Category Archives: Economics

Today’s Quote: Bernard Shaw on Money

“That is the use of money: it enables us to get what we want instead of what other people think we want.”

George Bernard Shaw

From this excellent Canadian defence of property rights by John Robson. He notes the irony of Shaw the socialist being the source of this quote. Read the whole thing. A great illustration of common Anglosphere values.

My book can also be bought with money.

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Filed under Anglosphere, Economics, Today's Quote

Today’s Quote: Tolstoy on groupthink

All the papers say the same thing… they are like frogs before a storm! They prevent our hearing anything else.

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Via Douglas Carswell’s intriguing new book calling for a free market revolt  against the new oligarchy of power and capital.

If you enjoy books that help you think differently, you might like mine. It’s short, fun and practical.

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Filed under Economics, Politics, Today's Quote, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: The Biology of Politics

I’m still making up my mind about this long, intriguing essay which seeks a high-level analysis of political dynamics via biological imperatives. It certainly explains the interest of a left-wing thinker like Cory Doctorow in the possibility of a post-scarcity economics in our technological future.

“To my eye, it is inherently clear that this r/K divergence is the origin of our political divide. Indeed, while policy proposals from Conservatives are predicated upon the premise that resources are inherently limited, and individuals should have to work and demonstrate merit to acquire them, Liberals advocate on behalf of policy proposals which seem to be predicated upon an assumption that there are always more than sufficient resources to let everyone live lives of equal leisure. To a Liberal, any scarcity must clearly arise due to some individual’s personal greed and evil altering a natural state of perpetual plenty.”

Read the whole thing.

If you’re interested in making sense of our strange new political world, you might like my book.

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Filed under Economics, Human nature, Politics

Listen to Peter Thiel: Politicians must embrace the fact there’s no money left

MORE must cost less. In his new book Zero to One, entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel observes that the dream of globalisation – expanding the affluent consumption habits of the western middle class to more and more of the world – demands we also commit to radical technological innovation in order to reduce that lifestyle’s environmental cost. Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Economics, Innovation, Technology

Lights out for darker skies: The First World War started with a crash

For the City, the Great War began with a financial crisis. Even before Britain committed itself, Europe’s great powers ranging against one another spelled disaster: the collapse of the magnificent, peaceful edifice of international trade built between the empires.

As told in Jerry White’s riveting account of London in the war, Zeppelin Nights, on Friday 31 July 1914 the London Stock Exchange closed indefinitely. Lloyd’s of London refused all business except to insure war risks. The bank rate suddenly doubled from 4 per cent to 8 per cent – its highest level in 40 years. Long queues formed outside the Bank of England, eager to exchange notes for the harder currency of gold. Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, History

Forget free market selfishness: It’s socialism that turns us into liars and cheats

Markets make people better. Not many people seem to think so these days, but the idea got a boost from a recent piece of research by Dan Ariely and others, which compared moral behaviour in Germans brought up in East and West Germany.

The team found that those with an East German background cheated twice as much as those raised in the capitalist West. The East Germans regularly lied about their success on a task throwing dice. Older subjects, with more experience of life under socialism, cheated the most. Those who had lived for 20 years or more under socialism were 65 per cent more likely to cheat than West Germans. This supported earlier work showing East Germans approved far more of cheating on taxes, although that criminal propensity appeared to be eliminated after seven years of reunification. Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, Freedom, History, Human nature

Our real crisis is government silencing the sound and fury of capitalism

THE STRATEGY is set for the general election on 7 May next year. Expect 12 more months of Labour banging on about the cost of living crisis, and a year of the Conservatives talking up the long-term economic plan. If only they weren’t both wrong.

Yes, the Conservatives can justifiably point out the country’s return to a decent rate of growth and heartening levels of job creation. Labour understandably enough is looking the other way, focusing on how tough it can still feel to live in Britain in the wake of a vicious recession. Statistical grandstanding is better than anecdotal resentment, but as they talk past one another, both sides miss the point: a truly flourishing modern economy will feel exciting wherever you stand.  Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, Politics