Thursday, June 28, 2007

New DWP secretary

Peter Hain is the new Work and Pensions minister. This is quite surprising, but then not many were tipped for this position anyway. Hain dropped out second in the leadership race. His new role is certainly a bigger task than his previous one, with visionary pension and welfare reform under way. It will be interesting how DWP will position itself vis-à-vis the Treasury.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

TV consumption

Here is a chart of TV watching hours over the years. Unsurprisingly, during summer people watch less. But what happened in winter 2002 when hours dropped? The spike during summer 2002 must be the football championship.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Robert Fogel writes in Capitalism and Democracy in 2040: Forecasts and Speculations

While the economies of the fifteen countries that were in the European Union (EU15) in 2000 will continue to grow from now until 2040, they will not be able to match the surges in growth that will occur in South and East Asia. In 2040, the Chinese economy will reach $123 trillion, or nearly three times the output of the entire globe in the year 2000, despite the influence of several potential political and economic constraints. India's economy will also continue to grow, although significant constraints (both political and economic) will keep it from reaching China's levels. The projected decline of the EU15's global share of GDP means that Asia will be poised to take up the role of promoting liberal democracy across the globe.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

FT raises price

The FT raises its daily sale price by 30p to GBP1.30. This is quite surprising given the surge in internet news and advertising. But apparently FT believes they can put off the competition because of their selective readership. A lot of FTs are obviously bought by businesses. In addition there is no direct competitor on business news.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dillow on Food

Chris Dillow claims that Ricardo's forecast that higher food prices will slow down growth is right.

It might be that food inflation has picked up, but Dillow neglects the fact that the food products we buy are processed and cary profit margings. Think also of the increase in whole/organic foods.

Monday, June 11, 2007


The philosopher Richard Rorty died Friday in Palo Alto. He was 75. In Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Rorty argues that epistemology rests on the view that the main function of the mind is to faithfully represent a mind-independent external reality.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Conference list

On goingtomeet you find a dynamic list of econometrics conferences. Here you find a program to the North American Summer Meeting of the Econometrics Society in June.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Whole Foods

There probably has never been so much buzz about the opening of a supermarket.

We went to the new Whole Foods, the natural and organic supermarket, store in Kensington on its opening day. It is quite nice. As you expect it was totally overcrowded. Interestingly all the staff are American, and hence much even more polite than English staff.

Apparently Whole Foods is competing with Waitrose and M&S on the same street.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Left and right

I recently left the public sector to work in the private sector and I have noticed a strange shift in my political interest. When I was a civil servant I was mightily interested in politics because I could understand the background to it. I could see how an economic fact was turned into a political story. Now that I have to work more - good old lazy days - I seem to care less. I would probably read the headlines and believe that that was the truth. What is a political truth anyway?

Only few weeks are between public and private sector and already Westminster appears as an ivory tower far from everyday man's concerns. Maybe that was always the case, I just didn't realise it.

I am confused.


It's a bit ironic that on the same day New Labour has reissued the debate about a new Britishness day, the London olympic committee has published the new un-British 2012 logo. Nothing really makes the logo stand out, or proclaim London. It took almost everyone to figure out what those paperclips actually mean. My bet is they will change it, they still have time.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Attack in Heiligendamm

Four days early G8 adversaries are already fighting on the street. After a long debate how far away the fence should be it seems reasonable that it's not too close, given the unpredictability of the protestors.

But what are they protesting against? .. Capitalism? Wake up. We live in a much more complex world than that.

How can they protest against the heads of states from the very countries the protestors come from. They have a vote, so why they don't propose change in a democratic way?

Interestingly Attac doesn't exist in the UK*, despite it being at the neoliberal forefront.

* only on Jersey

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Björk volta

Björk has published her new album Volta. She remains loyal to her unique style. One of the most popular tracks Earth Intruders is produced by Timbaland. An album which doesn't disappoint.

25 days left

No that's not the title of a new film, but how many days till Tony will step down. It seems like an awfully long time away. I guess every one is getting tired already of the deputy leader competition which stands for ... nothing. About time that things change for ... better.