Coming soon… Creative Destruction: how to start an economic renaissance by Phil Mullan

Phil Mullan discusses his new book, Creative Destruction, out in March.


Phil Mullan

The mature economies have been stuck in a long, contained depression since the 1970s.

The pressing question that arises is not why investment and productivity have been so weak, important though that is. Rather, it is whether we are hitting the limits of effectively muddling through this dismal reality.

The financial crash of 2008 was the first significant indicator that sustaining reasonable living standards could no longer rely on an ever-expanding financialised debt economy. The subsequent recession was one of the sharpest since the 1930s but thankfully the system’s collapse was avoided. Can we expect to be as fortunate when today’s bubbles burst?

This book explores the interaction between the forces of productive decay and the sources of resilience that have characterised Western economic history for almost half a century. In particular, it highlights the consequences of state interventions that have sought economic stabilisation, but have unintentionally entrenched economic stagnation. Governments have brought about a corporate dependency that is as debilitating for the economy as the welfare dependency they have created for individuals.

“A zombie economy: an economy dead in productive dynamism that is being propped up to ensure the semblance of life.”

The result of this pro-stability orientation of state intervention is the development of a zombie economy: an economy dead in productive dynamism that is being propped up to ensure the semblance of life. This interferes with the process of creative destruction with the result that new sources of growth are stifled and aggregate productivity suppressed. In preventing a thorough business cycle shakeout these policies of governments, central banks and regulators are not achieving their goal of strengthening the economy. They have been making it more depressed.

The path forwardworld-economy

Escaping from this Long Depression will not be easy or pain-free, but the perpetuation of the status quo and the slow drift into further crises is much worse. Sustaining a zombie economy trades the prospect of decent, better paying jobs in the future for keeping people in worse paying, more unreliable jobs now.

It puts one form of pain – including growing economic insecurity, punctuated by severe recessions – over the other that comes from losing those jobs through economic restructuring, but with the opportunity of obtaining new and better ones.

The book charts a way out of depression based on kindling the forces of creative destruction and establishing a fourth industrial revolution. This means letting the low-productivity parts of the economy go and creating new sectors and industries deploying and developing the latest technologies. Society can help people through the transition between jobs, both financially and also with quality training.

“The state will be required to overturn its recent practices and act towards society’s economic renaissance.”

This is not a transformation that can be left to the private sector to initiate, or to implement alone. Established businesses have too much at stake in the here and now to lead such disruptive change. Instead the state will be required to overturn its recent practices and act towards society’s economic renaissance. In particular, state institutions need to stop blocking economic change through the policies and actions that sustain the way things are now.

The current estranged political elites are unlikely to bring about such a departure. To come about, this will need a popular democratic renewal around the enlightened embrace of liberty and the benefits of economic and social progress. This can reset an expanding and broad dynamic of investment, innovation and productivity growth, bringing an end to the increasingly perilous journey of muddling through the depression.

Phil Mullan talks about these issues, and his new book, in the video below (comments start at 19.43 min). 

9781447336143Creative destruction by Phil Mullan can be ordered here for £10.39.

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blogpost authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Moving into policing – as a leader and a learner


Maggie Blyth

Maggie Blyth, author of some of our best-selling texts on children at risk has recently taken her extensive experience working in local and national government to a Direct Entry Superintendent role in the police. In this blog post, originally posted on Maggie’s own blog on 7 January, she talks about the experience so far. 

“A few weeks ago, after a lengthy application process, I became a police officer.

Not just a new job but a sweeping career change following 30 years immersed in another sector – formerly education, then youth justice, most latterly child protection. I feel deeply honoured to be entering a new career at the latter stage of my working life and to be joining a progressive police force, in such an important role, but I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead – for me it’s a two way process.

“I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead – for me it’s a two way process.”

Entering policing provides a unique opportunity to bring transferable skills as a senior executive from a different perspective, but moreover feels an unbelievable privilege, to understand better the pressures on policing – to be the learner not just the leader – with the expectation to help find future solutions. To lead beyond professional boundaries while simultaneously be learning from those who know most from inside. What attracts me to Direct Entry is the strong focus on understanding policing from the front line. During the 18 month programme about 70% is spent on patrol, in local communities and out with specialist police officers experienced in what they do. For someone passionate about working in partnership across the public sector, about protecting the most vulnerable in our communities and getting to grips with the real threats facing society, this dual function of leadership/learning as a Direct Entry Superintendent provides an invaluable chance to make a difference. Through learning as well as leading I can come at some of the problems facing the most vulnerable victims, with a perspective that embraces the most collaborate of leadership across the public sector. Because today’s most challenging issues remain the sorts of problems only a partnership response can address: child sexual exploitation, child abuse, domestic abuse, cyber crime – all within a backdrop of reduced resources.

“…today’s most challenging issues remain the sorts of problems only a partnership response can address.”

So what can I say so far?

Firstly, the brand. Surprising perhaps to some but my overarching experience has been the warm welcome. From the most senior of police officers through to the front line staff I have met in my first few weeks I have encountered only enthusiasm about Direct Entry. There is no doubt that the move has more than raised the odd eyebrow – and some have been candid with their views. But the dialogue has led to lively debate on relevant issues from officer safety; the use of force; role of spit guards; single/double crewing to more familiar territory for me linked to public confidence, community cohesion, safer neighbourhoods… and inevitably, given my background and the changing face of policing, tackling vulnerability.


And secondly. Probably best summed up by what I saw in the first few hours I spent out on patrol with a team in my local force. During that period I saw capable, caring, committed police constables deal with much of the world I had come from, but from a different angle. First up was a vulnerable adolescent at risk of exploitation, and missing from school. Next was a domestic followed swiftly by a young adult involved in a pursuit, exhibiting everything from the excess of drugs and alcohol to entrenched mental health problems. And in the same shift the PC I was with responded to a sudden death. What struck me most was the extent of the autonomy and discretion available to front line officers and the seriousness they in return gave to being accountable, to doing the right thing with a strong desire to help the people they encountered. What it reinforced for me strategically is the need for local authorities, the health economy and policing to at the most senior level to better equip front line staff to work together, share information and ensure a collaborative response to those in need.

So the third point. I encountered for the first time a number of special constables. These are men and women with the same powers as any police officer but who give their time free as volunteers. My force has around 350 specials and I was struck by how vital this cohort is, not just providing much needed resource to intensive demand such as missing children, but strengthening links to local communities by encouraging people to get involved in policing. Doing the same job as regulars they carry out a professional and invaluable job.

It’s too early days for me to comment in any detail on Direct Entry – but as I reflect and navigate through a career change described by one colleague as a ‘handbrake turn, ’I remain humbled by the opportunity to move so significantly in a new direction but all the time bringing with me the experience and expertise of a whole different career behind me. There will be tricky manoeuvres moving forward, I will need to think hard on my feet. But what an opportunity to be part of something that could bring greater co-ordination of front line services for those needing protection. In summary my very early observations as a new Direct Entry Superintendent reinforce the need for more effective answers to these recurring questions:

  • The need for partnership solutions – how do front line professionals work together to ensure children get adequate protection?
  • How does information get recorded and shared to ensure families get right help at right time?
  • How do we use new domestic abuse powers to best protect victims?
  • What are the places of safety for mentally ill or vulnerable adults?
  • What is appropriate force, how should front line staff respond to threats?
  • What does collaborative leadership across the public sector mean at local level?
  • How do we put public confidence and trust in policing at the forefront?

As leaders across the public sector, not just in policing, we need to support front line staff working in the most challenging of circumstances. Programmes like Direct Entry offer the opportunity for any organisation to reflect on continuing wicked issues, but from a new perspective. My responsibility is to help create a new narrative, work hard to influence front line staff, peers and other senior managers. Direct Entry Superintendents don’t know everything about policing. Far from it. But we do bring a set of skills, knowledge and, in my case, lifetime careers with us, to allow a different lens through which to look and tackle persistent problems. Perhaps with our backgrounds we bring a new set of eyes and different answers.

effective-safeguarding-for-children-and-young-people-fc-13replacement_moving-on-from-munro-fcEffective safeguarding for children and young people By Maggie Blyth and Enver Solomon can be ordered here for £15.19.

Moving on from Munro by Maggie Blyth can be ordered here for £15.19.

Policy Press newsletter subscribers receive a 35% discount – sign up here.


The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blogpost authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Up to 80% off 100s of books in the Policy Press January Sale

sale-booksUntil the 31 January 2017 we are offering up to 80% off over 250 titles, while stocks last! This is a great opportunity to catch up with books you may have missed in your field.

Browse by subject area or discount here.

You can stay up-to-date with new books, offers and more news from Policy Press, and receive a 35% discount on all our books, by signing up to our newsletter here.

Globalisation and our views on ageing

The world is now a much smaller place, with more and more people choosing to study or work abroad and, consequently, creating transnational families and connections. In this blog post, Martin Hyde, co-author of Ageing and globalisation, discusses how this increase in globalisation has affected conventional views of ageing.


Martin Hyde

Sometime last year my parents called me to say that they wouldn’t be able to meet up on the coming weekend as they had to go and look after my brother’s kids.

Nothing unusual about this, as more and more retirees find themselves called upon to perform grandparenting duties in times of need – in this case my brother had to travel for work and my sister-in-law was not feeling well.

What made this somewhat more unusual was that my parents were in France at the time and my brother lives in Australia. So, they duly cut their stay in France short, bought return tickets to Australia, flew back to the UK packed their bags and went out to Australia for 3 weeks (my brother had had to go to China and South Korea).

“Wherever we look…we seem to see evidence of the increasing globalisation.”

Unusual but not unique. As families become increasingly transnational more and more people are drawn into these long-distance family and caring relationships. But this is not limited to family relationships. Wherever we look, from travel and transport to economics and the media, we seem to see evidence of the increasing globalisation. Continue reading ‘Globalisation and our views on ageing’

What is the future of social justice? A Policy Press event

Answers to this question were offered at the Policy Press The Future of Social Justice event held on Monday 5th December in association with the Bristol Festival of Ideas.

The Great Hall in the University of Bristol’s Will’s Memorial Building was packed with over 800 audience members who heard Danny Dorling, Owen Jones, Kayleigh Garthwaite and Melissa Benn speak about the most significant successes, challenges and opportunities for social justice.

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The exciting event began with the official launch of University of Bristol Press by Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol.

Inspiring contributions from the speakers followed, expertly chaired by Alison Shaw, Director of Policy Press and University of Bristol Press.

Amongst the many points made, Melissa Benn focused on segregation in schools and the way this feeds into a lack of understanding and knowledge about others. Danny Dorling examined housing policy, highlighting the urgent need for rent control. Kayleigh Garthwaite highlighted that allowing charity to become ‘normal’ and acceptable is not the way forward. Finally, Owen Jones reminded us that we need a collective thought process in order to solve collective issues. One of the key message of the evening was that we need to step out of the ‘bubble’ and into communities.

2016 has been a dark year but this event inspired optimism and hope. What will we say to future generations when they ask what we did at at time like this? It’s time to come together and be active in our opposition to injustice.


Didn’t get a chance to attend? You can listen to the event in full on Soundcloud here.

Read Danny Dorling’s full speech on the housing crisis and hope for the future from the event.

Read Kayleigh Garthwaite’s full speech on foodbanks and why we need a new conversation about poverty.

Keep up-to-date with Policy Press/University of Bristol Press news and events by signing up to our newsletter. Subscribers also receive a code for 35% discount on all our books.

Foodbanks, social justice and why we need a new conversation about poverty

In her speech from The future of social justice event we held on Monday, Kayleigh Garthwaite, author of Hunger Pains, talks about her experience of volunteering at foodbanks and how we can harness and express the collective shame that should be felt over the existence of emergency food aid.

kayleigh-garthwaite“For the last three years, I’ve been a volunteer and a researcher at a Trussell Trust foodbank in central Stockton, North East England, finding out how a foodbank works, who uses them, and why.

Every week, I prepared the three days’ worth of food that goes into each food parcel. I dealt with the administration of the red vouchers required to receive food, making sure that anyone who needed further support was told where it could be obtained. I volunteered at food collections at Tesco supermarkets, asking people to add an extra tin to their weekly shop. Most importantly, I sat and listened to the stories of the hundreds of people who came through the food bank doors for emergency food.

Continue reading ‘Foodbanks, social justice and why we need a new conversation about poverty’

Danny Dorling on Rev Paul Nicolson, the housing crisis and hope for the future

Following our successful event on The Future of Social Justice held in association with the Bristol Festival of Ideas at University of Bristol on Monday, here is the full speech from Danny Dorling, one of the speakers.

Looking at the impact of changing housing policy over the years, and recent months, Danny points the way towards creating a fairer future and good quality housing for all.

Danny Dorling

Danny Dorling

“Margaret Thatcher’s government sowed the seeds of today’s housing crisis when it abandoned rent regulation in the private sector.

Those seeds were watered by the administrations of John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg who failed to realise the extent of the growing disaster that they were all nurturing. The results are the bitter harvest that it falls on Theresa May’s government to reap: rising homelessness, fear, destitution and dismay. The housing crisis will not end until homes are again seen as places to grow people, not profit. [1]


“The housing crisis will not end until homes are again seen as places to grow people, not profit.”

Continue reading ‘Danny Dorling on Rev Paul Nicolson, the housing crisis and hope for the future’

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