Author Archives: pwg

Time to reassess eugenics?

Eugen­ics is an ancient idea with a ter­ri­ble mod­ern rep­u­ta­tion. Is that rep­u­ta­tion now irrrel­e­vant? [A dis­cus­sion paper for a talk I gave in 2015: repro­duced here for my records, and per­haps your inter­est] ### TL; DR * Nine­teenth cen­tu­ry lib­er­als —- con­tem­po­raries of Dar­win —- revived the idea, which com­pris­es two relat­ed objec­tives, one […]

The Opium Trade & The “Jacksonian” Depression of the 1830s

Here’s an exot­ic tale of trade, mon­ey sup­ply and finan­cial reces­sion from the days when sil­ver, not gold, was the numéraire and glob­al trade-finance mar­kets more inte­grat­ed than you might sup­pose. The back­sto­ry: In 1832 Pres. Andrew Jack­son, fac­ing re-elec­­tion, vetoed the re-char­ter­ing of the wide­­ly-branched, Repub­­li­­can-aligned Bank of the Unit­ed States, re-direc­t­ing US gov­ern­ment […]


Paul Noth, New York­er mag­a­zine

The ‘next trading system’

A series of tweets prompt­ed by the emp­ty argu­ment and spe­cious results of the Decem­ber, 2017, WTO Min­is­te­r­i­al meet­ing. Even­tu­al­ly, this must end. With what? Not, I hope, with rad­i­cal change: I sug­gest Chesterton’s Fence is the right approach to sys­tem redesign.   I argue for more humil­i­ty, par­si­mo­ny and dura­bil­i­ty in the sys­tem of […]

Free trade (not agreements) will make Britain great

To judge from most of the “pro­gres­sive” press and my Twit­ter feed, there is a great deal of ruin in Brex­it. I hear that Britain is so inte­grat­ed into the EU it will be root­less out­side. The UK, I’m told, will need to ‘rejoin’ the WTO after Brex­it. It has no trade agree­ments oth­er than […]

Trade blocs world

We will soon see the cre­ation of the first glob­al-scale trade-blocs: exclu­sive inter­na­tion­al trade zones. What will it be like? The short answer (if you want to stop read­ing here) is: the direct eco­nom­ic impact will be rather mod­est but the blocs will be a dis­as­ter for rules-based WTO trad­ing sys­tem. That could have much […]

Framing jpeg images for Flickr

This is an Apple­script I wrote a cou­ple of years ago to resize and frame Jpeg images export­ed from Pho­to­shop (for exam­ple) for Flickr. The script relies on the ‘con­vert’ util­i­ty from the ImageMag­ick ( library. It puts a [black] frame around the out­side of the image, after resiz­ing the image to a max­i­mum of […]