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.
© Copyright Anthony O'Neil and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Vodafone didn't have a £6bn tax bill. Sort yourselves out, Lefties

Worstall on Wednesday I find myself watching current politics completely open-mouthed in amazement. The number of what are, if we are to be unkind about it, simply outright lies that have become common truths astonishes me. I refer, of course, to the latest revelations of the tax affairs of the nation. The latest round is those revelations from HSBC' …
Tim Worstall, 18 Feb 2015
Photo of Kermit the Frog at NASA

It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

Worstall @ the Weekend Following on from last week's approbation of one Green Party policy, it is possibly time for me to get off my chest an issue over the policy general of said greenery luvvies that really, really, bugs me. Specifically, it is this idea that we should rely upon markets less and do more things "for ourselves". As I'll explain, from …
Tim Worstall, 15 Feb 2015

Skin colour's irrelevant. Just hire competent folk on their merits, FFS

Worstall on Wednesday I note from a technical publication of repute that Microsoft has announced that marriage equality is a fundamental and core value for the company itself. To which, OK, great, and why not? As I pointed out previously, “taste” discrimination against people because of anything other than their working skills is a costly endeavour …
Tim Worstall, 11 Feb 2015

Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

Worstall @ the Weekend Given that we've a general election coming up, people are starting to actually pay attention to what the various politicians are saying. Which is, of course, interesting, for it's often the first time that said politicos are asked whether their sums add up. So it was when Natalie Bennett of the Green Party was “questioned” - …
Tim Worstall, 08 Feb 2015
Making conversation Google Glass style

Google gets my data, I get search and email and that. Help help, I'm being REPRESSED!

Worstall on Wednesday When munching that third slice of toast and marmalade I allow myself on a Sunday morning (diet is so important to us middle-aged types) I find that John Naughton's piece on personal data leads me to spluttering Seville's finest all over the kittens as they angle for the remains of the fry-up. He opens with this phrase: “ …
Tim Worstall, 04 Feb 2015

Chipotle insider trading: Disproving the efficient markets hypothesis

Worstall @ the Weekend We had a distressing little incident here recently among the commentards over the meaning of the efficient markets hypothesis. So I'll explain what it is, using a current little story to prove that one version of it must be wrong as well. That little efficient markets hypothesis (EMH) incident was an insider trading case …
Tim Worstall, 01 Feb 2015

Does Big Tech hire white boys ahead of more skilled black people and/or women?

Worstall on Weds (on Thurs) I've been watching with some amusement a little story about Pinterest noting that it's got a user base that leans heavily female. It's doing the rounds as the company thinks, well, it would be nice to be stuffing men full of ads as well (when it actually starts slinging ads) so, umm, why don't we go out and try and find some …
Tim Worstall, 29 Jan 2015

Uber isn't limited by the taxi market: It's limited by the Electronic Thumb market

Worstall @ the Weekend We've had a look before at that valuation of Uber at $40k bar** and mulled over whether it makes any sense or not. And there's a little snippet of news out that shows that there might be more substance to it than most of us tend to think there is. It could, of course it could, still be just an absurdly over-hyped product of …
Tim Worstall, 25 Jan 2015
The final page of that Facebook storyboard

Facebook worth more than Portugal? Hell, it's worth a LOT more than THAT

Worstall on Wednesday As an esteemed editor said, one not a million miles away from here, the fact that Facebook has commissioned a report showing what vast amounts of wonderful, beneficial economic activity it is responsible for indicates that the company in fact contributes nothing. Stands to reason, that does. And even once one allows for a …
Tim Worstall, 21 Jan 2015
Clapping children

'It's NOT FAIR!' yell RICH KIDS ... and that's a GOOD THING

Worstall @ the Weekend Having the Daily Mail as a starting point to the edges of human knowledge doesn't sound all that likely, I know, not unless we're talking about approaching human knowledge from the outside of a story about "foreign" pomegranates causing cancers and damaging house prices. But that is how this little journey started, with this …
Tim Worstall, 18 Jan 2015
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

What will happen to the oil price? Look to the PC for clues

Worstall on Wednesday Economics, of course, is simply a bunch of mumbo-jumbo – as evidenced by its failure to answer the Queen's question regarding the crash: "Why did nobody see it coming?" Theory of Finance scribe and Nobel laureate Eugene Fama's answer – that economic theory insists it is impossible to predict such things – tends not to convince …
Tim Worstall, 14 Jan 2015

Tax Systems: The good, the bad and the completely toot toot ding-dong loopy

Worstall @ the Weekend A loyal reader of these 'ere pages, Rich Bryant, writes in with an interesting question. There's a proposal for an entirely new taxation system out there, The Reset, and is it something that mainstream economists are ignoring because the paradigms of mainstream economics just cannot deal with it - or is it because the plan is …
Tim Worstall, 11 Jan 2015

Sardine fishing in Kerala: Who benefits from mobile phones?

Worstall on Wednesday We're now 30 years into the mobile phone era here in Good Old Blighty, with that first call having been made back on New Year's Day. And it's worth asking who has really benefited from this technology: something which, when considered, will lead us to being able to tell big government fan Professor Mariana Mazzucato to take a …
Tim Worstall, 07 Jan 2015

Healthcare: Look anywhere you like for answers, just not the US

Worstall @ the Weekend A few weeks back I pointed out that the US has the second largest social welfare system in the world. This produced a certain amount of pushback (journalistic speak for me whining to El Ed that you commentards are shouting at me) over the fact that a good part of that is the woeful healthcare system in said US. So, as the New …
Tim Worstall, 04 Jan 2015

Really, govt tech profit cash grab is a PRIZE-WINNING idea?

Worstall on Wednesday So, that favourite of mine and of Andrew Orlowski, Mariana Mazzucato, has been awarded a prize by the New Statesman in the field of political economy. Given that her message is that government should be getting more of the pie, that's the sort of political economy you would expect the magazine to like. However, I find there's a …
Tim Worstall, 31 Dec 2014
President Putin doing judo

Why has the Russian economy plunged SO SUDDENLY into the toilet?

Worstall @Xmas The best economic fun of the past few weeks has been watching the meltdown of the rouble and the associated problems in the Russian economy. OK, “fun” might not be quite the right word: schadenfreude, perhaps? Real people are undoubtedly, through no fault of their own, being made worse off by what is happening - so fun is almost …
Tim Worstall, 28 Dec 2014
Sidewalk mobile phone lane in China

Xiaomi: It really ISN'T a biz-miracle idiot tax like Apple

Worstall on Wednesday The lads over at Business Insider seem to be getting a little over-excited about Xiaomi's latest fund raising exercise, claiming in their headline that it's the Apple of China. Well, no, not really, Apple is the Apple of China. Making cute kit and selling it in volume isn't the definitive point about Apple itself so a company …
Tim Worstall, 24 Dec 2014

Bring back big gov, right? If only the economics, STUPID, could tell us more

Worstall @ the Weekend The economy's not growing as fast as it used to when we had big government and big unions, so we'd better bring them back, right? Or maybe we just don't have enough economic data to tell? You don't have to go all that far leftward these days to find someone brandishing economic growth statistics at you. Proving that growth was …
Tim Worstall, 21 Dec 2014
Rotten apple

Apple's DIRTY SECRET isn't that secret, or that dirty

Comment We've had another instalment in the campaign to blame Apple for all that goes wrong in poor countries, and this time it was the BBC's Panorama that scolded the iFruit for buying tin in Indonesia. Not appreciably different from The Guardian's story of 25 months ago. Not really all that different from various Friends of the Earth …
Tim Worstall, 20 Dec 2014

Beware of merging, telcos. CHEAPER SPECTRUM follows

Worstall on Wednesday What consumers end up paying for mobile phone services isn't the only price we're worried about. Oh aye, thought I, as I scanned El Reg's coverage of mobile operators asking for permission to merge. I can see their game here: or, perhaps, I suspect what they'd rather we didn't think about. That being that what we, as consumers …
Tim Worstall, 17 Dec 2014

Deprivation Britain: 1930s all over again? Codswallop!

Worstall @ the Weekend When cruising The Guardian for a fix of poverty porn, as I tend to do from time to time, I'm frequently amused by what some people will believe about the subject. This time I have to admit to having been amazed. For we've the flat-out assertion that we're about to be back in the 1930s. In some ways this might even be true: there …
Tim Worstall, 14 Dec 2014

Uber? Worth $40 BEEELLION? Hey, actually, hold on ...

Worstall on Wednesday The latest fundraising for Uber seems to peg the value just north of $40 billion. Which is, when you think about it, quite a hefty sum for what is, after all, just a registry of hireable people with cars. Sure, we're talking 50 countries now, 250 cities, but it's still about taxi rides. And it's a competitive market. There're …
Tim Worstall, 10 Dec 2014

Which country has 2nd largest social welfare system in the world?

Worstall @ the Weekend The general impression we've all got is that the US is a place where the poor are simply left to starve in the gutter, unlike in soft and cuddly Europe, where we do our best to help our fellow man. That the political mantras shouted at us to keep us coughing up to pay for these welfare states might not be wholly and entirely …
Tim Worstall, 07 Dec 2014

Is EU right to expand 'right to be forgotten' to Google.com?

Worstall on Wednesday The European Union is arguing that the so-called "right to be forgotten" (you know, sure, I was a paedophile mass murderer but it was only the once and I've been to confession now so nobody should know about it) in Google and other search engine results should be extended to the Google.com domain, as well as those aimed more …
Tim Worstall, 03 Dec 2014

Under the Iron Sea: YES, tech and science could SAVE the planet

Worstall @ the Weekend Back last week we had the news from Google bods (almost but not quite boffins) telling us there's no way to make renewable energy fuel in an advanced industrial society. Our esteemed editor here at El Reg then pointed out that we've got a reasonable and cheap method of producing all the power we need: nuclear. The frustration …
Tim Worstall, 30 Nov 2014

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

Worstall on Wednesday 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

Worstall @ the Weekend 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!

Worstall on Wednesday 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?

Worstall @ the Weekend 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

Worstall on Wednesday 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?

Worstall @ the Weekend 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

Worstall on Wednesday 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 ...

Worstall @ the Weekend 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?

Worstall on Wednesday 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

Worstall @ the Weekend 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

Worstall on Wednesday 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 ...

Worstall @ the Weekend 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

Worstall on Wednesday 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?

Worstall @ the Weekend 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...

Worstall on Wednesday 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

Worstall @ the Weekend 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

Worstall on Wednesday 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%'

Worstall @ Weekend 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

Worstall on Wednesday 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

Worstall @ the Weekend 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

Worstall on Wednesday 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

Worstall @ the Weekend 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?

Worstall on Wednesday 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

Worstall @ the Weekend 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

Comment 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