An Attractive Commodity and the Psychology Behind the Far Right

Our selection of the week's reading recommendations from our editorial team.

It’s funny how things can change so quickly. Less than a month after Brexit, the shock and ‘negativity’ that followed in the days after the referendum has dwindled. Suddenly, things have started to look more positive and more people are talking Brexit up. Even US bank Wells Fargo seems to have ignored the Brexit warning signs and has just spent £300 million on its European headquarters in London.

As one of the biggest events of recent times, it is perhaps inevitable that our editorial team has re-visited the subject.

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We start with Michael Pearl’s observations post-Brexit and his recommended reading…

Britain Still Attractive and Relevant

Tons of ink and gigabytes of digital information was spent to explain to us that after the Brexit, the British economy will suffer a major blow. Famous pundits raised some red flags, when explained how the UK will lose its appeal in the eyes of the the corporations and private investors.

It is still early to state whether the pundits were right or wrong. However, we can already see some signs that these prophets of

Michael Pearl Head Of Business Intelligence
Michael Pearl
Head Of Business Intelligence

apocalypse have, at least, exaggerated. Last week I stumbled upon an article in the Financial Times that quoted a US trade official that exposed that the Obama administration is backing down from its “end of the queue” strategy. Apparently, there are ongoing negotiations between the US and some top UK officials on a bilateral trade agreement. “The UK is a very significant part of the EU and a very significant part of what makes TTIP attractive,” he said.

On Sunday, I read that the US is not alone and that Australia is interested in setting up a trade agreement with London. Upon greeting his counterpart on entering 10 Downing St, the Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed “a desire to strike a free trade deal as soon as possible”.

Newly appointed British Prime Minister Theresa May and trade secretary Liam Fox both said recently that there are additional negotiations taking place these days with several countries.

How the efforts to strike a deal with the EU – Britain’s main trade partner – will turn out, still remains a puzzle.

So, what’s the conclusion, then? It’s still early to call. We will have to wait and see how the future will unfold. However, it’s safe to say that the UK, with its enormous economical might and tradition, will remain an attractive and relevant ‘commodity’, even in the post-Brexit era.

We stay on the subject of politics and consider one writer’s take on Brexit with Simon Golstein’s recommended read…

Pyschological Factors and the Far Right

In ‘What explains Brexit, Trump and the rise of the far right?’ Simon Oxenham gives us a run-through of some interesting psychological factors which can affect the opinions of a population.

Simon Golstein
Simon Golstein

He begins with an interesting fact – that in recent history, financial crises have consistently led to upswells of right-wing sentiment. But within the general population, what are these beliefs based on? In the writer’s opinion, sentiment, illogic and deception.

He talks about the influence of anxiety on the decision making process, and how worries can be manipulated.

For example, he points out that negative public opinion regarding immigration is actually most prevalent in places where immigration is lowest. He quotes a psychologist: “All that’s needed for greater understanding between groups is contact”. Conversely, the lack of actual contact leaves the imagination to run wild.

A topical read for anyone interested in current events.

We conclude with Sylvester Madjewski’s favourite article of the week about atomic memory and its possible implications for the trading industry…

Atomic Memory

As we all know, technology continues to play a growing part of the financial world. In fact, without its success, the modern trading industry would not be possible. Data inflow, growing liquidity – all this relies today on the speed of the servers on which financial firms operate. Therefore, an article on an ‘atomic memory’ device recently caught my eye.

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Sylwester Majewski Chief Analyst
Sylwester Majewski
Chief Analyst

A study on this subject was conducted by Delft University of Technology’s Kavli Institute of Nanoscience in the Netherlands. According to the study, by combining a copper surface with chlorine atoms it is possible to build a device with “information density as high as 500 terabits per square inch.” Wow. Just to remind you – one terabit is 1,000 GB.

A typical hard drive in popular desktop computers or laptops is around 8 terabits (1 terabyte). As the senior author of the study, Sander Otte, points out: “You would need just the area of a postage stamp to write out all books ever written”.

I am trying to imagine how such a device could be used in the trading industry and I think the possibilities are endless. Just one thing worries me – with such large capabilities trading could become even more dependent on robots and algorithms – something I am personally not a fan of.

We conclude another week of stories that our editors are reading. Feel free to share your views in the comment section and any recommendations of your own. We’d love to hear your opinions!

Check out our previous posts here:

Banking on Pokemon and a Philosophical Victory

A New Breed of Plutocrats and China’s New Weapon

Gold Standard After Brexit and a matter of National Identity

Genetically Edited Humans And Electronic Persons

Computerised Storytelling And Quantitative Easing Doldrums

Eyeing Up This Year’s Biggest Tech IPO And The Search For Quantum Questions

Financial Efficiencies And Inefficiencies

The Bank Robber And The Psychologist

Fly Me To The Moon….And Bremain In The EU

Brexit: Ice-Cream Magic Or An Artistic Defeat

Virtual Reality and the Dark Side of Shaming

Insider Trading and the Dude Driving Istanbul Mad

On Valley Life and Opening Up AI

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