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

The unnoticed megatrend

Investors, and others who try to predict the future, are often fond of thinking in terms of megatrends. Changes in demographics, climate, technology and culture are often discussed. One that I believe to be the most significant of all is rarely mentioned, and I have never seen the implications discussed. It is also hard to accept, because it appears to be disproved by experience. Continue reading

Governments should promote OSS

One would imagine that economists would have learned by now that they need to check their theoretical models against the real world. A recent article arguing that governments need to promote a “balance” between open source and proprietary software, rather than promoting open source, rests on no fewer than five incorrect assumptions, and is easily rebutted by what happens in the real world. Continue reading

Do the British really hate foreigners that much?

The government has so far come up with two ideas to reduce cap immigration, both of which would be highly damaging to the country:

  1. Let fewer students in
  2. Reduce the number of foreign workers

Take the first as it has had less attention. Educating foreign students is highly profitable for Britain and earns huge amount of money. It is like an extended, and far more profitable, version of tourism. Continue reading