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.

How to really change someone’s mind

I’ve been thinking recently about three debates. In the first, which took place in January 2016, two Harvard students, Fanele Mashwama and Bo Seo, proposed that “the world’s poor would be justified in pursuing complete Marxist revolution”. In the second, in October of...

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The high price we pay for social media

Sitting exams is unpleasant at the best of times, but my daughter believes she has extra cause to complain. Two of her A-level papers are scheduled for the same time, so she must take a break between them with only an invigilator for company. “I can’t even have my...

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Why does it feel good to do good?

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner,” wrote Adam Smith, famously, in The Wealth of Nations, “but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their...

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