The Economics of Happiness

By: Vikas Shah, Originally Published at AllAboutAlpha.com Factory farming is a brutal endeavour.  In this environment, chickens (and other animals) are given a variety of feeds and chemicals (stimuli) designed to make them grow as big as possible as fast as possible and hence maximise output.  In truth, factory farms probably will output more product than their organic counterparts, but in the process the animals are kept in horrendous conditions where the combination of feeds and…

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How Power Shapes our World

In these exclusive interviews, we speak to Moisés Naím (Distinguished Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, former Minister of Trade and Industry for Venezuela and Executive Director of the World Bank) and Admiral James Stavridis (Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University and former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO). We discuss the fundamental nature of power, how it shapes our world economically, politically, socially and how it impacts the lives of every single individual on the planet.

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Is It Time to Re-Design our Markets?

By Vikas Shah (Originally for AllAboutAlpha.com) Modern markets are hugely complex environments.  CME Group for example, trades over 3 billion contracts (with a notional value of over U$1 quadrillion) each and every year.  Alongside this, many of the world’s largest companies such as Google, Alibaba and Amazon (with market capitalisations of U$380bn, U$240bn and U$141bn respectively) have built entire business models solely around the provision of markets.   Every day, markets also have to match tens…

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Disability & The Injustice Facing over 1 Billion People

In this exclusive series of interviews, we speak to Javed Abidi (Chair, Disabled People’s International DPI), Sir Philip Craven MBE (President, International Paralympic Committee IPC) and Professor Hugh Herr (Head of the Biomechatronics research group at MIT Media Lab and Founder of BiOM Inc). We discuss the human rights and social injustices faced by the those living with impairments and disabilities around the world, look at issues ranging from economics and politics to culture and sport and discuss opportunities for the future and whether technology could even end disability.

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Could Crypto-currency Disrupt Money?

Money is a strange phenomenon. Our modern notion of it mean that (in essence) it is intrinsically useless apart from as a medium of exchange. Our government, regulators, law and communities agree that phenomena (whether a physical banknote or an electronic ledger such as a bank account) have certain value, in certain units and certain denominations. From a cultural perspective however, things are not quite so clear. As society advances (technologically and socially) we find…

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Could Random Trading Prevent Stock Market Bubbles & Crashes?

  Many of recent history’s most significant market events have manifest in what was (previously) the extreme of the market.  These “bubbles” and “crashes” follow power laws, meaning that (in theory) they could reach any size and fundamentally threaten the functionality of the entire financial system. Typical central-bank and policy responses to these financial avalanches (or cascades) have been to create or constrain liquidity in the market, and the terms of that liquidity; thus creating an…

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The End of Paper Money

It’s quite conceivable that the grandparents (or even parents) of the future will be  made to feel even more archaic as the young of that generation look at them quizzically and state “…are you serious? You used to use bits of paper as money?!” Money is a cultural abstract.   It is the social, cultural and legal consensus of what a given society- at a given time- considers as being money.    When economies are working well-…

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The Health of Society

In these exclusive interviews, we speak to Dr. Julio Frenk (Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, and former Minister of Health of Mexico), Sir Richard Thompson (President of the Royal College of Physicians), Baron Peter Piot (Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and Dame Sally Davies (The United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officer). We talk about the concept of public health, the most important health challenges the world currently faces, and opportunities for the future.

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The Mania of Boom & Bust

The perception that we learn from our mistakes is just one in a long-list of cognitive and behavioural biases that exist in the human mind. As WIRED reported in 2009, “Researchers from MIT have shown that the brain learns more after a success than a failure. This study indicates, contrary to previous research, that neurons in the brain are able to keep a memory of recent success and failures during learning and performed better after…

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We Need to Re-Think Economics

Vikas Shah, November 2013 Originally Published in Entrepreneur Country It’s curious how we treat the market as a phenomenon that exists outside us; akin to climate.  Our forecasts describe the oscillations and undulations of this entity with the accuracy we would expect from weather forecasts.  Tens of thousands of businesses, traders and other participants go-out, take-cover or make decisions on the basis of these words.  For longer than most market-participants would care to admit, the…

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