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Answering the hardest questions in the world

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I recently stumbled across a marketing campaign being run by UBS, which tries to answer the hardest questions in the world. The questions cover everything from equality to politics and, to illustrate what they are debating, here are a few examples:

  • Why is there such a big gap between the richest and the poorest? (UBS is asking this)
  • Why do some countries get stuck in poverty?
  • Is globalization helping or hindering equality?
  • How can governments work more effectively?
  • What can governments do to help the poor?
  • Should we worry about an international debt crisis?
  • Can you ever eliminate risk?
  • Why is it so hard to beat the stock market?
  • What sparks economic growth?
  • Why is there unemployment when jobs are available?
  • Will we still have jobs when robots take over?

The most popular questions include:

To answer such difficult questions, the bank has been hiring world-leading Nobel Laureate thinkers to come together and debate and discuss these fundamental issues about our future. An illustration of what is developing out these conversations can be seen in this 10-minute summary of Nobel Perspectives Live! that took place in Singapore in September with Nobel Laureates Peter Diamond, Robert Merton, Michael Spence and Roger Myerson.

Here’s the full list of contributors:

Bengt R. Holmström, Nobel Laureate, 2016

Oliver S. Hart, Nobel Laureate, 2016

Sir Angus S. Deaton, Nobel Laureate, 2015

Robert J. Shiller, Nobel Laureate, 2013

Lars Peter Hansen, Nobel Laureate, 2013

Alvin E. Roth, Nobel Laureate, 2012

Christopher A. Sims, Nobel Laureate, 2011

Sir Christopher A. Pissarides, Nobel Laureate, 2010

Peter A. Diamond, Nobel Laureate, 2010

Elinor C. Ostrom, Nobel Laureate, 2009

Paul R. Krugman, Nobel Laureate, 2008

Roger B. Myerson, Nobel Laureate, 2007

Eric S. Maskin, Nobel Laureate, 2007

Edmund S. Phelps, Nobel Laureate, 2006

Robert J. Aumann, Nobel Laureate, 2005

Finn E. Kydland, Nobel Laureate, 2004

Edward C. Prescott, Nobel Laureate, 2004

Robert F. Engle, Nobel Laureate, 2003

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Laureate, 2002

Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Laureate, 2002

Michael Spence, Nobel Laureate, 2001

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate, 2001

Robert C. Merton, Nobel Laureate, 1997

Myron S. Scholes, Nobel Laureate, 1997

Sir James A. Mirrlees, Nobel Laureate, 1996

Robert E. Lucas, Nobel Laureate, 1995

William F. Sharpe, Nobel Laureate, 1990

Harry M. Markowitz, Nobel Laureate, 1990

Robert M. Solow, Nobel Laureate, 1987

James M. Buchanan, Nobel Laureate, 1986

Franco Modigliani, Nobel Laureate, 1985

Sir Arthur Lewis, Nobel Laureate, 1979

Theodore W. Schultz, Nobel Laureate, 1979

Herbert A. Simon, Nobel Laureate, 1978

Wassily W. Leontief, Nobel Laureate, 1973

Paul A. Samuelson, Nobel Laureate, 1970

And you can find more resources at their Nobel Perspectives website.

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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