One of the many disasters in Afghanistan, it turns out, was a war on the heroin trade that ignored basic economic principles. The result? Opium poppy crops soared in value, filling the coffers of the Taliban.
Category Archives: Economics
“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.
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.
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.”
If you’re interested in making sense of our strange new political world, you might like my book.
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
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
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
It was the tweet heard round the web. The selfie Ellen DeGeneres took during the Oscars became an internet sensation. First, it garnered the most retweets ever: as I write, Twitter reports 3.3m users have recommended it in this way. The previous record holder, President Barack Obama, had managed only 780,000 retweets, for a photograph celebrating his reelection on 7 November 2012. Continue reading
I for one don’t welcome our new robot overlords. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all in favour of the liberating potential of new technology. I’m also conscious that worries about jobs lost to mechanisation have a history of being misplaced: the jobs go but new and even better-paying ones appear elsewhere. Continue reading