Climate treaties suffer from a problem that is pervasive in our society. It is the same problem that is destroying British state schools, makes public sector out-sourcing fail, and cripples businesses. Once you set a numerical target, the metric becomes more important that what it measures. Continue reading
Shortages happen. A shortage of a gas that is vital to the manufacture of everything from beer to pain killers may look like just another unfortunate occurrence, but it is really a product of the way a “neo-liberal” economy works: globalisation and centralisation. Continue reading
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.
As Taylor Swift seems to have difficult saying what she means, so I thought I would provide a plain English translation of what she has to say about Apple Music. Continue reading
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
Ian Hickson, maintainer of the HTML5 specification, argues that the real purpose of DRM is to give content providers leverage over device manufacturers. Although this is true for some applications of DRM, in many cases the purpose is to lock customers to particular devices and services, and to raise barriers to entry against new devices and services. Continue reading
My idea, intended for the UK, but possibly applicable elsewhere, will generate a huge amount of government revenue, complete change immigration, and stimulate economic growth. The idea is a very simple: auction residence visas. Continue reading
The usual argument in favour of legalising insider trading is that it is not actually harmful (or even beneficial) to investors. I think that insider trading is extremely harmful and in-ethical, but it should be legalised anyway. My reasons are the difficulties in enforcing the law, and the probable effects on markets of legalisation. Continue reading
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.
- The slowdown is historically unprecedented, not just part of a cycle.
- The reasons for the slowdown are built into our economy and politics, so it cannot easily be reversed.
- Even if this is just a temporary phenomenon, the results could still be catastrophic.