SASS receive two Excellence in Learning and Teaching awards

The university’s annual awards for learning and teaching were announced at this year’s Learning and Teaching conference. Continue reading

If the banks were too big to fail, why isn’t the British steel industry?

Alex Simpson, University of Brighton

The financial crisis of 2008 taught us that markets fail. But the current plight of the steel plant in Port Talbot, Wales, shows how not all markets fail equally.

Eight years ago the UK treasury pumped £850 billion into a failing banking industry. Teetering on the brink of collapse, the Treasury stepped in through a succession of loans, share purchases and liability guarantees, using 89% of its assets to prop up the industry. The historic step led to the government owning a majority stake in Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the world’s biggest banks, and more than 40% of the combined Lloyds TSB and HBOS banks. Continue reading

The Big Short is a perverse Robin Hood parable – in which King John wins

Alex Simpson, University of Brighton

At heart, The Big Short – which just won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars – is a parable. Much like Robin Hood’s comment on the greed of King John, it warns of the dangers that come from taking from the poor for personal gain and power. It is a simple story designed to illustrate a moral lesson. And when the moral lesson in hand is calling out the financial establishment, you’d think we should be pleased the film is scoring so many accolades.

But this particular story has some issues. While the film attacks the moral architecture of Wall Street’s financial services industry, in doing so it continues to uphold the “virtue” and “sanctity” of the financial market. The outcome is another dramatisation of the events surrounding the financial crisis that leaves a sour taste and a questionable moral lesson. Continue reading

Fairness and the City: A better politics. Annual Lecture for the University of Brighton’s Festival of Social Science

Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor at the University of Oxford will be delivering the University of Brighton Annual Social Science Forum Lecture.
Thursday 19th May 2016

Of the richest 25 countries in the world the UK has become one of the most unequal and is on course to win the ‘global race’ to become the most economically unequal of all by 2030. In all of Western Europe, apart from in post-crisis Ireland, no other country taxes and spends as little on its society as the UK does. Once all taxes are considered it is clear that the most well off 1% of society pay tax at a lower rate than the poorest tenth, whilst simultaneously complaining about how much they contribute and how little they think they get back. Danny Dorling is a leading thinker on the geography of inequality and a member of the London Fairness Commission. His recent lecture addressed these glaring disparities; considering how we arrived at this situation and what we could do about changing it.

Huxley Lecture Theatre, Room 300, Huxley Building, University of Brighton, Lewes Road, Brighton.  BN2 4AT

For more information contact Julie Green:

Four key economic trends shaping society

Philip Haynes, University of Brighton

The year is off to a turbulent start; both in the UK, and around the world. January saw oil prices plummeting, while Chinese growth slowed, spooking investors (but surprising none). But amid the turmoil and confusion of global stock markets, there are a few economic trends which look set to hold sway throughout 2016.

Here’s a wrap up of some of the key developments which will shape our society in the months to come. Continue reading