Articles

Scottish independence matters less than you think

The centre of political gravity in Scotland is far to the left of that of the UK and that is at the centre of the concerns – widely held but little expressed – of Scottish business over independence.

The Olympic optimism bias has left the taxpayer out of pocket

The Olympiad was a good party, which cost the British population about £200 per head.

Tendulkar was great – but the stats say he was not unique

Cricketers as gifted as Mr Tendulkar will appear from time to time, but it is unlikely that one as skilful as Bradman will appear in the entire history of the world.

The design flaws that lead to financial explosions

Nuclear power and financial systems both have the capacity to blow up the world. Perhaps there are lessons from one for the other.

Being ethical in business is not as simple as ‘doing the right thing’

Ethics are about what to do when good behaviour and profitable business are not necessarily the same thing.

Britain’s ‘great leap forward’ was start of nuclear power failure

British technological failures have been compounded by a political phenomenon I have come to think of as “great leap forward syndrome”. The idea is that the best way to compensate for stumbles and missteps is to move, at one bound, ahead of the field.

To secure stability, treat finance and fast food alike

If I had a million pounds for every time I have heard a possible reform opposed because “it wouldn’t have prevented Northern Rock or Lehman Brothers going bust”, I might now have enough money to bail out a bank.

The Nobel committee is muddled on the nature of economics

Financial economics, for half a century a showpiece in economic departments, is today struggling to maintain credibility in the face of the financial instability of the past two decades.

Why I ignore Apple’s silly reams of terms and conditions

My decision not to read the terms of agreement when purchasing a new television is not the result of my stupidity and ignorance, but my wisdom.

The oft-forgotten basics of negotiation

Negotiations over Scottish independence are framed by the observation that neither the rest of the UK nor the EU has anything significant to gain from such negotiation – or any wish to conduct such negotiation at all.