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Tim Worstall

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Tim Worstall is an Englishman who has failed at many things. Thus his turn to writing, the last refuge of many who could make a living no other way. He is, as an example of his business and financial perspicacity, the head of the international scandium oligopoly: the only commodity which has not risen in price in the past decade.

As-a-service upstarts will KILL OFF THE CORPORATES?

Amazingly, economists have figured out a few things...even things that can help in this brave new digital world. One of these is the "marketplaces vs firm" debate. So I was surprised to find a fascinating little piece in TechCrunch singing the praises of all those "online freelance work marketplace" sites. You know the sort of …
Tim Worstall, 26 Nov 2014

BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity

I often wonder why it is that people bother publishing “research” papers that are obviously incorrect. Is it that they're getting paid to spout bollocks? So who ate all of these? Tax payers mainly Or, is there some thought that we're all too stupid to realise that they're teabagging great big hairy ones at us? The latest …
Tim Worstall, 23 Nov 2014

'Cleantech' a dirty word for VCs? RUBBISH!

Over at Bloomberg there's a piece bemoaning the fact that the big Venture Capital companies aren't investing in "cleantech". You know the sort of thing: climate change, biggest opportunity ever, why isn't private money getting involved, maybe the government will have to do everything, blather blather, et cetera. The problem with …
Tim Worstall, 19 Nov 2014

GT sapphire glaziers: You signed WHAT deal with Apple?

It's been a terribly exciting few weeks, as we've seen GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) stumble and crash headlong into bankruptcy protection. The more documents are released by the court the more we can find out about just how this happened. And the more we do see, the more we realise that what actually happened is the …
Tim Worstall, 16 Nov 2014

My HOUSE used to be a PUB: How to save the UK high street

Interesting news on the Blighty high street as Tesco continues to lose market share: now it has fallen behind Amazon as the retailer of choice for the sort of shiny-shiny we buy each other for Crimbo. Fruit and vegetables on display on the shelves of a supermarket Roomy fridge, isn't it? I think we'll put the kids' room here. …
Tim Worstall, 12 Nov 2014

If only 0.006% care about BLOOD-SOAKED METAL ... why are we spending all this cash?

As El Reg's official dodgy metals dealer, another tilt at the oh-so-fashionable concerns over conflict minerals and that “blood in the mobile” campaign. The essential point is that almost none of us seem to be very interested in the subject so why the hell are we spending billions of dollars on it? You can read past coverage of …
Tim Worstall, 09 Nov 2014

Trickle-down economics WORKS: SpaceShipTwo is a PRIME EXAMPLE

For the sake of my expenditure on blood pressure pills I really ought to stop reading those attempts The Guardian sometimes makes at making sense of matters economic. The latest cause of choler is Zoe Williams telling us all how Brit billionaire Richard Branson's space tourism (triggered, obviously, by the story of the very sad …
Tim Worstall, 05 Nov 2014

Piketty-Poketty-Poo: Some people are JUST ITCHING to up tax to capital ...

I'll cop to being a bear of little brain, for it can take me a long time to spot what should be obvious. And so it is with my taking so long to work out what's really going on with Capital in the Twenty-First Century author Thomas Piketty and all that wealth inequality stuff. I believe his book is essentially a political project …
Tim Worstall, 02 Nov 2014

IT JOB OUTSOURCING: Will it ever END?

HL Mencken once told us that in a democracy the electorate should get what they voted for – and good and hard too. So, on that basis, I present to you a piece on outsourcing, as requested by one Gordon 10. The commenter in question wrote: What would be really nice is [an article] on the race to the bottom on labour outsourcing …
Tim Worstall, 29 Oct 2014

This Changes Everything? OH Naomi Klein, NO

Given that I'm from the rational, classical end of liberalism, I'm obviously not going to be greatly taken by the spoutings of someone like Naomi Klein. But if an ideological difference were all it was, then I'd have left her new book, This Changes Everything alone after I'd read it. Sadly, it's not actually as simple as that, …
Tim Worstall, 25 Oct 2014

It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future

IBM has coughed up $1.5bn to get Global Foundries to take its chip manufacturing arm off its hands as reported here at El Reg. There are a number of economic implications to all of this, perhaps the most important of which is why the eco-lunatic fantasy that we could reverse globalisation is simply nonsense (of course, whether …
Tim Worstall, 22 Oct 2014
David Cameron, UK prime minister

Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...

As is ever the case, by the time squares have caught on to the value of whatever hipsters have been doing this week, the latter are off doing something else entirely. Much the same happens with economic fashions: it takes time for those not actually involved in the subject to grok to what the cool kids are saying and by the time …
Tim Worstall, 19 Oct 2014

'Theoretical' Nobel economics explain WHY the tech industry's such a damned mess

Jean Tirole was this year's Nobel Laureate in Economics* and what the prize was awarded (in part) for should interest people around here. Tirole's work has often been about how this tech industry of ours works and what the hell anyone should be doing to try and regulate it – if, indeed, it should be regulated at all. This is …
Tim Worstall, 15 Oct 2014

White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?

This year's Nobel Prize in Physics went to the three Japanese guys who worked on, and got right, the blue LED. It's an excellent piece of work, enabling a whole new ensemble of energy efficient lamps and colour LED screens, and fully deserving of the prize. And yes, it might well change society in wondrous and wonderful ways. …
Tim Worstall, 11 Oct 2014

Yes. Economists DO love MAGICAL, lovely HUMAN SELFISHNESS...

Over the weekend we were treated to the quite startling news that economists think that selfishness is just great. TheOtherHobbes had this to say in the comments section of a Reg opinion piece about consumerism: Economists actually believe – no really, they do – that if you allow people to be selfish then everything magically …
Tim Worstall, 08 Oct 2014
Gordo: EPIC FAIL

No, Big Data firm, the UK isn't teeming with UBER-FRISKY GIGOLOS

You may or may not have seen that the government has decided that GDP, the measurement of the size of the economy, should now include the activity surrounding drugs and prostitution. We can now assuage our guilt at that quick shag and a toke on the way home with the thought that we are, in fact, making the country richer as we …
Tim Worstall, 05 Oct 2014
Hippies stage sitdown on beach (in shape of peace sign)

Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

It's a distinctly lonely intellectual position to have — agreeing with the IPCC that climate change is a problem, one we're causing, and something that we might want to do something about but thinking that we've probably already done what we needed to do. The extent of the Arctic ice cap during the last ice age I'm no expert on …
Tim Worstall, 01 Oct 2014

Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'

You can't have failed to notice those massed ranks of people stamping their feet and going blue in the face as they shout about how inequality is rising and something, anything, really must be done to stop it. However, you may not have noticed those arguing the opposite, that inequality is falling, which is why we should carry …
Tim Worstall, 28 Sep 2014

Yahoo!... Our Alibaba stake's worth BILLIONS. Oh – our shares are in the toilet

So here's the little financial markets puzzler of the moment. Alibaba has launched that IPO, the stock has soared and Yahoo! has made a bundle. Jerry Yang's original investment of $1bn now looks like one of the great investment deals of all time. However, as the Alibaba stock price soared (from the $68 of the placing to some $99 …
Tim Worstall, 24 Sep 2014

Poverty? Pah. That doesn't REALLY exist any more

It's a bit of a surprise to find The Guardian, of all places, telling us that there's not actually any poverty in the UK today. But John Lanchester makes that case in the country's leading tax dodging publication. And the lovely thing about it is that he's entirely correct. We've not got, by any global or historical standard, …
Tim Worstall, 21 Sep 2014

Will Apple give Chinese iPhone workers cancer? THE TRUTH

Last weekend's headlines screamed that Chinese workers making Apple's iPhone 6 were developing cancer. Is Apple's greed for ever-greater profits literally killing its Middle Kingdom wage slaves? No. Or as we might alternatively put it, nothing much to see here, move along folks. For while leukaemia ain't a nice disease and the …
Tim Worstall, 17 Sep 2014

Evil mining firms? Please. Obeying profit motive is KINDER to the environment

Goldman Sachs has released a note to investors shouting that this is the end of the iron age. But it's not talking about how pointy bits on spears are now replaced by lead in bullets: rather, that the age when owning a mountain of iron ore was a route to easy billions is over. We don't need your I wouldn't normally bring such …
Tim Worstall, 14 Sep 2014
Angry woman on mobile

Quit drooling, fanbois - haven't you SEEN what the iPhone 6 costs?

Given that I'm writing this before the great unveil and you'll be reading it afterwards, there's much that could go wrong with my prognostications. Tim Cook could stand up this afternoon and announce the iBurger and claim that the days of Maccy D's are over. True, that's unlikely, but in an infinite universe everything will …
Tim Worstall, 10 Sep 2014
Double Facepalm; when one facepalm is not enough.

Limits to Growth is a pile of steaming doggy-doo based on total cobblers

Keeping a technologically based civilisation on the road isn't all that easy. There must be stuff available to make stuff from and there's got to be energy to do the transforming of that stuff. If we posited something like The Culture by Iain M. Banks, where there's a universe of stuff to transform and an entire universe's worth …
Tim Worstall, 07 Sep 2014
Photo of Jonathan Ive

Jony Ive: Apple iWatch will SCREW UP Switzerland's economy

The New York Times has profiled the wearables market and there's an intriguing little hint that, as a designer, Apple's Jony Ive is in fact a great marketing guru. For he seems to be thinking that the iWatch is going to be so cool that it'll entirely screw over the Swiss watch industry. This isn't, needless to say, quite what is …
Tim Worstall, 05 Sep 2014
Abacus. Credit: Newsum Antiques

The IT kit revolution's OVER, say beancounters - but how do they know?

One of the great problems within economics is in trying to work out what's a structural change, what's a cyclical change and what's being buggered up just because you're not measuring it properly. For example, we can look at how much companies (or more accurately, non-household entities) are spending on the computing …
Tim Worstall, 03 Sep 2014

Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?

We talked last week about how macroeconomics is still pretty terrible at telling us what we ought to do about the world around us, which is why I always rather scratch me head at people who insist that rent control is going to be a good way of solving our current housing crisis. For amongst economists, there's a pretty good …
Tim Worstall, 30 Aug 2014

Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE

It's possible to have a certain sympathy for Sir Tim Berners-Lee as he looks at what people have done to his glorious world wide web. Instead of it remaining the glorious bottom-up egalitarian creation it once was, it's become infested with people like Facebitch using it to scramble for filthy lucre. Diddums to that, really: …
Tim Worstall, 27 Aug 2014

My big reveal as macro-economics analyst: It's a load of COBBLERS

Welcome to the first Worstall at the Weekend, where I get to spout off on whatever I jolly well please: where the aim is to leave something at least potentially gravid with further thought and discussion rather than that sterile deposit one ends up with inside the barber's weekend supplies. Which brings us to the discussion of …
Tim Worstall, 24 Aug 2014
SOURCE: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/959469

Wall Street woes: Oh noes, tech titans aren't using bankers

There was much astonishment over at the New York Times as it explained that the big Silicon Valley tech firms, the Googles, Apples, Facebooks, aren't using the traditional services of the Wall Street bankers as they make their acquisitions. There are a number of reasons for this. As to whether this is all a good idea or not, …
Tim Worstall, 20 Aug 2014

Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy

One of the perennials of the great economic debate is those who insist that if we centrally planned how the economy would run, it would all work much better than this messy competition, profit-and-loss and duplication-of-effort system we're stuck with at the moment. And it didn't all start with the Soviets. Back in late- …
Tim Worstall, 13 Aug 2014
Ten protestors at the NBN Day of Action

Surprise! Government mega-infrastructure project cocked up

That Australia's National Broadband Network is late, over budget and chaotically managed will come as no surprise to aficionados of government infrastructure projects. It's just the latest in a long and inglorious rollcall of politicians pissing our money away on things they simply don't understand. Ten protestors at the NBN …
Tim Worstall, 06 Aug 2014
iPhone forensics beaten image

YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS

There's a nice little feuilleton in the New York Times looking at why everyone whines about their iPhone slowing down when Apple releases a new variant. Starting from a personal complaint by a professor, one of his students looks at the incidence for “iPhone slow” in Google Trends and notes that there's a leap every time a new …
Tim Worstall, 30 Jul 2014

HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs

The recent news of layoffs from computing giants provides proof, once again, of an old economic saw. It is not actually big businesses that create jobs, it's the small and new ones. Our problem is that we've a political class (yes, all of it) that doesn't really quite get this. They would like there to be lots of jobs, of course …
Tim Worstall, 23 Jul 2014

Programming languages in economics: Cool research, bro, but what about, er, economics?

Ignoring the central insight and purpose of economics seems odd in an economics paper. You peeps here at El Reg are most unlikely to be regular readers of papers published by US body NBER, the National Bureau for Economic Research. So I've brought you one we can all puzzle over together (PDF here), "A Comparison of Programming …
Tim Worstall, 16 Jul 2014

Today's Facebook fury: Coppertone-like baby pic ban baffles US mom

There has been much consternation in Middle America over Facebook's decision to ban from its advertising network a picture taken by a doting mother of a little girl pulling the woman's daughter's swimming costume down. The image is an homage to one of the iconic advertising images in the US, that of the little girl in the …
Tim Worstall, 09 Jul 2014
Nevada plate for Google car

'Disruptive innovation' is nonsense? Not ALWAYS, actually

If the theory of disruptive innovation is wrong then why do companies act as if it's true? Proof is rather in the pudding after all..... The latest topical shouting match in my corner of the economics-meets-tech world is an essay by Jill Lepore in the New Yorker. All this talk of “disruptive innovation” is just that – talk – …
Tim Worstall, 02 Jul 2014

You're inventing the wrong sort of tech for bad people who want to buy it. Stop it at once

The comical success of the messaging app Yo is apparently proof perfect that Silicon Valley is doing everything wrong. It is supposedly proof, if any were needed, that the hypercapitalism of the tech scene means that people just hunt for the next quick flip rather than attempting to grapple with the real problems that besiege …
Tim Worstall, 25 Jun 2014
grab_that_cash

Today's get-rich-quick scheme: Build your own bank

Here's a great get-rich-quick idea: Go build a bank. No, really, it's an industry that's ripe for the plucking at present. One way to think about banking is to divide it into four different types: transaction, savings, commercial and investment. Investment banking is all that City-style markets 'n' stuff; commercial is trying to …
Tim Worstall, 18 Jun 2014
money_yen_dollar_pound

EU probe into Apple's taxes: It's NOT to do with double-Dutch-Irish anything sandwiches

As already reported here at El Reg, Apple is being investigated by the EU over its tax “deal” in Ireland. The interesting part of the whole story is that it has pretty much nothing at all to do with all of the things that people normally complain about concerning Apple's taxes. It isn't, for example, about the way that the …
Tim Worstall, 12 Jun 2014

We're ALL Winston Smith now - and our common enemy is the Big Brother State

The latest thing we've all got to worry about in this brave new world of ours is that the young, not having read Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, are simply too eager to give up their information and privacy to the tech giants. Those richer in years have been forewarned by the novel and are thus less likely to get sucked into this …
Tim Worstall, 11 Jun 2014

Piketty thinks the 1% should cough up 80%. Discuss

Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century has the economics world agog: be the first among your friends to really understand it. Thomas Piketty's book, Capital in the 21st Century, has managed to top the Amazon bestseller lists as well as getting economists snarling at each other. It's the combination of these feats that is so …
Tim Worstall, 04 Jun 2014

Tesla's TOP SECRET gigafactories: Lithium to power world's vehicles? Let's do the sums

As we all know, Tesla and SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk – with that forward-thinking "vision" the hyperloop hoper is known for – is touting around plans for a “gigafactory”. The top-secret factory – for it seems there will only be one to begin with – will build lithium battery packs for Musk's own electro-vehicle firm, Tesla …
Tim Worstall, 28 May 2014
The northern end of the huge water-filled pit, showing the coal seams in the rock at Broken Cross Muir opencast coal mine

You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

Among the more surprising things that the BBC revealed to us last week was that the UK was going to run out of coal within the next five years. Given that the island is pretty much built on a bed of coal, this is something of a puzzler. The northern end of the huge water-filled pit, showing the coal seams in the rock at Broken …
Tim Worstall, 22 May 2014

Be the next tech hotshot – by staying the hell away from regulators

Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things – that's Adam Smith, by the way. I'm often left rather scratching my head as I read the latest …
Tim Worstall, 15 May 2014
The wing begins to emerge from the nylon powder

Suffering from IPO interruptus? Perhaps your Box is full of the same soap as the others

You don't have to have a monopoly to build a successful company, but it sure helps. And if you've not got a monopoly then you do need something, anything, to differentiate your product so that there's actually some compelling reason why customers might actually use your services and pay you a margin. There'd better be something …
Tim Worstall, 09 May 2014
Apple stock price

EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?

Hurrah! The European Union has decided to save us from the perils of automatic trading! Also known as High Frequency Trading (HFT) or algo trading, this is simply the practice of writing a piece of code to do the buying and selling faster than a human being can possibly do it. We've talked about the basics of it here before at …
Tim Worstall, 23 Apr 2014
Stock ticker board

No, we're not in an IT 'stockapoclyse' – boom (and bust) is exactly what tech world needs

Is this the stockapoclyse, as tech shares crater into the ground and no more money gets invested into the sector? Or is that 20 per cent fall in the largest internet-based companies – Netflix, Flicker and Twitter – that $275bn drop in collective value over the last month, just an overdue correction to recent price run ups? Well …
Tim Worstall, 09 Apr 2014

Hey, Michael Lewis: Stop DEMONISING Wall Street’s SUPERHUMAN high-speed trading

Yesterday's energetic debate on CNBC between BATS Global Markets president William O'Brien and Flash Boys author Michael Lewis and IEX's Brad Katsuyama put the cat among the pigeons over high-frequency trading. It was all provoked by Moneyball writer Lewis' new book, Flash Boys, which, among other things, makes the claim that …
Tim Worstall, 02 Apr 2014
Gordo: EPIC FAIL

Oxfam, you're full of FAIL. Leave economics to sensible bods

As I become ever more viciously right wing with age, I become ever more disappointed with Oxfam. It's not just because I have left behind the views of Genghis and am galloping up close behind Attila. It's rather that the organisation itself has changed from being that well-meaning, thoroughly humanitarian organisation that doled …
Tim Worstall, 20 Mar 2014