Monthly Archives: October 2017

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    Edward George: ‘Banks are in danger of becoming utilities’

Edward George: ‘Banks are in danger of becoming utilities’

As the market for fintech grows in Africa, Ecobank Transnational Inc., a pan-African banking conglomerate headquartered in Togo, has built a digital strategy that includes acquisitions, partnerships and in-house IT development. Having a large network of branches is no longer considered sustainable in the long run, as banking moves online. The bank is instead acting as an incubator of African fintech […]

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    Tiffany & Co.: A nineteenth century American retailer in Paris and London

Tiffany & Co.: A nineteenth century American retailer in Paris and London

Large American international retailers have been defining global consumers’ in-store experiences for decades. Firms such as Woolworths, and concepts such as the supermarket, have changed how we use stores and what we expect from them. American innovation in retailing in the twentieth century was synonymous with the notion of “big is beautiful”.

However, the origins of American international retailing lie […]

Blockchain and bitcoin: In search of a critique

One of the few things that has grown as fast this year as the price of cyptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, is the number of books available about them, along with blockchain technology and their many derivatives. There are now in excess of 500 books available on Amazon on these topics. These books include excellent technical guides like “Mastering Bitcoin: […]

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    Clarence Blay: ‘Ghana has 140,000 mobile money agents versus 1,300 bank branches’

Clarence Blay: ‘Ghana has 140,000 mobile money agents versus 1,300 bank branches’

The most famous mobile payments system in Africa, MPesa, allows users to make payments by sending text messages from simple mobile phones, not necessarily smart ones. The idea has started a new wave of mobile payments and transfers in the continent, and governments are taking steps to help this ingenious solution usher in a new era of financial inclusion for their countries. Clarence Blay, who […]

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    The Contradictions of Capital in the Twenty-First Century: The Piketty Opportunity – Book Review

The Contradictions of Capital in the Twenty-First Century: The Piketty Opportunity – Book Review

 

Find this book: 

The Contradictions of Capital in the Twenty-First Century: The Piketty Opportunity. Pat Hudson and Keith Tribe (eds). Columbia University Press. 2017. 

Riding on the back of the economic crisis and the Occupy Movement’s role in reigniting the inequality debate, Thomas Piketty’s seminal work Capital in the Twenty-First Century fell not only into the centre of many academic discussions […]

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    The national living wage has helped Britain’s workers, but challenges remain

The national living wage has helped Britain’s workers, but challenges remain

Employment is at a 40-year high, while pay is stagnating. That, in brief, sums up the last few years of changes in Britain’s labour market. As Figure 1 shows, politicians rightly highlight that employment and unemployment are undeniably trending in the right direction.
Figure 1. UK employment and unemployment rates (all aged 16-64)

Source: Resolution Foundation analysis, ONS
But the good news […]

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    Rolf Dobelli: ‘People will say about you what they want. Treat it as white noise.’

Rolf Dobelli: ‘People will say about you what they want. Treat it as white noise.’

More than a principle or a rule, we need a whole mental toolkit to help us understand the world and live a better life. That’s a key idea behind Rolf Dobelli’s new book, in which he shares 52 practical insights, one chapter at a time. Rolf is a writer, novelist and entrepreneur. He has an MBA and a PhD in economic philosophy […]

I vote left, you vote right: How can we work together?

Political divisiveness continues to make news and influence our lives. In Spain, the drive for Catalonia’s independence has sparked demonstrations from both sides, including police action to close polling places. In Britain, Brexit aroused a debate marked by strong emotion over the future direction of the country. In the U.S., movements such as Black Lives Matter/Blue Lives Matter, standing […]

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    Tech start-ups need a different approach to financial management

Tech start-ups need a different approach to financial management

We find ourselves today at the start of an industrial revolution. There have been others of course. The first revolution happened 250 years ago. Its engine was mechanisation. Another, about a hundred years ago, was all about electrification and mass production. Then 50 years ago, electronics and automation started a third revolution.

Right now, our physical and virtual worlds are […]

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    Weber may have been wrong in tracing the hard work ethic to Protestantism

Weber may have been wrong in tracing the hard work ethic to Protestantism

Social scientists have always been concerned about the role of religion for society. In the early twentieth century, there were concerns about the compatibility of Catholicism and liberal democracy; in the post-Cold War period, there were concerns that international relations might be marked by a ‘Clash of Civilizations’; and today there are concerns about the compatibility of Islam and […]

Humans and artificial intelligence: Rivalry or romance?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been developing at a frightening pace. It is debatable to what extent it has improved our lives – being able to use geolocation and search for the best restaurants or places of interest is great; however, AI is at the same time eliminating plenty of jobs, fast. A frequently cited report points out that a […]

Is leadership research betraying leaders?

If the purpose of research is to solve problems, then the question emerges of what the problem is and who has the problem. The purpose of medical research, for instance, is to provide those who practice medicine with knowledge that enables them to cure diseases, to relieve pain, and to enhance individuals’ health. Medical research thus benefits patients.

I believe […]

Does God want female entrepreneurs to have it all?

 

There is a dizzying array of career and life advice available for women. Whether being told to ‘lean in’ or ‘let go of balance’ women are commonly encouraged to ‘have it all’: be devoted, glamorous, passionate wives and mothers while climbing the career ladder. In our recent study, we explored how this postfeminist call to ‘have it all’ intersects with […]

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    Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology – Book Review

Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology – Book Review

Find this book: 

Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology. Karen Head. University Press of New England. 2017.

As I was finishing this book, I noticed an announcement on Twitter posted by my school for a public event about the future of education aided by technology. Not only this, but the conversation hashtag was a combination of the corporate partner’s […]

Will online platforms be able to access your bank data?

The increasing importance of digital platforms and data to our lives is perhaps the defining trend of the 21stcentury so far. Facebook, in particular, wants to be essential to you: you can connect with friends, shop in the marketplace, and read the headlines, all for the cost of nothing more than tens of thousands of data points about you […]

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    How to counter the exhaustion of always having to be positive with customers

How to counter the exhaustion of always having to be positive with customers

When was the last time you voluntarily lent a hand to a co-worker? If it is not something you do very often, it is time to start. In addition to generating goodwill between you and your colleague, there are a whole range of other advantages. The most important ones are the ability to protect yourself against emotional demands at […]

How to design and price information for sale to others

Everyone seems to be talking about “big data” these days — what it is, where it is, why it’s important, who owns it and how to mine it. It’s like a gold rush with numerous prospectors jumping into the game, dreaming of striking it rich and cornering a market before others discover the location and size of their mine. […]

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    Do UK universities collude in ways that inhibit genuine competition?

Do UK universities collude in ways that inhibit genuine competition?

In July 2017 a former minister, Andrew Adonis, suggested that UK universities might be running a cartel: ‘There appears to be strong prima facie evidence of a cartel. It’s short-changing a number of students. They are paying for more than the actual cost of their degree.’ In this blog post we attempt to clarify the situation. Do universities compete? […]

Success attracts new players to private equity

Private Equity is a fringe asset class no more; it has evolved, matured and refined its way into the mainstream. Yet, I foresee major changes for the industry and, fully aware that forward-looking statements have a tendency to dramatically stray from future reality, wish to dare a glimpse of what may come.

Success spawns imitators, and businesses have started to […]

The shrinking number of public corporations in the US

In his famous Harvard Business Review article titled “Eclipse of the public corporation,” Jensen (1989) argues that public corporations are inefficient organizational forms because private firms can resolve agency conflicts between investors and managers better than public firms. His prediction initially appeared invalid. As shown in Figure 1, the number of public firms increased sharply in the first half […]