Undercover Economist

My weekly column in the Financial Times on Saturdays, explaining the economic ideas around us every day. This column was inspired by my book and began in 2005.

The strange temptations of phoney medicine

We puny humans just can’t seem to deal with the idea of a disease for which there is no treatment. We’ll always find something to believe in, no matter how tenuous. Since the Sars-Cov-2 virus was discovered, people have been circulating “cures”, from avoiding iced...

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How not to Groupthink

In his acid parliamentary testimony recently, Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s former chief adviser, blamed a lot of different people and things for the UK’s failure to fight Covid-19 — including “groupthink”. Groupthink is unlikely to fight back. It already has...

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Can you really change who you are?

Femi was 21 years old when he was pulled over for speeding in Colindale, London; the police charged him with a cannabis offence. It was one of several brushes with the law. But Femi changed. As Christian Jarrett writes in Be Who You Want, “Femi, or to use his full...

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Why bad times call for good data

Watching the Ever Given wedge itself across the Suez Canal, it would have taken a heart of stone not to laugh. But it was yet another unpleasant reminder that the unseen gears in our global economy can all too easily grind or stick. From the shutdown of Texas’s...

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