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Monthly Archives: January 2007

Why data, soft or hard, cannot replace eyes and ears

In all areas of human endeavour, there are hard data and soft data. The happiness of a society or the progress of a civilisation, are multi-dimensional: components are determined by subjective consensus, not objective measurement.

Why the winner’s curse could hit complex finance

In financial markets, the more complex the instrument, and the more uncertain the outlook, the greater the likely range of views of common value. More often, trading puts assets in the hands of those who think the assets are more valuable than they really are.

Fallen companies rarely make it back to the top

Competitive advantage is bound up with a company’s history and needs to be matched to market opportunity. When it is lost or the market evolves, the consequences are generally fatal.

Green lobby must be treated as a religion

Environmentalism offers an alternative account of the natural world to the religious and an alternative anti-capitalist account of the political world to the Marxist. The rise of environmentalism parallels in time and place the decline of religion and of socialism.

Comparing the cost of living is not what it used to be

Technology, globalisation and competition drive prices down. The status of positional goods, the rising cost of domestically produced labour-intensive services and the absence of vigorous competition push prices and inequality up.