Author: Michael Collins

Michael Collins
Michael Collins

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Recent and archived work by Michael Collins for The Bull:

Ransomware is so rife it’s a threat to national security

Cracking down on cryptocurrencies might ruin the risk-reward calculation for criminals. Tobias Vernon of the UK owns two small galleries that sell 20th-century ceramics and artworks. Thanks to marketing efforts, the business has almost 50,000 Instagram followers. One weekend in May, an email appeared from Instagram congratulating the business for getting a ‘blue tick’, which…

Space exploration is going private

The commercialisation of space comes with unknown promise but known risks Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969 and delivered his pre-prepared line that became famous: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Except he misspoke. What Armstrong said was nonsense. He meant to say “a man” rather than just…

Big Tech’s success incites a backlash

Many think the internet giants are too big for society’s good. But even a rethink of competition policy along such lines is unlikely to curb the largest platforms. (Reading time: 4 mins) Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th US president who was in office from 1901 to 1909, is ranked among the greats. Among achievements, Roosevelt won…

In review: Lessons from COVID-19

Among the many messages is the notable one that competence matters during emergencies but is hard to achieve. Severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, hit Taiwan hard in 2003. The virus tore through several hospitals and Heping hospital in Taipei was hastily closed, imprisoning staff and patients, after the head nurse became one of the…

Electric vehicles are the next revolution in automobiles

But problems need to be overcome to hasten the switch and cement the climate benefits. For Formula E motorsport, the 2020-21 racing season was transformational. Seven years after electric single-seaters first raced, Formula E gained the elevated ‘championship’ status enjoyed by Formula 1, World Endurance, World Rally and World Rallycross. Then came the embarrassment, the…

Major countries pondering issuing digital national currencies

Is a watershed reengineering of money underway? Around 600 BC, the Chinese were among the first to invent money when they used coins worth the metal within to overcome the hassle of bartering. Around the first century AD, the Chinese invented paper and in the following centuries devised printing presses. These inventions plus the heaviness…

China’s dual-circulation model is a plan for a hostile world

Domestic production gets priority in a strategy that seeks to boost China’s ‘soft power’. Sir Arthur Lewis (1915-1991) was an economist from Saint Lucia in the Caribbean who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979 for his theories on development. His ‘dual sector model’ suggested that economies can modernise without triggering inflation because…

The Catch-22 that grants platforms immunities on content

Orr was crazy. That meant he didn’t need to fly any more US combat missions in World War II. The rules said all Orr needed do to be grounded was to ask. But, as Doc Daneeka explained to Yossarian, there was a catch. Anyone who wanted to get out of combat wasn’t crazy. “That’s some…

Biden is revving a US economy already enjoying a vaccine-inspired recovery

Detroit’s giant carmakers were among the US businesses tottering as the Great Recession took hold. About 2.6 million Americans lost their jobs over the four months from when the global financial crisis erupted in September 2008 until President Barack Obama assumed office at the start of 2009. The modelling of Christina Romer, Obama’s chair of…

Why Germany only does the minimum to support the euro

Public disgruntlement stops Berlin cementing a currency union that helps make the country an export dynamo. In September 2008, UK authorities realised troubled mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley could topple the country’s financial system. Belgium-based giant Fortis faced closure. The French administration of President Nicolas Sarkozy was battling to save Franco-Belgian lender Dexia. The German…