Martin P Wilson

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Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, Insight, IT

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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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Aerotropolis, The Way We'll Live Next

In Aerotropolis John Kasarda and Greg Lindsay suggest that the future lies with cities that are designed and built round airports. The airports provide a focus for business and jobs. Globalisation means frequent business travellers want easy connection between home and airport. Yet it may all be a utopian view whose time has passed.

Aerotroplis, the Future or has its Time Passed?

The ideas in Aerotropolis are interesting and challenging. They are based on John Kasarda’s extensive academic, consulting and proselytising work. The book is structured around a series of case studies of airport and city development since commercial flight began. However the principal coverage is of the period since the Second World War with particular consideration of the use of the aerotropolis model as a vehicle for economic development in emerging markets.

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New Business Road TestDetailed guide to strategic preparation needed before writing a business plan. Entrepreneurs must know the risks and threats when starting a new business.

Anyone who has watched the television programme "Dragons' Den" will be aware how ill-prepared many entrepreneurs are when seeking investment. They often do not seem to understand their market or their business. The New Business Road Test guides would-be founders of start-up businesses through the key questions they need to understand if they are going to maximise their chances of success.

What Entrepreneurs and Executives Should Do Before Writing a Business Plan

As the book’s subtitle suggests, The New Business Road Test guides those starting new business through the analysis needed to write meaningful business plan. It is divided into two parts.

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One Page Talent ManagementIn many organisations performance and talent management systems are bureaucratic so they are not used effectively. One Page Talent Management is the answer.

At last a book on human resource management methods that seeks to eliminate the overly-complex bureaucratic processes used in so many organisations. Managers and staff alike hate them and pay lip service and as a result the performance management and staff development systems do not work as hoped; the response is often to add more complexity and controls to force their application.

In One Page Talent Management Marc Effron and Miriam Ort seek to deal with the challenge of making talent and human resource management usable so that managers and staff will use the leaner processes effectively. They aim to do so by Eliminating Complexity, Adding Value to performance and staff development management whilst still basing it on the same science as the ineffective bureaucratic systems.

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A Cultural Alternative to Management

The India WayIndian executives have an employee-centred approach to management with other differences that have worked successfully in managing double-digit growth.

As The India Way suggests, India's different business culture could revolutionise multinational management as India enterprises go global and escape their home markets. The four authors are all Professors at the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania’s renowned business school and are well placed to comment on what they call The India Way. During the research for the book they consulted with most of the top Indian leaders of the businesses that underpin India’s recent and continuing success.

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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?

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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.

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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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