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How do skirts differ from computers?

The average historic return on the volatile equity market is central to calculations of the cost of capital and provision for future pension liabilities. But the figure has been debated for decades.

The parable of the ox

Since the ox was no longer being weighed, the key to success lay not in correctly assessing its weight, but rather in correctly assessing what other people would guess. Or what others would guess others would guess. And so on.

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.

Only market evangelists reconcile Jekyll with Hyde

No one should starve: that does not mean people should eat as much as possible. A country without a financial system would be – is – an impoverished place. It does not follow that the larger the financial system, the more prosperous the country.

The Kay Review – Interim Report

The interim report of the Kay review into the effect of UK equity markets on the competitiveness of UK business, was released yesterday. It...

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.

In love as in equities, we are fooled by randomness

This year I wrote that if men think about sex on average every seven seconds, the average man last thought about sex three and a half seconds ago. But neither love nor equity markets are so predictable.

Capitalism need not be about greed and gambling

A semantic confusion leads us to use the word market to describe both the process which puts food on our table and the activity of gambling in credit default swaps. That confusion has enabled people to claim the virtues of the former for the latter.

Europe’s elite is fighting reality and will lose

The eurozone’s difficulties have been created by member states not markets, giving members more resources to fight markets makes things worse, not better.

What Europe can learn from Kissinger-style ambiguity

The skill of the statesman is to distinguish situations in which ambiguity makes coexistence possible from those that will make the future more troublesome. In this respect, politicians who have steered world affairs through the financial crisis have not served us well.