Archive for October, 2008

The fact that life expectancy in Britain has reached record levels should be a cause for celebration. According to the latest release from the Office for National Statistics: “UK life expectancy at birth rises to record level: 77.2 years for males, 81.5 years for females”. Presumably these figures have received relatively little publicity because they […]

“Be careful what you wish for” is going to be the theme of my introduction to the session on “growing pains” at this coming weekend’s Battle of Ideas. For a long time growth sceptics have expressed concern about the rising affluence of places such as China and India. They have argued, at least implicitly, for […]

Margaret Atwood, a Canadian writer and activist, has had a non-fiction book published on debt. Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth is a collection of essays based on the annual Massey lectures she gave this year. From what I can gather it is against “greed” and pro-environmentalist. For an extract click here.

The following comment by me was published in this week’s Fund Strategy. Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, has stated that he would like to see economics become boring again. Although his instinct is understandable it is profoundly mistaken. It is easy to look back with nostalgia at those halcyon days – […]

India’s lunar programme should be welcomed. India is sending an unmanned space probe to the moon and in the course of it explore the possibility of bringing helium 3 – the ideal fuel for nuclear fusion – back to earth. It was inevitable that many would sneer at such a mission when India is still […]

Paul Collier¸ professor of economics and director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, has expanded on his arguments on the need to develop agriculture (see posts of 15 April 2008 and 22 August 2008) in an article in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs (November / December). I have […]

A striking feature of yesterday’s speech by George Bush at the White House Summit for International Development was how much he agrees with NGOs such as Actionaid or Oxfam. The supposed conservative demagogue and the supposed radical activists are sleeping in the same bed. The following passage on water provision clearly illusrates this shared approach. […]

Income inequality is widening in most developed country according to a report on Growing Unequal by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). According to the press release the report: “finds that the economic growth of recent decades has benefitted the rich more than the poor. In some countries, such as Canada, Finland, Germany, […]

The introduction to the following story shows how mobile phones can be used to raise productivity in poorer countries. I should emphasise I have no personal interest in Thomson Reuters! “CHANDIGARH, India, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ — Thomson Reuters today announced that it has expanded its ground-breaking mobile information service for India’s agricultural community to Punjab. […]

I have unwittingly gone straight from one anti-growth BBC television documentary to another. “High Anxieties: The Mathematics of Chaos”, a one-off documentary by David Malone, achieves this effect by muddying the difference between the natural world and the social world. It starts by outlining how the Newtonian worldview was a relatively simply linear one which […]