Martin P Wilson


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Plundered Planet by Professor Paul CollierBuilding on his book The Bottom Billion Paul Collier explores the economics and ethics of using natural resources while protecting future generations.

Sustainable Economics

With The Plundered Planet Paul Collier is contributing to new thinking on the economics of sustainability on an increasingly crowded planet. With the increasing affluence of the major populations of India, China and Brazil joining the developed nations in exploiting natural resources that new thinking is needed. Without it future generations will be impoverished and standards of living of the major economies, including the newly affluent, could suffer.

Professor Collier breaks his analysis and argument out across five headings.

Part I – The Ethics of Nature

The first part of the book describes what is meant by plunder in the context of the book’s title: The Plundered Planet and the nature of poverty especially for the bottom billion. The author examines the value put on natural resources by current economic theory and starts to explore the options.

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India, a Portrait. An Intimate Biography of 1.2 Billion People

India, a Portrait by Patrick FrenchIn India, a Portrait Patrick French creates a personal picture to of modern India. It is a very readable addition to a growing collection of works on the history and development of India as its economy emerges to become a major force.

Patrick French structures India, a Portrait ,into three part each of four chapters: Rashtra: Nation, Lakshmi: Wealth and Samaj: Society.

Rashtra : Nation

Nation provides an accelerated history of India, the consequences of violence and India’s disputes with its neighbours. It covers the internal conflicts and the role of the family in Indian politics. In particular, the Nehru/Gandhi dynasty and its role in the Congress party that still has a major influence on national politics.

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Madoff, the Man Who Stole $65_BillionBernie Madoff was convicted of a Ponzi fraud and sentenced to 150 years imprisonment. It is a story of failure by investors, financial services advisers and regulators.

World’s Largest Ponzi Fraud, Financial Services and Regulators Fail

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Quick Thoughts

Has Military Action Ever Dissuaded Tyrants?

Syria - flagIn his speech before the war in Iraq Tony Blair, the UK Prime Minister, argued that not intervening would send a message that tyrants would feel at liberty to act without consequence. By military action in Iraq, he argued, those who would perpetrate atrocities would think twice. There would not seem to be any evidence, before or since, that would back up that contention.

We now have David Cameron, the current Prime Minister, making essentially the same arguments – do politicians ever learn from history?


Government Spending is not Driver of Growth

Parliament Square London IC02001If more public spending is the only way to create growth then surely governments have become too large a part of the economy? Government is about spending and has little to do with creating wealth.

The best government can do is move wealth from individuals and business to those who serve government.


Capped Bonuses, There May be Trouble Ahead

Politicians do not seem to be good at imagining unintended consequences. The cap on bankers’ bonuses, however popular, may be counter-productive in reducing risk.

Dark Stormy Skys and Beauty Often CoexistIf a smaller proportion of a trader’s income is at risk if a trade goes wrong they may pursue high-risk opportunities to get that big win. If it works they guarantee the full bonus and could also use it to negotiate a higher salary (and bonus) for the following year. If it fails the downside is limited by the capped bonus to a smaller part of overall income. At the end of the day traders are competitive and gamblers at heart so will they be more likely to pursue the big win when their own risk is limited?

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