Articles about Economics

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

Worstall on Wednesday 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
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
Facepalm

MIT bods' digital economy babblings are tosh. C'mon guys, Economics 101

Worstall on Wednesday We've one of those lovely open letters floating around. Where the Great and the Good, the Wise Thinkers, tell us all how we've got to organise the world to accord with their prejudices about how it should be ordered. This particular one, an “Open Letter on the Digital Economy” (versions here and here) is about what we've got to …
Tim Worstall, 10 Jun 2015
Costumed pirate

Economics prof denies digital pirates plundered €20bn from EU coffers

A European academic has rubbished claims by the Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) group that digital piracy cost the EU more than €20bn between 2008 and 2011. Making the assumption that the creative and service sectors performed at the same level, a grand total of around one million jobs and €47bn of …
Jennifer Baker, 08 Oct 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

'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
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

THE DEATH OF ECONOMICS: Aircraft design vs flat-lining financial models

Crawling from the Wreckage John Watkinson continues his series of essays for El Reg in which he examines failures in society from banking and education to transport and IT. Here, with a critical eye on our economic plight, he looks at the methods employed by those doing the sums and their consequences. Here we are, several years into the aftermath of the …
John Watkinson, 21 Sep 2014

Want a promotion? Study economics, says HDS economist

Want to get noticed by the higher-ups in your workplace? Forget about a new certification or home lab, an appreciation of economics and its application as a tool to define precise metrics about just what it costs to operate your employer's IT kit will see you get ahead. That's the opinion of Hitachi Data Systems' (HDS') chief …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Mar 2013

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

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

Worstall @ the Weekend 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
2001: A Space Odyssey

TOP500 Supers make boffins more prolific

A comparative analysis of supercomputer ownership by US universities seems to suggest that TOP500-class iron gives institutions a quantifiable edge in physics, chemistry, civil engineering and evolutionary biology. In the kind of rational decision-making that will upset HPC sales teams, the Clemson University research is …
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

Blighty wants to ‘strengthen links’ with Huawei via the begging bowl

John Whittingdale, the UK's Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has indicated Blighty would like more cash from Chinese kit maker Huawei after its current £1.3bn investment pot runs dry in 2017. Speaking at Huawei's annual summer bash at Whitehall's Banqueting Hall, he suggested the UK would be keen to have its …
Kat Hall, 16 Jun 2015
Tesla powerwall

Tesla's battery put in the shade by current and cheaper kit

A couple more interesting details have emerged about Tesla's “game-changing” home battery, and it remains a moderately limp competitor that's done wonders for market awareness. Courtesy of Bloomberg, the world gets an idea of what the retail from-the-installer price of the battery might look like (rather than the wholesale price …
CIE Oz Data Set

Australia's comms regs broken says Vodafone (as it would)

Telstra's continuing incumbency is an expensive luxury, according to the carrier's competitors, that sucks more than AU$3 billion into the carrier's maw each year. That's the conclusion of a study which reckons a fixed-line customer buying from Telstra is paying AU$20 too much each month, or $9 per month for mobile services. …
Tim Worstall victory dance at his Reg lecture

Tim Worstall dances to victory over resources scaremongerers

Reg lecture Tim Worstall brought together rare minerals, bacon and eggs, and his own interpretive victory dance in his battle to stop us all worrying about running out of resources, at our most recent Reg lecture. In just under 50 minutes, Tim covered the economics of resources, why you won’t find a Ferrari in a scrap yard, and just what he …
Joe Fay, 22 Jun 2015

El Reg Summer Lectures Span Dark Net, Rare Earths, and Vintage Tech

Reg Events If you’re the sort of Reg reader who likes to expand their mind as well as their tech arsenal, you’ll want to snap up tickets for our Summer series of Lectures. We’ve assembled a cracking trio of speakers, who between them will take you on a tour of sometimes obscure but incredibly interesting corners of the world of tech – all …
Joe Fay, 16 Apr 2015

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

Reg Lectures serve up Net Terrors, Rare Earths, and Ancient Tech

Reg Events If you want to get ahead of the on-beach reading lists this year, you need to get down to our next series of Register Lectures. We’ve lined up three lecture evenings that will leave you streets ahead of your colleagues. And as always, it’s you, the readers, who will be asking the questions of our top notch speaker lineup. All …
Joe Fay, 24 Apr 2015

LG won't fix malware slinging bloatware update hole

The the Budapest University of Technology and Economics' Security Evaluation and Research Laboratory (SEARCH-LAB) says "malicious attackers controlling the network are able to install arbitrary applications" on LG's Android phones, thanks to a flaw in their software update mechanism. The Lab says the flaw impacts "all Android …
Darren Pauli, 02 Jul 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
A large hand flicks an icon of a little red man. Image via shutterstock (Lasse Kristensen)

Adam Smith was right about that invisible hand, you know

Worstall @ the Weekend We have a nice little empirical proof that Adam Smith really was right about us all being guided by that invisible hand. Yeah, I know, you're sooo tired of the free market maniac telling you that governments are all wet and laissez faire is where it should be. Except that's not something Smith ever said nor is it what he meant …
Tim Worstall, 05 Jul 2015
Selection of Australian banknotes

Australian Bureau of Statistics to get AU$250m tech boost

If the pre-budget briefings-to-journalists are correct, Big IT is going to be refreshing its tender boilerplates for a lot of work in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the troubled bureau – which was reportedly considering skipping the next census to save cash – is going to get AU …

Must-have sports tech: No, not an Apple Watch, a TOMATO GOB-STUFF BOT

Vid Many inspirations and desires cross a runner's mind while pounding the pavement, but few could honestly say a robot sat on their shoulders force-feeding them tomatoes has ever been one. Thankfully Japanese tomato condiment company Kagome has identified a need consumers never realised they had. Kagome unveiled its 18lb …
Kat Hall, 23 Feb 2015
Glorious future of China

Facebook, IBM, court future Chinese elite

Beijing's Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management has signed up two tech titans to its advisory board: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and IBM President and CEO Ginni Rometty. Tsinghua University is among China's most prestigious, is ranked the world's 47th-best tertiary education institution and its School of …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Oct 2014
BT Openreach at work

Sky bangs on Ofcom's door – demands BT competition probe

Blighty's communications watchdog declined this morning to comment on Sky's demands for an in-depth competition probe of BT's broadband biz. Sky has argued in its submission (PDF) to Ofcom today that the regulator should ask the Competition and Markets Authority to intervene with a full inquiry into BT's strong grip on the UK's …
Kelly Fiveash, 29 Jun 2015
BT Openreach van

BT's taxpayer-funded broadband monopoly may lock out rivals, says independent report

BT’s monopoly in supplying Blighty’s national broadband scheme may have permanently locked out future competition – according to an independent report card on the £780m public purse project. The evaluation, by economics consultancy Oxera, was required by the European Commission, following its decision to grant the scheme state …
Kat Hall, 20 May 2015
Hedvig Ulrika Taube, also Countess von Hessenstein, official royal mistress to King Frederick I of Sweden

Hedvig flutters in carrying $18m in fresh VC greenbacks

Software storage startup Hedvig has gone and got itself an $18m Series B funding round just two months after its A-round, suggestive of a sudden change in its priorities. The company, founded by Avinash Lakshman in 2012, aims to bring Facebook-style scale-out storage and its commodity component economics to enterprise data …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jun 2015
John Nash's PhD paper

World loses John Nash, the 'Beautiful Mind'

A car accident in New Jersey has claimed the life of Nobel Prize-winning mathematician and subject of the book and movie A Beautiful Mind, John Forbes Nash. The 86-year-old Nash was travelling with wife Alicia, 82, in a taxi that struck a guardrail on the New Jersey Turnpike. The couple were not wearing seat belts, according to …

Superfish: Lenovo ditches adware, but that doesn't fix SSL megavuln – researcher

Lenovo is attempting to defuse controversy over its pre-installed Superfish crapware – which appears to have run man-in-the-middle attacks against consumers in order to sling ads – by saying it has discontinued use of the visual-recognition technology on new laptops and promising to review outstanding concerns. Superfish …
John Leyden, 19 Feb 2015
Android icon desktop toys

$30 Landfill Android mobes are proof that capitalism ROCKS

Worstall on Wednesday I've mentioned around here before that the shipping container has been one of the most revolutionary technologies of our times. Similarly, I've said that the mobile phone has had a vast effect on human wealth. The TL;DR version of mobes is that 10 per cent of the population with a mobile increases GDP by 0.5 per cent each and …
Tim Worstall, 18 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
Sharon White, new head of Ofcom, former Second Perm Sec at the Treasury

Ofcom's new broom Sharon White sweeps into office

Communications watchdog Ofcom confirmed this morning that it has found a replacement for outgoing chief Ed Richards. Sharon White will head up the regulator from late March, on an annual salary of £275,000, after she ends her senior role at the Treasury. White currently serves as Second Permanent Secretary of the Finance …
Kelly Fiveash, 16 Dec 2014
LP stylus

Music-mad Brits drive up hardware sales too – claims BPI

Amazingly, 12 per cent of British people watching TV are listening to music from another source as they watch. Or maybe that isn’t so amazing. Maybe you need to play Napalm Death while watching The X Factor - and who could blame you? Tech-mad Brits also spend more on music per head than the G7 average - but which drives which? …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Oct 2014
Marconi-Stille steel tape recorder

Tape thrives at the margin as shipped capacity breaks record

Shipped tape capacity passed 6.6 exabytes in the third 2014 quarter, a record. An HP backup, recovery and archive product manager, Simon Watkins, revealed this in a blog. As a man with lots of tape libraries in his set of products, you’d expect him to be pleased. The data came from the Santa Clara Consulting Group. Watkins …
Chris Mellor, 02 Apr 2015

Investment climate hostile to optical sector: Alca-Lu

Alcatel-Lucent is warning that the telco sector is skewing its investment cycles – and that could have disastrous affects down the track. At issue is that investments in the boring business of science into products don't rate as highly as the more sexy flavour-of-the-month sectors like software defined networks (SDN) and network …
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
Triumph's solar power brassiere

Solar-powered bra maker suffers 20,000 TITSUPs all at once

Solar-powered bra manufacturer Triumph International has been forced to recall 20,000 solar-powered brassieres. The Swiss-based lingerie maker is best known for its bra that allows the wearer to become her own source of renewable energy via a detachable solar panel - providing much-needed support while simultaneously supporting …
Kat Hall, 23 Dec 2014
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 some …
Tim Worstall, 01 Apr 2015
BT Openreach van

Vodafone: So what exactly is 'ludicrous' about the Frontier report?

Vodafone has struck back at BT’s claim that the Frontier Economics report on Openreach’s apparent profiteering is “ludicrous”, with Matthew Braovac, Vodafone's head of competition and regulatory affairs, writing to his BT opposite number asking for a justification of the claims. “Far from being ludicrous, the report is based …
Simon Rockman, 27 Mar 2015

Australia cracks tech giants' tax dodge code

Australia's Economics References Committee, which has been conducting hearings into corporate tax avoidance, looks to have made a breakthrough by eliciting a new method for taxing multinationals from the nation's Taxation Office. Recent hearings have revealed how the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft manage to pay such low …
Simon Sharwood, 04 May 2015
classroom_shutterstock_648

Mobiles at school could be MAKING YOUR KID MORE DUMBER

Restricting smart watch and mobile phone use can be a low-cost policy to reduce educational inequalities. This is the conclusion of a report by Louis-Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy working at the London School of Economics Centre for Economic Performance (pdf) and Louisiana State University. The survey looked at a number of …
Simon Rockman, 21 May 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 that …
Tim Worstall, 22 Apr 2015
Germany celebrates winning Fifa world cup 2014 in Brazil

Deutsche Telekom, Huawei: Let's rain on Amazon’s euro cloud together

Deutsche Telekom claims to have Amazon and Google in its sights (thanks to a little lens polishing from a Chinese big boy) as it ramps up its cloud business and attempts to dominate the sector in Europe. DT said it would step up its relationship with Huawei as part of the drive, which it said would double its cloud revenue from …
Joe Fay, 15 Jun 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
Dark Side of the Moon album cover

CityFibre FEEDS hungry EE and Three customers with DARK FIBRE

EE and Three signed an agreement with CityFibre this morning to deploy dark fibre backhaul links to mobile masts for the UK networks. Financial details of the national framework deal, which was also struck with the operators' Mobile Broadband Network Ltd (MBNL) joint venture, were kept secret. CityFibre said that lighting up …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Nov 2014

Storage upstart: Our flashy gear is WAY faster than slow old DRAM

A storage memory appliance to process massive Big Data sets in real-time is being developed by startup Levyx, with help from Toshiba and the reviving OCZ business in the flash department. Levyx was founded in 2013 by Reza Sadri, CEO, previously sTec’s chief technical officer, and Tony Givargis, a computer science professor at …
Chris Mellor, 03 Jul 2015
channel_teaser_money_top

HGST's Active Archive System and the 'currency of the new economy'

What better thing for a disk drive company to do than announce a drive array to archive data and increase demand for its spinning disks? HGST has gone and done just that with its Active Archive System array, built using acquired Amplidata object storage tech. Object storage technology views files as objects, with the content …
Chris Mellor, 08 Apr 2015
Derisive laugh

BT slams ‘ludicrous’ Openreach report as Vodafone smirks

BT has labelled a report into its apparently inflated return on broadband investment as "ludicrous", as Vodafone calls on the government to tighten the regulations surrounding Openreach. A confidential November 2014 report from Frontier Economics (seen by El Reg) has claimed that while the historic return on investment, which …
Simon Rockman, 26 Mar 2015