Vikas Shah MBE Interviews the world's leading thinkers, and the people shaping the century.

Learning About Ourselves Using Technology

At an academic level, behaviour refers to, “…the actions of an organism or system, usually in relation to its environment, which includes the other organisms or systems around as well as the physical environment. It is the response of the organism or system to various stimuli or inputs, whether internal or external, conscious or subconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary.” Contextualising this, researchers from fields as diverse as psychiatry, psychology, sociology, economics and…

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Charities – The New Management Consultants…

In July 2010, the Economist observed how non-profit organisations “…are commonly advised to become more like for-profit businesses. Management experts and consultants view them as horribly inefficient due to the absence of the concentrating power of the profit motive… [however] there has been barely any reciprocal pressure on for-profit firms to learn from the non-profits.” Organisations in the third-sector (an umbrella phrase used to describe the not-for-profit sector) have a number of key characteristics which …

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Labour Market Arbitrage in China

In his 1817 book, “On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation“, David Ricardo explained the principle of economic comparative advantage.  He drew example from the production of wine and cloth in England and Portugal and explained, “In England it is very hard to produce wine, and only moderately difficult to produce cloth. In Portugal both are easy to produce. Therefore while it is cheaper to produce cloth in Portugal than England, it is cheaper…

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Taxation and Economic Self-Harm

There is little doubt that taxation is an economically necessary and ethically valid part of society’s structure.  “Taxes” stated Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. “…are the price of civilisation.” Many cite taxation as having four ‘key’ roles in society, The generation of revenue for the state to provide infrastructure, education, defence, welfare, public services and so forth The re-distribution of wealth from the richer to the poorer parts of society to aid social development and reduce…

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Regional and Global Economic Integration

In this interview, we speak to Professor Charles Wyplosz who is Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, where he is Director of the International Centre of Money and Banking Studies and an Independent Economic Advisor to the President of the European Commission. We discuss regional and global economic integration, looking at Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, alongside the concepts of free trade and globalisation, and the role of economic and political integration in future of world economics.

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The Role of Digital Piracy in Business

In April 2010, the Economist reported, “…One of the lessons from TV is to accept change and get ahead of it. Broadcasters’ initial response to the appearance of programmes online was similar to the music industry’s reaction to file-sharing: call in the lawyers. But television firms soon banded together to develop alternatives to piracy. Websites like Hulu, a joint venture of the American broadcasters ABC, Fox and NBC, have drawn eyeballs away from illicit sources.”…

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Understanding Game Changing Technologies

“It feels great to have the iPad launched into the world” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, “…it’s going to be a game changer.” When observing the media analysis of such rhetoric, you always see a mix of embrace and cynicism.  The latter being the ‘mainstream’ news titles, and the former (invariably) being technology press.  Reflect back on the launch of the iPod, and you will see similar conflicting attitudes, but it would be difficult now…

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Learning Ethics from the Future of Warfare

Professor Ronald Arkin is one of the world’s leading roboticists.  In 2009, he published a book entitled “Governing Lethal Behaviour in Autonomous Robots” which (as one review quoted) is, “….the most serious attempt to date to set out how to build an ethical robot.” The review continues, “This timely book outlines and directly addresses the ethical dilemmas posed by the development of autonomous military robots, which will confront roboticists and military policy makers in the…

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What the Volcano Taught Us about Business

April 20 (Bloomberg) “Stranded flyers created a surge in demand for travel industry Web sites and remote conferencing services as a shutdown of many flights in Europe continued through a sixth day.” Nothing Broke… That’s Important. The eruption of Eyjafjallajokull really caught the world off-guard, and created the levels of profound disruption which only natural disasters and war can.  In most such crises (such as in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks) we used…

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The Moral Hazard of Short Term Attitudes

In the fields of political science and economics, you will commonly see discussion of the “Principal-Agent Problem” (also known as agency dilemma) which deals with the outcomes of situations of conflicted interest, or asymmetric information, where (for example) an agent (such as an investment manager) acting for a principal (such as an investment bank) may have their own goals and objectives versus the interests of the principal. In classic management theory, the tools used to…

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