Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Q: You have suggested in some recent talks the dismemberment of banks into good and bad banks. Bonuses could then be recovered from the bad banks by the risk takers. Would this work in the UK? Dominic McCabe, England

A: It has to be further refined, but in principle, and at a very general level, yes.

Q: US control over the internet is constantly diminishing and if we are to believe futurists like Ray Kurzweil, the economic significance of information flow will one day utterly dwarf that of the flow of oil. Without being able to capitalise on this, how will the current superpowers adapt to retain their control? Jeremy Taylor, UK

A: I'm personally rather sceptical about futurist pronouncements. Control over the internet is now a very live arena of struggle. The internet, like most of advanced technology, derived primarily from the dynamic state sector of the economy, often under a Pentagon cover.

As long as it was within the Pentagon system, or under the control of the National Science Foundation, it was entirely free (for those who had access, then quite limited). It was handed over to the private sector, in a manner that is not entirely clear, about 15 years ago, and the private sector naturally seeks to control access and use for its own purposes. That's not a simple matter, and as noted, it is an arena of ongoing struggle. I'm keeping here, of course, to the more democratic societies.

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