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Forget the meltdown, worry about goo and asteroids

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of our successful escape from extinction by the Tunguska meteorite, John examines the economics of the end of the world.

Metaphors in free fall: the anti-bubble named

On 25 June, John offered a bottle of champagne for the best word for the opposite of a market bubble. This week, he reviews readers' many entries and announces the winner

The strange financial physics of the inverse bubble

Bubbles can be downward as well as up. A new term is required.

Rhetoric will never feed the world’s hungry

We make the poor better off not by holding back technical and economic progress, but by accelerating it.

Smoking, cynicism and sheer muddled thinking

The measure of the productivity of an activity is the public and private benefit from a good or service that results from that activity.

Books: the good, the bad and the cheesy

Ideas - even those about business - often find their best expression in fiction.

Seeing is believing when it comes to inflation

Perceptions of inflation are formed, not by the ONS, but by the most salient prices.

Darwin’s wife and war in Iraq: a missing link

The modern world of business and politics is plagued by spurious rationality and bogus quantification. The desire to do what is right is overtaken by the necessity to do what is easy to defend.

An innumerate mistake haunting the government

Do not tinker with the tax system for short-term political advantage. Tax is always more complicated than you think and the results come back to haunt you.

Lennon was right about music and the man

The notion that extending intellectual property rights in the music industry would provide pensions for ageing and impoverished crooners is an engaging fantasy.