Economics – telling stories to anyone who’ll listen

Meika commented on the previous post here about the ability of economists to predict the economic crisis - 'he who pays the piper calls the tune'. Does this really apply to economists? Well, yes it does and here's a little anecdotal evidence... This March the economist Peter Schiff gave a speech entitled 'Why the economic … Continue reading Economics – telling stories to anyone who’ll listen

The financial crisis: Why did no-one see it coming, and why did economists get it so wrong?

Why didn't the experts see it coming?, asked the Queen of England, and the British Academy wrote a letter to explain. Of the lead up to the global financial crisis they wrote: “It is difficult to recall a greater example of wishful thinking combined with hubris.” Meanwhile, economist Paul Krugman asked a similar question - … Continue reading The financial crisis: Why did no-one see it coming, and why did economists get it so wrong?

Good Intentions: is rational choice the only choice?

A new book called Good Intentions proposes that Christians should stop judging economic matters on the basis of pre-conceived moral positions and start judging them on the basis of what actually works. A prime example is the debate about the minimum wage... If the aim is to relieve poverty, say the authors, the minimum wage … Continue reading Good Intentions: is rational choice the only choice?

Virtual Goods and the Greatest Story ever Told

Virtual goods make money In a recent post about the profitability of online social networks in the US, China and Japan, venture capitalist Bill Gurley presents evidence that the more financially successful social network sites are those that downplay advertising revenue and focus on revenue from virtual goods. He points out that Users in Second … Continue reading Virtual Goods and the Greatest Story ever Told

Energy Efficiency: Running to stand still?

Is energy efficiency a key factor in reducing greenhouse emissions? Matthew Taylor of the RSA thinks home energy efficiency should take priority, and Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute is also very keen on large scale efficiency gains. The Jevons Paradox is the idea formulated in 1865 that making coal-burning more efficient will lead … Continue reading Energy Efficiency: Running to stand still?

How to avoid nasty surprises

The company had a "uniquely entrepreneurial culture" that made it a paragon of business success. According to management guru Gary Hamel, it was ‘leading the revolution’. Unfortunately the company in question was rotten to the core and ultimately became one of the most notorious business failures of the decade. The company, of course, was Enron. … Continue reading How to avoid nasty surprises

A mutual alternative to markets and hierarchies

The trouble with a bi-polar view of the world is that there only ever seem to be two rival ways of doing anything. The choices are strictly limited. In the midst of the financial crisis, the pendulum has swung from the private sector ownership of banks to public sector ownership, as though these were the … Continue reading A mutual alternative to markets and hierarchies