New ways with old numbers

Academics are always being asked to demonstrate the “impact” of their research. (Is it like being hit by a rogue cyclist? Or is it more like a pile-driver, or even an asteroid strike?) But while it is not unreasonable to ask whether a particular piece of academic...

Don’t fear the migrant

Should we seek to keep the citizens of poor nations trapped in their countries of birth for the good of their fellow citizens? I have been mourning the loss of a dear family friend: a doctor, trained in West Bengal, who then emigrated to Birmingham and worked all her...

Rogue accidents, and banging more shins

Another rogue trader? Apparently so. The Swiss bank UBS says it has lost $2bn down the back of a sofa somewhere – or more specifically, that it suspects one of its traders did so in unauthorised trading. An unauthorised loss of $2bn. Are there any authorised losses of...

Laffer curves and the logic of the 50p rate

“What do you make of the idea of a 50p tax rate on top earners, then?” “What do you mean, ‘the idea’? It’s here. It’s happening. Look around you! It’s the reality we have to deal with, not the idea.” “Come on, Charlie. It’s not as if you have to deal with the...

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