Tim Worstall

Tim Worstall is a Senior Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the WSJ, The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Register, Forbes online and a number of other places. He is also in his day job an expert in the rare earth metal, scandium. A strange thing to be but someone has to be and in this flavour of our universe Worstall is it. He apologises in advance for his Englishness and the manner in which his spelling will waver from accepted American standards at times.

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    The French get interestingly devious over the Uber and taxi fight

    We English tend to be rather suspicious of the French. These strange ideas they have that alcohol is anything other than a way to get drunk, and that food might be enjoyed rather than just being bland fuel. All most, most, un-English. However, we’re well aware of the ability of the French, especially their politicians, to be interestingly devious, duplicitous even. And so it is with the new proposed regulations just issued concerning the spats between Uber and other ride-sharing companies…
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    Indonesia’s ludicrous idea of taxing expensive smartphones

    Indonesia is looking to introduce import duties on the more expensive smartphones, something that strikes most economists as being somewhere between barkingly mad and ludicrous. The argument in support is that the local manufacturers only make low-end phones so raising the tax on the high-end phones won’t affect them. Umm, quite, that’s why it won’t work. Here’s the argument from the horse’s mouth: The government is considering a 20 percent tax for smartphones retailing at or above 5 million…
  • amazon-online-sales-tax

    If online sales taxes reduce Amazon sales then why does Amazon support online sales taxes?

    An excellent little piece of economic research here detailing the manner in which the imposition of online sales taxes reduce Amazon’s sales in those places where they are imposed. All of which creates a bit of a headscratcher as Amazon has recently come around to the idea that online sales taxes are a pretty neat idea. In the absence of a collective brain spasm we’ve got to assume that Amazon sees some benefit to the company in sales taxes…
  • earth-dayyy

    Your obligatory Earth Day post

    I can never recall whether it’s we hurrying to hell in a handcart or whether we’re supposed to think of that handcart hurtling towards us. But whichever way around it is today’s the day we’re supposed to worry about it all, how the ecosystem that supports us all is about to go “poof” in a splurge of our own greed and consumerism. That is, it’s Earth Day once again. Things have rather moved on from the first time around: we…
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    What worries me about the Jason Padgett story

    Two things that worry me about the Jason Padgett story in fact. Padgett being the guy who got punched in the head and turned into a mathematical savant as a result: A self-proclaimed former “goof” and college dropout has told how he became a maths genius after suffering a traumatic brain injury Jason Padgett is a “sudden savant” who sees elaborate geometric shapes in every day objects and has the ability to recreate them by hand. Among his drawings…
  • biodiesel

    Ethanol is officially a bust. Can we now get politics out of money, please?

    We’ve long known that sticking corn into auto fuel tanks is an entire waste of effort in the fight against climate change. Food is for people not cars, just as an opening point, and David Pimentel proved a decade ago that brewing up booze that we can’t drink but burn instead causes more carbon emissions rather than fewer. We’ve now got a further report pointing out that even just using the corn stover (ie, the bits of corn that…
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    An economics prize tells us something very worrying about the news business, and ourselves

    They’ve just handed out this year’s John Bates Clark Gold Medal over at the American Economics Association. The research for which its been given should be of great interest to everyone worried about the media and journalism. The JCB is actually harder to win than the Nobel, given that there’s only one each year (it’s never been awarded to multiple holders, unlike the Nobel which can have three) and it’s also only for American economists under 40. The interest in…
  • rich-people-politics

    New shocking research proves that rich people control American politics

    A fascinating piece of research confirming that what we all suspected is actually true. American politics is entirely bought and paid for by the economic elite and this democracy thing just isn’t working out. You can get the whole paper here, but the basic conclusion is: The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens…
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    Measuring the value Marissa Mayer’s destroying at Yahoo!

    Yahoo’s value, as measured by its market cap, has something like doubled since Marissa Mayer took the helm so clearly I must be suffering some terrible brain spasm when I say that she’s destroying value there. However, we have to distinguish between Yahoo the business and Yahoo the company. As I pointed out a month ago, and as Matt Yglesias and Matt Levine have both just noticed, Yahoo the company is valued at less than that company’s stake in the…
  • steth

    The scandalous statistical mess around Obamacare

    There’s something scandalous going on over Obamacare. No, it’s not the usual stuff: how scandalous it is that the government is interfering again in the market. Nor that opposite: the scandal of why it isn’t all just single payer like it ought to be. No, this is a scandal that will only seem to be one to political wonks like myself: the most egregious misuse of the statistical system. You see, what has been done is to change the…

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