Category: Economics

A 373-year-old bond still paying interest

Yale holds a 1648 bond that still pays annual interest. It was issued by a Dutch water board to finance improvements to a local dike system and is still valid. Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library must make the trip to the Houten in the Netherlands every few years to claim the interest.

That’s a remarkable, long-term investment.

But, will it buy you a table at Milliways?

All you have to do is deposit one penny in a savings account in your own era, and when you arrive at the End of Time the operation of compound interest means that the fabulous cost of your meal has been paid for.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Douglas Adams

Read the full story (about the bond), here.

Hat tip to Benedict Evans’ newsletter.

Photo by Emiel Molenaar on Unsplash

A one-hour stop for every two hours’ driving. Why the electric car’s not arrived, yet.

Considering a change of car led me to dig deeper on electrics. Here’s where I arrived.

The rush to roll out electric car charging points is missing the bigger point.

Range anxiety is, rightly, identified as one of the main barriers to widespread adoption of electric vehicles. But, concern about distance isn’t as simple as how far you can travel on a given charge. It’s not purely about distance, but about time, too.

Continue reading “A one-hour stop for every two hours’ driving. Why the electric car’s not arrived, yet.”

Steven Pinker’s inconvenient truths

Another great podcast from CapX’s Free Exchange series. In this episode, Steven Pinker discusses his recent book, Enlightenment Now.

It’s a fascinating book, but I confess I’ve been reading it all year. The takeaway is clear but the wealth of data takes time to digest. The book is worth the work, but this 30-minute podcast will give you the gist.

The podcast you can hear, here.

You can also get it on iTunes, here.

Photo credit: Rose Lincoln / Harvard University

George Orwell and the Left – @ASI

Madsen Pirie, at the Adam Smith Institute, has a piece on George Orwell, his writing and his impact.

He is still highly relevant, rewarding us not only with his fluent prose, but with his honesty. He self-identified as a socialist and a man of the Left, yet he saw and wrote about what people actually did in the name of socialism. His refusal to excuse the cynical brutality of those who claimed to carry its banner but betrayed all of its ideals, made him many enemies on the Left.

Worth a quick read, here.

Gig economy vs. talent economy?

I’ve never been wholly comfortable with “gig economy” as an umbrella term. Too often it’s hijacked by those who want to paint independent workers as a new type of oppressed; in need of rescue from uncaring capitalism.

The reality is far from that, as successive research has shown. Independent working is most often a freely made choice.

Here’s an interesting article from Jon Younger on Forbes.com. Talking generally about adoption of the freelance economy model (is it as explosively disruptive as the hype suggests?), Younger makes an important distinction between types of freelance work:

Continue reading “Gig economy vs. talent economy?”

Death of Venice

The Times has a couple of sad pieces on Venice.

Kneeling, he touches the foundation of one of the marble columns holding up St Mark’s Basilica, which symbolised Venetian power for a millennium. Fragments come away in his fingers.

“Water now enters the church 200 times a year,” said Mr Tesserin, administrator of the 11th century Italo-Byzantine masterpiece overlooking St Mark’s Square. “The marble is literally crumbling thanks to the corrosive salt.”

Continue reading “Death of Venice”

What does a freelancer look like? Survey from @FlexJobs

FlexJobs has surveyed 1,000 (US) freelancers and found, yet again, that these are not desperate and abused individuals forced into abusive contracts by uncaring, capitalist overlords.

In fact, as TechRepublic summarises:

the average full-time freelance worker is a female Gen Xer working in the writing, marketing, editing, or creative career fields. This person works primarily for small companies and individuals, and juggles two to three jobs at a time, the report found. The average worker freelances by choice, and has been doing so for at least three years, and envisions continuing this type of career for the long-term, though they have worked at traditional companies in the past.

Continue reading “What does a freelancer look like? Survey from @FlexJobs”