Undercover Economist

You may have noticed that this blog has gone rather quiet while I work on my next book – sorry. The FT is going to mothball it, which seems reasonable.

So – thanks for following so far. If you’d like to keep going, here’s what to do:

Here is the FT RSS feed of all my Undercover Economist columns.

The RSS feed of my website, timharford.com is here. The website feed contains columns but also all sorts of other writing, and if I start blogging again when the book’s finished, that’s where the blog will be.

And at the moment I’m far more active on Twitter, where I post links to all my writing and much else besides.

Thanks for reading; I hope the click over to a new format isn’t too inconvenient.

Reposted from Monday.

You may have noticed that this blog has gone rather quiet while I work on my next book – sorry. The FT is going to mothball it, which seems reasonable.

So – thanks for following so far. If you’d like to keep going, here’s what to do:

Here is the FT RSS feed of all my Undercover Economist columns.

The RSS feed of my website, timharford.com is here. The website feed contains columns but also all sorts of other writing, and if I start blogging again when the book’s finished, that’s where the blog will be.

And at the moment I’m far more active on Twitter, where I post links to all my writing and much else besides.

Thanks for reading; I hope the click over to a new format isn’t too inconvenient.

I recently had the dubious pleasure of having to deal with someone who is successful and indeed popular, and yet a stubborn, selfish bully when he thinks nobody is looking. It moved me to speculate on an old question: do nice guys finish first, or last?

The remainder of the article can be read here. Please post comments below.

Should the government hire people to bury banknotes down disused mine shafts, thus stimulating the private sector to dig them up again? Keynes argued that there were circumstances in which even government spending as wasteful as this could be economically worthwhile, and ever since he did, people have been tying themselves in knots about how fiscal stimulus actually works.

The remainder of the article can be read here. Please post comments below.

For many years the received wisdom in economics has been much the same as that in Buddhism: money doesn’t make you happy (see, for instance, “The Seven Secrets of a Happy Life”, FT Weekend Magazine, August 28/29).

The remainder of the article can be read here. Please post comments below.

The moral case for doing more to help the very poor is unanswerable. The practical case is more problematic: much foreign aid has been spent poorly in the past and we still have plenty to learn.

The remainder of the article can be read here. Please post comments below.

Sir Alec Issigonis, the designer of the Mini and the Morris Minor, once declared the camel to resemble “a horse that was planned by a committee”. He has a point: this column wasn’t written by a committee either.

The remainder of the article can be read here. Please post comments below.

Is the world like Play-Doh or like Lego? That might seem like an odd question for an economist, but there were some provocative characters present at a recent “Growth Week” at the London School of Economics, organised by a new joint venture between Oxford, LSE and the Department for International Development.

The remainder of the article can be read here. Please post comments below.

When Venetia first tried to set up a café on Chatsworth Road in Hackney, east London, she encountered an unexpected obstacle: she couldn’t find a landlord who believed that she’d be good for her rent. The problem was that the kind of café Venetia imagined – one that served good pastries and excellent cappuccino – wasn’t the kind of café anyone had ever tried before on Chatsworth Road. The local property owners figured that if nobody had ever tried it, it probably wouldn’t work.

The remainder of the article can be read here. Please post comments below.

A “Dear Economist” correspondent once asked me why people post clips of classic comedies on YouTube, or go to the trouble of writing online reviews, given that there seems to be nothing in it for them. A textbook economics model would say that people would not, in fact, post online reviews or contribute to YouTube. And my answer, in brief, was that they don’t. Far more people read books than write reviews of them, and far more watch YouTube videos than post them. As a broad defence of rational economic man, my answer wasn’t too bad; but as a way of understanding online volunteering, it was useless.

The remainder of the article can be read here. Please post comments below.

The Undercover Economist: a guide

Publishing schedule: Excerpts from "The Undercover Economist" and "Dear Economist", Tim's weekly columns for the FT Magazine, are published on this blog on Saturday mornings.
More about Tim: Tim also writes editorials for the FT, presents Radio 4's More or Less and is the author of "The Undercover Economist" and "The Logic of Life".
Comment: To comment, please register with FT.com, which you can do for free here. Please also read our comments policy here.
Contact: Tim's contact address is: economist@ft.com
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