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Standpoint Magazine: Ironies of Ideology

On a recent visit to the Royal Academy, I noticed a tall, elegantly dressed man who spent quite some time admiring a square object attached to the wall. I wondered whether to tell him that far from being Russian avant-garde art, which was the theme of the exhibition, it was in fact the temperature and humidity control box. Many visitors to Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Ironies of Ideology

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Money Observer: The easiest way to travel is by train

I have lived in London for many years, and I still can’t tell King’s Cross from St Pancras station. But I know where platform 9¾ to Hogwarts is, and I also know that the easiest way to travel to Germany is by train. Whenever I fly, I have to leave the house at the crack of dawn, rely on my train to be on time, … Continue reading Money Observer: The easiest way to travel is by train

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Standpoint Magazine: Tunnel Vision

Winston Churchill’s half-smoked cigar sold for $12,000 at a US auction in October. A hand-written note by Albert Einstein on the topic of happiness (“a quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest,” he wrote) went for $1.5 million in Jerusalem. In London, Audrey Hepburn’s iconic blue satin sleep mask was bought for £6,250, some 50 times … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Tunnel Vision

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Money Observer: Where automation only half-replaces humans

Much has been written about how automation will replace humans in the workplace. But what about those who have only been half replaced? I met some of them recently. On a recent trip, I was walking through the electronic passport control gates at Frankfurt airport. When I pressed my passport onto the glass screen, the gates swung open to reveal two people sitting behind a … Continue reading Money Observer: Where automation only half-replaces humans

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Times Literary Supplement: Does philosophy have to be obscure?

I recently went to a public lecture at LSE hosted by the Forum for European Philosophy. The discussion was entitled “Does philosophy have to be obscure?” It struck me as a bit odd that both possible responses presume that philosophy is indeed obscure. If we understand “obscure” as “unclearly expressed” or “not easily understood”, so many things seem more obscure – Facebook’s terms of agreement, say, or … Continue reading Times Literary Supplement: Does philosophy have to be obscure?

Marina’s Monetary Musings: Invest your tuppence wisely – or better yet, feed the birds

Much has happened since I began writing this column more than two years ago: the UK has voted for Brexit, Donald Trump has been elected US president and new trade tariffs have been imposed. But some things haven’t changed. In my first column, I argued that cutting out your daily cappuccino won’t make you the next Wolf of Wall Street. Whenever it’s suggested that it … Continue reading Marina’s Monetary Musings: Invest your tuppence wisely – or better yet, feed the birds

Marina’s Monetary Musings: Mirror, mirror on the wall – who is the best one of all?

There is a belief that people with psychopathic traits – like aggression, cold charm and a ruthless lack of empathy – do well in the financial industry. So a team of academics, led by Leanne ten Brinke, a social psychologist at the University of Denver, set out to investigate if that’s the case. Her team studied the video interviews of 101 hedge fund managers. The … Continue reading Marina’s Monetary Musings: Mirror, mirror on the wall – who is the best one of all?

Marina’s Monetary Musings: How to become an ‘effective altruist’

Large charities embroiled in scandals have brought charitable giving into disrepute, from Oxfam staff who sexually exploited victims of the Haiti earthquake, to harassment at Save the Children. But the failure of these charities should not put you off donating. Indeed, the philosopher Peter Singer argued that ‘if you are living comfortably while others are hungry or dying from easily preventable diseases, and you are … Continue reading Marina’s Monetary Musings: How to become an ‘effective altruist’

Money Observer: How to close the gender pay gap in finance

Last week saw the deadline for companies with over 250 employees in the UK to report their gender pay gap. The figures revealed that HSBC has a gender pay gap of 59 per cent, Lloyds has a 32.8 per cent gap, Legal & General have a 30.5 per cent and Aviva has 28.5 per cent. While the gender pay gap in the UK was at … Continue reading Money Observer: How to close the gender pay gap in finance

Marina’s Monetary Musings: The avocado cruise

Yet more unhelpful advice for millennials: Barclays has joined the admonishing chorus by announcing that millennial couples need to stop spending an average £3,500 on annual cruises or £5,946 a year on eating out twice a week. First, it’s unlikely that many millennials go on cruises, a distinctly octogenarian activity. Secondly, if we drill down into the cost of eating out calculated, we get to … Continue reading Marina’s Monetary Musings: The avocado cruise