Have Read, Will Read

I’ve not been keeping up with my reading lists over the last 6 months or so, because (entirely expectedly), I’ve barely had time to read anything that isn’t on a reading list for my course (and honestly, barely even that).


I’ve just finished The Collector, by John Fowles [Amazon]. I don’t generally enjoy books where we read the perspective of the abuser, but this was really something. A friend recommended it – it’s an easy read, short chapters designed for reading on the tube, and I recommend it in turn.

Next on the list for fiction:

  • Too Much Happiness, by Alice Munro
  • Beside You, by Ann Morgan
  • Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier


I’m still in the middle of The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, despite starting it a couple of weeks ago. My feminism is distinctly non-academic so this is my first attempt at this kind of read. It’s a good book, thorough and clear. But it’s also very depressing. It took days for me to clarify my thoughts on women as competitors, once Wolf had introduced it, because of how deeply uncomfortable it made me feel, and how much of my own behaviour it made me question.

Next up:

  • The Bloody Chamber, by Angela Carter


I’m currently reading Mostly Harmless Econometrics, but I’m kind of cheating here. I’m reading it because it’s the textbook for a course I couldn’t fit into my schedule but nevertheless wanted to do. It doesn’t really count but three books on the go at once is my maximum so it has to be the economics entry.

It’ll be followed by:

  • Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression, by Studs Terkel
  • Seeing Like A State, by James Scott

This lot will surely see me through until the end of September.


I’m a pretty anxious person. I find it fairly easy to get overwhelmed and when I do, although it’s barely noticeable to others, it’s not so great for me. So I have a few systems in place that help me prevent me getting anxious, and some others that help me when it’s too late to prevent.

Amongst other things, I try and impose 30 minute limits on things that are important to me but aren’t related to my degree. That means, 30 minute runs. Cooking for 30 minutes (which is allowed to be longer if it’s doing more than one night’s dinner!). It means I do things that make me feel good, but don’t “waste time” which is what I come to think of these activities (i.e. exercise, eating) when I’m anxious.

I don’t know if this would help anybody else, or if this is just the kind of thing that will help me, but I’m going to do it anyway. In this section of my blog, I’m going to post things I cook in around 30 minutes that are relatively inexpensive, vegetarian, and most importantly, can be reheated as leftovers another night. One of the ways I feel better in myself when I’m stressed is by feeling that I’m doing something well, even if other things seem to be going to pot. I find making really healthy meals really, really, really helps me feel like I’m doing something good. All of the meals here will meet that requirement.

I should point out here – I cook lots of things, lots of the time, that take much longer than the approximate half hour I’m using as a limit here. I’m not dismissing cookathons – I’ve spent 3 hours cooking enough Indian curries and subjis and am partial to a good sundried tomato risotto, gently babysat for an hour. The point of what I’m doing here is just putting together my favourite bits of the ones that don’t take this long and are most helpful when I’m most in need of something simple, but good.

I’d genuinely appreciate knowing if any of this helps anyone, in any way. Or if it can be improved. Maybe you know of some food stuffs that are pretty good for stress/anxiety that don’t feature much in these. Let me know – @VictoriaMonro or me[at]victoriamonro.co.uk.

P.S. Give me time to build this up! I’ll only write up a recipe once I’ve cooked it so I can get a photo and time it. I also blog in 30 minute stints too. :)

The Personal Cost of Politics

Keeping up with politics is a costly process. Thinking of just what goes on in Westminster, the 24 hours news cycle means there are always updates and developments, always new perspectives, more opinions to be read. Finding the time to keep up with all of these things is a challenge – for those who are financially insecure, time is even more precious, representing potential wages. For a large number of people, myself included, bothering to keep up to date with politics is a waste of a valuable resources.

Continue reading “The Personal Cost of Politics”

15th – 21st August: Ethics, Lead Poisoning, Poverty, Eugenics


The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

–  Ursula K. LeGuin

[I first read this when I was doing A-Level Philosophy and it has stuck with me ever since. It might not be academic, but this is proper philosophy – the kind that actually inspires – so it (controversially, I’m sure) goes in this list.]


Lead Poisoning and Crime: Why the Pipeline to Prison is Running Dry

– Rick Nevin

On Wishful Thinking

– Chris Dillow, Stumbling and Mumbling

Work Harder, Not Smarter

– James Zuccollo, The Visible Hand in Economics

Society & Media

In America, only the rich can afford to write about poverty

– Barbara Ehrenreich, The Guardian

Death of a Young Black Journalist

– Sarah Stillman, New Yorker

Carrie Buck

– Wikipedia entry

Untitled [on feminism and nerd ‘entitlement’, scare quotes my own]

– ‘Scott S Alexander’, Slate Star Codex

1st-7th August: Labour, Gender and Education

— Labour Economics

Working More = Markets Working

– Arnold Kling, Askblog

— Gender and Economics

The Makeup Tax

– Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

The Contribution of Female Health to Economic Development

– Bluhn, Kuhn, Prettner (2015)

— Education

Who pays for free higher education? The case of Scotland

– Lucy Hunter Blackburn, Economics of HE

Why Schools Need More Teachers of Color—for White Students

– Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

— Inspired by:

Why You Should Work As Though Your Kids Are Watching

–  Sallie Krawcheck, Medium


Can we really decriminalise sex work, globally?

Amnesty International have released a draft policy arguing for global decriminalisation of sex work. As a rule, decriminalisation of consensual actions between individuals that do not directly harm others is something I support. Prioritising the removal of legislation that disproportionately hurts the worst off/most marginalised is top of this agenda. However, wading into an unfamiliar political landscape and applying libertarian principles without care for the consequences is not something I endorse. In this case, I think Amnesty have missed a trick on nuance, in mandating a global recommendation for decriminalisation.

Read the rest here.

27th-31st July: Remittances, National Minimum Wage


I blogged on remittances – cited examples of supply-side effects of remittances are recommended.

Meer, J., and West, J., 2013. Effects of the Minimum Wage on Employment Dynamics [pdf]. Available.  [Accessed: 28th July 2015]

Aaronson, D., French, E., Sorkin, I., 2015. Industry Dynamics and the Minimum Wage: A Putty-Clay Approach [pdf]. Available. [Accessed: 28th July 2015]

Sorkin, I., 2015. Are there long-term effects of the minimum wage? [pdf] Available. [Accessed: 28th July 2015]

White Flight Never Ended

– Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

I’ve also just finished The Beautiful Tree by James Tooley, which is most definitely a contender for my favourite non-fiction book.

The Logic of Trolls

Anyone who has any interest in understanding internet trolls and online misogyny will likely have seen that a feminist activist on Twitter has been inundated (more honestly, besieged) by hateful, nasty, violent messages from fans of a certain music artist, who attributed his being banned from entering Australia to a campaign she led. This information turned out to be false. At the time that said music artist tweeted that Coralie Alison’s campaign had been successful, the immigration department in Australia had made no decision.

Continue reading “The Logic of Trolls”

The Value of Remittances

When it comes to doing development properly, the role of remittances in helping the poorest in other nations plays a pivotal role and yet is considered by many to be a cost to the UK economy – a resource that would otherwise have been spent in the UK, being diverted elsewhere. The efficacy of remittances is also questioned: developing countries have been receiving remittances for years, and what do they have to show for it?

These are all false questions and positions.

Read the rest here.

20th-24th July – Productivity, Nudge Economics, the BBC


The measurement and future of U.S. productivity growth

– Nick Bunker, Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Nudging people to do what they want to do

– Madsen Pirie, Adam Smith Institute

Who Will Nudge the Nudgers?

– Timothy Taylor, Conversable Economist

Politics and Ethics 

The Ashley Madison hack and the brave new world of internet morality

– Hugo Rifkind, The Spectator

Non-payment of BBC licence fee accounts for 10% of prosecutions

– Madsen Pirie, Adam Smith Institute