Against rural broadband

Society got very excited about the invention of the car. From the 1950s onwards especially, governments around the world began huge road-building projects, bulldozing swathes of cities for huge multi-lane dual carriageways. This frenzy has subsided, and it’s largely clear how this ideological expansion reformed our cities for the worse. Highways are a crucial part of a nation’s infrastructure. Turnpikes—privately-funded and toll-financed roads—were, alongside the…

Read More

Hillary Clinton’s What Happened. A no BS review

Once What Happened is less read and talked about, now it’s just a book. If it has intrinsic merit, reader loyalty and word of mouth can keep it selling enough to make it worth keeping in print for years, decades, even centuries.
Is Hillary a contemporary Thucydides and this is the history of her own Peloponnesian war. Will she take out Pericles funeral oration and inject her own commentary on democracy and sacrifice. Perhaps this is Hillary’s discourses on Trump.

Read More

Airbnb and discrimination

I have repeatedly blogged about discrimination, especially against women and non-whites in labour markets. On raw numbers we often see different outcomes between groups, and since we know that discrimination goes on, we often instinctively attribute these “gaps” to discrimination, as Tim Harford does in an otherwise nice piece here. But once we dial down and get more detail, the gaps often evaporate—the more employers…

Read More

Social disruptors. No matter what it is or who commenced it, they’re against it

Without a knowable historical record there can be no learning from past events, and no trust in previous knowledge. The result of the denial of history is the denial of learning, because no existing knowledge can be trusted. Denial of the capability of people to attain knowledge and understanding from existing sources of information is a component of nihilism. This leaves the future open to radicals and deconstructionists who have make a definitive break with the past.

Read More

Our Economy is Optimized for Financialization

Labor’s share of the national income is in freefall as a direct result of the optimization of financialization.

The Achilles Heel of our socio-economic system is the secular stagnation of earned income, i.e. wages and salaries. Stagnating wages undermine every aspect of our economy: consumption, credit, taxation and perhaps most importantly, the unspoken social contract that the benefits of productivity and increasing wealth will be distributed widely, if not fairly.

Read More

Don’t be scared by the elephant chart: it shows that most of us are getting richer

Despite many qualities, the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks as though he is shamefully illinformed and lazy-minded about the global economy, making hasty, ill thought out assertions about how society is so horribly unjust, and that the poor are getting the roughest deal of an economy that needs to be distributed less unevenly. Here is the actual reality of what’s been happening, illustrated in Branco Milanovic’s…

Read More

Of Trump, Russia and the wisdom of frenzy

Truth disappeared so long ago in this witch-hunt that it is no longer even possible to define what the accusation is. Belief in “Russian hacking” of the US election has been elevated to a generic accusation of undefined wrongdoing, a vague malaise we are told is floating poisonously in the ether, but we are not allowed to analyse. What did the Russians actually do?

Read More

Statues made of sand. Who’s coming down and what’s going up…

Statues are made of sand. Let them tumble down. Whoever was great once was not meant to last.

What sand dunes will be put atop the pedestal. Who is great today, who will be greater tomorrow and then washed away?

An easy guess is Obama, inoffensive and abounding in symbols, carve in some babbling rhetoric and that’s one up, thousands more to go.

Read More

Moody’s says Amazon ain’t

The e-commerce giant is the subject of a number of myths regarding its size and clout that mask the reality of its position compared with rivals like Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Costco Wholesale Corp –  according to Charlie O’Shea, Moody’s vice president and lead retail analyst…

Estimates for the Amazon Prime membership base are also wildly inflated, O’Shea said, with some pundits betting the figure is as high as 85 million. Amazon itself has never provided a number, other than to say it is in the tens of millions.

Read More

Personal Property and Consumerism

…cash isn’t the only form of capital that can be drawn upon to generate agency: credit is almost as good as cash, if one can borrow the money at near-zero rates of interest. The intellectual/social capital implicit in entrepreneurial agency is not financial, but it empowers those who possess it in ways that cash or credit alone cannot.

Read More

Facebook. The profitable intelligence agency

What do all those people in the CIA, NSA and every other Get Smart agency do all day? Can’t almost the entire thing be cardboard boxed up and sent home.

Isn’t Facebook already doing ***almost*** all of whatever the Get Smart’s presumably do? Best of all, Facebook is profitable. They are doing all the splendid spying and meddling in political affairs, but add to that menace that they are also showing cute puppy videos and serving up ads.
The future is almost here…

Read More