Archive for the Business Category

The intellectual imperialism of economics

The intellectual imperialism of economics

At this time of year, most people are focused on leisure. The holiday you have just had, the one you are on now, or the one you are just about to go on. With exquisite timing, the 1 August issue of the top Journal of Economic Perspectives

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Our automated future is brighter than Karl Marx or Mark Carney would ever suggest

Our automated future is brighter than Karl Marx or Mark Carney would ever suggest

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, hit the headlines at the weekend, claiming that Marxism could once again become a prominent political force in the west. Automation, it seems, may not just destroy millions of jobs. For all except a privileged minority of high-tech

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Why can PwC charge such superhuman fees? It’s all in the power of bargaining

Why can PwC charge such superhuman fees? It’s all in the power of bargaining

The liquidation of Carillion continues to feature prominently in the news. Last week, the story was the fees being charged by PwC, the accountancy firm tasked with salvaging money from the wreckage. It emerged that PwC’s fees, which take priority in terms of being paid over the

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The balance between wages and capital is shifting – rent seekers had better beware

The balance between wages and capital is shifting – rent seekers had better beware

The first column of a new year is the time for a prediction. By far the hardest part of forecasting is to identify tipping points. The success rate of calling a break in an established trend is very low. Accompanied by suitable health warnings, 2018 looks like

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Comparison sites are forcing businesses and economists to rethink price theories

Comparison sites are forcing businesses and economists to rethink price theories

The competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a report about Price comparison sites at the end of last month. They seem simple enough, but these straightforward sites raise interesting issues for economics. Overall, the CMA was pretty positive about the DCTs – digital comparison tools, to give

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Beware the dysfunctional consequences of imposing misguided incentive systems

Beware the dysfunctional consequences of imposing misguided incentive systems

Following the disclosure of salaries at the BBC, it has hardly seemed possible to open a newspaper or switch on the television without being bombarded by stories about pay. By pure coincidence, an academic paper entitled “Pay for Performance and Beyond” has just appeared. So what, you

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Cautious corporates sitting on hoards of cash are to blame for our slow recovery

Cautious corporates sitting on hoards of cash are to blame for our slow recovery

The slow recovery since the financial crisis remains a dominant issue in both political and economic debate. The economy has definitely revived since 2009, the depth of the recession, in both Britain and America. The average annual growth in real GDP has been very similar, at 2.0

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Global cyber-attack: not a new problem

Global cyber-attack: not a new problem

Last month, the largest global cyber-attack in history recently infected Windows computers in a network. It utilised a security glitch in the Windows operating system that allowed it to jump from computer to computer on an internal network. Only this week, yet another ransom attack spread across

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How to stop tech hubs in urban hotspots from intensifying geographic inequalities

How to stop tech hubs in urban hotspots from intensifying geographic inequalities

Perhaps George Osborne’s most abiding legacy from his time as chancellor will be the creation of the concept of the Northern Powerhouse. Certainly Manchester, its principal focus, is booming. The landscape of the centre is being altered dramatically by skyscrapers. Peel Holdings, the huge investment and property

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Does the productivity gap actually exist?

Does the productivity gap actually exist?

Whoever wins the election tomorrow will have to grapple with what appears to be a fundamental economic problem. Estimated productivity growth in the UK is virtually at a standstill. The standard definition of productivity is the average output per employee across the economy as a whole, after

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