Category Archives: University of Cambridge

When it’s sometimes irrational to tell the truth

Centrally planned economies work very badly for two reasons. First, even if you had accurate data on what customers wanted and all the technical relationships between inputs and outputs, you would have a computational problem far beyond any practical solution. Second, and more profoundly, you cannot get accurate data on what people want. One of… Continue Reading

The role of dinners at Cambridge University

Perhaps it’s having recently re-watched the film Brideshead Revisited, which rather emphasises the food and drink aspect of student life at Oxford. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have seven official work-related dinners (and three drinks receptions) coming up in the next couple of weeks. But I’m wondering if dining is more central to life… Continue Reading

What I think about the Olympics.. perfectly expressed in yesterday’s column by the chief political commentator of The Observer newspaper, Andrew Rawnsley. The title is more negative than the rest of the article. I’m indifferent rather than hostile to the Olympics (unlike many of my London-based friends) and it is genuinely a coincidence that I will be outside the UK… Continue Reading


We have recently been through a branding exercise at Cambridge Judge Business School. That meant trying to understand how the rest of the world sees us and then designing a unified visual identity that reflects how we would like to be seen. Brand agencies and consultancies are keen to sell you the idea that you… Continue Reading

Are today’s students revolting?

Here is a letter from a US professor who is retiring after 40 years of teaching. He complains of the sense of entitlement among today’s students and says he “grew increasingly weary of all the whining, crying, excuse-making, and general lack of attention to responsibility that appear to characterize most of today’s college and university students.”… Continue Reading

Something that money can’t buy

I’m reading a new book by the American political philosopher Michael Sandel, called “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets”. It’s an interesting and characteristically thoughtful book on the way that market-based ideas and mechanisms have invaded areas of American life, from the naming of sports stadiums to the market for body parts.… Continue Reading

Teaching versus research

It is well known inside the major research-led universities but perhaps less well known outside, that the status of research is far higher than that of teaching. In a university like Cambridge, appointment, tenure, promotion and general reputation are dominated by research output. It is quite possible to have a glittering career in which you… Continue Reading

The military roots of economic theory

The Institute for New Economic Thinking was founded two years ago with funding from George Soros. It held its first ever conference here in Cambridge, where possibly the greatest combination of leading economists ever assembled for one meeting debated how to reorientate the subject so that it did a better job of predicting, understanding and… Continue Reading

New York Times poll of business leaders puts Cambridge as globally ranked no 4 university

It’s the mission of the University of Cambridge to be globally excellent in research and education. On the whole we don’t take much notice of rankings, though it is obviously nice that Cambridge is usually at or near the top of academic rankings worldwide. It’s also interesting to see that the New York Times poll… Continue Reading