Greek default and exit from the Eurozone might be “unthinkable” for the bureaucratic engineers of the monetary union. For the Greek nation, it would be a laudable assertion of independent existence.

Dostoevksy defined man as the Ungrateful Biped. Ungrateful because, even if he were given an orderly heaven on Earth…


The Bohr model of the atom, showing an electron transitioning from one orbit to another by emitting a photon. CREDIT: Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

He thinks that some of the core mathematical models of modern economics are every bit as sound and scientific as Niels Bohr’s 1913 model of the atom. It’s not really true.

Economist Paul Romer recently attacked some of his colleagues for employing what he called “mathiness” in their research. Nobel…


Well, maybe not. Geo-engineering isn’t the easy and painless fix for climate change that many proponents say it is.

Harvard engineering professor David Keith is a big proponent of geo-engineering — using technology to save the planet from climate change. Maybe we’ll do some Solar Radiation Management (SRM) by injecting…


Many optimists think so. But a close look at the statistics suggests that the idea just doesn’t add up

A spate of recent and not so recent books have suggested that “everything is getting better,” that the world is getting more peaceful, more civilized, and less violent…


International trade isn’t always beneficial, as economists well know. So how can the Chairman of the Harvard economics department imply otherwise? And not be professionally humiliated?

Irritated by this recent and I think highly dishonest Op-Ed in the New York Times by Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, I had written a…


Expect more panic and desperation soon from those heavily invested in their continued use.

Social change, when it happens, tends to happen faster than we expect. When opinions, practices or social norms shift from some position A to another B — from slavery is OK to slavery is an abomination…


At least, if you’re happy to ignore what we know about physics

Two weeks ago I wrote a short column in Bloomberg referring to a recent draft paper on climate change circulated by Cliff Asness and Aaron Brown, both of the hedge fund AQR. Fortune magazine ran an article about…


Maybe — if you’re clever enough to find the right measures that capture growing imbalances between those who want to buy and sell.

You don’t have to be a true believer in the lunacy of the Efficient Markets Hypothesis to accept that market movements are hard to predict. The mere…


Economists generally put economic trouble down to unfortunate shocks, which can knock an economy temporarily out of equilibrium. A more plausible view is that economies often get into trouble all on their own.

Place a lit cigarette in an ashtray in a closed room where the air is perfectly still…


Forget fancy regressions on past growth numbers. They don’t work. You need to look at the real factors that let countries create new wealth

What makes one nation grow rapidly and another sink into economic stagnation? Ask any economist and they’ll probably rattle off a list of factors. Does a…

Mark Buchanan

Physicist and author, former editor with Nature and New Scientist. Columnist for Bloomberg Views and Nature Physics. New book is Forecast (Bloomsbury Press)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store