Douglass North was one of the first to recognise that institutions change slowly and those who are a part of institutions resist any change that may negatively impact an individual’s interest whether it be economic or political. He went on to research the fact that intuitions which exist without the rule of law or a strong judicial mechanism remain dysfunction institutions until their last days. Continue reading
I have been researching the unpublished works of a little known English Antiquarian James Essex (1722-1784) for my doctoral thesis. He was a Cambridge man who trained as a surveyor and raised his status throughout his lifetime to become part of the Cambridge group of antiquarians and intellectuals interested in researching indigenous history through empirical observation rooted in the Baconian scientific revolution. By the time of his death, he was a consultant architect who designed buildings in Cambridge and executed a minor work for Henry Wapole. He was an architectural and medieval antiquarian who was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and had presented over a dozen papers on what we now know of as the English Gothic. Continue reading
This blog suffers from lack of updating and lack of care due to the very fact that I travel a lot for work. When I’m not travelling I’m trying to keep up with my PhD research, a task that is difficult in the quietest of times, but very difficult when I’m in Brazil one week and Dubai the next. In the course of all of this travelling, however, I have to renew one of my two passports now – my US one. I admit that I don’t ever travel on my US passport unless it is to the US. Travelling on my UK passport to the US would cause me to be fined a great amount of money because, and only because, I was born in the US. Sad as this might sound, the airline and airport would be fined too. Though the ideological and political differences between the US and UK are slight, it is, quite frankly, cheaper and easier to travel on a UK passport. No visa required for Brazil, for example, and I could go to Cuba if I wanted. In any case, I need to renew my US passport, but with an interesting complication. Continue reading
Over the last week I have been tweeting quite a lot about Jawbone and the really shockingly bad customer service experience that I have had. As an American in my adopted home country of Great Britain I’ve come to accept that customer service is just terrible here. It really is. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about Egypt quite a lot the last few days in light of the current round of protests. The lastest uprisings are the next in what I think may be a long line of them. Clearly Egypt is finding its way after the Arab spring. It is nearly impossible to say how this will work out and indeed how it is going at the moment, but I have one specific experience with Egypt that will always be on my mind during these days. Continue reading
In an excellent column for CityAM today, Stian Westlake makes the argument that optimists need to run the economy in order to foster economic growth. This is an argument that I have been making for years and in various forms. It is the same argument that the prescient Virginia Postrel made in her 1998 book The Future and its Enemies. Optimists and risk takers, often one is the same, are the future of business, technology, industry, education and everything in between. Let’s take a quick look at why this is so. Continue reading
It has been a busy and interesting year so far, but one that has kept me from blogging on a regular basis. I spend so much time writing for other publications that I find it restful to read and do hands on projects. Quite a far cry from policy work.
Hopefully I will write more in the meantime, but for now this will just have to do.
As you all may know, I’ve been attending the WCIT-12 in Dubai. We are at the very end of the treaty negotiation and the UK will not be signing. Here is a transcript of the UK’s intervention making that statement (from the ITU’s transcript service)
UK: thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank you for your continues — continuing efforts to find an acceptable outcome.
Like the United States, I now find myself in the position and with enormous regret of having to explain the position of my delegation. Continue reading
Over the last week I have been spending most of my time in Gloucestershire. I spent two days this week sitting at the archives going over documents transcribed by an early 20th century antiquarian and I have spent the weekend hunting down supposed stone that was once at Hailes and now in other buildings in the immediate area. This has all been rather different than my ‘day job’, but it has been fun too.
I love reading historical mysteries. (I love reading all mysteries, in fact, and I like Scandinavian noir too, but for the purposes of this blog post I will be sticking to historical mysteries!) In any case, often people recommend to me Hilary Mantel’s work. I know about it, of course, and most people in the UK do or at least come across at some point, but I can’t bring myself get through her work. Anyone would thinking that I would actually like her work due to my mild obsession with English history and historical mysteries. The problem is this however: I am writing up a bit of research from that time period. Continue reading