Archive for the Networks Category

Always Look on the Bright Side

The American economic recovery carries on apace, with a net rise in employment of almost half a million over the past three months. The Office for National Statistics has decided that the UK never had a double dip recession, and the texture of the economic news has

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Banging up bankers is the wrong punishment – it won’t change behaviour

The behaviour of the banking sector in the run up to the crash is still very much in the public eye. But this is nothing new. Readers of a certain age may recall Bernie Cornfeld, and his company Investors Overseas Services (IOS). It failed dramatically in the

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A wake-up call for the Department of Transport: do the proper sums, HS2 is worth it

The High Speed 2 rail project is under fire on many fronts. The Nimby protests in the affluent Home Counties have been augmented last week by more weighty criticism by the National Audit Office (NAO) of the scheme. At least, this is how the NAO’s work has

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Will Barnet or Brentford ever topple Manchester United?

Manchester United have walked away with the Premiership title yet again. In the last seven seasons, they have won no fewer than five times. Over the past 22 years, they have never finished outside the top three. Will they ever be overthrown, especially given the stupendous sponsorship deal the

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The Market for Speeding Points

What is it worth to take someone else’s speeding points? The Huhne-Pryce case has brought this into sharp focus. Setting aside the moral issues, the question raises interesting topics in economics. It turns out that there is a market in these points. The Daily Telegraph discovered that

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Hip Hop and Why Some Things Succeed

Just over a month ago, a group of young men from a fairly yokel part of Australia posted a video on YouTube. Nothing remarkable about that. Except that the video now has over 21 million viewings. More than 170,000 variants of the original theme have been posted

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Bankers, Greens and the Barking Mad: When Prophesy Fails

Forecasts of the end of the world have an even worse track record than predictions in economics.  Some followers of the Mayan calendar believe the world will end next week. But we have been here before.  In 1956, an American group, led by a suburban housewife, believed

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Ninja Turtles, Nick Clegg and Market Failure

Christmas is coming.  Retailers are beginning to push their offers hard.  The first page of a search on Google for ‘Christmas Toys 2012’ is full of sites announcing the ones which will be ‘hot’ or ‘top’.  In total, there are over 75 million results available to be

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Is this a pleb I see before me? Reality and perception in the markets

Andrew Mitchell, the government’s chief whip, remains in some difficulty after his exchange with the police at the gates of Downing Street. At the heart of the incident there is an objective reality. Either he used the word pleb, or he didn’t. Either the police were officious

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USA vs China continued… The Influence of Networks (and the Olympics!)

The last three Olympics have seen a titanic battle between the US and China to head the medals table. If you combine the total of the last three Games, China stands just ahead, with 121 golds to the United States’s 116. But, the US topped the table

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