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How I blew my money on the wrong video discs

There are historic lessons to be learnt from the recent high definition format war: the importance of the installed base and the unpredictability of consumer markets.

No need to own the road: buy the tollbooth

Mr Buffett’s success demonstrates the weakness of one economic theory, the efficient market hypothesis, and the strength of another – the central role that the pursuit and defence of economic rents plays in modern corporate life.

Not the time to emphasise Scotland’s fealty

Scottish banknotes are not legal tender in England – or in Scotland. What matters is not what is legal tender, but what others will accept.

Bankers, like gangs, just get carried away

The analytic mind argues that those promoting incomprehensible financial products or military invasions must either be liars or fools. But neither need be. Beliefs and values that matter are local, not global; subjective, not objective; and to question the prevailing culture is to exclude yourself from the group.

Business lessons from chess grand masters

People who hold to a single idea, or a fixed design, generally lose in chess, as they lose in battle, in business and in economics.

Christmas shopping and the chowkidar

There are many ways of interpreting the complexities of published economic statistics, with the result that commentators can find snippets of data to support any story they want to tell.

Beware the personality cult in democracies

European companies are increasingly imitating US ones in the cult and remuneration of chief executives. Political organisation may evolve similarly as party membership declines and ideology fades.

India cannot take economic growth for granted

The capacity of politics to get in the way of economic growth has dominated most of the economic history of most of the world.

Rock’s fate should not be a game of chicken

The chicken game, which frequently ends in tragedy or folly, is a game for movie-going teenagers, not grown-ups.

Climate change: the (Groucho) Marxist approach

The balance between present and future will be determined not by moral philosophy or economic models but by the decisions of ordinary savers, investors and voters.

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