David Boyle

Newsletter summer 2012

Choice in public services: do we really have it?

The government has asked me to carry out an independent review into barriers to choice in public services.  This is a huge challenge and very exciting, given what I have written about public services over the years.  I am now based for half the week in the Cabinet Office with a brilliant team around me, trying to clear away the acres of research reports about competition theory to get to the nitty-gritty: do people actually get options in practice, and do they use them?

New economics hits the USA

I wish I could claim credit for the NEI’s inaugural conference on the Hudson River this month (of course I can’t), but I have been involved in the institute’s development since it was the old E F Schumacher Society, including two months with my family in the snow of western Massachusetts back in 2010.  So I am so excited that it looks like it will be a major player in the emergence of a new economy in the USA.  This is Bob Massie’s barnstorming conference speech.

Goodbye, Elinor Ostrom

The death of the pioneer of co-production is a major blow for thinkers everywhere, and I was sad I never met her.  But it does give the opportunity to rehearse why she was such an important figure, not just for launching the co-production idea, but also because of the critical questions she poses to wrong-headed modern systems of organisation – and why they have failed so miserably.  This is what I wrote.

And speaking of co-production

It really is worth taking a look at the brilliant short online film based on Edgar Cahn’s Parable of the Blobs and Squares, which explains the ideas behind co-production in a completely different way.  Apart from the amazing animation, the best thing about this is the voiceover by Brian Blessed.  This is definitely worth a look.

The dangerous history of allotments

My ebook on the history of the allotments movement has now been the basis of a number of talks to local history societies, which has been fun.  The book itself is now selling on Amazon for £1.99 and I am trying to avoid the idea that I am setting myself up as some kind of gardening expert.  This is what I wrote on the Spectator books blog about the big mystery: why did allotments plummet in popularity after the success of Dig for Victory?

Have a brilliant summer – and let me know about your own experiences of public service choice (or the lack of it)...


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title: books by David Boyle
Broke Voyages of Discovery Money Matters Blondel's Song Leaves World to Darkness The Little Money Book Funny Money The Tyranny of Numbers