Today’s offer that can be refused

Asked to go off to deepest Asia to give a rousing speech on the value of sweatshops in economic development. Crib some from Krugman, bit more from Hans Roslin and Max Roser, add some Timmy-type rhetoric and we’re done.

So, why not?

Ah, yes, 35 hours odd flying time and to be done on my own dime. Ah…..

Update—-so, we’re up to economy class ticket plus hotel room now.

Still no.

11 thoughts on “Today’s offer that can be refused”

  1. Beats me why people are still expected to travel to do this sort of thing. What exactly would your personal rather than virtual presence add to the occasion? Come to think of it, why would anyone travel more than across a city to hear you speak?
    We have all this marvellous tech. Why not use it?

  2. It’s a trade gathering, the local PM will turn up to open it etc. The real purpose of the gathering is for all industry participants to have a good natter and plot. But there has to be some sort of schedule of something to justify it all.

    The reason for the invite I know too. One of the local papers lifted a piece of mine from Forbes and it’s one of the very few pieces that actually says they’re doing roughly the right thing, this industry.

  3. The last time I flew to the Land of UK, it was night bus to Tokyo. Train to Narita. Non-stop flight to Heathrow, bus to Cambridge and taxi to brother’s home. It took a smidge under 30 hours. Never again but it’s not every day your mother dies.

    FWIW, the views of Siberia and the Arctic Ocean (spring, great circle route) were fantastic.

  4. Forget economy class ticket: demand business and at least 3-star hotel, and your billable hours start at the time you leave your front door to the time you walk back through it. Although a reduced rate for travel time would be acceptable, say knock 30% off.

  5. My father in law used to get invites to speak at conferences all over the world. He was flying off here and there into his 70’s until Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s took hold. But he always refused, unless it was 1st class flights and minimum 4 star hotel and then they’d pay him a couple of grand a day as well. This would have been in the 90’s. Mind you they did give him an OBE for services to the industry he worked in.

  6. I always argue that I won’t endure for work what I won’t endure when we’re paying. We refuse to recognise that there is such a thing as international economy, even of the premium variety, and our definition of camping is a three star hotel.


    My experience is that virtual meetings are far less productive than face to face meetings. Often the most profitable encounters are the informal ones over a cup of coffee or a sandwich.

  7. I’ll endure quite a lot if somebody is paying me. But, then, given that my definition of “luxury air travel” is being allowed to take your body armour off in the back of the Hercules …

    I have a small degree of notoriety within my profession and get these all the time. Apart from the Chinese ones which are easy to turn down because security, the others usually flounder on “reasonable remuneration”. And I do have both academic and charity rates …

  8. Dear Mr Worstall

    It helps if you can squeeze in a couple of weeks’ holiday as well. I assume it is somewhere warm.


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