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David Boyle, author of â€˜Funny Moneyâ€™ (Jan 1999) is a writer and journalist specializing in economics, cities, business and the environment.
He has been pioneering the idea of parallel currencies, introducing over 20 time banks to the UK (using time as a kind of money,) after the publication of his last book, â€˜Funny Moneyâ€™ : In Search of Alternative Cash. He has written about the future of money all over the world and is the author of the Financial Times management report Virtual Currencies (FT 1999) and the recent pamphlet Why London Needs its own Currency (New Economics Foundation, 2000).
As a Senior Associate at the New Economics Foundation, he has been at the forefront of new thinking in economics, volunteering and the environment â€“ and has been advising the government on the future of volunteering.
He is former editor of New Economics, Town & Country Planning magazine, Liberal Democrat News and a range of other magazines, and his book on the future of cities (Building Futures) was published by WH Allen in 1989. He is also a member of the national policy committee of the Liberal Democrats, and used to write speeches for opinion formers such as Paddy Ashdown and Anita Roddick.
Featured in this book are such established English cultural behemoths as the Beatles, Big Ben and the Last Night of the Proms alongside less celebrated quirks such as meat pies and the working man's haven, the allotment. Here we celebrate the bell-ringers and Morris dancers, bowler hats ('the symbol of respectable Englishness') and cardigans ('symbol of staid middle-class solidarity'). We examine the brutality of Punch and Judy and our historic love of fairies, once so much a part of the English psyche that they were described as 'the British religion'.
If you thought being middle-class meant your own home, something set aside for the kids and a comfortable retirement - think again. For the first time ever, today's middle classes will struggle to enjoy the same privileges of security and comfort that their grandparents did. How did this situation come about? What can be done about it? In this beautifully shaped inquiry, David Boyle questions why the middle classes are diminishing and how their status, independence and values are being eroded. From Thatcher's boost of the mortgage market in 1980 to the move from regional to centralised institutions; from the collapse of Barings Bank to the 1986 Big Bang, `Broke' examines the key moments in recent history that threatened the middle-class way of life. What he discovers is that the triumphs of the middle classes have been just as influential in their undoing as their disasters.
Despite some of the most sophisticated computer systems known to mankind, modern life can be infuriating - and it's getting worse. But there is a growing suspicion that, despite all the investment in IT and organization we have seen, we live with the same old problems we always have done. Why are we still addicted to oil and petrol despite the disastrous consequences? Why, three generations after the Beveridge Report, are his Five Giants - Want, Disease, Idleness, Ignorance and Squalor - still so much with us? Why did teenage pregnancies go up despite the UK government spending up to GBP100 million over a decade to prevent them? Why do so few of the public clocks tell the right time or train lavatories have water in their taps? There is a growing understanding, not that people are infallible, or that they are endlessly trustworthy and benevolent - but they are nonetheless what makes change possible. This book uses this idea to set out the Ten New Rules for organizations, reveals where they are working already - with the latest developments in ideas like system thinking and co-production. It explains the future in terms of the People Principle: If you employ imaginative and effective people, especially on the frontline, and give them the freedom to innovate, they will succeed. If you don't, they will fail.
On his way back from the crusades, one of England's most famous and romantic medieval kings was ship-wrecked and stranded near Venice. Trying to make his way home in disguise, he was arrested and imprisoned and effectively disappeared. He didn't return home for another fifteen months, and at enormous cost - a quarter of the entire wealth of England was paid to win his release. The extraordinary events surrounding Richard the Lionheart's disappearance provides the background to some of the most colourful and enduring legends - Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham, the discovery of King Arthur's grave, and above all, the story of Blondel, Richard's faithful minstrel, and his journey across central Europe - singing under castle towers - until he finds the missing king. Blondel's Song tells the tale of one of the most peculiar incidents of medieval history, and the background to the real Blondel and his fellow troubadours, as well as the courts of love, the Holy Grail, emergence of gothic cathedrals like Notre Dame and Chartres, and the unique moment of tolerance in the West - when Europe shared a language, and a new culture of music, romance and chivalry.
Since money was invented, there has been a debate about better ways of creating it and better rules to govern how it works - until the last generation, when it began to seem that the money system had been handed down by God and remained unchanged ever since. But the last few years have seen an increasingly powerful resurgence of interest in changing the system fundamentally, and bringing the monetary trends that affect all our lives under our control. Few realize that the debate has roots and a tradition, covering mainstream economists like Keynes and Hayek, statesmen like Lincoln, entrepreneurs like Ford and Soros, as well as the imaginative mavericks behind local currencies and e-money. This volume collects together some of their most influential writings to provide a handbook on a vital train of ideas, and a guide to a debate on changing money that is becoming increasingly important.
Never before have we attempted to measure as much as we do today. Why are we so obsessed with numbers? What can they really tell us? Too often we try to quantify what can't actually be measured. We count people, but not individuals. We count exam results rather than intelligence, benefit claimants instead of poverty. The government has set itself 10,000 new targets. Politicians pack their speeches with skewed statistics: crime rates are either rising or falling depending on who is doing the counting. We are in a world in which everything designed only to be measured. If it can't be measured it can be ignored. But the big problem is what numbers don't tell you. They won't interpret. They won't inspire, and they won't tell you precisely what causes what. In this passionately argued and thought-provoking book, David Boyle examines our obsession with numbers. He reminds us of the danger of taking numbers so seriously at the expense of what is non-measurable, non-calculable: intuition, creativity, imagination, happiness... Counting is a vital human skill. Yardsticks are a vital tool. As long as we remember how limiting they are if we cling to them too closely. Americans who claim to have been abducted by aliens = 3.7 million Average time spent by British people in traffic jams every year = 11 days Number of Americans shot by children under six between 1983 and 1993 = 138, 490