'Life is still far from easy in the peripheral states of the United States of Europe (as the euro zone is now known).' Welcome to Europe, 2021. Ten years have elapsed since the great crisis of 2010-11, which claimed the scalps of no fewer than 10 governments, including Spain and France. Some things have stayed the same, but a lot has changed. The euro is still circulating, though banknotes are now seldom seen. (Indeed, the ease of electronic payments now makes some people wonder why creating a single European currency ever seemed worth the effort.) But Brussels has been abandoned as Europe's political headquarters. Vienna has been a great success.
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Entries in economics (24)
How Artists Will Have Nothing To Do With Economists: Q&A with David Galenson, Economic Historian, University of Chicago
Why is a shark in a tank of formaldehyde, the brainchild of Damien Hirst, such a celebrated piece at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art? Why is a pile of rocks, designed by Robert Smithson, one of the most important installations in the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing? David Galenson, Professor of Economics and the College, is the author of a new book, Conceptual Revolutions in 20th Century Art, which he says answers one of the most vexing questions of contemporary culture: Why is much of contemporary art so bizarre, and seemingly lacking in the intrinsic appeal and stylistic coherence of previous eras? Galenson, an economic historian, isn't as well known as colleagues Steven Levitt (Freakonomics) or Richard Thaler (Nudge), but his work on art has been far from ignored. He's been the subject of feature stories in Wired, the New York Times, the Financial Times and the New Yorker, in which Malcolm Gladwell described at length "Galeson's idea that creativity can be divided into types."
European innovation policies lack the "creative destruction" widely accepted in the US, raising barriers for businesses seeking to find new ideas and applications, according to a report compiled by the Centre for European Reform, a British think-tank. In the report, entitled 'Innovation: How Europe can take off', a series of academics give their opinions on Europe's approach to innovation policy and how it can be improved. The report's authors all broadly agree that innovation is not the same as research and development. Increasingly, it has also become a democratic process with consumers which is likely to contribute ideas as much as entrepreneurs and scientists.
SOME people say it is neither big nor clever to drink. Viz, a British comic, settled that debate with a letter from a reader who said: “I drink 15 pints a day, I’m 6 foot 3 inches tall and a professor of theoretical physics.” However, another question about size and cleverness has yet to be resolved. Are big companies the best catalysts of innovation, or are small ones better? Joseph Schumpeter, after whom this column is named, argued both sides of the case. In 1909 he said that small companies were more inventive. In 1942 he reversed himself. Big firms have more incentive to invest in new products, he decided, because they can sell them to more people and reap greater rewards more quickly. In a competitive market, inventions are quickly imitated, so a small inventor’s investment often fails to pay off. These days the second Schumpeter is out of fashion: people assume that little start-ups are creative and big firms are slow and bureaucratic. But that is a gross oversimplification, says Michael Mandel of the Progressive Policy Institute, a think-tank. In a new report on “scale and innovation”, he concludes that today’s economy favours big companies over small ones.
I like this because it makes a complex topic simply and shows the value of vizualising complexity.