There was a great little piece on Business Insider this morning about Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech at the Oscars. It got me thinking. Let me start by saying that I am a firm believer in equality in all areas: male/female, black/white, whatever. Whilst there are undoubtedly differences in individuals’ capabilities that’s what makes the world… Continue reading Wage Inequality: How Not to Fix It
Back in the mid-1980s when (as a freshly-minted science graduate) I joined Shell International Trading Company as a programmer, PCs were only just starting to appear on people’s desks: most of the ‘real’ work was done by big old mainframes located in Shell’s data centre at Wythenshawe, just outside Manchester. Oil traders, just like those… Continue reading National Health Service: Not National At All!
An article by The Economist on Twitter caught my eye a couple of days ago. It shows that the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans control around 22% of the nation’s wealth — almost exactly the same proportion as the bottom 90% of citizens. This hasn’t happened since the late 1930s and the article seems to be… Continue reading Putting the Gini Back in the Bottle
I had an interesting and salutary experience recently when travelling in Germany. I was using my Blackberry to read my emails, careful (I thought) to be connecting to WiFi in the airport, hotel and so forth. When I got back to Jersey, I received a text message from my provider, Sure, alerting me that I had… Continue reading Mobile Telephony
The recent surge in popularity of “ransom-ware”, along with Islamic State’s penchant for hostage-taking got me thinking about kidnapping & ransom. In last weekend’s FT, Tim Harford reviewed the work of Reinhard Selten on the ‘Chain Store Paradox’ and it struck me that there was a strong parallel between the rational response of a monopoly… Continue reading Should You Pay The Ransom?
This is from the egalitarian Sweden: “In this paper, we study the short-run effect of salary receipt on mortality among Swedish public sector employees. By exploiting variation in pay-days across work-places, we completely control for mortality patterns related to, for example, public holidays and other special days or events coinciding with paydays and for general… Continue reading Dying on Payday
Reading the latest document from the Stop Stansted Expansion (which is excellent, and can be downloaded here) it strikes me that although there istechnically debate, nobody seems to be listening to what anyone else is saying. Two of the graphics in SSE’s latest submission stand out so I’ve included them below. The first shows that… Continue reading Does UK Need More Airports?
Great swathes of the economy are already subject to government oversight: finance is the most obvious, but of course there’s also healthcare, air travel, car safety, workplace-related legislation, food safety, building regulations, telecommunications and so forth. The list is pretty much endless. At a recent lecture I heard that something like five times as many… Continue reading Why Isn’t Software Regulated?
I am a big believer in railways as a way of moving people & freight around a country quickly, efficiently and cheaply. It may well be the case that part of Japan’s post-War expansion was thanks to an extensive network of railways. So I have given quite a bit of thought to UK’s HighSpeed projects,… Continue reading The Trouble With Trains