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Higher pay boosts economics and politics

Wouldn’t it be simpler if poor people in work were just paid more in the first place? That is, apparently, predistribution.

The welfare state’s a worthy Ponzi scheme

The only bread fit to eat is bread baked today: but why should today’s bakers feed the retired bakers of yesteryear?

When storytelling leads to unhappy endings

We deal with that world by constructing simplifying narratives. We do this not because we are stupid, or irrational, or have forgotten probability 101, but because storytelling is the best means of making sense of complexity.

Notes on a divided Europe from the Finnish frontier

To pass the watchtowers and barbed-wire fences on the Finnish-Russian border is to be reminded of how fragile, and how recent, are the stability and security we take for granted today.

Beware of Franklin’s Gambit in making decisions

When we make hiring decisions, or construct risk maps, or undertake investment appraisals we complete templates, the purpose of which is not to help us manage or decide but to rationalise what we already believe we know.

Basketball shows high banker pay not a slam dunk

The highwayman who offers “your money or your life” leaves you free to choose – in a sense. There is a spectrum, not a sharp distinction, between free exchange and coercion.

A real market economy ensures that greed is good

Our intuition is that a centrally planned allocation of resources will be more efficient than an uncoordinated one. In a market economy, that error constantly leads us to overestimate the economic advantages, and longevity, of large companies.

Let’s talk about the market economy

Modern titans derive their authority and influence from their position in a hierarchy, not their ownership of capital.

The random shock that clinched a brave nobel prize

Rational expectations fail for the same reason communism failed – the arrogance and ignorance of the monopolist.

Time for the Big Society to get down to the nitty-gritty

A small fraction of the ingenuity devoted to the construction of complex financial instruments that no one should want could advantageously be applied to the construction of less complex instruments that meet the needs of the Big Society.