Monthly Archives: April 2013

Reinventing the firm: The trailblazers building a new kind of business

THE government’s plans for a more diverse banking sector are looking increasingly threadbare, a reminder that politicians just aren’t very good at discovering or implementing solutions of this kind. Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Freedom, History, Human nature, Innovation, Technology

Britain’s three lionesses of liberty

There are three lions on England’s coat of arms, but three lionesses have defended this nation’s traditional liberties and demonstrated its enduring greatness: Margaret Thatcher, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth I. One of these iconic female leaders has just been honoured with a ceremonial funeral. But we often forget – or choose to ignore – how important freedom was to the success of all three. Continue reading

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Thatcher’s final appearance brought the best out of her public

Flurries of rain did not daunt the gathering crowd outside St Paul’s cathedral yesterday, busy swapping tales of the journeys they had taken to pay their final respects to Baroness Thatcher.

“I got up at three,” said one man. “My grandfather wasn’t well enough, but we agreed I had to go.” Others had camped all night, clutching bowler hats, union flags and, in one case, a biography of Henry Kissinger, huddled together in a line of sleeping bags to guarantee the very best positions. Continue reading

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Bitcoin is a lesson in how networks can supercharge innovation economies

BITCOIN has had a turbulent week. This experiment in digital money has yet to prove it can be more than a toy for investors with nerves of steel. But people write off its parabolic rise too easily. Bitcoin’s volatility should make you wary, but its roaring price increases also arguably illustrate how value can exponentially increase as a network grows in size. Continue reading

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Margaret Thatcher knew that freedom never comes cheap

It was fitting that, turning to Twitter for immediate reaction to Baroness Thatcher’s passing, one of the first responses I read was from the Polish minister of foreign affairs Radoslaw Sikorski: “Lady Thatcher, fearless champion of liberty, stood up for captive nations, helped free world win the Cold War. Deserves statue in Poland.”

Our memories of the Iron Lady have yet to season into history. The truth, sometimes easier to see from outside these shores, is that Thatcher was not just a revolutionary Prime Minister for the UK, she helped alter the course of world history. Continue reading

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The socialist Titanic that punctured the dream of free market zeppelin travel

WHO wants to help me build an airship? The reputation of the free market has a score to settle. Let me explain: blimps, zeppelins, dirigibles – whatever you call them, these stately giants of the sky, grounded since the 1940s, have never lost their hold on our imagination. From Pixar’s Up to the Final Fantasy video games, even if they no longer drift through our skies, they haunt our dreams.

Today, these wonderful machines have a chance to make a comeback, with commercial applications ranging from military surveillance to pipeline-free shipment of natural gas, to the tourism pioneered before the Second World War. But while there are technical hurdles to cross, the real roadblock is the cultural memory of a series of disastrous crashes, most famously that of the Hindenburg. Yet our memory gets the culprit wrong. The early airships were damned not by the limits of their technology, but socialist interference. Continue reading

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