I am not one of those who believe the World Bank should be shut down. Indeed, if anything, I would prefer to see the multiplicity of bilateral aid agencies and NGOs shut down, and all the money put through a… Continue reading
Everybody knows that E-Bay was a great innovation. By reducing transactions costs, and enabling users to establish
reputations, it has enabled millions of people to buy and sell goods in small quantities and of lower value than would have been possible in traditional bricks and mortar stores.
But there is another important, and little understood, innovation in the E-Bay model: the second price auction. “Oh, the second price auction”, I hear you cry in unison, “WTF is that?”
According to Michael Crichton, writing in the New York Times the observation that doctor should test for the existence of a particular amino acid to determine if a patient needs a vitamin supplement has been patented:
I have written here before about the failure of the rich countries to take action to prevent the worsening suffering in Sudan (see here, here, here). Two million people are displaced – living in refugee camps –… Continue reading
I had lunch with Quentin Stafford Fraser, the Executive Director of Ndiyo.
Ndiyo! is a project set up to foster an approach to networked computing that is simple, affordable and open.
The idea is to use very thin clients… Continue reading
I begin with a confession that I am an admirer of Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to the Republic of Uzbekistan. He deserves praise for his courage and clarity in speaking out against vicious human rights abuses by the… Continue reading
A group of K-Stars ran the Silicon Valley Half Marathon this morning. All enjoyed it, and Tomas (1:29:53) and Dave O’Connor (1:24:50) achieved personal records. Christine (1:40:20) won her age group. Grethe ran 1:38:07 and I ran 1:21:49. Andy (1:22:56),… Continue reading
I’ve got a piece up at my Vaccines for Development blog which looks at a new paper summarizing the cost-effectiveness of vaccination as a development intervention.
I don’t normally bother to cross-post from here, but this is a very interesting paper.
John Densmore, the drummer for The Doors, has turned down $15 million offered by Cadillac last year for the right to use “Break On Through” to promote its luxury SUVs:
People lost their virginity to this music, got high for… Continue reading
Two quotations from the last two days, worth reading together.
Jack Straw’s Labour Party Conference Speech, 28 September 2005
At the Millennium Summit two weeks ago, with the UK in the vanguard, major reforms were agreed. New development aid… Continue reading
Jim at Our Word is Our Weapon splendidly refutes the graph published by Fredrik Erixon that purports to show a negative relationship between aid and growth. (See also Jeff Sachs’s response to Erixon).
As Jim points out, these very simple… Continue reading
As a public service, I have transcribed verbatim the interview with Tony Blair on the Today Programme on 16 September. You can read the full text here.
The interview touches on the Government’s draft anti-terrorism legislation, the UN summit,… Continue reading
I do not understand why extraordinary rendition is not causing more outrage in the UK. Read this to find out what it is like to be tortured, and British complicity.
Credit, though, to BlairWatch, who highlights a recent article in… Continue reading
I was playing Transformer by Lou Reed the other day. Grethe walked in, and demanded to know, in that forthright Scandinavian way, why I was listening to this man who cannot sing. After a moment’s thought, I replied that there… Continue reading
I met a man from Mississippi the other day. We sat next to each other over dinner at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. When he heard my British accent, he thanked me for our support for the United States… Continue reading
TalkPolitics takes a well-aimed shot at the new arrangements for establishing and operating public enquiries in the UK. Apparently, a cosy deal between Government and Opposition saw the passage of a bill, without a vote, of the Inquiries Act 2005,… Continue reading
Over at Stumbling and Mumbling, Chris Dillow sets out a compelling moral case for the people of rich countries to help the world’s poor. He argues that, whether you take a utilitarian, rights-based, or a social contract view, we… Continue reading
In 1987, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen showed that many famines are not caused by a lack of food production, but by a change in the incomes of poor people.
For example, a group of peasants may suffer entitlement… Continue reading
Quentin Stafford-Fraser debunks the idea that businesses (or the IT shops of a business) should be focused on what customers say they want.
How many of those people now carrying iPods could have told you a few years ago that… Continue reading
Tyler Cowen says that the debate about the effectiveness of foreign aid has improved in the last ten years. If so, then things must have been really bad a decade ago: it continues to astound me how many people are… Continue reading