Think Pieces

Oil price is a sign of global health for the environment

Written by | Monday 4 October 2004

Russia has signed up to the Kyoto agreement and oil now costs $50 and more a barrel. But counter-intuitively, the Russian decision is bad news for the world's long-term environment, health and economy - while the oil price is actually rather cheering.

Blame politicians, not managers, for productivity gap

Written by | Sunday 3 October 2004

Britain's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) - a tax-funded research body - has produced another of its reports on productivity, arguing that productivity in Britain is 20% behind that of France and Germany.

That has provided a convenient peg for pundits to go on the radio and slag off British industry and management. Or to assert smugly that continental Europe's more progressive social policies are obviously good for business.

Helping the public to go private

Written by | Sunday 26 September 2004

The schools' charitable status has the perverse effect of encouraging
them to plough any surpluses into yet more capital investment in
facilities and equipment. Money that a private firm would distribute is
instead put towards a new library, sports hall or information
technology centre.

The selfish greens

Written by | Saturday 25 September 2004

What we have discovered is that as our planet, the Earth, evolves it
keeps its climate and its chemistry always fit for life, and the
invisible hand that regulates the Earth System operates through
feedbacks, negative and positive, between its living and non-living
parts. But this knowledge, Gaia theory, is still in the domain of
specialist science and is not yet understood or applied in the public
world. As in politics, it took a long time before we recognised that
feedback from market forces can not be ignored, so I suspect that we

Making super-size dupes of us all

Written by | Monday 13 September 2004

But this movie is in the worst tradition of that other 'documentary'
producer of Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, the (even
plumper) Michael Moore. These movies are all pieces of advocacy, rather
than an objective analysis of a key social issue. Certainly, they deal
with important issues - America's gun culture, events leading up to
9/11, and obesity. But they are all a clever, cynical and misleading
use of film by partisans of the anti-conservative, anti-business cause.

Butler on Museums

Written by | Saturday 11 September 2004

And this fact, that it is the politicians and not the public who pay
the bills, has divided our museums from the public they are supposed to
serve. They don't reflect our culture, but that of the elites in power
- elites who love big projects, and who find a few big budgets easier
to manage than a lot of small ones.


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