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The oft-forgotten basics of negotiation

Negotiations over Scottish independence are framed by the observation that neither the rest of the UK nor the EU has anything significant to gain from such negotiation – or any wish to conduct such negotiation at all.

Technology’s crystal ball offers only a hazy view of the future

Knowledge is more than additive. What we learn when we bring two bodies of knowledge together may be much more than the sum of each alone.

Ronald Coase: Nobel Prize winner who explored why companies exist

Ronald Coase, who has died at the age of 102, played a key part in developing the intellectual arguments behind the market revolution that swept round the world in the 1980s.

Spotting a banking crisis is not like predicting the weather

The further one moves from mechanisms that are well understood and events that are frequently repeated, the less appropriate is the use of probabilistic language.

The mystery of QE

John considers the evidence for quantitive easing as an effective driver of growth, in this short video for the FT.

The market is not the best place to set a fair...

What happened at Enron, and in the banks, was that trading assets were marked to values that had been established not by people who knew about the contracts or the loans, but by the biased and ill-informed assessments of the traders.

Quantitative easing and the curious case of the leaky bucket

In the modern financial economy, the main effect of QE is to boost asset prices, as market gyrations of recent weeks have clearly illustrated. But is the pursuit of higher asset prices an effective or desirable means of promoting economic growth?

Darwin’s humbling lesson for business

The match between capabilities and environment is the key to the success of the tortoise. It is also the key to successful business strategy, the effectiveness of institutions, and to personal development.

Prosperity requires more than rule of law

When the Chinese ask how to establish the institutions to support a stable, prosperous economy, it is not enough to mumble: “Property rights and rule of law – go to Denmark and see.”

On the brink of a shadow drink industry

Restriction of business on moral grounds is not always unsuccessful but measures have to be applied with great care.

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