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Showing posts from September, 2016

The John Lewis economy - a belated comment

In my last book review I summarized a very interesting book called The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. In it the authors propose a solution that would not only lower inequality and thus correct many of the negative social outcomes related to it (but not caused by it, mind you; they don't prove causality), but also change the entire system of values in society, so that people would be less profit-oriented and would increase their levels of interpersonal trust (among other things). 
Their big idea is to introduce democratic employee ownership. Hence the title: The John Lewis economy (the John Lewis Partnership is the famous UK example of an employee-owned firm; it allows all of its employees to share the firm's profits and have oversight over management decisions through several democratic mechanisms of corporate governance). It's a belated comment since I wanted to write a piece about this ever since 2012, when UK deputy PM Nick Clegg of the Liberal Dem…

What I've been reading (vol 10.): Cronyism and inequality

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Zingales, Luigi (2012) A Capitalism for the People. Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity. Basic Books, New York.

Luigi Zingales, a University of Chicago Booth School of Business professor of finance, is one of the true champions of liberal, free market ideas. In this book, similar to his previous success “Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists” (co-authored with Raghu Rajan), he delivers a powerful case in favor of markets, competition, liberty, and against big business, big governments and their clientelistic (cronyist) mutually beneficial relationship. In other words, Zingales knows the crucial and very important distinction between being pro-business and being pro-market. Confusing one with the other is a typical mistake every advocate of socialism tends to make – they tend to blame capitalism, markets, and the ideology “neoliberalism” for close ties between politicians, big businesses, and the media. Zingales correctly points out that this is hardly the case. If anyt…

Predicting the Croatian general election (again!)

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This week my colleagues and I from Oraclum were focused on predicting the outcome of the forthcoming Croatian general election. We did the same thing last year and were not expecting to do Croatian elections again, at least until the local elections in 2017. However, the new government - formed after almost 2 months of post-election negotiations - survived in office for only 6 months. Last year there was no relative winner as the two main coalitions, led by the conservative HDZ and the social-democrat SDP both came tied with 56 seats (76 needed to form government). The biggest surprise was a centrist party MOST which grabbed 19 seats making it the kingmaker party, with a number of smaller parties entering Parliament as well. The new election is to be held this Sunday, and so we ran our unique BASON Survey (Bayesian Adjusted Social Network Survey) over the past week to feel the vibe of the voters and make our election prediction.
A little bit about the survey before we share its resu…