Archive for February, 2009

Steven Hayward, a fellow of the Claremont Institute in California, has written a scathing review essay on American environmentalism drawing out its pessimism, misanthrope and authoritarian character. Admittedly his aim is to identify a progressive trend in contemporary American environmentalism – likely to be a forlorn task – but that does not detract from the [...]

Perhaps New Scientist should rename itself New Survivalist? The weekly science magazine often comes with a pronounced green tinge. This week (25 February) includes an editorial and feature on geo-engineering. Sadly it sees it as an emergency “Plan B” rather than as part of a positive conscious effort to manage the climate. Its comment concludes [...]

The following review by me appeared in the latest Fund Strategy (23 February). Attacks on greedy financiers are becoming so shrill it is worth revisiting some financial basics. Sadly, most financial “experts” are guilty of what could be called “one-dimensional thinking”. Take two key propositions that superficially seem true but on closer inspection are gross [...]

Brink Lindsey, the vice president for research at the Cato Institute, has written a critique of Paul Krugman’s views on American inequality.

Until I saw the documentary version of Guns, Germs and Steel yesterday I had not realised how much Jared Diamond, one of the world’s most prominent environmentalist writers, pitched his argument in terms of global inequality. Diamond first set out in 1972 to explain why people in developed societies had so much “cargo” (stuff) compared [...]

While on the subject of anti-consumerism the lyrics of Lily Allen’s song “The Fear” are presumably meant to be knowingly ironic. The opening paragraph of the song starts as follows: “I want to be rich and I want lots of moneyI don’t care about clever I don’t care about funnyI want loads of clothes and [...]

I ‘m not a great fan of chick flicks but I had to see Confessions of a Shopaholic – for research purposes, you understand. Some of it was clearly true-to-life: the suave and sophisticated editor of a financial magazine who was the lead male character. But the film had a disappointingly predictable anti-consumerist message. When [...]

After several recent posts about the trend towards austerity perhaps something for comic relief. Peter Wilby, a columnist for the New Statesman, writes in a review for the magazine published on 19 February: “Children … have become the motors of economic growth, responsible (through what they spend and what their parents spend on them) for [...]

Howard Davidowitz, a retail analyst, predicts a long term decline in living standards for the average American consumer. He says ‘the worst is yet to come” as a result of several factors. According to a report on Business Insider they include: * An $8 trillion negative wealth effect from declining home values. * A $10 [...]

Just saw an inspiring BBC Horizon programme by Professor Brian Cox, a nuclear physicist and former keyboard player for D:Ream (“things can only get better”), on the prospects for fusion power. At present the programme is not available on BBC iPlayer but according to the official description of the documentary: “Granted extraordinary access to the [...]