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The startling human progress that economists fail to see

The most important source of economic advance comes not from doing the same things better, but from achieving the same objective in a completely different way.

How big data lets us see a little further into the...

Big data can help us understand the past and the present but it can help us understand the future only to the extent that the future is, in some relevant way, contained in the present.

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.

Is it better to play it safe or to place bets...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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