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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.
DVD it in many colours

Danube sludge peril: Brown trouser time or not?

Millions of tonnes of “red sludge” flowing into the Danube: sounds like Hungary's got something of an environmental problem, doesn't it? And indeed they do, but it's a short-term one, not the long-term disaster that the likes of Greenpeace (hey, surprise!) are telling us all it is. It isn't actually “red sludge”, the technical …
Tim Worstall, 08 Oct 2010
The Register breaking news

The long and the short-term of it: Apple's future

We all know that markets are terribly short term things, don't we? Well, we're told often enough at least: the City and the stock market are only interested in what can be had now, immediately, and are not ready to invest for the long term. Venture capitalists want quick returns, not to build a solid business. The whole Anglo …
Tim Worstall, 26 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Bloody George's Budget: How bad is it really?

Oooh, I do love a good budget. It's an opportunity to poke fun at all the nonsensical misunderstandings of economics that politicians are prey to. Even if someone proposes something sensible you can be sure that the opposition to it will be rooted in a misconception of reality. So, what does this budget have for us today? …
Tim Worstall, 22 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Tech resource woes won't be solved with Afghan minerals

Wondrous news don't you think? Afghanistan is stuffed to the brim with $1 trillion worth of valuable metals. We can just flog off a few mineral concessions and the country is rich, rich beyond the dreams of avarice while kittens gambol happily in the Kabul sunshine. Sadly, no, not really: there's a few minor little problems with …
Tim Worstall, 18 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Why the banks aren't scared of the Robin Hood Tax

Thank God the adults have arrived, finally. The IMF has just come out with its suggestions for how we might want to tax and reform parts of finance and is saying things which are sensible, at least in part. In doing so they've continued the process of killing the Robin Hood Tax stone dead, which is great news. Well, something …
Tim Worstall, 22 Apr 2010
The Register breaking news

Skewing statistics: Booze, money and sex

Sorry to bang on about these things again but yes, they're lying to us. No, this isn't just the normal drink-induced paranoia common to such as I - we really are being lied to again and again by those who claim to be our lords and masters. We've had Lord Adonis pompously announcing that he's minded to change the drink drive laws …
Tim Worstall, 04 Apr 2010
The Register breaking news

The myth of Britain's manufacturing decline

Woe unto us for we don't make anything any more. We've given up on manufacturing and that's what ails the UK economy. We must therefore invest heavily in a renaissance of making things that we can drop on our feet and all will be right with the world. You don't have to be all that much of a newspaper fanatic to recognise that …
Tim Worstall, 22 Feb 2010
The Register breaking news

China's doomed attempt to hold the world to ransom

The Chinese government is trying to corner the rare earths market and that isn't good news for the tech business. Those with good memories of Chemistry O Level will know what the rare earths are: the funny little line of elements from Lanthanum to Lutetium at the bottom of the periodic table, along with Yttrium and Scandium, …
Tim Worstall, 15 Jan 2010
The Register breaking news

Doing the maths on Copenhagen

Copenhagen is dead. Hurrah! And I say that as someone convinced that climate change is happening, we're causing it, and we need to do something about it. However, what we don't need to do is the ghastly mess that was being cooked up in Denmark. They've essentially agreed to, um, well, try - and they'll think a little bit more …
Tim Worstall, 22 Dec 2009
The Register breaking news

Who owns science? Manchester Manifesto can't answer

Who owns science could be an interesting question: who should own science even more so. Sadly, the latest attempt at asking exactly these is less than interesting in its answers. The Manchester Manifesto (pdf) is a report from the Great and the Good over how we should change the intellectual property system so as to make it …
Tim Worstall, 04 Dec 2009
The Register breaking news

How the Dunning-Kruger effect will stop techies buying houses

By Jove, I think we've finally got an explanation for the unremitting horrors of so much of modern life - the way in which anything touched by politics, bureaucracy or officialdom simply turns to shite. No, it's not simply the current shower of authoritarians who are in power, and it's not that they're all paid too much/too …
Tim Worstall, 18 Nov 2009

How I rebuilt Europe after the Berlin Wall collapsed

Morgan Computers has shuttered its stores as we celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. The coincidence might not mean much to you, but Morgan and the Wall go together for me in a strange way: it was Morgan that indirectly funded my wanderings over the rubble that the Wall's collapse revealed. I - like everyone else of age - had …
Tim Worstall, 09 Nov 2009
The Register breaking news

What on earth do you think you are doing, Darling?

Well, wasn't that a wonderful little budget? We're broke, borrowing the entire output of many a small nation, and this as a result of the policies from the man who promised to abolish boom and bust. But it's not all bad news. Some of it is worse. Take, as a minor example, the increase in statutory redundancy pay announced. Some …
Tim Worstall, 24 Apr 2009
The Register breaking news

The pan-European Office for the Ecodesign of everything

Paul Krugman, our most recent Nobel Laureate in economics* has pointed out that while productivity isn't everything, in the long run it’s almost everything. As, on average, labour becomes more productive then for each hour of work there are more things made, meaning more things to share around. Rising productivity is thus the …
Tim Worstall, 01 Feb 2009
The Register breaking news

Spinning the war on the UK's sex trade

The British Government plans to make it illegal to have sex with a prostitute if said tart has been trafficked, or is being controlled. Nor will this crime will be limited to offences committed in the UK - it will apply to what British men get up to wherever in the world they may be. Now I'm a classically liberal type, and I'm …
Tim Worstall, 04 Jan 2009
The Register breaking news

101 uses for a former merchant banker

So how are we going to get out of this recession thing, then? If we just cut interest rates to zero and crank up the printing presses, will everything return to being fine and dandy? Well, possibly, although I have to say that I personally severely doubt it. Such alarmingly simplistic Keynesian policies might help us along the …
Tim Worstall, 29 Dec 2008
The Register breaking news

Climate Bill scores a fail in economics

The stated objective of the Climate Change Bill, recently passed by Parliament, is: "To avoid the impacts of dangerous climate change in an economically sound way." It's an excellent idea, one worth supporting - but possibly not entirely the one that the Government itself is pursuing. The quote comes from the Government's own …
Tim Worstall, 28 Nov 2008
The Register breaking news

Study clears cannabis of schizophrenia rap

Regular readers will recall the confused mess that is this government’s cannabis policy. There has been a drop in cannabis consumption since it was downgraded from Class B to C, but nevertheless they want to put it back up to Class B again. Yes, we know all about the argument that what you ingest is entirely your business, it …
Tim Worstall, 06 Nov 2008
The Register breaking news

New Scientist goes innumerate in 'save the planet' special

If you’re going to start demanding a new economics, as the New Scientist just has, then it would be useful if you understood what the old economics you’re trying to replace has to say... as the New Scientist clearly doesn’t. Take this seemingly uncontroversial statement: "We live on a planet with finite resources - that's no …
Tim Worstall, 30 Oct 2008
The Register breaking news

'You can't use Google' - EU Parliament

A number of bullets were dodged as the European Parliament voted on the Harbour proposals for the European broadcast, telecoms and internet industries this week. A couple, sadly, struck home all the same. The banning of the use of encryption as a way of identifying those breaching intellectual property rights didn't even make it …
Tim Worstall, 25 Sep 2008
The Register breaking news

Fines all round! EU blames everybody for illegal employment

As Bismark didn't quite point out, both sausages and laws are desirable and necessary things (mmm, sausages!), but you don't particularly want to be there when they're made. Recent experience inside the Brussels saucisson factory rather brought this home to me. To set the scene: they're trying to get EU-wide laws covering …
Tim Worstall, 23 Sep 2008
The Register breaking news

Bet against the bubble - how to head off a subprime crisis

We all know what to do about this subprime mess, the credit-crisis final-end-of-capitalism farrago, don't we? Hang the bankers, hang them high, banish greed and stupidity from the human soul, bring in a very real change to our mass, crass, consumerism and usher in a society free from the shackles of late stage fiancierism? OK, …
Tim Worstall, 01 Sep 2008
The Register breaking news

Windfall taxing big oil: how to make the gas crisis worse

There's something about the oil business that turns even intelligent people into frothmouthed loons: they're raping the planet, shafting Joe Sixpack or, from the other side, insisting that the drill in every back yard is the very definition of America. I realise that in the middle of an election that the small still voice of …
Tim Worstall, 13 Aug 2008
The Register breaking news

The FDRs of Green explain the gentle art of planet saving

A "triple crunch" of financial crisis, climate change and soaring oil prices threatens the world with a new Great Depression so, 'drawing inspiration from FDR' the Green New Deal Group proposes "a modernised version" of the solution. FDR himself being unhappily unavailable, we have the newly-formed group and its eponymous report …
Tim Worstall, 25 Jul 2008
The Register breaking news

Cap, trade, subsidise - Obama's energy plan goes off piste

One of the huge surprises of the way that climate change is being discussed and the way we ought to try to deal with it, is that the orthodox economists have won. We don't have crazed Naderites screaming that carbon must be regulated and legislated out of business, as we did only a couple of decades ago with chlorofluorocabons …
Tim Worstall, 23 Jun 2008
The Register breaking news

MEP tries to ban lightbulbs with mercury amendment

As Bismark pointed out, laws and sausages have things in common - both are highly useful, but you don't want to see either of them made. An example of the turning of lips, ears and arses into comestibles came this week in the European Parliament. One idea quite seriously put forward was to close down the entire European …
Tim Worstall, 22 May 2008
The Register breaking news

The economy: A big Arab did it and ran away, claims PM

It's all OPEC's fault, according to Gordon Brown. Speaking at Google's recent Zeitgeist conference, the UK prime minister told the audience that the world's current economic woes can largely be blamed on the scandalous behaviour of the oil producer's cartel. They're just not pumping enough oil, he claims: Gordon Brown yesterday …
Tim Worstall, 22 May 2008
The Register breaking news

Home Secretary goes crazy on drugs... policy

As an example of the brain-gobbling stupidity that affects those who dabble with drugs, you really cannot beat Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's announcement that cannabis is going to be upgraded again, from a Class C drug to a Class B one. This is the sort of drivelling idiocy more normally associated with decades on peyote rather …
Tim Worstall, 08 May 2008
The Register breaking news

Al Gore's green job bonanza - can we afford it?

Al Gore is unleashing the climate campaign you can't ignore, in the shape of www.wecansolveit.org, which will spend $300 million to sign up some millions of people who will march, write letters and like, agitate. In the face of this government and business will be forced - the plan goes - to take climate change seriously. …
Tim Worstall, 04 Apr 2008
The Register breaking news

Pork and politics energise the biofuel delusion

So, hands up everyone who thinks that determined political action is necessary to save us from the perils of climate change. Yes, hold them up for a moment... Whooo, boy, didn't realise there were quite so many deluded people out there. The truth is that politics just doesn't work that way, it's not an efficient system for …
Tim Worstall, 26 Mar 2008
The Register breaking news

The 'green' car tax grabs that don't add up

Alistair Darling has missed his big chance to show that he's both serious about climate change and that he understands the arguments. He's delayed the previously announced 2p per litre rise in fuel duty and then added that it will rise 0.5 p per litre each year thereafter. This simply isn't acceptable, it's putting us all at …
Tim Worstall, 13 Mar 2008
The Register breaking news

Die for Gaia, save the planet?

The enviroloonies seem to have found their way out of the asylum again: this time to tell us that 70 per cent of Britons should die for the sake of Gaia. That's not quite the way they put it, of course. Rather, the Optimum Population Trust (there's a pedantic part of me that wants to tell them it's Optimal) tells us that the …
Tim Worstall, 20 Feb 2008
The Register breaking news

When poor people pollute - the Tata Nano and eco-crime

It's small, it's cheap, it's low emission so... the arrival of the Tata Nano, India's new 'people's car', has been greeted by a wailing and a gnashing of the teeth from the environmental aristocracy. The prospect of millions of the global peasantry driving, emitting and pushing up 'our' gas prices is a nightmare. It promises to …
Tim Worstall, 12 Feb 2008
George Osborne looking like he means it

Honest startups versus City bastards - the CGT conundrum

Why the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, had to propose altering capital gains tax (CGT) back in the autumn is pretty simple to explain. There was a certain amount of vociferous shouting (led by the Guardianistas, of course) that the sight of private equity barons paying less tax than their cleaners was a moral …
Tim Worstall, 28 Jan 2008
The Register breaking news

Will bloggers get the blame for DoH mess?

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said the mess made of online applications for doctors could lead to criminal charges. But did she mean the people responsible for such a shoddy system or did she mean the bloggers who brought the problems to light are likely to be charged? A touch surprising to find the Secretary of State for …
Tim Worstall, 17 May 2007