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Do not criminalise traders just for being in the know

Obtaining better information about companies is essential to the efficiency of markets and society: obtaining it fractionally earlier is of no public value at all.

The world’s rich stay rich while the poor struggle to prosper

The dispersion of productivity among already rich countries has increased. Norway and Switzerland have surged ahead but laggards such as Italy – and indeed Britain – have struggled to keep up with the pack.

Being ethical in business is not as simple as ‘doing the...

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.

Sometimes, a spot of collusion can be a very good thing

Modern life involves complex and multidimensional products. It is perhaps inevitable that price structures appear similarly complex and multidimensional.

Sometimes the best that a company can hope for is death

Humans have always found it hard to cope with the idea that every individual has a lifespan even as life itself goes on. The idea of a natural life cycle for a business, or industrial centre, is even more difficult to accept.

The tyranny of the minority in the age of technology

Most people have little time or energy to devote to politics, which enables small groups with a strong commercial, personal or ideological motivation to exert disproportionate influence.

Enduring lessons from the legend of Rothschild’s carrier pigeon

Why do we devote more resources to training carrier pigeons and building fibreoptic links than to understanding military and business strategy?

The wrong sort of competition in energy

Some complexity is unavoidable, but much of the complexity consumers experience is not.

Don’t expect markets to bend it like Beckham

What is important in billiards is the result, not the play: and what matters in business and finance is the outcome, not the process. In business and finance, as in billiards, the imperfections are critical and you can anticipate the result, or understand the outcome, only by appreciating these imperfections.

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