Tag Search Results

Why mean outcomes are often meaningless

There is never such a thing as a single true and fair view, only a range of possible outcomes. To assess a value from the mean outcome is as meaningless as the observation that the average person has 1.99 legs.

GDP is flawed – just not the way most people think

It is a poor criticism of a thermometer that it does not tell us how comfortable we feel.

Is it better to play it safe or to place bets that risk bankruptcy?

Although transactions with low probability of large loss and high probability of small gain carry the potential for disaster, they can appear attractive for a very long time – perhaps for ever.

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.

The market is not the best place to set a fair price for assets

What happened at Enron, and in the banks, was that trading assets were marked to values that had been established not by people who knew about the contracts or the loans, but by the biased and ill-informed assessments of the traders.

Don’t blame the havens – tax dodging is everyone else’s fault

Corporation tax is a tax on corporate activity and on shareholders, and it is not well designed to achieve either purpose.

Directors have a duty beyond just enriching shareholders

British law might have said that the duty of directors is simply to promote the interests of the company’s members. But it doesn’t – and that is no accident.

Politicians bow to pressures to bend data

For a time, the coalition government seemed willing to let figures tell their own story rather than one written by their political advisers; but that time seems to have passed.

Corporate tax should be fair and shared

Ireland accounts for a share of global profit disproportionate to the size of the Irish economy. Not because business in Ireland is particularly successful but because reporting profits in Ireland is particularly attractive.

Fewer ingredients will best serve the VAT on food

The common sense that says “I know the difference between a Cornish pasty and a ham sandwich when I see it” is appealing, but we would rightly find it unacceptable that the decisions of a tax inspector should be based on the principle that he knows what to tax when he sees it.