Monthly Archives: April 2017

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    Finite Media: Environmental Implications of Digital Technologies – Book Review

Finite Media: Environmental Implications of Digital Technologies – Book Review

Finite Media: Environmental Implications of Digital Technologies. Sean Cubitt. Duke University Press. 2017.

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We desire the latest mobile phones. We expect to be contactable and connectable at all times: wherever we go, our portable media devices come too and probably record each step of the way, either intentionally or otherwise. Yet how often do we think about the […]

Financing the transition to low carbon economies

Over the last decade a series of multilateral agreements on climate change in Copenhagen (2009), Paris (2016), and Marrakesh (2016) has established a global consensus on the need to transition towards sustainable, low-carbon economies that might allow us to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.  But developing countries, not least in Latin American and the Caribbean, face […]

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    Brexit: blame it on the loss of industrial jobs, not on globalisation

Brexit: blame it on the loss of industrial jobs, not on globalisation

‘Brexit is a rejection of globalisation’ (Larry Elliott, Guardian, 26th June 2016).
Larry Elliott’s claim about the causes of Brexit is stark, but one echoed, if usually in slightly more qualified fashion, by many other commentators. For example, in her Sylvia Ostry lecture in September 2016, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, put forward similar ideas, with the theme […]

Working the phones

For the purpose of  my new book, I spent six months undercover in a UK call centre. The focus of the research was to understand questions of control and resistance from the perspective of call centre workers themselves. This kind of covert ethnography – studying a phenomenon from the point of view from the subject of the study – used […]

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    The long-run tendency for wealth to concentrate in a few hands

The long-run tendency for wealth to concentrate in a few hands

In recent years, long-term trends in economic inequality have attracted growing attention from social scientists, which also reflects civil society’s increasing awareness of the deepening economic disparities. In this context, particular attention has been paid to the share of the total income or wealth earned/owned by the top of the distribution – usually the top 1%, 5% or 10% […]

How Daoism can make a difference in business

Journalists, writers and scholars alike all highlight the necessity of virtues in business, though of course with different emphases. While journalists and writers may be more interested in drawing those business virtues from popular, successful and pragmatic business people, scholars tend to recite classics of virtue ethics, like Aristotle, Adam Smith, Thomas Aquinas or Catholic social teaching amongst others. […]

The effortful nature of risk management practice

In managing risk, organizational actors are constantly engaged in the work of representing it. From a philosophical point of view, this co-mingling of risk and representation is unsurprising. Risks are contingencies or future possibilities which have not yet crystallized into events. As non-real possibilities, they literally do not exist and cannot be seen until they are represented and processed […]

Developing a new framework for small business success

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have long been established as an effective mechanism to generate employment and promote economic growth, and have been the focus of political, business and management research. Despite their undisputed importance and significant empirical research in this area, there is still neither a universally accepted definition for SMEs — with significant variations in different countries […]

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    Employers beware: Generation Y loves social media, but to a point

Employers beware: Generation Y loves social media, but to a point

Social media is a ubiquitous feature of modern life inside and outside the workplace. Employers now recognise the benefit of using social networking sites for attracting, retaining and engaging employees (e.g. through encouraging communication and collaboration), especially members of generation Y, born from approximately 1980 to 2000. Although there has been debate about the distinctiveness of this generation’s work values, they have a particular relationship with technology, […]

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    The experience of an early-life disaster affects how a CEO relates to risk

The experience of an early-life disaster affects how a CEO relates to risk

During most of Steve Job’s tenure as CEO of Apple Inc. the company did not have any long-term debt obligations. Apple started an aggressive buyback program only after Tim Cook took over, simultaneously adding debt to its capital structure. Coincidentally, San Francisco, where Steve Jobs was born, experienced more disaster-related fatalities during Jobs’ formative years than Tim Cook’s birthplace […]

Why robots aren’t the enemy

It is scary fun to think that the robot buddy who is making life a bit easier and products a bit cheaper will next week steal your job, that the bot that reads your laptop cookies will destroy your freedom of choice, or that super-intelligent algorithms mean that we will all end up working for machines. I propose, rather, […]

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    The crucial role of politically savvy supply chain managers for internal integration

The crucial role of politically savvy supply chain managers for internal integration

Internal integration has become a key focus for most firms. In fact, integration has always been vital, but the growing strategic focus on Supply Chain Management (SCM) has placed more emphasis on the importance of integration. Since the hallmark of effective SCM is coordinated processes and seamless flows, firms have found it necessary to invest in initiatives and technologies […]

Britain’s Cities, Britain’s Future – Book Review

Britain’s Cities, Britain’s Future. Mike Emmerich. London Publishing Partnership. 2017.

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Mike Emmerich, along with Sir Howard Bernstein and others, is one of the architects of the British ‘urban renaissance’ and contemporary Manchester-inspired devolution to city regions. We know this because he tells us on the second page of the ambitiously titled Britain’s Cities, Britain’s Future. This book is […]

The hidden human labour behind search engine algorithms

Billions of people worldwide use search engines without understanding the inner workings and processes providing the information that they are looking for. Despite widespread use, the background mechanics of search are not fully visible and are often hidden behind technical decisions and trade secrets. Web search is a highly profitable business, from which Google secured 74.9 billion US dollars of […]

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    The Dodd-Frank Act doesn’t solve the principal-agent problem in asset securitisation

The Dodd-Frank Act doesn’t solve the principal-agent problem in asset securitisation

The concept of asset securitisation dates back to the Roman Empire. The practice of Pignus and Hypothec enabled a Roman citizen to secure his or her long-term debts with land. By the 11th and 12th centuries in medieval Europe, mortgages were used to finance crusades. Modern-day securitisation marks its beginning in Copenhagen, in the 1800’s, when the British set fire to the city. Proceeds from […]

Is free trade an economic example of asymmetrical warfare?

The so-called golden era of globalised trade that began shortly after World War II has more than a few things to recommend it. Trade liberalisation has lifted hundreds of millions of people from crushing poverty, promoted productivity and growth and linked once-hostile nations in a network of mutual dependence that lessened the chances of another ruinous military conflict.

So why […]

The coming jobs boom in the age of intelligent machines  

Central to the election of President Trump, the populist support of Brexit, and the distrust of so many institutions at the heart of the modern world, are concerns about the future of work; Who or what has taken my job? what are the jobs of the future? How do I – or my kids – get them? Where are […]

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    Medicare’s payments system affects the whole US healthcare sector

Medicare’s payments system affects the whole US healthcare sector

The United States health care system is known for the private sector’s uniquely large role. Of the $3.2 trillion that the U.S. spent on health care in 2015, private individuals and private insurance directly financed at least 44 per cent, or $1.4 trillion. In a recent paper, we ask whether this system is as different as it might seem […]

Online exploration, content choice, and echo chambers

Just as sound reverberates in an enclosed space, so do opinions and information in our social circles. Since ‘birds of a feather flock together,’ these social circles consist mostly of like-minded individuals, making it harder for dissenting views to permeate our discourse, and creating an echo of our own information and views. This is the echo chamber phenomenon that […]

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    Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients got Hooked and Why it’s So Hard to Stop – Book Review

Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients got Hooked and Why it’s So Hard to Stop – Book Review

Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients got Hooked and Why it’s So Hard to Stop. Anna Lembke. Johns Hopkins University Press. 2016.

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In the 1970s, Canadian psychologist Bruce Alexander and a group of colleagues at Simon Fraser University tested the widely believed hypothesis that drugs such as morphine are intrinsically addictive. They took two groups of […]