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Buyers must master art of the particular

If stock-picking fails to beat the index, why should picking companies? It won’t, unless mergers carefully match the firms involved.

Mechanics of the market

Efficient markets make money for market participants, but not for market makers. That is something the enthusiastic promoters of B2B exchanges have yet to understand.

Stretching the figures

“Do the math” has become the mantra of a generation of consultants and investment bankers. The new economy, they claim, requires new principles of valuation. But the rules of logic hold even in cyberspace, and so do the principles of economics. Profits are hard to earn in competitive businesses, and markets that are not competitive are usually regulated.

Downside of regulation

There are many things wrong with British banks, but contrary to the Cruickshank Report, the fact that they make profits is not one of them.

Spanner in the works

The proposal to extend the Droit de Suite amounts to a subsidy of successful artists by unsuccessful ones.

Beating the west at its own game

Commercial success with innovation depends less on the innovations themselves than on the other qualities of a firm. Sony’s use of Bell Labs technology is the classic example.

Creativity at centre stage

Who really benefits from copyright laws? “Artists for strong copyright” seem not to understand for whose interests they are campaigning.

The Role of Business in Society

The view of business as necessarily selfish, narrow and instrumental, is, as it always has been, nonsense. Business which is selfish in motivation, narrow in outlook, and instrumental in behaviour is rarely successful business.

Outside football league table tells us all we need to know

League tables are in vogue, and despite the difficulties they seem worthwhile. If only it were easy to produce a “value added” table.

A rare privilege

Returns go where there is scarcity. The land in Champagne is intrinsically scarce. Other factors can be made scarce, or to cease to be scarce, as the history of broadcasting tells us.