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Top nations like Denmark do well without pushing others around

We once suffered from Norman Angell’s “Great Illusion” that prosperity was the product of aggressive control of territory and resources — and now we know better. The wealth of Denmark is instead built on exporting bacon and drugs to control diabetes — an appropriate combination — around the world.

UK election confirms many beliefs are held in the absence of facts (truthiness)

We are all subject to confirmation bias — a tendency to find, or interpret, facts to support opinions we already hold. But truthiness is more extreme, occuring when conviction is prized over information.

We can reform the economics curriculum without creating new disciplines

Following the global financial crisis there has been much discussion of curriculum reform in university economics teaching. More pluralism is required, but there is no need for “two communities within the same discipline”.

A stealthy step towards abolishing income tax

The man who “laboureth much, and sparing the fruits of his labour, consumeth little” should not, Hobbes argued, pay more “than he that liveth idlely, getteth little, and spendeth all he gets”.

Economic abstractions conceal the true contours of human life

No economic model can describe “the world as it really is”.

Philistines may carp but scientists should reach for the sky

Anthropology helps us understand the world, in ways that are helpful whether we are talking about the internal contradictions of communism or the pathologies of financial crises.

Economists: there is no such thing as the ‘economic approach’

Economics is not a method but a subject – one defined by the problems it sets out to tackle not the techniques it uses.

London’s mayor is half right on envy, greed and inequality

Envy is both inseparable from economic progress and destructive of social cohesion. Some inequality is inevitable, and there seem to be three principal factors that make it more tolerable.

Quantitative easing and the curious case of the leaky bucket

In the modern financial economy, the main effect of QE is to boost asset prices, as market gyrations of recent weeks have clearly illustrated. But is the pursuit of higher asset prices an effective or desirable means of promoting economic growth?

Darwin’s humbling lesson for business

The match between capabilities and environment is the key to the success of the tortoise. It is also the key to successful business strategy, the effectiveness of institutions, and to personal development.