CUTTING ROOM: A challenge for Leadbeater on internet issues, an appeal for business punditry, and an appreciation of Sweden's approachable Persson ... Evan Davis at large

CUTTING ROOM: A challenge for Leadbeater on internet issues, an appeal for business punditry, and an appreciation of Sweden's approachable Persson ... Evan Davis at large - I seem to have found myself in some kind of intellectual dispute with Charles Lead

by EVAN DAVIS, the economics editor of BBC2's Newsnight

I seem to have found myself in some kind of intellectual dispute with Charles Leadbeater, the journalist, author and sometime government adviser. He wrote the new-economy bible, Living on Thin Air. (He tells me it's been dubbed 'Living on Thin Hair' by some of his friends, who've noticed his receding fringe.)

The book is excellently written but a tad over-enthusiastic about the new economy for my taste. Now Charles has written a follow-up booklet for the environmentalist Green Alliance, arguing that the internet (and other new technology) should increasingly enable more environment-friendly economic growth. At his crudest, he appears to argue that we'll sit at home e-mailing each other rather than drive around burning up fuel.

For some reason, I've been asked to pen a response. Although I'd like to agree with Charles, I suspect that, far from reducing travel, e-mail is more likely to enable us to make new friends in Australia and encourage us to fly out and meet them.

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