Category: LifeAfterTheState

Christmas pressies

Hmm, what to get that loved one or business associate for Christmas?

Well, surely you can get no better than an experience that simultaneously entertains, thrills and educates them as to a revolutionary new technology which is about to change the way the we operate; an experience Sir Richard Branson describes as ‘great’, Lord Ridley describes as ‘outstanding’ and Steve Baker MP describes as ‘thrilling’; an experience  that will be delivered free to any address in the UK, and for a few quid anywhere worldwide.

All for just £8.99.

Surely such a thing is not possible?

It is. Here. What’s more, buy a copy,  and I’ll write you a bespoke message on the inside cover for the business associate/loved one/both of your choice.

And, if you want to enlighten them, you could always go for the Life After The State option at £10.99. I’ll sign that too.

Life After The State reduced from £6.99 to £2.99 and the Amazon vs publisher wars

You’ve now doubt read about the ongoing war between Amazon and book publishers.

BookCoverAmazon’s business model is predicated on getting the best possible product to the customer at the cheapest possible price with the best possible service, even if that means squeezing the supplier and obliterating the competition. Publishers – the suppliers – are, quite understandably, not so happy to be squeezed. They’re trying to fight back, to defend their profits and, to an extent, their writers’ livelihoods by keeping book prices, as much as they can, up.

My publisher, Unbound, recently signed a deal with Penguin Random House (PRH) to distribute their books. And so, suddenly, I found myself unwillingly caught up in the crossfire of Amazon-PRH wars.

PRH – for reasons I completely get – want to keep the kindle prices of their books somewhere close to the print prices. And so Life After The State was priced at £6.99. But people stopped buying it. Why shouldn’t they, when there are so many kindle books available for 99p, £1.99 or £2.99?

In the Amazon rankings, Life After The State has always been in the top ten, and often top of the obscure category ‘political economy’. But priced at £6.99, it slid to 396th. At its peak (when I was on the Today programme) Life After The State got to top the of non-fiction, and it remained for a long time in the top 10 for economics. It slid 840th earlier this week. The price of £6.99 effectively killed sales of kindle version of the book.

I kept begging and nagging Unbound to reduce the price, but they couldn’t. Now though, thanks to the wonderful negotiating skills of Jason Cooper at Unbound, PRH have reduced the price to £2.99. We have already “soared” back to 168th in the political economy charts. ( I know how ridiculous that sounds).

Life After The State was a work of, I don’t know, passion, love, something. It was never about the money. I just wanted as many people as possible to read it and see the light about our stupid government systems, which create so much inequality, waste and unnecessary unhappiness. With everything that is going on in the world, there should still be an appetite for the book. At the new price of £2.99,I’m hoping that appetite will be rather sated.

Thanks to PRH for compromising – and thanks Jason!

How An Independent Scotland Could Become The Richest Country On Earth

An independent Scotland could become the richest country on earth. I’m not joking. It has all the necessary ingredients. Let me explain.

Each year the World Bank, the IMF and the CIA each independently publish a list of the richest countries in the world – as measured by GDP per capita at purchasing power parity.

The UK sits at a rather disappointing 21st, but topping those rankings you have the likes of Qatar, Luxembourg, Singapore, Brunei, Norway and Switzerland.

Read on …

Strolling down the Silk Road

The Silk Road was an undercover website where you could buy or sell illegal goods — drugs mainly. I understand passports were changing hands for about $6,000 and weapons too were sold until the spate of shootings in the US over the summer caused the owner to remove this option. The essence of the site was narcotics.

I should say, like our glorious Prime Minister, I may have erred while at university, but now, at age 44, my need for any of the goods offered on Silk Road was pretty much zero. But that didn’t stop my curiosity, and when I first found out about the site a few months back, I went online to take a look … Read on

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The Way We Help People Does Not Help People

The highest form of charity, argued the 12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, is when the help given enables the receiver to become self- sufficient.

But our systems of state charity – aka welfare – have too frequently had the opposite effect: they have actually created dependency. It is time to re-think the way we help people.

I’m going to suggest something that many might find upsetting and outlandish – that welfare would be more effective, more varied, more widespread and affordable if there were no state involvement. Read on …