Archive for October, 2009

Taking a break

In: Uncategorized

14 Oct 2009

I will be taking a break from blogging for the next few weeks. When I return I hope to be completing the final manuscript of my book, incorporating any comments I have been given, as well as finally getting round to upgrading this website.

James Surowiecki, writing in the New Yorker (12 October), argues that the recession has not changed American consumption habits as much as many pundits are assuming. His article concludes: “But the evidence for a radical shift in the way we consume seems more like the product of wishful thinking (there’s a palpable longing among pundits […]

This is my comment from this week’s Fund Strategy. The debate on public spending is proving to be one of the most degraded in economics. Each round of discussion is even worse than the previous one. First there was denial. The main political parties even refused to discuss the possibility or desirability of making cuts. […]

Even in these times, when frugality is in fashion, there are some unexpected positive items among the many negative ones on television. In the first episode of It’s Only A Theory, a new BBC Four panel show, Lucy Beresford defended her proposition that there is nothing inherently wrong with sadness. The two comedians and guest […]

As yesterday’s post showed one way to extend energy supplies is to use new techniques to extract more of an existing form of energy. Another solution is to develop new sources of energy. One that looks as though it might be closer to become feasible is nuclear fusion – generating energy by fusing atoms together. […]

This article from today’s New York Times gives just one example of why the notion of “scarce resources” is flawed. Over times new production techniques emerge which allow for the discovery and use of new sources of energy. Evidently a new technique is allowing for just such a discovery of huge quantities of natural gas […]

Amanda Platell exhibits the classic signs of aristocratic snobbery against new wealth in her description of Simon Cowell’s over-the-top 50th birthday party. According to her report in the Mail: “the party’s entertainment included exotic topless dancers, naked women gyrating behind a big screen, and a guest enjoying a good whipping on stage from a dominatrix. […]

An article in today’s Sunday Times (London) suggests that microfinance fails to spread wealth. It cites studies by Dean Karlan and Jonathan Zinman of Yale as well as another by Esther Duflo, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For example, it quotes Karlan as saying: “Microcredit is not a transformational panacea that is […]