Category Archives: Human nature

Finding Garcia: It’ll take pluck to liberate yourself from micro-management

CAN YOU carry a message to Garcia? Do you even know what it means? The phrase used to be household currency, at least in America, but seems to have rather dropped from view. Yet since it was coined by an inspirational essay in 1899, it has been the subject of two feature films and it inspired an indie rock album as recently as 2009. It’s time for another revival. Continue reading

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It’s not enough for Tories to love liberty – Britain needs two parties of freedom

FREEDOM doesn’t get many shout-outs from politicians in today’s Britain. The hustings of the nation whose proudest boast used to be “it’s a free country” now echo with little but shades of paternalist reassurance. Have a problem? There ought to be a law to sort it out – and if you vote for us, by God there will be.

Disquiet at the major parties’ lack of interest in political freedom drove this week’s inaugural Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty, hosted in the City’s Guildhall by Conservative think tank the Centre for Policy Studies. It was cheering to hear a ringing Tory reaffirmation that liberty matters, but it is not enough. We need a cross-party equivalent. Continue reading

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Filed under Freedom, History, Human nature, Politics

This is how elites die: The establishment bubble has no answer to Ukip

IT IS time to give up the pretence that Ukip is an anti-establishment party. Clearly, the UK Independence Party is the power behind the British establishment’s throne, its secret master. How else did it persuade bien pensant opinion-formers to coordinate a series of cheap, alienating broadsides on its candidates and policies that have served only to push it ever-higher in the polls? Continue reading

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How open innovation will transform the Great British pound

Farewell to the pound coin’s familiar golden nugget design. Here comes the dough-decagon in its stead. The new 12-sided quid, modelled after the old threepenny bit, got plenty of attention this week. But the most interesting part of the design is what was left out. The flipside of the coin will be opened to a public design competition. Continue reading

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Filed under Freedom, Human nature, Innovation

Three killer business tips from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Seventeen years ago this week, a stake-wielding schoolgirl redefined the possibilities of popular entertainment. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a misfire in its earlier, cinematic incarnation, but Joss Whedon’s television version immediately marked itself out as something extraordinary. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Business, Film, Human nature

The limits of celebrity power and the rise of selfie-nomics in one tweet

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

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Ghostbusters is the best case for capitalism you’ll ever come across

You don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results!” Harold Ramis, the writer of the endlessly quotable Ghostbusters, died this week. It’s a sad loss of a huge talent, a man with the rare gift for blending insight with popular entertainment. Continue reading

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Bill Gates is gone and the dot-com era is over: It’s only the end of the beginning

AS FACEBOOK turns ten, and with Bill Gates stepping down as Microsoft chairman, it feels like something is drawing to an end. But if so, it is only the end of the technological revolution’s beginning. Continue reading

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The robots are coming – only the power of human ingenuity can save our jobs

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

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Why commercialism captures the true spirit of Christmas

It’s a shame all the shopping has to spoil the true meaning of Christmas. Or so we get told at this time of year, usually by the same prophets of good cheer who want us to celebrate the season by donning hair shirts and cutting back on the booze. Continue reading

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Filed under Christmas, Economics, Freedom, History, Human nature, Religion