From a Battle of Ideas to a Stockmarket of Narratives

Robert J Shiller’s 2015 book “Narrative Economics” explains how narratives can drive economic events in ways economists have disregarded for too long. While wrapped in an extended metaphor – you could even say narrative – of epidemiology, Shiller’s theory reminds me of a stock market, where narratives rise and fall but rarely disappear entirely. This… Continue reading From a Battle of Ideas to a Stockmarket of Narratives

How Counterfactual Thinking has Shaped our World

The concept of causality depends on counterfactual thinking. Counterfactuals, which are essentially alternative realities, don’t exist outside our imaginations, and arguably cause us more trouble than good. But the more humanity moulds the world to its needs and standardises behaviour, the more traction causal thinking may gain as we get better at verifying counterfactual statements… Continue reading How Counterfactual Thinking has Shaped our World

Safe, Small, Tested In-Person Events for a Controlled Return to a New Normality

It looks like we’re in this for the long haul. I don’t want to rule out some geniuses finding creative solutions, but until then, everything will have to be digital. But really? No face-to-face for a year? That won’t work. We need safe, repeatable, small, expert-approved formats to help people socialise as little as necessary… Continue reading Safe, Small, Tested In-Person Events for a Controlled Return to a New Normality

Book Recommendation: the Science of Fate by Hannah Critchlow

In recent decades, developments in neuroscience have given unprecedented insights into the way our brains work. But the discovery of neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change over time – has led to what Dr Hannah Critchlow calls “neurohype”: the suggestion we can change our fate by moulding our brains to our liking well beyond… Continue reading Book Recommendation: the Science of Fate by Hannah Critchlow

Regulating Against Network Effects: Six Ideas

I recently wrote about network effects, which are well described in the book Blitzscalingby Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh. The ills of their controversial approach – prioritising speed over efficiency in the face of uncertainty – were recently outlined by Tim O’Reilly, who claimed it has gone from “premise to doctrine” in Silicon Valley. The… Continue reading Regulating Against Network Effects: Six Ideas

The End of History: Sir Christopher Clark at the Korber Forum

By the time I arrived at the Körber Forum, the event had already started and the participants were talking about – appropriately – time.  Appropriately, I say, because my plan to arrive half an hour early in order to get a seat was foiled by having misremembered the start time. I settled for a place… Continue reading The End of History: Sir Christopher Clark at the Korber Forum