. The banking sector remains fragile and households have more work to do to restore their finances. Still, for the first time in a long while, even we practitioners of the dismal science can afford a bit of optimism.


JONATHAN PORTES


Director, National Institute for Economic and Social Research


When the government announced its economic plan in June 2010, it predicted that the economy would by now be about 7% larger, while the deficit would have been reduced by two-thirds. Where are we now? GDP has grown at about a third of that rate, business investment has fallen and the current account deficit has worsened. This remains the weakest and slowest recovery in the UK's recorded history.


Growth was derailed by a combination of bad luck and bad macroeconomic policy, both in the UK and eurozone. Spending, especially public investment, was cut too quickly. While policy was supposed to boost confidence and spur private-sector investment to fill the gap, it did the reverse. It could easily have been worse. The eurozone and global environment is much more benign. Combined with increasingly aggressive action to pump up the housing market, we are seeing a clear, welcome return to growth. It's a pity it's taken so long.


BRIDGET ROSEWELL


Chairman of consultancy Volterra Partners, former chief economic adviser to the Greater London Authority


It seems to be part of our psychology that we don't really believe in recovery until it has almost turned to boom. Over the last year employment has risen by nearly 300,000 in the UK, and in London and the south-east we ought to be worrying about overheating.


Only the north-east and west and the West Midlands are still suffering significant losses of jobs and should be pressing hard to improve their connectivity. Now is the time to liberate further wealth creation by focusing on investment in infrastructure, so that real growth can support future spending of all types and the necessary debt reduction.


Recovery is well established and growth will help to bring down bad debt – used to support current spending – and replace it with good debt – used to support real investments which generate a payback in future growth, wealth creation and the ability to support public services, as well as pay back the loans thus raised.


ANDREW SENTANCE


Senior economic adviser, PwC, and former member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee


I believe that the UK's economic growth is sustainable – with the right policies, including a gradual rise in interest rates as recovery continues.


The UK economy is rebalancing, but not as expected. Although manufacturing output has risen in recent quarters, it's well down on the 2008 peak.


Services are leading the recovery, but within that big shifts have taken place between different sectors. Professional and business services lead, with output growth up more than 6% in the past 12 months. Financial services and public administration are around 2% down.


This pattern has been a feature of the recovery since 2009. Parts of the services sector which sell overseas appear to be performing more strongly – bar the financial sector.


This reflects the strength of the country as a services exporter – 12% of UK GDP – a bigger contribution than in any other G7 economy.






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Gold price plunges as confident investors pile out of safe havens


End of a 13-year boom as US economic upturn sees investors confidently selling gold and buying shares


November brought more bad news for believers in the eternal power of gold: the commodity saw its sharpest monthly price fall since June. This month's 6% drop makes 2013 a terrible year for gold, and is set to mark the end of a 13-year boom. Gold is heading for its first annual fall since 2000 after shedding a quarter of its value this year.


Things were so different in September 2011, when it hit a record price of $1,921 an ounce, a gain of more than 550% in just over a decade. Investors had piled in during the financial crisis: the price of gold traditionally rises when assets such as shares, bonds and cash are threatened.


Gold maintained its allure as central banks pumped money into their economies, raising fears of runaway inflation. But then the easing of fears for the eurozone, and signs of economic recovery in the US and other economies, steadied nerves.


There were few starker signs of the reversal of gold's fortunes than the news that Britain's second-biggest pawnbroker was melting down stock to raise money. Last week Albemarle & Bond admitted it was smelting jewellery to sell for quick cash in order to stay within its lending limits. As recently as 2011 the company went on a gold-fuelled expansion spree and declared "the age of the pawnbroker".


More famous players have also been caught out. The gold fund of John Paulson, the hedge fund manager who made billions betting against the US housing market, is down 63% this year.


The key to the fall is the improving US economy and the response of the Federal Reserve. Gold's troubles began when the Fed said it would ease off its bond purchase programme amid encouraging news on jobs and growth.


With less need to keep money tied up in gold, which pays no interest or dividend, the markets turned "risk-on": investors scrambled for new shares in Royal Mail and other flotations, and US shares are at all-time highs.


Georgette Boele at Dutch bank ABN Amro said: "The gold bubble has burst and … more of gold's previous supportive drivers are about to push the precious metal much lower. As such we expect additional large sell-offs."


In India, traditionally the world's biggest consumer of gold, the government has imposed punishing duty on gold purchases which has led to mass recycling of some of the 20,000 tonnes of gold stashed in Indian homes.


Consumers in China have been buying gold as they become more affluent. But Boele predicts that despite this, it will fall to $1,000 an ounce next year and $800 in 2015.






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Ryanair: more Christmas cheer, less of the bah, humbug from Michael O'Leary


The airline boss's conversion has been almost Dickensian


Passengers checking in on Ryanair flights on Sunday will be the first to experience a modern-day seasonal redemption. The vow boss Michael O'Leary made to mend his ways, or to "stop unnecessarily pissing people off", is bearing fruit. Like Scrooge banging on the Cratchetts' door with a turkey, the airline is, in a small but significant change, letting passengers bring a second small carry-on bag – not least for gifts from the airport shop. But what were the visions of doom that spooked the Irish Ebenezer, and how is he changing course?


Musing on the ghosts of aviation past might lead O'Leary to a happy early scene recalled by Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG. In his Aer Lingus days, Walsh's employees watched and scratched their heads at Ryanair's swift turnaround of aircraft at Dublin airport – an operation perfected like clockwork in half the time other carriers were managing. Ryanair transformed aviation with its cost-cutting, eliminating overheads and pulling in customers with fares rivals struggled to match. Baggage was discouraged and seating unreserved, to make the whole process as swift and cheap as possible. Fines for forgotten boarding cards seemed punitive but had their logic, as did a website designed to deter third parties from booking up blocks of cheap fares. Unfortunately, the cold logic ended up alienating many of the potential customers O'Leary wanted to attract.


It wouldn't require the ghost of aviation present to suggest that not all is rosy for Ryanair, with two profit warnings between August and October. O'Leary, who has banked enormous wealth as a major shareholder, will have noticed a £30m hit when shares tumbled. Analysts have pointed out that while Ryanair has torn ferociously into the traditional market of legacy carriers with its low-fare model, it has been slow to recognise the space left for a cheap but welcoming alternative – specifically, one that could attract business travellers or families.


While Ryanair was paring its core service to the bone, rival easyJet made some counterintuitive moves for a low-cost airline – offering flexible tickets and allocated seating, to woo business travellers and, according to Douglas McNeill, investment director at stockbroker Charles Stanley, "stealing a march in terms of attitude to customers and positioning of brand". A trebling in its share price since 2011 sent easyJet into the FTSE 100 this year.


O'Leary himself recently concluded after a mangled publicity offensive: "I'm getting in the way". In a bleak portent for press conferences to come, he said he would withdraw from the spotlight. Could the ghost of aviation future really be pointing the man who launched a thousand headlines to a back seat?


Ryanair's own retelling of A Christmas Carol might be more prosaic: a growing recognition of a need to change. Spooked or not, the changes are occurring: today's hand-baggage concession follows a recent relaunch of the website, for easier booking in far fewer clicks, with a new booking app coming soon. Fines for lost boarding cards have been slashed. Last month, noisy adverts and the signature trumpet call on landing were banished for early morning and evening flights. Hold bag fees are to be cut from January. And allocated seating will be introduced, ending the scramble on board.


McNeill says: "There's been a lot of talk about soft issues – the demeanour of the chief executive, the culture, improving the brand – all well and good. But a lot of what they need boiled down to concrete specific measures that can be achieved relatively quickly by pulling fairly specific levers."


The need to attract businesses and families also dovetails with the ambitions of Stansted airport's new owners, who also want to attract a new breed of travellers. The change to baggage rules comes with an eye on retail revenues at the airport acquired from BAA this year by Manchester Airports Group.


Andrew Lobbenberg, a transport analyst for HSBC, sees the business model evolving rapidly, mirroring those aspects of easyJet's that have succeeded. Beyond the visible changes for consumers, he points to a major underlying change in network planning, with Ryanair planes increasingly landing at major airports. Expansion in Italy will continue apace, and permission for Moscow flights was granted last week. The proportion of flights going to minor cities' secondary airports will drop from 30% today to just over 25% in 2014, Lobbenberg says.


Next year sees the start of deliveries of a massive fleet order: 175 Boeing 737s. McNeill says: "You've got to attract new customers, win them away from other airlines, and there's no shortage of airlines around Europe who it can compete properly with on cost."


After being belatedly confronted by its customer service problems, the face may be more welcoming, but the Scrooge tendencies haven't vanished altogether: O'Leary won't be expecting a Christmas card from the increasingly critical Ryanair Pilot Group.


And just as the airline again expands and moves into new territories next year, renewed economic woes could start to drive air fares down. As O'Leary points out, that is a battleground where Ryanair usually wins.






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Out of the lab, off to market: a hi-tech blueprint for UK recovery


Universities keen to commercialise research are finding they have an unexpectedly activist government behind them


When the 2011 tsunami hit Japan's Fukushima plant, causing one of the world's worst nuclear disasters, it set off a chain reaction of research into nuclear safety on the other side of the world. As Dr Tom Scott of Bristol University watched footage of Japanese workers risking their lives to measure radiation at the plant, he thought there had to be a safer way. And so the airborne radiation monitoring system was born: a flying machine the size of a bathmat that can be controlled from anywhere in the world, avoiding the need to send people in to contaminated sites.


In the event of an accident, his "hexacopter" machines, which are still at the prototype stage, would "automatically go up like an intelligent crowd of angry bees", says Scott. But that cannot happen until the machines manage to fly out of the lab and into full production.


Showing the hexacopter, and videos of it in action, to potential investors at a conference in London, Scott said: "We are really good at what we do: what we want now is to attract people who have the experience to spin out the company."


Keen to get back to the lab, he and his team are looking for someone to manage the business. "They will be guiding everything: relationships with customers, negotiations for licensing and leasing, recruiting, accountancy, marketing – and bringing in phenomenal contacts."


Another company on the hunt for investors is Mountain Trike, founded by engineering graduates from Bath University. It makes an all-terrain wheelchair that can tackle sand, snow and mud. Putting it through its paces on a somewhat less demanding plush carpet, commercial director Ed Elias told a crowd of potential investors how it has the shock-absorbers, wheels and powertrain of a mountain bike, controlled by levers to prevent users getting muddy hands. About 70 Mountain Trike wheelchairs have already been sold, but the company is looking for £250,000 from angel investors to help it crack the US market.


British universities are more preoccupied than ever with turning their best research into commercial companies. Traditionally, British scientists have excelled in the lab, but are less good at turning their ideas into money-spinning businesses. As one familiar lament goes, while the world wide web was created by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee at the Cern laboratory in Geneva, it was the whizzkids of Silicon Valley who spun the idea into the commercial gold of Google, Facebook and Twitter.


"We need to harness the intellectual horsepower in our universities," says Sir John Parker, president of the Royal College of Engineering, who believes a cultural shift is under way. "We are not where Silicon Valley is yet, but I believe we are heading in the right direction."


In a time of austerity, universities are being asked to do more to boost economic growth. In a government-commissioned report published last month, Sir Andrew Witty, boss of pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline, said: "This country leads the world in many cutting-edge technologies and inventions. But too often we fail to turn these great ideas into successful companies that create jobs." Witty wants to see a £1bn fund to help researchers at Britain's universities get their ideas to market.


The fact that the report was commissioned at all is another sign of the coalition's conversion to industrial policy. These days government ministers sprinkle their speeches with jargon such as "arrow project", "catapult centre" and "the eight great technologies". The coalition also chose to preserve Labour's Technology Strategy Board, an organisation that doles out public money to promising companies. Somehow, the UK has ended up with an industrial policy.


"It is one of the great surprises of the past few years," said Andy Westwood, a former Labour adviser and chief executive of GuildHE, a higher education lobby group. After the crash, Labour was reluctant to use the term "industrial policy", he said, "but now all three parties happily trot around that phrase".


The problem, says Westwood, is that 30 years of free-market philosophy have left the UK trailing behind rivals such as Germany that have spent years nurturing their manufacturing sectors: "We have slowly dismantled the infrastructure over three decades. You cannot just pull a lever and get it all back overnight."


With institutional investors focused on property and the stock market, would-be entrepreneurs find it hard to raise capital. Graham Harrison of Setsquared, a collaboration between five English universities, says researchers are caught between angel investors – wealthy individuals who might invest up to £125,000 – and venture capital funds that are not interested in deals worth less than £10m. "Companies looking for half a million fall between two stools."


Setsquared has helped new companies raise £1bn over the past 10 years. One beneficiary is Jacob Marsh, 24, who founded his company while at university. Seeing the popularity of Raspberry Pi, the credit-card sized computers that have acquired cult status among programming hobbyists, Marsh hit on the idea of making cases for them. Initially he used 3D printers, but within a few days was overwhelmed with orders. SetSquared helped him find a factory to make the cases, which now retail for about £6 (ModMyPi.com). "Part of our success was that we were able to get the product to market so fast, and we could do that because we had the support."


But not everyone finds the ivory tower conducive to enterprise. Daniel Murray, a marine biologist, decided to leave academia to create his water-purification business. "A lot of professors are really set in their ways and don't do blue-sky thinking any more," he said. Last year he set up Industrial Phycology, which is trialling a water treatment process for Wessex Water. It uses algae to remove phosphates from waste water, in a process that should help utilities comply with EU rules aimed at reducing water pollution, as well as generating a byproduct that can be used for bioenergy. Murray has already been talking to investors in India – a big step for someone who hadn't even thought of starting his own company a year ago.


The public sector could be the key to a strong industrial policy, according to Westwood. The UK has huge strengths in the creative industries and life sciences: these could be used along with, say, the BBC and the NHS to "develop a sensible policy to support jobs".


In this way the public purse – from the NHS drugs and technology budget to high-speed rail projects – could be used to support British tech start-ups. "Even when cash is limited," he said, "you can still join some of the dots more cleverly."






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Adidas / Footlocker: Holiday



Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, UK

Copywriter: Michael Hughes

Art Director: Dalatando Almeida

Agency Planner: Alex Lewis

Agency Account Director: Benedict Pringle

TV Producer: Adam Walker

Digital Producer: Angela Meier

Media Agency: Carat

Media Planners: Victoria Gregory, Claire Thomas

Production Company: Pulse Films

Director: Luc Janin

Photographer: Felix Lamar

Production Co. Producer: Neil Andrews

Post-production Company: Smoke and Mirrors

Audio Post-production: Factory Studios

Digital Design Company: Athlon







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Hypo: Tutu




Damn good whites.



Advertising Agency: Noah’s Ark, Lagos, Nigeria

Creative Director: Abolaji Alausa

Art Director: Tolulope Bamgbose

Copywriter: Tobi Williams

Illustrator: Tolulope Bamgbose

Executive Creative Director: Lanre Adisa

Associate Creative Director: Yemi Arawore

Head of Design: Ariyo Bamidele

Published: November 2013







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Hypo: Obama




Damn good whites.



Advertising Agency: Noah’s Ark, Lagos, Nigeria

Creative Director: Abolaji Alausa

Art Director: Tolulope Bamgbose

Copywriter: Tobi Williams

Illustrator: Tolulope Bamgbose

Executive Creative Director: Lanre Adisa

Associate Creative Director: Yemi Arawore

Head of Design: Ariyo Bamidele

Published: November 2013







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Hypo: Ellen




Damn good whites.



Advertising Agency: Noah’s Ark, Lagos, Nigeria

Creative Director: Abolaji Alausa

Art Director: Tolulope Bamgbose

Copywriter: Tobi Williams

Illustrator: Tolulope Bamgbose

Executive Creative Director: Lanre Adisa

Associate Creative Director: Yemi Arawore

Head of Design: Ariyo Bamidele

Published: November 2013







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Let no one be fooled: this is not the triumph of austerity, Mr Osborne | Will Hutton


He won't admit it in his autumn statement, but the lift in the economy owes little to his avowed strategy


The Osborne team are feeling sprightly. In their eyes, the chancellor has toughed it out despite the naysaying critics of austerity. Osborne resisted their siren calls to relent on his plans to shrink both the deficit and the state and now he is rewarded with an escalating economic recovery. The Tory party can forget the prince over the water, aka Boris Johnson, as the man to rescue its sinking fortunes; there is already a prince in Great George Street: Osborne.


The autumn statement this week, always an important moment in the economic and political calendar, has assumed an even greater importance. The opposition has been setting the political agenda for most of autumn, something Mrs Thatcher never achieved as opposition leader; now is the opportunity for the government to reclaim the ability to make the political weather. Be sure that the chancellor will not want to let the chance slip.


So amid the confirmation that he has money to provide free school meals for the first three years of primary school (the government is caring), make tax allowances transferable for married couples (it backs traditional values) and check increases in fuel duties (it supports hard-working families), Osborne and his allies have another objective – they will not allow Wednesday to go by without rubbing in that he was right about the economy.


Except that neoliberalism and austerity have not triumphed. The recovery is the result of the upward swing of the economic cycle finally asserting itself, aided by policies informed by the opposite of what Osborne purports to believe. He was clever enough to recognise he was wrong, borrow from the Keynesian economic locker and relent on his deficit reduction plans. He has hidden behind the most extraordinary Keynesian interventions of the Bank of England, never admitting the scale of the philosophic shift and then claimed victory. It is a disingenuous operation, if pulled off with enormous chutzpah.


But for the rest of us, it is profoundly disabling. By not recognising the success of his eclectic and spatchcocked Keynesianism, the public is misinformed – told that austerity worked and, as importantly, the philosophy behind it works too.


This means that the measures needed to redirect and secure the recovery so that it is based decisively on investment and a growth of exports – and less on consumption and consumer credit –will either not be taken or will be done half-heartedly. Worse, Osborne may believe his own propaganda and do stuff that is actively harmful. Thus the Conservative party can be protected from the awful truth that Thatcherism fails.


The scale of the monetary activism from the Bank of England over the past few years, along with the Bank taking ever smarter tools to direct financial flows where they are needed, is borrowed straight from Keynes's A Treatise on Money . If ever there was monetary policy à outrance, as he called it, it is now, though we now prefer the term "quantitative easing". We have record low interest rates alongside active measures to direct credit where it is wanted, underwriting risk, with the Bank standing by to head off any house price boom, not with interest rate hikes but, first, with interventions in the mortgage market.


Twenty-two years ago – warning: a big retro plug coming up – I wrote a pamphlet, Good Housekeeping: How to Manage Credit and Debt, for the Institute of Public Policy Research, in which I tried to update Keynes's ideas on money and credit (ideas later developed in the book The State We're In ). I thought the Bank, alongside interest rate changes, needed a range of tools to ensure that credit went where it was needed and could head off unwanted property booms. It needed to make banks and building societies ask for higher deposits from home buyers as house prices rose quickly or lower deposits as prices weakened (changing loan to value ratios).


Also, it should actively manage the capital and liquidity in the banking system over the ups and downs of the credit cycle to stamp out wild exaggerations. The Bank should actively discriminate: to support necessary lending where the system is failing – for example, to small- and medium-sized business – and to restrain lending where it is not needed.


The paper informed Labour party thinking and lay behind its 1992 manifesto commitment to "manage credit sensibly". The proposals, though, were very unfashionable. The Bank's then chief economist, Mervyn King, wrote to me to explain they were unworkable and intellectually wrong. All the Bank needed to control credit and asset prices was to change short-term interest rates, he argued: the interventions I proposed would damage banking efficiency and, by inference, obstruct the necessary deregulation ushered in by Thatcher's reforms. Labour lost, and Blair and Brown – in this area Lady Thatcher's heirs – regarded the whole framework as anti-business and anti-City.


The world moves in mysterious ways. Today, those once heretical Keynesian ideas are the new orthodoxy, championed by a new governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, appointed by a Conservative chancellor. Last week, Carney, launching the latest financial stability report, committed himself to nearly all the proposals, doing what Labour would have done had Neil Kinnock been elected in 1992.


It's good news but, as Carney must know, intelligent monetary and credit policy cannot take the entire strain of managing the recovery so that it both stays on track and is better balanced. There is a role for fiscal policy, industrial activism, intervention in the banking system and smart institution building. For example, I would develop a help to invest policy modelled on Help to Buy, offering a partial guarantee for lending to business. Whatever else, none of this is neoliberal Thatcherism.


For on fiscal policy, Osborne has again moved. Over his first 18 months, he raised taxes and slashed capital spending, lengthening the recession by a good two years. Then he saw the light. Even though the projected deficit for 2014/15 was an amazing £65bn higher than planned in the summer of 2010 (because of the extended recession he provoked), he has done nothing about it. He has been rewarded by the economy snapping back upward. Nor is he proposing to attack current public spending in any material way for another year.


Combine that with the hyper-monetary stimulus offered by the Bank and the natural tendency of economies after a long period of recession to swing upward and we have a Keynesian recovery. If there are no unexpected shocks from abroad, growth in this snap-back phase could climb to 3%.


None of these reasons for recovery can be admitted, however. Nonetheless, the reality cannot be disguised. Whether it is energy policy, controls on payday lenders or the Bank of England's new approach to the financial system, the state is having to regulate markets because otherwise dysfunction rules. The paradigm is shifting – always a prelude to power shifts. Which is why Osborne and his acolytes will fight so hard on Wednesday to argue austerity is working – and why the reality behind their rhetoric needs to be pointed out.






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Let's Play Shopping!

In the wake of Black Friday and its accompanying rampage, and as holiday shopping intrudes more and more on holiday celebrations, consumer habits appear more suited for war than games. Suddenly, earning your child's love depends on your ability to shove a stranger to the side in order to reach that last available discounted Barbie. Even the people who forgo shopping and remain at home in their post-Thanksgiving food coma can't stay out of the fray -- if they switch on the television, they are assaulted by a fresh barrage of toy commercials.



It is no longer enough to merely promote the company brand by selling oil mini delivery trucks with "Hess" plastered on its side. We are supposedly a more sophisticated audience -- you can't just train us to ask for a Kleenex, or push candy cigarettes towards us in packages that mimic Camels. At least since WWII and the rise of the modern consumer economy games themselves train the consumer on how to push and shove, find parking spaces in malls, bargain for the cheapest price and generally buy, buy, buy.



Each year, for example, the Hess Company releases a toy vehicle (ranging from motorcycles to helicopters to the more classic trucks) and advertises it with variations of the jingle, "The Hess truck's back and it's better than ever/ for Christmas this year/ the Hess truck's here." The modern rendition of the truck toy was first released in 1985 (though another Hess toy made it's debut as early as 1966). Logo-obvious toys like this have long histories on which today's toy culture continues to build.



Company names like Hess infiltrate our daily lives to such an extent that the company names often usurp the generic name of the object or service. (See: "I'll Google it." Or, "Hand me a Kleenex.") Board games reflect this process. For the aptly-named game Logo, winning -- or even playing -- requires the players to recognize different company logos. It is basically corporate charades -- placing explicit value on knowing the advertising symbols in the consumer landscape.



Perhaps ironically, the toys that parents are pushing each other out of the way to buy are themselves aimed to train the shopper in the fine art of mayhem and competition. In 1950, the game Park and Shop became a popular pastime by encouraging children to figure out the "best" way to find parking and shop at the shopping center. At a time when suburbanization was spreading across America, it showed people how to adapt to a changing environment. There was also the A&P game, Supermarket Sweep (a tie-in to a television game show of the same name), and more recently, Bratz Mall Crawl -- the list goes on and on. Even while excluding games like Monopoly and Life, which both make consumption the primary talent for a happy life, there are many games that simply try to glamorize the shopping experience. (For the more frugal shopper, Milton Bradley released the game Bargain Hunter in 1981.) In the eighties, as teen girls looked to the decade's pop stars who emphasized material glitz and glam like Madonna and Janet Jackson, games like Mall Madness declared shopping a dazzling hobby for the hipper, post-Park and Shop generation.



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Advertisements have changed, becoming practically ubiquitous and often more insidious. Even the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY, portrays play as an activity explicitly linked with mass-produced, store-bought toys. Almost every toy featured in the Strong Museum's Toy Hall of Fame is produced and sold by a company. In fact, there is a "Wegmans Super Kids Market" inside the building, amidst the other attractions, where kids can run the store and be in charge at the check out counter. But of course, children can -- and frequently do -- play with household items, or just a vivid imagination. But at the Strong National Museum, there is no room for the stick and ball or piece of chalk that have entertained children since long before World War II.



The contrast between these portrayals of shopping as a game and shopping as a violent, swarming, competitive, stressful, and potentially bankrupting consumer event is growing starker each year. Maybe that is why it is so important that companies train us from a young age to navigate and 'enjoy' the consumer life by making it a game -- something you can practice and learn to win.



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