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
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?
When you have a moment to spare, check out Douglas Rushkoff's new book, Life Inc. That's what I intend to do.
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?
It took a while to find an Individualist critique of the new book promoting equality, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, but here it is. There's a nice comment in Daniel Ben-Ami's blog about a shift in Egalitarian aspirations: 'It used to be a demand for more – for realising … Continue reading Do more equal societies really do better?
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
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?
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
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
As part of an economic recovery package worth $42 billion, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is going to give handouts of cash to Australians to the value of $12.7 billion. This has been derided by sceptics as 'the next blind throw of the dice'. It could perhaps be more helpfully seen as another example of fatalist … Continue reading Fatalist economic policy in Australia