Congrats To Renewable Energy – One Third Of US Households Struggle With Energy Bills

The US Energy Department has just released a report detailing how some one third of US households struggle to pay their energy bills. This isn't as much of a surprise as we might think given that energy policy these past couple of decades has...

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Trump’s Trade War With China – Fortune Gets The Analysis The Wrong Way Around

Having actually worked for one of the leading business magazines out there - sure, as a freelance but still - I can tell you that most of the staff are assailed by the same basic misunderstandings of business and the economy as the rest of the press corps. You...

Didn’t Rail Privatisation Do Well – The Network’s Bursting At The Seams

A common enough criticism of the privatisation of Britain's railways is that they're too crowded. That the system just has too many passengers. Which is a very strange criticism indeed - that lots of people are using something shows it's badly done? But that is indeed what we're getting: The transport...

The Observer Attempts To Disprove Keynesian Economics

Given the manner in which The Observer generally thinks that governments should manage the economy through fiscal policy - a rough and crude description of Keynesian economics - it's a bit of a surprise to find them attempting to disprove a central point within Keynesian economics. But that's what...

McDonald’s And Luxembourg – EU Says Paying No Tax Is Legal

The European Union has announced the result of its investigation into McDonald's and the deal the company had with Luxembourg. All entirely legal they say - despite the fact that no taxes were being paid. This will of course enrage the usual types but it seems fair enough. For...

Bigger Firms Are More Productive And Pay Better Wages

We've long known this was true about manufacturing firms. There appears to be a process of internal negotiation whereby goo profits lead to higher pay for the workers. Or maybe it's that hiring better workers by paying better wages increases productivity, who knows? But does this apply to services?...

Will Apple, Ireland Or The European Union Win The Tax Appeal?

Ireland has now collected the disputed amount of tax from Apple, as the European Union insisted it should. The next interesting stage is going to be, well, who is going to win on appeal? My betting is that Ireland and Apple will - although my record of prognostication on...

Assaulting 1,000 Women Seems A Bit Of An Overestimate

A story out of he US which is both horrific and also an interesting test of the numeracy of our journalistic class. That second being perhaps not all that great. A California surgeon and his girlfriend have been charged with two sexual assaults, and investigators suspect there could be "hundreds"...

Ask Agatha #23 Puttin’ On The Ritz, Puttin’ On The Style

Dear Aunt Agatha, I could use your help in improving my image. I've been mocked in the media recently because a couple of my tourist friends checking out Salisbury Cathedral were accused of some dastardly crime. I personally have been accused of stealing stuff from my neighbours, when the truth...

Official Statistics Are, You Know, Statistical Estimates….

We should all already know this but apparently some don't. From The Conversation: The problem with official statistics – and three ways to make them better What value do statistics really have when it comes to describing events in a country? For most people, statistics are a means to an end,...

Getting The Facts Wrong About US Manufacturing

It really is quite amazing how many factual errors it's possible to get into just the one analysis of what ails America's manufacturing economy. Take this from the Washington Monthly for example: Wage stagnation has impacted American workers more dramatically than those in most other wealthy countries. Since 2000, the...

Why Was Jim Crow The Law? Because Discrimination Is Costly, As Gary Becker Said

An interesting little historical question is, well, why was Jim Crow the law? If all white Southerners were racists then it wouldn't be necessary to have a law insisting that blacks be discriminated against. It would be possible to just leave it to the actions of individuals and the...

We Could All Learn From Pakistan Flogging Off The Politicans’ Cars

Imran Khan's pledge to flog off a decent portion of the State's assets has started with the auction of 61 cars from the government fleet. Given the financial problems in the country this is only a sop, of course it is, but a sop with value. As with India's...

As Usual, World Economic Forum Gets Robots And AI Wrong Over Jobs

The World Economic Forum is that gathering of the Great and the Good that takes place at Davos each year. One good explanation for why the world is in the state it is is that the WEF, thus the Great and the Good, don't actually understand the world we're...

Ocasio Cortez Is Only Half Right About Her $40 Trillion Spending Plans

Of course Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making stuff up about her spending plans and how to pay for them. She's a politician on the stump and the phantasm applies to her as much as it does to Ted Cruz when he's pandering for votes. The particular flavour might be different...

Benford’s Law Is Weird But Interesting

The weirdness being what makes it difficult for people to fake, thus giving us a marker for fake numbers: Using Benford’s Law to detect tax fraud in international trade Banu Demir, Beata Javorcik 17 September 2018 Smuggling, along with other forms of border tax evasion, is a substantial problem around the world....

Marty Feldstein Worries That We’ll Not Be Able To Deal With The Next Recession

It's entirely true that governments and central banks around the world don't have all that many tools left to try and deal with the next recession. We've not got a lot of fiscal space - national debts are well up there - and we've not really got much monetary...

Threats Make Society Less Liberal, Tolerant, So Should We Have Mass Immigration?

Doesn't this just test progressive mores? We've a finding - published in The Guardian no less as well as Science - that perceived threats to a society or culture make it more authoritarian. There's even the comment that the strict societal desires of such as the Front National are...