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.

The BIG stretch: Software and flexing your firm's size

A mathematician (a Fields Medal winner, so a real one) once asked an economist whether there was anything in economics that was non-obvious and non-trivial. Well, the answer that came back was: "It's all obvious or trivial except Ricardo on comparative advantage." So, once explained, this analogy is both obvious and trivial, …
Tim Worstall, 11 May 2015
By Henrik Ishihara licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Pinning a value on big tech's top names. Not as easy as it looks

Does the efficient markets hypothesis (EMH among friends) have any value when looking at tech companies in the enterprise and data centre world? EMH does not mean markets are the efficient way of doing things. There is no implication at all that healthcare, scientific research or the military should be delivered by market …
Tim Worstall, 11 May 2015

So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?

Worstall @ the Weekend Now that the election's over (result unknown as I write) it's possible to perform for a reader request: what would the economic effect of Britain leaving the European Union be? Given that I'm a known 'kipster I didn't want to do this pre-election: I'm here at El Reg despite my 'kipness, not because of it and thus wanted to …
Tim Worstall, 10 May 2015
David Cameron

Facebook echo chamber: Or, the British media and the election

Comment Given that the election results are nearly all in it's going to be some few femtoseconds before Guardian writer Polly Toynbee starts claiming that it's the right wing media that woefully misinformed the British public and that's why the forces of all that's good and proper didn't win. Given that that's not actually how the …
Tim Worstall, 08 May 2015
Stacks of bitcoin CC2.0 attribution by FD Comite https://www.flickr.com/photos/fdecomite/

Hey! Want a FREE TOASTER that makes BITCOIN? What? You DO?

Worstall on Wednesday The Official Greatest Business Plan Of All Time was back at the time of the South Sea Bubble of the Georgian Age. A promoter made a stock offering for “A company for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage but no one to know what it is.” What made it the officially greatest ever was that this was, obviously and clearly, …
Tim Worstall, 06 May 2015
The Queen and Prince Philip visit Bletchley Park

Why OH WHY is economics so bleedin' awful, then?

Worstall @ the Weekend As Her Majesty the Queen remarked a few years back, why was it that no economist actually saw the crash coming? There's actually two answers to that. First, the cute one: that sort of violent change cannot be predicted. If it could be predicted then prices would move before it happened, meaning that it would have already …
Tim Worstall, 03 May 2015
Landfill. Pic: Bill McChesney

Free markets aren't rubbish – in fact, they solve our rubbish woes

Worstall on Wednesday The UN noted last week that there's rather a lot of computing and other electrical and electronic waste around. Meeellions upon millions of tonnes, in fact. As they say, it might be a good idea to think about recycling some of this crud. However, if we're going to do that then we need to get the economics of this right: and I've …
Tim Worstall, 29 Apr 2015
Steve Jobs memorial in Russia

Apple BIGGER than the U.S. ECONOMY? Or Australia? Or ... Luxembourg?

Analysis Apple's results are out - and it's time for the traditional game of trying to work out how much richer than which country the company is. With sales at $58 billion for the quarter, profits of $13.7 billion and depending upon how absurd we want to make our method of measurement this makes it the same as the US economy, the size …
Tim Worstall, 28 Apr 2015
Hungry goat licks lips. Pic: David Goehring

So how should we tax these BASTARD COMPANIES, then?

Worstall @ the Weekend To break with tradition: this week let's see if we can propose something sensible rather than doing our usual liverish snarling at whatever it is that grips my goat this week. So, let's see if we can work out how we should actually be taxing capital and the returns to it. This, of course, involves the taxation of corporations …
Tim Worstall, 26 Apr 2015
Hungry goat licks lips. Pic: David Goehring

What is the REAL value of your precious, precious data?

Data Pair – Part 2 Multitudes are getting very excited about what all of this data flowing around the system is worth. If we can know lots and lots about lots and lots of things then obviously that's really valuable, yes? And to some extent this is even true. We're not just in a bubble here – the more we can do with data these days, the more …
Tim Worstall, 22 Apr 2015
Stock market. Pic: Alberto Carrasco Casado

London man arrested over $40 MILLION HFT flash crash allegations

Comment As I've mentioned around here I'm a bit of an aficionado of scams and scammettes: not because I partake in them but because the inventiveness of the human mind in hoovering up cash never ceases to amuse me. This morning we've a classic of the genre, as one bloke working out of his mother's basement* in Hounslow is alleged to …
Tim Worstall, 22 Apr 2015
Google UK reception. Pic: Bob Dormon

Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

Worstall on Wednesday So, the EU Commission is going to call Google in and give it a really hard talking to for offering what Google's users rather like to have. And if they decide that, well, Google has been giving the consumers what the consumers desire, good and hard, then they're going to fine the Chocolate Factory up to 10 per cent of global …
Tim Worstall, 22 Apr 2015

So why exactly does almost ALL tech live in Silicon Valley?

Worstall @ the Weekend It was Ben Bernanke who pointed out that economics isn't really all that much good at predicting the next recession (and the long-standing joke is that economists have predicted 11 out of the past three), but it is pretty good at working out why the world is the way it is. Which brings us to the cutting edge of modern economic …
Tim Worstall, 19 Apr 2015

In some ways, dating apps are the anti-internet

Worstall on Wednesday Given the massive, but not startling*, success of dating apps like Grindr and Tinder it might sound, well, it will sound, a little odd to state that in one way at least they're like the anti-internet. For what that internet does is abolish geography as a binding limit on who one can socialise with. From the earliest BBS …
Tim Worstall, 15 Apr 2015

The Walton kids are ABSURDLY wealthy – and you're benefitting

Worstall @ the Weekend One of the great statistics being bandied about in the great inequality debate is that the Walton family have more wealth between the four siblings than the bottom 40 per cent of Americans do in total. Apparently this is something most shocking – and, of course, something must be done. I would argue that there's nothing very …
Tim Worstall, 12 Apr 2015
grab_that_cash

Instead of public sector non-jobbery, Martha, how about creating REAL entrepreneurs?

Worstall on Wednesday One of the general complaints about the British economy and its capitalism is that we don't seem to aim large. We are good at coming up with new ideas, we've even people who know how to make ideas work. Yet we very rarely seem to build up new entreprenurial companies that then go global. Why hasn't Britain (or even Europe?) …
Tim Worstall, 08 Apr 2015

To defend offshore finance bods looting developing countries of their tax cash

Worstall @ the Weekend I have been set a task by Reg Commentard Salamander: to critique or defend the offshore finance system. This should be easy enough as I'm clearly a pig dog running lackey of the plutocrats and so the answer is just yes. Whatever they pay me to say. Sadly, there are no plutocratic cheques flying around, just those from the …
Tim Worstall, 05 Apr 2015
David and Goliath in the Valley of Elah

Pumping billions into data centres won't guarantee you an empire

It's not a surprise for us, in economics, to find that we've got two (or more) different processes going on, each working in opposite directions. The final result will come from the interaction of the two and we're never really sure which is going to win out. Sometimes, in a certain society, one will beat the other, and at …
Tim Worstall, 01 Apr 2015
Nuke blast

Nuclear waste spill: How a pro-organic push sparked $240m blunder

Worstall on Wednesday There's a rather dry but absolutely fascinating document out from the US Department of Energy, which you can download in all its couple of hundred page glory here [PDF]. It's about the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad in New Mexico. This is where the Yanks send off all those barrels of radioactive nasties to …
Tim Worstall, 01 Apr 2015
Worstall Merkur 5 650p

Building a better society from the Czechs' version of Meccano

Worstall @ the Weekend To move a little off the normal sort of subject around here, something from an exhibition just around the corner here in Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic. The lads I hang out with here are 40ish professionals and they were terribly excited about an exhibition being put on of “Merkur”. They had to explain it to me a couple …
Tim Worstall, 29 Mar 2015
Person throwing rock at tank

Big Data will shield the Apple Watch from Android onslaught

It's possible that the arrival of a firm like Apple into wearables with its watch validates the space, just as Apple validated smart phones eight years ago. Sure, smartphones existed before, but no-one thought they were much cop. Since then, everyone up to and including John the Baptist has plunged into the market and there's …
Tim Worstall, 27 Mar 2015
ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus) is one of six detector experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) – image by Maximilien Brice CERN/Science photo library

What is HPC actually good for? Just you wait and see

High Performance Computing (HPC) is all terribly exciting. We get announcements about this supercluster or that beating the number of teraflops of that other one (or, more likely these days, petaflops). Or maybe it's data throughput or storage size or even transfer rates. And, perhaps the most interesting way of thinking about …
Tim Worstall, 27 Mar 2015
My bowls of stew and rice

A Quid A Day for NOSH? Luxury!

WiF It's that time of year as El Reg limbers up for the Quid A Day Nosh campaign and I'm here to point out that in context this is actually a pretty easy challenge. It must be, in technical terms, if one billion mostly illiterate peasants manage it all year round every year. Which is rather the point of the challenge in fact, to …
Tim Worstall, 26 Mar 2015
Ancient cave frieze. Pic: Leon Yaakov

No, really, the $17,000 Apple Watch IS all about getting your leg over

Worstall on Wednesday There was a certain amount of consumer resistance to my assertion that the Apple Christometer's $17,000 worth of bling was all about sex. But I'm afraid that this really is so. Bling is about getting sex: and it's the women who decide that it is as well. We have a less than reputable source for this: …conspicuous consumption …
Tim Worstall, 25 Mar 2015
Guardian 2.0

Guardian: 'Oil reserves will soon be worth NOTHING!' (A bit like their stock tips, really)

Worstall @ the Weekend It's not going to come as all that much of a surprise that those who worry excessively about climate change aren't really all that up to speed with economics as a subject in general. But it should produce a little amazement (or a chortle or two perhaps) when said usual suspects launch a new campaign that deliberately ignores a …
Tim Worstall, 22 Mar 2015