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Bookmark and Share David Boyle is a nef fellow, a writer and the editor of nef‘s newspaper, Radical Economics.

Are Tesco's claims about jobs correct?

Tesco’s spokesman Lucy Neville-Rolfe claims that the government’s new competition test will cost 25,000 jobs over the next decade.  This is highly misleading, and not just because Tesco are now firmly in the anti-competition camp.  Actually, as most people have known since Adam Smith, more competition usually means more jobs.

What this nonsense seeks to avoid is the truth which has devastated so many local economies over the past decade – some retail developers build the local economy; some corrode them.

It is highly misleading to suggest that all Tesco developers create jobs, when research suggests that most big supermarket developments are net destroyers of jobs.  It’s as if Lucy Neville-Rolfe and her kind are able to add, but are blind when it comes to subtracting.  The jobs in a new Tesco have to be offset against those which disappear as a result.

Local authorities need to do much more to distinguish between new stores which will be genuine anchors – which will bring in more customers to the local high street, and increase the money that stays circulating in the local economy – and those which won’t.

Sadly, many Tesco stores are not actually providing anchors to the surrounding shops.  They are intending to compete with them and, since the big four supermarkets are semi-monopolies – which have huge power over suppliers – they will tend to drive out any local competition.  Companies which, like Tesco, intend to compete in nearly every local market will rarely be effective anchors.

If you wonder why so many of our local economies have been hollowed out, here is the main reason: we have been using wealth destroyers as anchor stores.

So next time someone like Lucy Neville-Rolfe talks about the jobs that are not being created because someone has had the temerity to put some mild block in their path, ask them to do some proper arithmetic.

Bookmark and ShareAndy Wimbush is nef‘s Communications Assistant and blogmaster.

1 minute to save the world

So you’ve probably seen An Inconvenient Truth and The Age of Stupid. They’re both pretty good. But perhaps you think you can do better. Perhaps you think not only can you make the most astounding, life-altering and empowering film about climate change that the world has ever seen, but also you can make it in less than one minute.

If so, then you should definitely get involved with 1 Minute to Save the World, an international film competition and online film festival. You can do anything you like, so long as it’s got something to do with climate change.

The films will be judged by such luminaries as Franny Armstrong (director of The Age of Stupid), Bruce Parry (presenter of TV’s Tribe), Mark Lynas (author of Six Degrees) and Shekhar Kapur (director of Elizabeth) and the competition is being backed by Greenpeace, Stop Climate Chaos, the World Development Movement and, of course, nef.

The winning films will be shown later this year at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, with one overall winner receiving a handy £1,000.

According to Jessica Dunlop, the visionary behind the competition, the idea is to harness the power of short films in a similar way to viral videos and corporate advertising, but using the medium for a more important message.

As well as the main competition, there are also categories for entries for young people and for films shot on mobile phones.

The closing date is 5 October 2009. To get more details about the competition and to see some of the short films that have already been made, visit


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nef employees blog in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the new economics foundation.