Wednesday 23 June, 2021

Why many employers like staff who work from home

Official statistics in the UK showed people working from home last year put in six hours of unpaid overtime a week on average, compared with 3.6 hours for those who never worked at home Source: Financial Times, 13 June, 2021

Quote of the Day

””Never express yourself more clearly than you think”

  • Niels Bohr.

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Grateful Dead | Not Fade Away & Goin’ down the Road Feeling Bad | Live at Manhattan Center, New York


More evidence of my misspent youth.

Long Read of the Day

Biden’s China strategy: a chronology

By Adam Tooze


Joe Biden has come a long way on China. At the beginning of his Presidential run in May 2019 at a speech in Iowa he still adopted a blithe attitude of superiority. Invoking his years of diplomatic experience he reassured the crowd: “there’s not a “single solitary” world leader who would trade the problems the United States faces for those confronting China. “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man … I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.”

By 2020, as the campaign heated up, Biden’s soft line on China was out of tune with a growing bipartisan consensus on the need to confront China’s rise. As one of his advisors would later remark to the Economist, “During the campaign Mr Biden had to be “reprogrammed” on China.”

The people who did the reprogramming were the members of the DC foreign policy “blob” that gathered around Biden.

This is part of work in progress by Adam Tooze. But if you’re interested (as I am) in tracking the gradual move towards the kind of superpower conflict envisaged in 2034: A Novel of the next world war it’s a useful start.

Jonty Bloom on the DUP


Of all the groups promised the earth by the Brexiteers and then abandoned, the DUP and the good people of Ulster are the largest and most obvious. The consequences are truly terrifying but the most frightening thing is that the Brexiteers don’t care.

There is an obvious answer to all these issues however, the UK could rejoin the EU’s veterinary standards regime and 80% of the checks disappear. Then the DUP can join a foreign round the world trip promoting Northern Ireland as the best of both worlds, in the UK and the Single Market. The money, jobs and investment would flood in.

What are the chances of that? About zero, the UK government is too stupid to compromise on veterinary standards, the DUP is too stupid to see the way ahead. Both are stuck in fantasy cults, where reality and facts are as nothing to the purity of the cause.

More on Edward de Bono

I said in my post on de Bono that I could never decide whether he was a genius or a charlatan. Quite a few readers emailed to say that they though he might have been the former — or at any rate a visionary.

For example Clive Page wrote:

I wasn’t going to follow this up, but the Weekend FT yesterday published a letter from Andrew Hilton the director of the “Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation” claiming that the obituaries in the papers didn’t take Edward de Bono seriously enough and that he once published a paper on “The IBM Dollar” which was genuinely innovative.

This was written in 1994, perhaps towards the end of the era when nobody got fired for buying IBM. It might still be relevant if one replaces IBM by say Apple.

And Dave Birch (Whom God Preserve) pointed me to a post on his blog making much the same point:

Many years ago I picked up a report from the CSFI called “The IBM Dollar”, written Dr. de Bono.

His writing had an immediate impact on me, coming as I was from the technology side of electronic money. IBM, in de Bono’s early 1990s thought experiment, might issue “IBM Dollars” (what we would now called “tokens”) that would be redeemable for IBM products and services, but are also tradable for other companies’ monies or for other assets in a liquid market. When I read this, I felt as if scales were falling from my eyes. It hasn’t occurred to me that anyone other than a central bank could issue money!

This blog is also available as a daily email. If you think this might suit you better, why not subscribe? One email a day, Monday through Friday, delivered to your inbox at 7am UK time. It’s free, and there’s a one-click unsubscribe if you decide that your inbox is full enough already!