What has the EU ever done for us?

What has the EU ever done for us? Mostly, a lot of harm.

Consistently favoured corporate interests over public interests

The EU is far more insulated from public pressure than national governments but even more prone to listening to corporate lobbyists. It is not transparent enough about lobbying for us to even know what the real expenditure is, but we know it a lot.
The greatest single case of this is in the supposedly free trade, but really corporate welfare, TTIP treaty which the EU is pushing hard, despite widespread public opposition. Who wants the treaty? Corporate lobbyists. It also binds countries permanently to particular policies, undermining democracy.

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Tablets: anti-consumer and anti-innovation

Tablet computers (and smart phones) are bad. They are bad for consumers and kill innovation. They move power from the owner of the device to its manufacturer, and denying the use of a cheap base for research and development, the very base that made the tablets possible in the first place, and, if PCs follow suit, innovation will become much harder. They deny consumers choice, are sometimes impossible to update (a security nightmare) and are inflexible. Continue reading

The innovation slowdown IS a serious crisis

Rick’s latest post on the creativity crisis raises the possibility that the current slowdown in technological advance is merely a period of adjustment rather than a permanent slowdown. I have three reasons for remaining pessimistic.

  1. The slowdown is historically unprecedented, not just part of a cycle.
  2. The reasons for the slowdown are built into our economy and politics, so it cannot easily be reversed.
  3. Even if this is just a temporary phenomenon, the results could still be catastrophic.

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An alternative to pharmaceutical patents

I have thought about this before, but a question my nine year old daughter asked me crystallised the idea. The (already existing) regulatory process can be tweaked to provide an alternative to patents that would make the market more competitive, reduce over-head costs of research, and reduce litigation costs and uncertainties. Continue reading

How big is the UK’s internet economy?

I am entirely unable to understand Boston Consulting Group’s much publicised claim that the “internet economy” contributes 8.3% of UK GDP. They do not define what they mean and I cannot reconcile it with the numbers. Most of the discussion in their document is of online retail so that is clearly important, but lets start with a key question. Continue reading