April 23, 2018
By Tim Harford

Is the glass half full, half empty, or laced with cyanide? Last week I wrote about “statistics, fast and slow” — the gap between the world as we intuitively perceive it, and the world as described in spreadsheets. Nowhere is this gap more obvious than when we are invited to reflect on whether things are going well, or badly.With some telling exceptions, the situation is this: the world is getting better in many of the ways that matter, but we simply don’t realise that this is true. Population growth has slowed dramatically. Most of the world’s children have been vaccinated against at least one disease. Girls are rapidly catching...


By Martin Wolf

Does the idea of a second referendum on Brexit make sense? Many who share my view of the vote — that it is a huge error — would insist it does. Those on the other side would respond that the people have spoken: it would be wrong to ask again.Yet it is the essence of democracy that voters may change their minds. If that were not the case, the UK should have accepted that the issue of membership was resolved by the referendum of 1975. The UK also has no rules on how and when to hold referendums. Parliament is entitled to call for such votes as and when it wishes. That is, after all, what makes it sovereign, as Brexiters desire.To the...


By Mehtab Haider.

INSIGHT The stage is set for picking up the begging bowl again and requesting another bailout package from the International Monetary Fund .The decision would be taken as soon as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz regime ends its tenure next month. Last week, Pakistan’s delegation, led by Miftah Ismail, advisor to the prime minister on finance, participated in the spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington DC. The possibility of making any formal requests for a bailout package had been ruled out during this event.The PML-N is nearing completion of its tenure. The incumbent regime is going to leave its office...


By Richard Branson

ColumnQ: As much as I agree with you and think of you as a role model, I find some of your recommendations rather unrealistic, especially for businesses just starting up. For example, I would like to keep my employees happy and having fun, but find it a great challenge due to limited resources. I am not able to pay my employees well, nor provide a good working environment.My priority right now is to make more money and turn this business into a reality. On the other hand, my employees want good salaries and to work in a slick environment.We have conflicting priorities, therefore I am forced to micromanage my staff to get results....


By Sirajuddin Aziz

Management To make one good action succeed another is the perfection of goodness . Wisdom that emerges from setbacks strengthens goodness in people. Goodness has nobility but lacks quality to be defined precisely and scientifically. Goodness glows. Seek it from within and not from without. A passive, honest, trustful attitude will usher goodness. A quiet and unflustered soul sleeps in thunder. First and foremost, there has to be recognition of the virtue, its presence later; following recognitions, there has to be presence and build up towards its pre-dominance in character and actions. To the Roman Catholic School, I went, its...


By Zeeshan Haider

FOCUS Hardly a single day passes when we get reminded that all is not well with our economy.The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz ministers have been touting the high growth – expected to be six percent in this fiscal year - as one of the major achievements of this government which is nearing the end of its five-year tenure. But now it is feared that it may go in the reverse direction in the coming years in view of the burgeoning current account deficit and rising debt repayments. This wake-up call came from none other than the International Monetary Fund which a few years ago was all praise for the economic policies of the...


By Web Desk

Mark Zuckerberg has always displayed a messianic sense of his own destiny. He once predicted that enlightened governments, prodded by a populace empowered by his company’s social networking tools, would champion a connected future in which Facebook would play a central part.“We believe that leaders will emerge across all countries who are pro-internet and fight for the rights of their people,” he declared in 2012, at the time of Facebook’s initial public offering. These would include “the right to share what they want and the right to access all information that people want to share with them”.It was just the kind of...


By Zeeshan Haider

FOCUS Politics and economy are closely interlinked. While political stability is a must for the economic progress of a country, exploitation of economy or economic issues for the sake of petty political gains runs the risk of impeding economic development too. As general elections are coming closer, the political temperature is rising in the country with government and opposition intensifying their battle over a variety of issues ranging from dissolution of national and provincial assemblies to the appointment of caretaker setup. But they seem to be raising stakes on key economic issues too in the heat of rising political...


By Richard Branson

ColumnQ: If you were to list your top five rules for achieving success in business, what would they be and where would the “people factor” come in?— Nicki McKenzie, Malaga, Western Australia A: On behalf of her students studying business at the high school level, Annette Moran of Wavell Heights, Queensland, asked a similar question.The people factor appears over and over on my list of top five tips. It is the basis of many entrepreneurial successes and, because many business leaders discount it, innumerable failures. While the current thinking in business schools holds that all someone with an idea needs to succeed are focus,...