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Food production to follow financial crash?

Massive food producers hold too much power – and the regulators scarcely understand what is happening. Sound familiar? For the past few years, scientists have been frantically sounding an alarm that governments refuse to hear: the global food system is beginning to look like the global financial system in the run-up to 2008. While financial collapse would have been devastating to human welfare, food system collapse doesn’t bear thinking about. Yet the evidence that something is going badly wrong has…

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How do you measure productivity?

The idea of office work being the ‘white-collar’ equivalent of clock-watching factory work is over. The pandemic and the digital revolution have shattered the relationship between work and location. After a post-lockdown surge, data is showing the ‘return to work’ has now reached a plateau.  Tube travel into central London has steadied between 60 and 67% of pre-covid levels, with a significant rise only on Thursdays, favoured by the ‘three-day hybrids’. Law and finance firms are reporting offices at between…

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The etiquette of dismissal

P&O have brilliantly demonstrated how not to sack your workforce. You simply cannot wake up in a bad mood and sack your entire workforce of 800 on Zoom. P&O now plan to replace them with Filipino crews who can also be paid well below minimum wage and treated badly. Previously known as The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet Company, P&O is now owned by DP World, a “logistics solutions” organisation based in Dubai. P&O Ferries sacked 800 workers last month,…

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The end of the world as we know it

As we pivot from virology to military analysis, one thing we can be certain of is that the world of travel is in a bad place. The threat of nuclear war is not conducive to international travel, and so for the third year in a row, people are hunkering down and staying at home (excepting those displaced by the war). Business travel took a huge hit during the pandemic and it was clear that corporate travel faced a slower return…

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Fade to grey

And slowly it disappears, day by day the covid nightmare starts to dissolve. I don’t know about you, but I sort of feel that for the past two years I’ve been existing like a very small bit-part in someone else’s story. I’m not even sure whose. As of today, in the UK, all restrictions have essentially been lifted, the key one being; if you test positive you no longer need to self-isolate for a week.  The vulnerable are upset, saying…

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100 seconds to midnight 

We have all lost contact with friends, we’ve all had two or three birthdays and had the past two years stolen from us. WW3 is about to break out. It’s like the Cold War in the late 70s, only worse and all we need now is Sting to start releasing songs again. Divide and rule. Divide and rule. Who knows what is going on? I don’t, do you? What is the current state of the world and how close are…

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The most unfit companies are winning

While Boris Johnson was busy using Downing Street as a nightclub, around 150,000 people died with Covid in the UK. Their average age was 82, but the most prevalent co-morbidity in those who were significantly younger, was obesity. Without a doubt, the best protection against a pandemic is a nation in good health.  And the best way to destroy someone’s health, as rapidly as possible, is to lock them up and shut all sports clubs and gyms. And open up…

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How do we live and work alongside Covid?

On the eve of the Australian Open, nine-times winner, Novak Djokovic, is sitting in a Melbourne immigration hotel as the world No 1 mounts a legal challenge against Australia’s decision to cancel his visa. It is a high-profile case of someone potentially unable to ply their trade due to covid. And he is not alone. In the UK, employees have been asked to work from home where possible and the NHS is in virtual lockdown, with hospital trusts declaring emergencies…

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Christmas party etiquette: 2021

Christmas is the time of year when amateurs are often forced to party like professionals. It’s not their fault, but the annual shenanigans can leave a trail of victims in their wake. Here are a few pointers to help you through the festive period with, hopefully, your dignity and job intact.  On the day of a big Christmas lunch or evening party, there are some things you should consider. Not all of them obviously; that would be boring, but maybe…

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Should we worry about artificial intelligence or stupidity?

In 1997, Garry Kasparov was beaten for the second time by IBM’s Deep Blue, and ever since, the writing has been on the wall for humanity. Many believe that advances in artificial intelligence (AI), will lead to the development of superintelligent, sentient machines. Sci-fi films (The Matrix, The Terminator) have made us fearful of such developments.    AI, however, has a couple of definitions. One, the marketing term for anything that seems clever, like Alexa turning on a radio station, is…

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