The False Economist

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Big Data Little Impact

While researching what to do with all those Twitter shares I bought*, I came across this interesting article in the New Yorker (pronounced NuYoikah) about how relatively little impact digital goods and services (i.e. apps, email, social media, games, storage, etc.) have on GDP.

Which makes sense when you think about it; the way the online world works means that, to quote the article's author, James Surowiecki; "free has been more the rule online than the exception". Twitter, Google, Facebook, Snapchat et al charge nowt while consumers happily do their best impression of the Cookie Monster omnomnom-ing their way through free data and information.

Even taking into account that GDP is not a perfect measurement of a nation's economic well-being it seems that a model may well need to be developed to better capture the impact the digital economy is having.

For further reading I thought this memo from Dr. Michael Mandel gave a good overview of the subject and some useful figures.

*= Seriously, guys, if any of you bought  those, sell them before the most popular hashtag on Twitter is #BurstTechBubble2.0 (see Forbes article for reasons why).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Waking Shark II: The Re-Sharkening

A "war game " styled drill was carried out across London today to see how well the City would deal with a shark cyber attack on a number of international and domestic financial institutions' computer systems....and it had the best name ever: Waking Shark II. If the Syfy channel don't come knocking for a spinoff I will eat my hat.

Details of the exercise are available here from Reuters.

Whoever came up with" Waking Shark II" deserves the 2014 Nobel Prize for Economics...or, failing that, the 2014 Nobel Prize for Naming Stuff (it's real trust me).

Details of the exercise won't be published until December 2013 and the results could be interesting considering some of the points raised by IT experts and highlighted here by Warick Ashford of Computer Weekly.

P.S. As sharks never sleep surely they're never waking but constantly awake ? The world of finance poses more intriguing questions than I ever thought possible...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Irish Government to Liquidate with Extreme Prejudice

Well, something interesting appears to be happening.

The Irish Government is to propose liquidating the IBRC, formerly Ned Stark's winter fund Anglo Irish Bank, with rumours that emergency legislation is to be brought before the Seanad and Dáil this evening as Governor of the Irish Central Bank presents this proposal to the ECB.

The main point of this is to cease the annual €3.1bn payment of interest on the €28bn promissory note used to bail out the world's most evil bank (excluding all the Swiss ones). A more long term bond will come into play and payments will be made back more gradually over a longer period of time.

RTE have the story here. With additional reports from Bloomberg and Reuters.

Minister Noonan is expected to make a speech in the Dáil at 9pm this evening.

This still poses several questions:

  • How long has this been Plan B for the government after their initial proposal to park the interest for 15 years was shot down ?
  • Were the ECB expecting this ?
  • Will this have any effect on Irish bonds ?
  • What kind of timeline on interest payments can we now expect ?
  • What's a Magdalene laundry ?
Put on the popcorn, get out your beer hat things are gonna get interesting*.

*= by which I mean unclear, confusing and technical.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Estonian Soap Opera

Doubt you guys missed this...but still worth marking.

An opera has been written about the Twitter (sigh) feud between that the bearded Keynesian; Paul Krugman, and the always-dapper President of Estonia; Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

FT blog has the story here.

My favourite is President Ilves' sick burn at Krugman on his Nobel Prize, saying: "Guess a Nobel in trade means you can pontificate on fiscal matters...".

This story really raises some interesting issues: What are these people doing on bloody Twitter ? Has Estonian Opera run out of ideas ? Will Krugman be welcome at Talinn's world famous Christmas markets next year ? Should it be mandatory for presidents' of nations to wear bow ties ?

I wish the 16 minute opera well but for me the best economics-influenced music is across the sea from Estonia in Sweden.

PS. All Twitter/economics/opera puns are welcome. Could not think of any good ones for this article's headline.