Two things of interest here

As from 1 November 2016 I am employed 3.5 days a week as Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City, University of London. I am principally engaged by them to undertake research on the European tax gap, country-by-country reporting, BEPS implementation and related issues as part of a multi-university Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Union.

Note that they’re not actually putting him in front of the students.

City, University of London is now close to concluding another grant agreement with the European Research Council for another grant looking at the impact of tax on corporate structuring. If this process is concluded as expected by the end of the year it is anticipated that I will become a full time employee of the university and my other funding would then cease as all the projects I am currently engaged on would either then be covered by my employment or will continue voluntarily and unfunded, as this blog has always been.

That last line doesn’t sound right really, does it? For I do seem to recall from the accounts for one year or another that he said the funding was largely to do with producing the blog. Or have I misrecalled? Anyone got the chapter and verse on that?

42 thoughts on “Two things of interest here”

  1. 2013 accounts for TRUK state “the principle activities are publication of a blog and specific research and advocacy projects….”

  2. He is entering into the final stages of obscurity. Paid to gaze into his navel and write reports that nobody will read.

    White flag has gone up.

  3. The principle activity and the principle funding are not necessarily the same. In his previous incarnation as tax-avoider’s enabler I’m sure he will have deployed this argentry many times.

  4. Meanwhile Hell and high water ciuldn’t keep his ego away from the students. That abysmal feedback from them last year won’t alter that.

  5. @Ironman – I’d echo Adrian here. What feedback? It would be fun to read it.

    The Murph said his students really enjoyed his lectures. And thought he was wonderful. And doted on his every word. And thought that they could see echoes of Murphy in every great economist that ever lived.

  6. “I am principally engaged by them to undertake research on the European tax gap,”

    Should be interesting. If he uses his usual “finger in the air x25” approach then he’ll produce a gargantuan figure that should be subject to far more scrutiny (and ridicule) than his usual efforts.

  7. @AndrewC

    For all that people take the piss out of Academics, they are a fairly rigorous bunch.

    I can only wonder at what an actual economics professor will make of some of his ‘logic’.

    It’s no use being on the same page as some rabid crypto-Marxist, Ritchie will find- internecine bickering, academic politics and simple intellect will see him filleted if he’s half as lazy in his papers as he has been in his writings to date.

    His personality won’t endear him to colleagues either, and that may be his biggest handicap

  8. @Ironman – I missed these reports of his feedback – can I add to the pleas above to regurgitate them please?

  9. By stating his blog is self funded he makes it appear as though it is a gift he is humbly bestowing on the world, an act of unparalleled altruism. I’m sure in his mind that is what he thinks. What a prat.

  10. That’s a mistake CC – you’ve used conventional mathematics to arrive at 0.7 from dividing 3.5 by 5.
    He was already a professor when working 1 day a week, so is now worth 3.5 professors.
    This mirrors the tax gap calculation method he uses, where conventional maths ( endorsed by international analysts ) arrives at a figure of £34bn, but multiplying by 3.5 rather elegantly gives a Murphy figure of £119bn ( corroborated by nobody, and even undermined by the Bank of England data on the low income levels and numbers in the black economy, data which he links to when doing his arithmetic using the assumption that black economy income levels are median or higher but the numbers of participants are as given )

  11. I’d imagine his feedback would be FOI-able.

    Noel Scoper?

    Noel, while you’re at it, I’d be interested to know whether his appointment as ‘Professor’ was consistent with University appointments policy given he had no track record whatsoever in academia. There must be senior lecturers toiling for years wondering how he walked into the title.

    What is the Uni’s policy on appointments of professors (I assume existing staff can’t just appoint their mates without any transparent process). Was the position publicly advertised? How many responded? Hard to believe he was the only applicant, but if so, tells you something. Why was he the best candidate?

    Noel, if you can be bothered, it would be interesting to know.

  12. Looks like Ritchie’s taking a pay cut. A quick google indicates Professor salaries start at about £60k. In London they will be a bit higher, say £70k. He was previously getting £65k in grants plus his part time professor income (say 20% x £70k) so about £80k in total. Against that he will presumably get a final salary pension and other employee benefits.

    Ritchie doesn’t seem to be writing reports for PCS, TUC, Oxfam, Christian Aid et al. now? Has he fallen out with them all?

  13. @John square

    He doesnt work with economists, he’s working with Marxists in “political economy”, which is the shallow end of the academic gene pool. He’d be eviscerated by normal economists, even at City.


    Professors of Practice are a relatively new thing in the UK, akin to US adjunct faculty. Popular books and reports are their thing. Yes, he’s rubbish, but he has “impact” in his “work”.

  14. Thanks Ken. Can the head of faculty just appoint their mates as a professor of practice, or is there process (advertised, transparency etc.)?

  15. When I lived in Clerkenwell the City house boozer was the Sekforde Arms. Profs and lecturers nice guys but narrowly focused so easy to take the piss out of.

    EU grant should last part time for the next two years. Not one of the most attractive academic postings, especially without London weighting.

  16. Is this not likely to be a ploy by Murphy to get closer to the levers of power (and income and employment) at the EU now all his bridges to Labour are thoroughly burnt? He still has an Irish passport?


    I used to live in Great Percy Street and walked through Clerkenwell each day to my work in the City. Happy days.

  17. It’s pretty much up to the University to decide who to appoint.

    ‘Professor’ (of whatever distinction) is more of an honorary title than an academic one. It’s not like a Doctoral thesis.

    A university risks devaluing the title if it dishes them out all over the place but it could if it wanted to.

  18. “It’s pretty much up to the University to decide who to appoint”

    Yes, but in most public bodies there are polices and procedures how it can be done – and the public body should be bound to follow its own policy (opens itself up to complaints and possible legal action by unsuccessful candidates if it does not).

    You don’t want senior people appointing their mates, relatives etc. – they aren’t spending their own money on the salary…

  19. “For all that people take the piss out of Academics, they are a fairly rigorous bunch.”

    That really very much depends on the subject. The best test of which is whether anyone uses it. Medicine is rigorous, or people die. Computing is rigorous, or companies get poorer. Photography, psychology or women’s studies can teach anything they like. Most of the people there are just going to use them to get a job in the public sector where any degree counts.

  20. The UK’s GDP is around 17% of the EU as a whole.

    Since the tax gap of the UK has been ‘proved’ to be £120bn, my guess is the tax gap of the EU will turn out to be around £706 bn.

    Although obviously you’ll need a lot of graphs and pie charts and extrapolations before you get there.

  21. Brave Fart
    You would have passed the Sekforde Arms.
    I was that disagreeable cvnt pointing out answers to the Guardian crossword.

  22. Same from me: if it’s some actual student feedback data rather than a [likely correct] assumption then I would love to hear it, Ironman!

  23. Adrian

    Normally positions would need to be advertised, but in practice there are ways around this. It’s not an academic position in the way that tenured faculty are appointed which is why it’s called “of practice”.

    Adjunct faculty provide useful extra skills and knowledge for US schools. I’m sure that Murphy has a negative value on his students, although if they read the marxist IPE crap, it’s probably no worse than the average drivel the cretins spew.

    @ Andrew C

    The only real difference is where someone is appointed to a named chair (Regius Professor of History, the Edgeworth Chair in Economics), which usually comes with an endowment. Those are a Big Deal. Professors are sometimes ten a penny – especially people who receive their “chairs” or “professorships” at the new universities and some of the red bricks.

  24. I suspect he’s been hired for the one thing he is really good at. That being writing grant applications that please the board of the good people dishing out the funding.
    He is good at securing funding under false pretences ( e.g. from bodies that don’t award to individuals ), so would be even better when doing so honestly.
    If he was a Greek I suspect that 3% of their economy would be EU hand outs rather than the current 2.5%, he is that good at this one thing.

  25. Didn’t Murphy get into trouble for accusing a couple of companies of facilitating tax evasion? Now he’s accused an entire Island……I do hope someone lets the appropriate people in Gibraltar know.

    “Richard Murphy says:

    November 2 2016 at 1:32 pm

    I guarantee Gibraltar is used for tax evasion

    What is more I make it quite clear that it deliberately facilitates that opprtunity by providing corporate opacity

    I offer no apology for saying so”

  26. Folks

    I feel I’m disappoint. I have enjoyed the odd cnversatoon with students who told me he sounded impressive at first but became repetitive and bombastic until eventually it dawned on people that he wasn’t actually leading anywhere and didn’t have any solid these to develop. Numbers starting. To tail off very noticeably.

    As for hard evidence of feedback: I just don’t have it I’m afraid. And to be fair, it’s the sort of thing isn’t likely to be released.

    I feel a fraud; perhaps they’ll make me Professor at Large International Makingitupenomics or something.

  27. Ironman, a pity, but interesting to hear anecdotally.

    But it is highly likely that feedback will have been obtained and collected; is it worth someone trying an FoI request?

  28. Here’s his page from the City website. I suspect it is self-penned – it has a certain stylistic feel about it (though it’s light on typos). One can imagine the frisson he would get from writing about himself in the third person.

    I wouldn’t mind betting he has had a dry run at some time using “Lord Murphy”.

  29. The only descriptions I found of ‘of practice’ when he was first appointed made it clear that it was not a role involved in research and publication. Typically it was someone with real world experience and professional qualifications who did some teaching

  30. One of his research areas seems to be “The need for accounting reform to ensure sufficient relevant and reliable data is available to assess taxes on business profits”

    Making Tax Digital is all about this, but I don’t think I’ve heard a peep from Murphy about it.

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