Archive for the Blog Category

Farewell Facebook?

So farewell, then, Facebook! That is the conclusion of a highly technical paper by two Princeton researchers, John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler, which received a lot of publicity in the press last week. The authors conclude that “Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years,

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The so-called ‘output gap’: another piece of economic mumbo-jumbo

The concept of the’ output gap’ is central to mainstream macroeconomics. It is not merely of academic interest. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has a specific requirement to estimate the output gap, which it defines formally as “the difference between the current level of activity in

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Psychology, not economics, is the key if we leave the EU

Poland is the only European country to avoid a recession during the financial crisis of 2007-2009. Polish GDP is 36 per cent higher than it was in 2005. To put this in context, the comparable figures for the UK and Germany are 5 and 12 respectively. The

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The recovery is well grounded – except in France

The coming year looks like it will be a good one. At the start of each of the past five years, the economic scales have been tilted down, and the challenge has been to look for factors which might have tipped them back up. This year, the

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How Bad Has It Been? 2008-2013 in Historical Perspective

The end of a year is a good time to take stock. For the first time since 2007, prospects for the UK for the forthcoming year look unequivocally good. But looking back, just how bad have the last few years been across the developed world as a

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‘Re-inventing’ London: Planning for the Future

London is changing.  But then, it always is.  The theme of my new book, ‘Reinventing London’ is that change is the lifeblood of a great city.  Over the past thirty years it has replaced around 1 million jobs in manufacturing, largely around the edge of the city

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Have Bankers Been Practising Socialism? The Debate About the Top 1 Per Cent

Boris Johnson has got into trouble for his statement that it is “surely relevant to a conversation about equality” that just 2 per cent of “our species” has an IQ over 130. Over the past couple of years, the Occupy movement has made headlines by attacking the

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Britain’s New Industrial Policy: Can We Learn from the Mistakes of the Past?

The phrase ‘industrial policy’ seems to take us decades back in time. In 1964, a powerful catchphrase of the new Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, was the need for Britain to embrace the ‘white heat of the technological revolution’. Sadly, by the 1970s this vision had deteriorated

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Rising Residential Segregation, but Less Racial Prejudice: How Can This Be?

Britain is becoming more sharply divided on ethnic lines, according to a study just published by the think-tank Demos. During the past decade, more than 600,000 white people have moved out of London to areas which are more than 90 per cent white. The effect is strongest

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Chess and Decision Making

The World Chess Championship is underway, and the current champion – the Indian Viswanathan Anand – is trailing his young rival Magnus Carlsen by three to five. In the opinion of many, Carlsen is set fair to become the strongest ever human player. The match is an

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