Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The value of mistakes

John Pierre, a renowned pastry chef, is making a new batch of chocolate. Not paying attention, he leaves the chocolate in the oven for an extra five minutes by mistake, resulting in the chocolate having a different taste than he had intended. In light of this chef’s mistake, how interested are you in buying this chocolate? Companies, in general, hesitate to release mistakes, much less advertise them to consumers as a unique product.

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Capitalism and the value of technology [excerpt]

Technology has undoubtedly changed how the economy operates, from the steam engine to the smartphone. But are machines a legitimate source of value in a capitalist society? In the following excerpt from Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason, David Harvey delves into Marx’s Capital to better understand the value of man and machinery in a technology-dependent world.

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Found: a viable, alternative model of the firm?

The single-minded pursuit of shareholder value courts a tolerance of malpractice which sets the scene for a race to the bottom. At the heart of the system is the model of the modern corporation. In many ways, it now seems unfit for purpose in the context of the global economy. The John Lewis Partnership is illustrative of an alternative approach.

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5 tips for teaching social media

How can instructors equip students with the skills and knowledge to become effective social media professionals? Three years ago, I left my position as a social media director and transitioned back to academia to focus on this critical question. Since then I have experimented with a variety of pedagogical approaches. Here are a few tips that I have found to be consistently helpful in the classroom.

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An extinction event for foundations?

Private foundations – the legal entities that have funded social innovations as diverse as breakthrough civil rights litigation and the development of the 911 emergency response system – may be nearing an end. This is certainly not because they have spent down their endowments; the largest still contain billions of dollars and as of 2014 independent and family foundation endowments still contained over $700 billion in assets.

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The end of liberalism

Fifty-nine years ago, William Proxmire of the now-Rust Belt state of Wisconsin took the floor of the US Senate in support of a bill that would lower tariffs on imported goods. My then-boss had brought with him a few hundred of the many pro-free-trade letters that our office had received in support of the bill. Liberalism — and not just a reduction in trade barriers — is now in trouble.

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Marketing-driven government (Part 2)

When marketing is used in government, its impact is often limited because it is dogged by a short-term, fragmented approach influenced by political time cycles. Government marketing is often characterised by an overemphasis on broadcast communications, including digital platforms, to the exclusion of a more citizen-centric approach focused on listening, relationship building, and social networking.

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Hop heads and locaholics: excerpt from Beeronomics

Beer drinkers across the United States observe the National American Beer Day annually on 27 October. Over the last decade two IPAs, craft beer and microbreweries have taken over the American beer market and continue their steady growth. This extract from Johan Swinnen and Devin Briski’s Beeronomics discusses some of the strategies of the American craft beer movement.

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Marketing-driven government (Part 1)

Marketing is an approach to social programme design and delivery that should underpin how governments and not-for-profit agencies develop and select policy, shape how services are delivered, and build sustained partnerships with citizens and other stakeholder organisations. However, marketing is a very often misunderstood and misapplied within Government

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What is the land question in India today?

Land in the process of development can be viewed as a commodity, and like other commodities, can be bought and sold. Such a transformation presupposes that land historically was not a commodity. Peasant cultivators eked out a subsistent lifestyle and feudal lords taxed the peasants. Property rights as we know it did not exist then. Land was not owned, sold, or bought.

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The reign of law in international investment decision-making

The second Investment Claims Summer Academy took place on 6-7 July 2017 at Lady Margaret Hall and focused on the role of international law in international investment decision-making. The Summer Academy opened with a quote from Sir Hersch Lauterpacht’s 1933 The Function of Law in International the International Community:

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7 financial tips and facts

For most, October marks the beginning of autumn, Halloween celebrating, and preparation for the holiday season. However, what some might not realize is that October is also Financial Planning Month. Financial planning and budgeting can be a difficult, confusing area. In honor of Financial Planning Month, we decided to outline facts to provide some insight and tips on budgeting, investing, and retirement.

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A Tale of Two New York Cities [excerpt]

New York is a city of many things to many people. But more and more those people are being divided. Those who have the means to live in comfort and splendor, and those struggling to survive in a once vast urban landscape that grows smaller and smaller with each year. In this excerpt from his book The Creative Destruction of New York City, author and urban scholar Alessandro Busà, gives us the lay of this new land where all are welcome, particularly if they can afford it.

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Sanders-scare

Overpromising was a central feature of Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency. He was going to build a big, beautiful wall and make the Mexicans pay for it. He was going to unleash a secret plan to defeat ISIS. And he was going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something really terrific. Unfortunately, Donald Trump and the Republicans aren’t the only ones making unrealistic promises.

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Integrative Environmental Medicine

How ‘green’ are you at work? [quiz]

With sea level rising and ice caps rapidly melting, the danger signs of global warming are evident, increasing the need to be environmentally friendly. However, much of this focus is on being environmentally friendly at home. Many of us spend a large proportion of our time at work, making it just as crucial to be ‘green’ at work, as we are at home.

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Mahbub ul Haq: pioneering a development philosophy for people

Mahbub ul Haq was the pioneer in developing the concept of human development. He not only articulated the human development philosophy for making economic development plans but he also provided the world with a statistical measure to quantify the indicators of economic growth with human development. In the field of development economics, Haq was regarded as an original thinker and a major innovator of fresh ideas.

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