Author Archives: Nicholas Gruen

Edward Broughton: Mensch

I’ve mentioned Edward Broughton numerous times on this blog, a man of great humanity who responded to the plight of the Jewish internees who were at his command. A quick snippet from one of the grateful internees. So far I’ve … Continue reading

Posted in History | Leave a comment

Knowing your arse from your Albo: how political parties might access the ‘blind break’ to get better leaders

A lottery is a defensible way of making a decision when, and to the extent that, it is important that bad reasons be kept out of the decision.  Peter Stone Left of centre parties have been serving up seriously, obviously … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Sortition and citizens’ juries | 2 Comments

Orwell that ends well: Can evaluation save us from ourselves?

When I first saw the Productivity Commission’s Draft Indigenous Evaluation Strategy, my heart sank. I’d had had several quite extensive meetings with Romlie Mokak, the Indigenous Commissioner at the PC who struck me as a person of great intelligence, straightforwardness … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Critique, Economics and public policy, Ethics, History, Innovation, Political theory, Politics - national, Politics - Northern Territory, regulation | 11 Comments

Sparkling rapid chess

In the Age of COVID chess has been reinvented. In March (I think it was) the Candidates Tournament was dramatically ended a few rounds in and everyone wondered “what next”. Enter Magnus Carlsen entrepreneur. With his star power, he has … Continue reading

Posted in Chess | 2 Comments

How change has changed: changemaking then and now

Below is a piece I published on the NESTA website in early 2016 which they took down in a web revamp. It’s still available on, but I thought I’d also publish it here for the record. There’s a fascinating … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Critique, Democracy, Economics and public policy, History, Philosophy, Political theory, Politics - international, Politics - national | 5 Comments

A snippet: when to use consultants

The Mandarin asked me to provide a summary answer to this question: What is the appropriate level of the use of consultants in the public service? Has it gone too far? Are consultants doing too much core/routine work or are … Continue reading

Posted in Economics and public policy | 7 Comments

A short story by Herbert Simon

I’ve been dipping into Herbert Simon’s autobiography, Models of my life. He’s from an interesting time in the intellectual history of economics and the social sciences. The major contributions of his professional life began in the 1950s and, though he … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments