Clapham omnibus

11 results back to index


pages: 566 words: 160,453

Not Working: Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone? by David G. Blanchflower

active measures, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Bear Stearns, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clapham omnibus, collective bargaining, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, estate planning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, George Akerlof, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, illegal immigration, income inequality, independent contractor, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, job satisfaction, John Bercow, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nate Silver, negative equity, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, oil shock, open borders, Own Your Own Home, p-value, Panamax, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-materialism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, quantitative easing, rent control, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, selection bias, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, urban planning, working poor, working-age population, yield curve

Then, it introduces a twist, be it an imperfection or the closing of a particular set of markets, and works out the general equilibrium implications. It then performs a numerical simulation based on calibration, showing that the model performs well. It ends with a welfare assessment.” I have no idea what “haiku-like” rules are or how they can help us understand how an economy works. The man on the Clapham omnibus would, rightly, likely think it was worthless mumbo-jumbo. I have been especially struck by claims celebrating that the practice of macroeconomics is firmly grounded in the principles of economic theory. 35 It would have been much better if macroeconomics had been well grounded in the muddy waters of the data.

My PhD supervisor, Bernard Corry, taught me to try to understand the low-side risk of any policy prescription, by which I mean always worry about the consequences if you are wrong. I remember him telling me on numerous occasions that I should be concerned about the welfare of the man or woman commuting on the train or bus or, as he put it, worry about the welfare of the “man on the Clapham omnibus.”1 In part this was to ensure that economists did no harm, and also because Bernard understood that this bus passenger was paying his salary. Interestingly, Clapham is now a pretty prosperous part of London. Bernard always encouraged me to look at the data carefully and to sniff the air. To adopt a more “investigative” approach, if you like: to put the data before the theory.

And still nobody has taken his knighthood away, although there was a vote in the House of Commons recently to do just that; they did eventually strip Fred Goodwin, of RBS “fame,” of his in 2012.45 Ordinary people are aware that different rules appear to apply to them. The man (or woman) on the Clapham omnibus just doesn’t understand. Nor should he. I recall listening to billionaire John Cauldwell, who is the cofounder of mobile phone UK retailer Phone 4U, being interviewed on BBC HARDtalk on April 2, 2015 (downloadable from iTunes), about his motivations to get rich. He said he was motivated to make enough money to take care of his family; it was about financial security.


pages: 395 words: 94,764

I Never Knew That About London by Christopher Winn

Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, Clapham omnibus, Desert Island Discs, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, God and Mammon, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble

The power station has also featured in numerous Doctor Who episodes, in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1936 film Sabotage, and as the scary Ministry of Love in the 1984 film version of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Clapham The Man in the Street THE EXPRESSION ‘THE man on the Clapham omnibus’, meaning the ordinary man on the street, is attributed to the Appeal Court Judge, Lord Bowen (1835–94). He adapted it from journalist Walter Bagehot’s phrase ‘the bald-headed man at the back of the Clapham omnibus’, used to describe a normal London man, Clapham being regarded in the 19th century as a quiet, unexceptional sort of place. The CLAPHAM SECT was a group of wealthy, evangelical Anglicans who met at Broomfield, William Wilberforce’s home on Clapham Common, on the corner of what is now Broomwood Road, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.


pages: 239 words: 68,598

The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James E. Lovelock

Ada Lovelace, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, discovery of DNA, disinformation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Garrett Hardin, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, short selling, Stewart Brand, Tragedy of the Commons, University of East Anglia

And so the Second World War started with a false alarm; indeed in terms of war nothing much happened on mainland Britain for another nine months. There seems to be a close parallel between the events and the feelings we had then and those now. I was not quite that archetype, the man in the street or on the Clapham omnibus, but was close enough: a young man on a footpath, fairly sure that real war would soon begin even though there were still deniers, among them experts and politicians. Seventy years later events in far places, such as the melting of the Arctic ice, the collapse of glaciers in Antarctica, the droughts and famines across Africa, and the occasional extra‐fierce tropical storm give us now that same anxiety that the war in Spain and the incursion into Bohemia gave in the 1930s.


pages: 290 words: 85,847

A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes Next by Tom Standage

active transport: walking or cycling, autonomous vehicles, car-free, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chris Urmson, City Beautiful movement, Clapham omnibus, congestion charging, coronavirus, COVID-19, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Ford paid five dollars a day, garden city movement, Ida Tarbell, Induced demand, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Joan Didion, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, peak oil, Ralph Nader, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbiased observer, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, wikimedia commons, Yom Kippur War, Zipcar

In Britain, omnibus riders came to be seen as representative of the population at large, thanks to Walter Bagehot, a British political writer who wrote in 1863 that “public opinion … is the opinion of the bald-headed man at the back of the omnibus.” This observation may explain the subsequent adoption by English courts of the hypothetical “man on the Clapham omnibus” as the standard for an ordinary, reasonable person. Compared with previous vehicles, from war chariots to fancy coaches, the omnibus was far more egalitarian. Its popularity signaled the democratization, at long last, of wheeled transport. It had taken more than five thousand years since the invention of the first wheel.


pages: 297 words: 89,206

Social Class in the 21st Century by Mike Savage

call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clapham omnibus, Corn Laws, deindustrialization, deskilling, Downton Abbey, financial independence, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, income inequality, liberal capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, moral panic, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, old-boy network, precariat, psychological pricing, Sloane Ranger, The Spirit Level, the strength of weak ties, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, very high income, winner-take-all economy, young professional

Questioner: So it’s a regional identity, as well, that is as, or more important, to you than … John: It – the regional identity, was to my advantage in certain situations, which I used to play to because they used to put my pointed questions down to Yorkshire brusqueness. One guy who always had me – and I mean I used to sit in the top executive committees on some of the things in the bank, and I know why I was there – I mean, he used to say I was the man on the Clapham omnibus, but no, it was to ask the awkward question, and then they could go out of the meeting and say, ‘Well, it’s just John being obnoxious’ to the guys. Thirty years on, those stereotypes still hold some relevance when glimpsed through the lens of the GBCS, but it has now been overlain by a more nuanced geography.


pages: 396 words: 107,814

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything by David Bellos

Clapham omnibus, Claude Shannon: information theory, Douglas Hofstadter, Etonian, European colonialism, haute cuisine, invention of the telephone, invention of writing, natural language processing, Republic of Letters, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, speech recognition

Shaw’s stage play Pygmalion, which itself rewrites a far more ancient myth, Professor Higgins asks, “Oh! why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?” We must answer, Oh! but they do, Professor Higgins. They teach them to declare themselves to be Geordies and Aberdonians, Etonians and lads on the Clapham omnibus, ladies from Morningside or fishermen from Newquay. If you are British, you just can’t not notice. Alongside its role as a planetary interlanguage in print, English speech—like any other—is a highly pixelated way of telling people who you are. That is something that all forms of human speech share, and it is perhaps the only thing that is truly universal about language.


pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour: How 500 Million Commuters Survive the Daily Journey to Work by Iain Gately

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, corporate raider, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, global pandemic, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, lateral thinking, low skilled workers, Marchetti’s constant, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

Even in the absence of compulsion, there are good reasons to expect it to persist. It empowers people to separate their work and home lives, and both require face time to function. Unless and until we evolve into creatures that have no such needs, and have erased the desires to hunt and gather from our nature, there will be a Clapham omnibus, or its latter-day equivalent, ferrying people between their places of labour and rest. Unless, of course, we won’t have to work in the future, or companionship goes out of fashion after, say, a deadly global pandemic. Would we then commute for nostalgia, or even pleasure? Has commuting worked its way so deep into our culture that we’d find it hard to give up absolutely?


pages: 742 words: 137,937

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Atul Gawande, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Bill Joy: nanobots, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, Clapham omnibus, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of work, Garrett Hardin, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, lifelogging, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, Metcalfe’s law, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, Paul Samuelson, personalized medicine, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Shoshana Zuboff, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yochai Benkler, young professional

We think our isolation of ‘broad features’ falls well short of being traitist. 18 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (1958), See also Downie, ‘Professions and Professionalism’, 147. 19 We use the term ‘lay people’ throughout the book. It is not ideal. But we find it the best of a bad bunch of possible terms. For example, we do not like ‘ordinary people’, ‘non-professionals’, or indeed the lawyer’s ‘man on the Clapham Omnibus’. 20 As Freidson puts it: ‘the claims, values, and ideas that provide the rationale for … professionalism.’ See Eliot Freidson, Professionalism (2001), 105. 21 William Wickenden, A Professional Guide for Young Engineers (1949), 16. 22 Talcott Parsons, ‘The Professions and Social Structure’, Social Forces, 17: 4 (1939), 457. 23 See e.g.


pages: 688 words: 147,571

Robot Rules: Regulating Artificial Intelligence by Jacob Turner

Ada Lovelace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic bias, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, backpropagation, Basel III, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, effective altruism, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, friendly fire, future of work, hive mind, Internet of things, iterative process, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Loebner Prize, medical malpractice, Nate Silver, natural language processing, nudge unit, obamacare, off grid, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

In other words, the possibility of negligence liability can cause subjects to take into account the externalities of their actions and indeed to price these into their calculations (at least to the extent that such risk can be accurately calculated). 2.1.3 Shortcomings of Negligence How Do We Set Standards for AI’s Behaviour? The key question in negligence is generally whether the defendant acted in the same way as the average, reasonable person in that situation. In old English cases, judges illustrated this idea by asking whether a fictional “man on the Clapham Omnibus” might have done the same thing.26 However, problems arise when the reasonable person test is applied to humans using AI, all the more so to AI itself. One option would be to ask what the reasonable designer or user of the AI might have done in the circumstances.27 For example, it may be reasonable to set a car to operate in a fully autonomous mode on a relatively clear motorway, but not in a hectic urban environment.28 Designers might supply AI with “health warnings” stipulating what is and is not advisable.


pages: 743 words: 201,651

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, activist lawyer, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Clapham omnibus, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, financial independence, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, George Santayana, global village, index card, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Nelson Mandela, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Yochai Benkler, Yom Kippur War

In a global city such as Toronto or London, different and sometimes mutually offensive ways of life necessarily exist cheek-by-jowl. A late-night city bus may not exhibit quite the baroque array of behaviours seen on the Feinberg Express, but it will throw up some which the proverbial man on the Clapham omnibus would find grossly offensive. This is, of course, even more true on the internet. The British newspaper columnist Suzanne Moore found—online, of course—an image of a cat sitting in front of a computer screen.71 It is captioned ‘OMG. I have been offended. And on the internets of all places’.72 (‘The internets’ is, I am reliably informed, cat-speak for ‘the internet’.)


Lonely Planet London City Guide by Tom Masters, Steve Fallon, Vesna Maric

Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, Clapham omnibus, congestion charging, dark matter, discovery of the americas, double helix, East Village, financial independence, first-past-the-post, ghettoisation, haute cuisine, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, Mahatma Gandhi, market design, Nelson Mandela, place-making, South of Market, San Francisco, Stephen Hawking, transatlantic slave trade, urban planning, urban renewal, Winter of Discontent, young professional

On the western side is a pleasant collection of streets known as the toast rack, because of their alignment. Baskerville, Dorlcote, Henderson, Nicosia, Patten and Routh Rds are lined with Georgian houses. There’s a blue plaque at 3 Routh Rd, home to the former British prime minister David Lloyd George. Return to beginning of chapter CLAPHAM The so-called ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ – English civil law’s definition of the hypothetical reasonable person since the turn of the 20th century – has largely left this neighbourhood. Today Clapham is the home of well-heeled young professionals in their 20s and 30s, who eat in the area’s many restaurants, drink in its many bars and generally drive up property prices.


pages: 721 words: 238,678

Fall Out: A Year of Political Mayhem by Tim Shipman

banking crisis, Beeching cuts, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, centre right, Clapham omnibus, Corn Laws, corporate governance, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, drone strike, Etonian, eurozone crisis, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, iterative process, John Bercow, Kickstarter, kremlinology, land value tax, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, open borders, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, Snapchat, Steve Bannon, working poor

Hammond had some sympathy for Timothy’s goals, but not the policies he was drawing up to achieve them. ‘Philip genuinely understood where Nick was coming from, and where the boss was coming from,’ a fellow cabinet minister said. ‘He does believe, rightly, that she has a good feeling for how a man on the Clapham omnibus feels about the rights and wrongs of the world.’ But the chancellor would say, ‘I can see what you’re trying to achieve, but the means by which you’re trying to do it aren’t going to work, and might have perverse results that you’ve not thought about.’ This was just the kind of Eeyoreish approach the chiefs could not stand.