I do not wish to accuse my readers of being economists, sociologists or anthropologists, but I am willing to bet that some of you think that the way your parents brought you up, and the schools and community you were raised in, had a big influence on your later achievements in life. A reasonable belief,... Read More
Many Western countries began immigration policies without feeling any need to monitor the long-term results. Indeed, many considered that immigration was an expedient response to labour shortages, and that the labourers, such as Turkish guest-workers in Germany, would probably eventually want to return home with their earnings at retirement. The United Kingdom seems to have... Read More
Max Roser does great work at “Our World in Data”, virtually all of which I read and retweet approvingly. He has just written a paper calculating the amount of economic growth which will be required to lift people out of poverty. Lots and lots of growth, he argues. I think it likely that lots of... Read More
I may be too trusting, but I generally accept upgrades. Several months ago, I willingly accepted an iPhone operating system upgrade, and lost all the Notes I had stored on my phone. These notes contained bank and credit card details, passport details, and other useful things which I have to consult from time to time,... Read More
Conventional wisdom is that it is too early to speculate why in the past six months two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes have gone down shortly after take off, so if all that follows is wrong you will know it very quickly. Last night I predicted that the first withdrawals of the plane would happen... Read More
Like many others, I first heard about the work of the late Hans Rosling through his TED lectures, in which his animated bubbles (nations over the decades shown as bubbles proportional to population size, rising or falling against some criterion, such as lifespan) revealed the mostly good news about human progress across the world. The... Read More
There was a time when boys played games of marbles following strict playground rules: contestants had to stand a prescribed distance away from the little pyramid of marbles, and chuck only marbles of the prescribed size. Rules ruled. Piaget was intrigued by the explanations children gave for moral judgements, and the playground is the arena... Read More
James Thompson has lectured in Psychology at the University of London all his working life. His first publication and conference presentation was a critique of Jensen’s 1969 paper, with Arthur Jensen in the audience. He also taught Arthur how to use an English public telephone. Many topics have taken up his attention since then, but mostly he comments on intelligence research.