339 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2020
    1. This is another great example of companies attempting to privatize profits and socialize the losses, or in this case pass along the losses and lost productivity to their employees (or as described here their independent contractors).

      Why can't they do some of the hard "technology" work and solve the problem of helping their workers become dramatically more productive?

    2. The backlash from gig economy companies was immediate, and Uber and similar app-based businesses have committed nearly $200 million to support a state ballot measure — making it the costliest in state history — that would exempt them from the law.

      This is a pretty good indicator that it will save them 10x to 100x this amount to get rid of this law.

      One should ask: "Why don't they accept it and just pass this money along to their employees."

    1. It did not have to be this way. But as Trump aptly said of himself and his policy, “It is what it is.” He accepted more disease in hopes of stimulating a stronger economy and winning reelection. He’s waiting now for the return on that bet. As so often in his reckless career, his speculation seems to be that if the bet wins, he pockets the proceeds. And if the bet fails? The losses fall on others.

      A very apt description of Trump's life philosophy. Also a broad perspective at how many Republicans and Libertarians seem to view the world economically: privatizing profits and socializing losses.

    1. That approach: build protocols, not platforms.

      I can now see why @jack made his Twitter announcement this morning. If he opens up and can use that openness to suck up more data, then Twitter's game could potentially be doing big data and higher end algorithmic work on even much larger sets of data to drive eyeballs.

      I'll have to think on how one would "capture" a market this way, but Twitter could be reasonably poised to pivot in this direction if they're really game for going all-in on the idea.

      It's reasonably obvious that Twitter has dramatically slowed it's growth and isn't competing with some of it's erstwhile peers. Thus they need to figure out how to turn a relatively large ship without losing value.

    1. Gradually, we begin to conflate visibility with value. If something is being talked about and seen, we assume that it must be important in some way. – An Illustrated Guide to Guy Debord’s ‘The Society of the Spectacle’

      And in an over-saturated media space, this is exactly the sort of thing that lands us a narcissistic and incompetent president.

    1. Reporting on a study at Queensborough Community College, also in the CUNY system, Sheila Beck notes that the library’s reserve textbook collection is “heavily used,” however, staffing and other concerns have prompted librarians to consider “less labor intensive and less costly alternatives.“ Beyond textbook reserves, academic librarians can help students to locate required course readings in other ways: older editions of their required textbook, pre- or post-prints of articles in institutional repositories, articles or other texts in databases subscribed to by the library, or readings that may be in the public domain or otherwise available on the open web.

      The basic economics of this system would indicate (especially as classes become larger and larger) that more careful consideration of choice, economics, accessibility, availability, etc. on a larger institutional level creates larger marginal gains for those in the class. If a staff librarian, teacher, or someone else within the system does the leg-work up front and does it well, then the dozens or even hundreds of students in the course don't need to spend (read: waste) their own time re-inventing the proverbial textbook wheel once they're in the class.

      Portions of the situation here make me wonder if we might pull a page from Dr. Peter Pronovost's playbook in the health care space and create a simple checklist of what to do when planning for textbooks and readings. Checklists that include things like:

      • will the texts actually be used?
      • will they be primary to the subject or are they supplementary?
      • What are their prices?
      • Are alternate materials available?
      • Are older editions available?
      • are public domain or open web versions available?
      • are there copies in the library? reserves? pirated versions? pre/post prints?
      • etc.

      Once such a checklist is available, institutions should require that it be available along with syllabi and other course listings.

      cross references:

    2. Textbook affordability is covered frequently by higher-education news media in the United States, part of the broader conversation about access to American colleges and universities. The National Survey of Student Engagement has reported that 31% of first year and 40% of senior undergraduates didn’t purchase required course materials because of the expense.

      Given the economics of the textbook market and the fact that it's not the students who are choosing their textbooks, (but instead are assigned their textbooks) there is a massive mismatch in the market. The person choosing the text doesn't necessarily care about the price since it's not something they're directly paying for.

      The better surveys we should be seeing are surveys of professors on what materials they choose, why they choose them, what thought--if any--goes towards the price of such materials. These surveys of students are generally useless because they don't get to the point of the economic inequity in the textbook market.

    3. some students told me that they bought all of their books in prior semesters and their instructors did not use them, so in subsequent semesters they either delayed or opted not to buy their books.

      I wonder what role satisficing plays in the current textbook market?

    4. depressing the market for used books as they maintain their profits.

      but this only occurs with the tacit approval of professors who are assigning those new textbooks without any thought about whether the new edition is really worth that much more. Since the professor generally doesn't care (or even use the updated material in a new edition), they could easily stick with a 7th edition for several decades. The real question is why don't they?

    1. "Protestant" life of wealth and risk over the "Catholic" path of poverty and security.[8]

      Is this simply a restatement of the idea that most of "the interesting things" happen at the border or edge of chaos? The Catholic ethic is firmly inside the stable arena while that of the Protestant ethic is pushing the boundaries.

    2. Weber notes that according to any economic theory that posited man as a rational profit-maximizer, raising the piece-work rate should increase labor productivity. But in fact, in many traditional peasant communities, raising the piece-work rate actually had the opposite effect of lowering labor productivity: at the higher rate, a peasant accustomed to earning two and one-half marks per day found he could earn the same amount by working less, and did so because he valued leisure more than income. The choices of leisure over income, or of the militaristic life of the Spartan hoplite over the wealth of the Athenian trader, or even the ascetic life of the early capitalist entrepreneur over that of a traditional leisured aristocrat, cannot possibly be explained by the impersonal working of material forces,

      Science could learn something from this. Science is too far focused on the idealized positive outcomes that it isn't paying attention to the negative outcomes and using that to better define its outline or overall shape. We need to define a scientific opportunity cost and apply it to the negative side of research to better understand and define what we're searching for.

      Of course, how can we define a new scientific method (or amend/extend it) to better take into account negative results--particularly in an age when so many results aren't even reproducible?

    3. But that state of consciousness that permits the growth of liberalism seems to stabilize in the way one would expect at the end of history if it is underwritten by the abundance of a modern free market economy.

      Writers spend an awful lot of time focused too carefully on the free market economy, but don't acknowledge a lot of the major benefits of the non-free market parts which are undertaken and executed often by governments and regulatory environments. (Hacker & Pierson, 2016)

    4. This is not to say that there are not rich people and poor people in the United States, or that the gap between them has not grown in recent years. But the root causes of economic inequality do not have to do with the underlying legal and social structure of our society, which remains fundamentally egalitarian and moderately redistributionist, so much as with the cultural and social characteristics of the groups that make it up, which are in turn the historical legacy of premodern conditions.
    5. FAILURE to understand that the roots of economic behavior lie in the realm of consciousness and culture leads to the common mistake of attributing material causes to phenomena that are essentially ideal in nature.
    6. In general, while I've been reading Stuart Kauffmann's At Home in the Universe, I can't help but thinking about the cascading extinctions he describes and wonder if political extinctions of ideas like Communism or other forms of government or even economies might follow the same types of outcomes described there?

    1. This is, I thought, little more than an analogy with Boyle’s Law, one of the most striking early successes of the scientific revolution, which holds that the pressure and volume of a fixed amount of gas are inversely proportional.  Release the contents from a steel cylinder into a balloon and the container expands.  But it still contains no more gas than before.  Something like that must have been in the mind of the first person who first spoke of “inflating” the currency. From there it was a short jump to the way that classical quantity theory relies on the principle of plenitude – the age-old assumption, inherited from Plato, that there can be nothing truly new under the sun, that the collection of goods of “general price level” were somehow fixed.
    2. What interested me were intricate questions about the direction of causation.  Had prices grown higher because the number of pennies had increased?  Or had the supply of pennies grown to accommodate an increasing overall division of labor? To put it slightly differently, in those periods of “industrial revolution” – there had been at least two or three such events – had prices risen because the size of the market and the division of labor had grown, and the quantity of money along with them?  Or was it the other way around?
    3. I still have the feeling that the important changes in the global division of labor have something to do with the behavior of traditional macroeconomic variables.
    4. It turned out the higher the money price, the more prosperous was the craftsman’s lot, at least in the long run, though sometimes after periods of immiseration lasting decades.
    5. That leaves economist Martin Shubik, surely the second most powerful mind among economists to have tackled the complexity problem (John von Neumann was first). Shubik pursued an overarching theory of money all his life, one in which money and financial institutions emerge naturally, instead of being given. In The Guidance of an Enterprise Economy (MIT, 2016), he considered that he and physicist Etic Smith had achieved it. Shubik died last year, at 92.  His ideas about strict definitions of “minimal complexity” will take years to resurface in others’ hands.
    6. Two of the most successful expositors of economic complexity were research partners, as least for a time:  Ricardo Hausmann, of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and physicist César Hidalgo, of MIT’s Media Lab. They, too, worked with a gifted mathematician, Albert-László Barabási, of Northeastern University, to produce a highly technical paper; then,  with colleagues, assembled an Atlas of Complexity: Mapping Paths to Prosperity (MIT, 2011), a data-visualization tool that continues to function online. Meanwhile, Hidalgo’s Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies (Basic, 2015) remains an especially lucid account of humankind’s escape (so far) from the Second Law of Thermodynamics, but there is precious little economics in it. For the economics of international trade, see Gene Grossman and Elhanan Helpman.
    1. If OER is free, what hidden costs exist in its production? Making these textbooks is taking me a chunk of time in the off-season.  Thanks to my salaried position, I feel ok about putting in the overtime, but it’s a privilege my colleagues who teach under year-to-year part-time non-contracts can’t afford. Who should be funding OER creation? Institutions? Students? For-profit start-ups? How will you invest time in this project without obscuring the true costs of academic labor? Right now, we pass the corruptly high cost of academic publishing onto the backs of academia’s most vulnerable members: students. But as OER gains steam, we need to come up with funding models that don’t land us back in the same quagmire of exploitation that we were trying to get out of.

      This is a nearly perfect question and something to watch in the coming years.

    1. “INFORMATION RULES”—published in 1999 but still one of the best books on digital economics—Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian, two economists, popularised the term “network effects”,

      I want to get a copy of this book.

    1. Today's Web giants want us to believe that they and they alone are suited to take us to wherever we end up next. Having used Adversarial Interoperability as a ladder to attain their rarefied heights, they now use laws to kick the ladder away and prevent the next Microcomputer Center or Tim Berners-Lee from doing to them what the Web did to Gopher, and what Gopher did to mainframes.
    1. We need to debate what kind of hypermedia suit our vision of society - how we create the interactive products and on-line services we want to use, the kind of computers we like and the software we find most useful. We need to find ways to think socially and politically about the machines we develop. While learning from the can-do attitude of the Californian individualists, we also must recognise that the potentiality of hypermedia can never solely be realised through market forces. We need an economy which can unleash the creative powers of hi-tech artisans. Only then can we fully grasp the Promethean opportunities of hypermedia as humanity moves into the next stage of modernity.

      Great ending. These words are as true today as they were 25 years ago.

    2. Americans have always had state planning, but they prefer to call it the defence budget.
    3. Working for hi-tech and new media corporations, many members of the 'virtual class' would like to believe that new technology will somehow solve America's social, racial and economic problems without any sacrifices on their part.

      In retrospect, this has turned out to be all-too-true.

    4. Almost every major technological advance of the last two hundred years has taken place with the aid of large amounts of public money and under a good deal of government influence. The technologies of the computer and the Net were invented with the aid of massive state subsidies.

      examples of government (public) funding for research and it's effects

    5. In this version of the Californian Ideology, each member of the 'virtual class' is promised the opportunity to become a successful hi-tech entrepreneur.

      In retrospect, it's really only made a much higher disparity between the top and the bottom.

    1. when we are given the space to consider our decisions, we tend to make fewer errors.

      think about examples where this isn't the case like high-pressure car buying

    2. If the original price is horizontally farther away on the page from the sale price (Fig 2.8), the customer is more likely to view it as a better deal, even if the dollar amounts do not change. We equate visual distance with fiscal distance (http://bkaprt.com/dcb/02-19/).
    1. On the right — that’s what democracy looks like. At City Bureau we believe the future of journalism looks more like this. It’s made of networks, it’s collaborative, it practices radical transparency and it equips people to be makers.

      This chart is very reminiscent of a similar chart I saw just this morning that was looking at the differences between unicorns and zebras within an economic framing.

    1. But, whereas engaged scholarship has a political imperative, academic microcelebrity has a market imperative. Academic microcelebrity is ostentatiously apolitical, albeit falsely so because markets are always political. Academic microcelebrity encourages brand building as opposed to consciousness-raising; brand awareness as opposed to co-creation of knowledge. It creates perverse incentives for impact as opposed to valuing social change. Microcelebrity is the economics of attention in which academics are being encouraged, mostly through normative pressure, to brand their academic knowledge for mass consumption. However, the risks and rewards of presenting oneself “to others over the Web using tools typically associated with celebrity promotion” (Barone 2009) are not the same for all academics in the neo-liberal “public” square of private media.

      I'm reminded here of the huge number of academics who write/wrote for The Huffington Post for their "reach" despite the fact that they were generally writing for free. Non-academics were doing the same thing, but for the branding that doing so gave them.

      In my opinion, both of these groups were cheated in that they were really building THP's brand over their own.

    2. Scholars who are also members of marginalized groups disproportionately take up this kind of engaged scholarship, often without commensurate credit from university administrators or colleagues (Ellison and Eatmen 2008; Park 1996; Stanley 2006; Taylor and Raeburn 1995; Turner et al 2008; Villalpando and Bernal 2002).
    3. Academic capitalism promotes engaged academics as an empirical measure of a university’s reputational currency. Academic capitalism refers to the ways in which knowledge production increasingly embeds universities in the new economy (Berman 2011; Rhoades and Slaughter 2010).
    4. Marwick and others have primarily observed intent as a causal condition for microcelebrity and the practice of cultivating it as a set of activities as opposed to the institutional conditions of those activities and microcelebrity’s various effects. Microcelebrity can be a tool to develop a personal brand, to leverage attention to generate income of job prospects, and to distill media and public attention of social movements. I consider microcelebrity’s cause-and-effect from my multiple attenuated status positions. My agency to create, perform or strategically reveal information is circumscribed by my ascribed status positions. As my professional and public-facing identities shift, my social location remains embedded in groups with a “shared histories based on their shared location in relations of power” (Hill Collins 1997: 376). Academic capitalism and microcelebrity promote neoliberal ideas of individualism. But power relations circumscribe the utility and value of cultivating attention in ways we rarely note, much less redress.

      I read this and can't help but thinking about some of my own personal workplace experiences (as well as some of those of others). Many often experience the need to move from an early workplace to another as a means of better experiencing direct promotion, both in status and in respect as well as in pay naturally. One will often encounter issues in promotion at the same company, particularly when it doesn't properly value work and experience, and thinks of you as when you first started work as a young kid still wet behind the ears. Compare this to moving to a new company with a new social group who doesn't know the "old" you, but automatically ascribes to you the rank and value of your new post instead of your past rank(s).

      In some sense making one's old writing/work private (or deleting it on Twitter as is more commonly done for a variety of reasons) becomes a means of preventing the new groups of readers or viewers of one's site from seeing the older, less experienced version of one's self and thereby forcing them to judge you by the "new" you imbued with more authority than the younger tyro of the "old" you.

    5. Digital texts embody the intersections between history and biography that Mills (1959) thought inherent to understanding social relations. Content from my blog is a ready example. I have access to the entire data set. I can track its macro discursive moments to action, space, and place. And I can consider it as a reflexive sociological practice. In this way, I have used my digital texts as methodologists use autoethnographies: reflexive, critical practices of social relationship.

      I wonder a bit about applying behavioral economics or areas like System 1/System 2 of D. Kahneman and A. Tversky to social media as well. Some (a majority?) use Twitter as an immediate knee-jerk reaction to content they're reading and interacting with in a very System 1 sense while others use longer form writing and analysis seen in the blogosphere to create System 2 sort of social thinking.

      This naturally needs to be cross referenced in peoples' time and abilities to consume these things and the reactions and dopamine responses they provoke. Most people are apt to read the shorter form writing because it's easier and takes less time and effort compared with longer form writing which requires far more cognitive load and time expenditure.

    1. Social scientists explain link formation through two families of mechanisms; one that finds it roots in sociology and the other one in economics. The sociological approach assumes that link formation is connected to the characteristics of individuals and their context. Chief examples of the sociological approach include what I will call the big three sociological link-formation hypotheses. These are: shared social foci, triadic closure, and homophily.
    1. "Some inequality of income and wealth is inevitable, if not necessary. If an economy is to function well, people need incentives to work hard and innovate.The pertinent question is not whether income and wealth inequality is good or bad. It is at what point do these inequalities become so great as to pose a serious threat to our economy, our ideal of equal opportunity and our democracy." - Robert Reich

      An important observation. What might create such a tipping point? Is there a way to look back at these things historically to determine the most common factors that would create such tipping points?

    1. Anomie (/ˈænəˌmi/) is a "condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals".[1] It is the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and the community, e.g., under unruly scenarios resulting in fragmentation of social identity and rejection of self-regulatory values.

      I can't help but see this definition and think it needs to be applied to economics immediately. In particular I can think of a few quick examples of economic anomie which are artificially covering up a free market and causing issues within individual communities.

      College Textbooks: Here publishers are marketing to professors who assign particular textbooks and subverting students which are the actual market and consumers of those textbooks. This causes an inflated market and has allowed textbook prices to spiral out of control.

      The American Health Care Market In this example, the health care providers (doctors, hospitals, etc.) have been segmented away from their consumers (patients) by intermediary insurance companies which are driving the market to their own good rather than a free-er set of smaller (and importantly local) markets that would be composed of just the sellers and the buyers. As a result, the consumer of health care has no ability to put a particular price on what they're receiving (and typically they rarely ever ask, even more so when they have insurance). This type of economic anomie is causing terrific havoc within the area.

      (Aside: while the majority of health care markets is very small in size (by distance), I will submit that the advent of medical tourism does a bit to widen potential markets, but this segment of the market is tiny and very privileged in comparison.)

    1. In ed tech, schools are the customers, but students are the users.

      This also reminds me of the market disconnect between students and their textbooks. Professors are the ones targeted for the "sale" or adoption when the actual purchasers are the students. This causes all kinds of problems in the way the textbook market works and tends to drive prices up--compared to a market in which the student directly chooses their textbook. (And the set up is not too dissimilar to how the healthcare industry works in which the patient (customer) is making a purchase of health care coverage and not actually the health care itself.

    1. As it turns out his vision perfectly reflected the history of capitalism, marked by taking things that live outside the market sphere and declaring their new life as market commodities.
    2. In this way they have come to dominate what I call “the division of learning in society”, which is now the central organising principle of the 21st-century social order, just as the division of labour was the key organising principle of society in the industrial age.
    1. “Let’s really leverage housing policy as part of a larger economic-mobility agenda for the community.”
    2. In the search for opportunity’s cause, he is instead focusing on an idea borrowed from sociology: social capital. The term refers broadly to the set of connections that ease a person’s way through the world, providing support and inspiration and opening doors

      The question then is how to measure this. Social capital = links - take this and run with it...

    3. In October, Chetty’s institute released an interactive map of the United States called the Opportunity Atlas, revealing the terrain of opportunity down to the level of individual neighborhoods.
    4. Opportunity bargains, however, are not an inexhaustible resource. The crucial question, says the Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti, is whether the opportunity in these places derives from “rival goods”—institutions, such as schools, with limited capacity—or “non-rival goods,” such as local culture, which are harder to deplete. When new people move in, what happens to opportunity? And even if an influx of families doesn’t disrupt the opportunity magic, people aren’t always eager to pick up and leave their homes. Moving breaks ties with family, friends, schools, churches, and other organizations. “The real conundrum is how to address the larger structural realities of inequality,” says the Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson, “and not just try to move people around

      It's all about the value of links!

    5. Chetty is also using tax data to measure the long-term impacts of dozens of place-based interventions, such as enterprise zones, which use tax and other incentives to draw businesses into economically depressed areas.

      It wasn't this particular piece of text, but roughly at about here I had the thought that these communities could be looked at as life from an input /output perspective in relation to homeostasis. Essentially they're being slowly starved out and killed in a quietly moral yet amoral way. As a result entropy is slowly killing them and also causing problems for the society around them that blames the them for their own problems. Giving them some oxygen to breathe and thrive will fix so many of the problems.

    6. He doesn’t yet know why some places are opportunity bargains, but he considers the discovery of these neighborhoods to be a breakthrough.

      I'll bet it has to do with rents and evictions...

    7. His data also suggest that who you know growing up can have lasting effects. A paper on patents he co-authored found that young women were more likely to become inventors if they’d moved as children to places where many female inventors lived. (The number of male inventors had little effect.) Even which fields inventors worked in was heavily influenced by what was being invented around them as children.

      Combine this with Cesar Hidalgo's work and draw the connections!

    1. But I actually think stock and flow is a useful metaphor for media in the 21st century. Here’s what I mean: Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that reminds people you exist. Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.
    1. In this future, we’re all being asked to accept that the sticker price of our success is indifference to how things turn out for others. Of course, this isn’t a novelty, and it’s barely a disruption; this is how the demands of profit have needed work to be managed for a long time.
    1. Debates about how to structure these programs have long been influenced by a related economic assumption: The more people really need a benefit, the more effort they’ll put into getting it. “For decades, economists had this view that burdens could quote-‘help’ separate out those that are what one calls truly disadvantaged versus those who might be more marginally needy,” said Hilary Hoynes, a professor of public policy and economics at the University of California, Berkeley. “Our current research suggests it could be exactly the opposite.” These burdens, she suggested, may instead be tripping up the worst off: hourly workers who can’t shuffle their schedules for a meeting; parents dealing with domestic violence, disabilities or low literacy; families without bank accounts to automate monthly payments; households already facing unpaid bills and late notices when another urgent letter arrives in the mail.
    1. I was struck, for example, by his extensive discussion of the evolution of slavery and serfdom, which made no mention of the classic work of Evsey Domar of M.I.T., who argued that the more or less simultaneous rise of serfdom in Russia and slavery in the New World were driven by the opening of new land, which made labor scarce and would have led to rising wages in the absence of coercion.
    2. Piketty, however, sees inequality as a social phenomenon, driven by human institutions. Institutional change, in turn, reflects the ideology that dominates society: “Inequality is neither economic nor technological; it is ideological and political.”
    3. For Piketty, rising inequality is at root a political phenomenon. The social-democratic framework that made Western societies relatively equal for a couple of generations after World War II, he argues, was dismantled, not out of necessity, but because of the rise of a “neo-proprietarian” ideology. Indeed, this is a view shared by many, though not all, economists. These days, attributing inequality mainly to the ineluctable forces of technology and globalization is out of fashion, and there is much more emphasis on factors like the decline of unions, which has a lot to do with political decisions.
    1. Rationality and transparency are the values of classical liberalism. Rationality and transparency are supposed to be what make free markets and democratic elections work. People understand how the system functions, and that allows them to make rational choices.

      But economically, we know there isn't perfect knowledge or perfect rationality (see Tversky and Khaneman). There is rarely every perfect transparency either which makes things much harder, especially in a post-truth society apparenlty.

    2. The National Interest, as the name proclaims, is a realist foreign-policy journal. But Fukuyama’s premise was that nations do share a harmony of interests, and that their convergence on liberal political and economic models was mutually beneficial. Realism imagines nations to be in perpetual competition with one another; Fukuyama was saying that this was no longer going to be the case.

      And here is a bit of the flaw. Countries are still at least in competition with each other economically, at least until they're all on equal footing from a modernity perspective.

      We are definitely still in completion with China and large parts of Europe.

    1. Why We Don't Live in a PPP World PPP depends on the law of one price. That states that once the difference in exchange rates is accounted for, then everything would cost the same. That's not true in the real world for four reasons. First, there are differences in transportation costs, taxes, and tariffs. These costs will raise prices in a country. Countries with many trade agreements will have lower prices because they have fewer tariffs. Socialist countries will have higher costs because they have more taxes.  A second reason is that some things, like real estate and haircuts, can't be shipped. Only ultra-wealthy global travelers can compare the prices of homes in New York to those in London.  A third reason is that not everyone has the same access to international trade. For example, someone in rural China can't compare the prices of oxen sold throughout the world. But Amazon and other online retailers are providing more real purchasing power parity to even rural dwellers. A fourth reason is that import costs are subject to exchange rate fluctuations. For example, when the U.S. dollar weakens, then Americans pay more for imports.
    2. After the war, the Swedish economist Gustav Cassel suggested multiplying each currency's pre-war value by its inflation rate to get the new parity. That formed the basis for today's PPP.
    1. Miya Yoshitani, executive director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, which focuses on environmental justice issues affecting working-class Asian and Pacific Islander immigrant and refugee communities.
    1. In other words, the Web as a collection of heterogeneous sites has largely given way to a small number of sites with near-monopolistic control of authentication, search, and content distribution.

      How can IndieWeb principles be used to get rid of the monopoly? What other pieces have been monopolized (and also bundled, which provides even further value)?

    2. Facebook allows users to sign in, authenticate, and identify themselves on a range of Web sites, feeding our data to Facebook as we move across the Web.

      If second and third tier services that are mono-tasking tools in the social space would allow for some of the IndieWeb building blocks, then this would not only help them significantly, but also help to break up the monopoly.

      Here I'm thinking about things like SoundCloud, Flickr, et al that do one piece really well, but which don't have the market clout. Instagram might have been included in the collection prior to it's buyout by Facebook. Huffduffer is an audio service that does a bit of this IndieWeb sort of model.

    1. The same way many social networks track keystone metrics like time to X followers, they should track the ROI on posts for new users. It's likely a leading metric that governs retention or churn. It’s useful as an investor, or even as a curious onlooker to test a social networks by posting varied content from test accounts to gauge the efficiency and fairness of the distribution algorithm.
    2. Social capital is, in many ways, a leading indicator of financial capital, and so its nature bears greater scrutiny. Not only is it good investment or business practice, but analyzing social capital dynamics can help to explain all sorts of online behavior that would otherwise seem irrational.
    3. Perhaps old dogs don't learn new tricks because they are closer to death, and the period to earn a positive return on that investment is shorter.
    1. A thousand years ago, the world was flat, economically speaking.

      I don't think we have to go back even this far. If I recall correctly, even 150 years ago the vast majority of the world's population were subsistence farmers. It's only been since the 20th century and the increasing spread of the industrial revolution that the situation has changed:

      Even England remained primarily an agrarian country like all tributary societies for the previous 4,000 years, with ca. 50 percent of its population employed in agriculture as late as 1759.

      --David Christian, Maps of Time (pp 401) quoting from Crafts, British Economic Growth, pp. 13–14. (See also Fig 13.1 Global Industrial Potential from the same, for a graphical indicator.

    1. Abneesh Roy, an analyst at Edelweiss Securities, noted that ahead of elections set for early next year, the government could be moving to appease owners of smaller shops that have been hit as customers buy more goods online. “Shopkeepers have been unhappy,” he said. “In an election year, the government will definitely listen more to voters.”

      It's nice to see foreign countries looking at what has happened to coutries like America with the rise of things like e-commerce, actually thinking about them and the longer term implications, and making rules to effect the potential outcomes.

      Now the bigger follow up question is: is this a good thing? Perhaps there won't be the community interruption we've seen in the US, but what do the overall effects look like decades hence? From a community perspective, from a competitive perspective?

    1. We’ve certainly dabbled in the debate of “what is a tech company” but what we never addressed was why do companies do mental gymnastics to call themselves a tech company. It’s because venture as an asset class traditionally invested in technology because that is what presented the growth and return characteristics that matched their risk profile. So you try to call a desk rental or mattress seller a tech company.
    2. There is just so much money looking to do so many new, riskier things.  And again, that's exactly how it's supposed to work. Cutting interest rates spurs demand and risk-taking. The changed denominators of a million financial models make every investment idea look more enticing. If an interest rate is the cost of money, ZIRP means capital is now free.
    1. “Deliver with Amazon. Be your own boss. Great earnings. Flexible hours. Make more time for whatever drives you.” Amazon has taken a page from Uber and is leveraging the romanticization of entrepreneurship, the need for flexibility, and the decreasing options of non-degreed workers in rural areas. There are already stories depicting breakneck delivery schedules that obviate luxuries such as bathroom breaks. FedEx drivers get paternity leave and (gasp) health insurance.

      Again, it's the ability to canibalize at the lowest levels that helps tech companies to out-compete their rivals. Companies should be regulated away from being able to do this, particularly for non-employees.

    1. You could throw the pack away and deactivate your Facebook account altogether. It will get harder the longer you wait — the more photos you post there, or apps you connect to it.

      Links create value over time, and so destroying links typically destroys the value.

    1. game theory

      Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction among rational decision-makers.[1] It has applications in all fields of social science, as well as in logic, systems science and computer science. Originally, it addressed zero-sum games, in which each participant's gains or losses are exactly balanced by those of the other participants. Today, game theory applies to a wide range of behavioral relations, and is now an umbrella term for the science of logical decision making in humans, animals, and computers.

      --Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_theory

    1. Think about fundamental tools for thought such as writing and the number system. Obviously, it’s good that those spread throughout society, unencumbered by IP concerns! More broadly, many tools of thought become more valuable for society as they become more ubiquitous.

      Metcalfe's Law at work here.

    2. Is it possible to avoid the public goods problem altogether?

      As Lynne Kelly indicates, knowledge is a broad public good, so it is kept by higher priests and only transferred in private ceremonies to the initiated in indigenous cultures. In many senses, we've brought the value of specific information down dramatically, but there's also so much of it now, even with writing and better dissemination, it's become more valuable again.

      I should revisit the economics of these ideas and create a model/graph of this idea over history with knowledge, value, and time on various axes.

    3. The net result is that in gaming, clever new interface ideas can be distinguishing features which become a game’s primary advantage in the marketplace.

      Innovation in the video game industry helps it solve the public goods problem. Tweaking the economics helps the high upfront development cost be recouped.

    4. Put another way, many tools for thought are public goods. They often cost a lot to develop initially, but it’s easy for others to duplicate and improve on them, free riding on the initial investment. While such duplication and improvement is good for our society as a whole, it’s bad for the companies that make that initial investment. And so such tools for thought suffer the fate of many public goods: our society collectively underinvests in them, relative to the benefits they provide
    1. But wait, there’s more. Much more. We generally encounter four different acquisition models (my thanks to Janet Morrow of our library for this outline): 1) outright purchase, just like a print book, easy peasy, generally costs a lot even though it’s just bits (we pay an average of over $40 per book this way), which gives us perpetual access with the least digital rights management (DRM) on the ebooks, which has an impact on sustainable access over time; 2) subscription access: you need to keep paying each year to get access, and the provider can pull titles on you at any time, plus you also get lots of DRM, but there’s a low cost per title (~$1 a book per year); 3) demand-driven/patron-driven acquisition: you don’t get the actual ebook, just a bibliographic record for your library’s online system, until someone chooses to download a book, or reads some chunk of it online, which then costs you, say ~$5; 4) evidence-based acquisitions, in which we pay a set cost for unlimited access to a set of titles for a year and then at the end of the year we can use our deposit to buy some of the titles (<$1/book/year for the set, and then ~$60/book for those we purchase).

      Nice to see this laid out. I've never seen a general overview of how this system works for libraries.

      I've always wondered what it cost my local public library to loan me an e-book whether I read it or not.

    1. The lessons of Twitter and Facebook, other Internet-scale basic service layers that most of us use, are instructive here. After the honeymoon period is over, and disruptive returns need to be generated to pay off limited partners or satisfy public shareholders, the tensions that these monetization efforts create ultimately seem to separate the motivations of management from those of users and the broader ecosystem. How will Rap Genius–and Marc Andreessen–navigate these questions?

      This is probably the question of the past two decades which many companies are only beginning to realize.

    1. “Change brought about through technical legal doctrine,” Horwitz said, “can more easily disguise underlying political choices [than] Subsidy through the tax system” (101).
    2. So the costs were socialized (in economic terms, externalized) at the same time the benefits were privatized in the form of corporate profits.

      socialize costs, privatize profits

    1. As African-American businessman Ishmael Trone said last week, the reform has to go beyond policing in order for there to be equality in this country, including banking reform, mortgage reform and business loan reform.
    1. I’ve alluded to the deeply philosophical nature of this problem; in a sense, it’s politicized within the software communities. Some folks believe that platform developers should shoulder the costs of compatibility, and others believe that platform users (developers themselves) should bear the costs. It’s really that simple. And isn’t politics always about who has to shoulder costs for shared problems?So it’s political. And there will be angry responses to this rant.

      This idea/philosophy cuts across so many different disciplines. Is there a way to fix it? Mitigate it? An equation for maximizing it?

    1. Scottish phi-losopher Adam Smith condemned England’s trade acts f or constrain-ing the “free” market i n his i nstant best seller, The Wealth o f Nations. To this f ounding father of capitalist economics, t he wealth of nations stemmed from a nation’s productive capacity, a productive capacity African nations l acked. “ All t he inland parts of Africa,” he scripted, “seem in all a ges of t he world to have been in the same barbarous and uncivilized state i n which we find them at present.” Meanwhile, Smith praised Americans for “ contriving a new form of government f or an extensive empire, which . . . s eems very likely to become, one of t he greatest and most f ormidable that ever was i n the world.” The found-ing fathers beamed reading Adam Smith’s prediction. J efferson later called Wealth o f Nations “ the best book extant” on political e conomy.

      Adam Smith apparently held racist ideas.

    Tags

    Annotators

    1. If private-equity firms cannot be socially responsible stewards of capital, then Congress will need to act. One possible reform would involve fully taxing the advisory and other fees that private-equity investors extract from the companies they own. Another potential reform would impose restrictions on dividends paid out in the two years following a buyout. Since the current system allows private-equity firms to reap much of the positive gains from successful acquisitions, they could also be required to bear some of the liability for a company’s debt when the buyout ends in bankruptcy.
    1. There’s no doubt that the web would not be where it is today without companies like Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, and even AOL. Corporations have driven growth, investment, and innovation on the web, and social media networks have made the web a part of everyone’s lives.

      Yes, they've done some of these things, but I'd argue they didn't do much of the actual innovation. Most of what they had done was being done in other areas of the web before them and they just paved the cow paths.

      Potentially worse, their only innovation was to silo all the value for themselves and then externalize all the costs and issues back into society so they don't have to pay for them themselves.

    1. As Mariana Mazzucato argues in The Entrepreneurial State, our ‘free market’ economy disincentivizes the investment in Research and Development, instead generating welfare for the wealthy through the “socialization of risk, [and the] privatization of reward.” 
    1. Henrich, who directs Harvard’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, is a cultural evolutionary theorist, which means that he gives cultural inheritance the same weight that traditional biologists give to genetic inheritance. Parents bequeath their DNA to their offspring, but they—along with other influential role models—also transmit skills, knowledge, values, tools, habits. Our genius as a species is that we learn and accumulate culture over time. Genes alone don’t determine whether a group survives or disappears. So do practices and beliefs. Human beings are not “the genetically evolved hardware of a computational machine,” he writes. They are conduits of the spirit, habits, and psychological patterns of their civilization, “the ghosts of past institutions.”
    1. Consumer demand is one of four important variables that, when combined, can influence and shape farming practices, according to Festa. The other three are the culture of farming communities, governmental policies, and the economic system that drives farming.
    1. For commercial surveillance to be cost effective, it has to socialize all the risks associated with mass surveillance and privatize all the gains.
  2. Aug 2020
    1. When large amounts of money are created out of thin air and that currency is not spent, when that money eventually is spent, it can lead to larger than normal amounts of inflation that devalue the money you’ve worked hard for.

      Velocity of Money - How much money has passed through multiple people's eyes.

      • When velocity decreases, but the government keeps creating money, inflation can occur in larger than normal amounts.
    2. billionaire investor, George Soros, called the stock market a bubble. “Investors are in a bubble fueled by Fed liquidity,” he says and that’s why he “no longer participates.”

      This is what I was thinking: the stock market is fed by liquidity by the government. I am not sure how to think about it in the long run.

      If I keep money in the stock market, the government keeps pumping money, inflation raises, then my money is just constantly devalued. I really don't know

    3. Negative interest ratesNegative interest rates can be bad for you because it means you have to pay to store your money.

      Negative Interest rates - When you have to pay to store money.

    4. Watch what the billionaires do, not what they say.

      Warren Buffet has transitioned his money from bank stocks to gold. This is an indication that Buffet is quietly betting against the US economy.

  3. Jul 2020
    1. A new paper by Atif Mian of Princeton University, Ludwig Straub of Harvard University and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago expands on the idea that inequality saps demand from the economy. Just as inequality creates a need for stimulus, they argue, stimulus eventually creates more inequality. This is because it leaves economies more indebted, either because low interest rates encourage households or firms to borrow, or because the government has run deficits. Both public and private indebtedness transfer income to rich investors who own the debt, thereby depressing demand and interest rates still further.
  4. Jun 2020
    1. Alfred Mitchell-Innes, writing in 1914, argued that money exists not as a medium of exchange but as a standard of deferred payment, with government money being debt the government may reclaim through taxation.

      Modern Monetary Theory

    1. sectoral break-up of PPP projects, we would find that almost all of the projects have come up in economic infrastructure (power, transport, and telecom) compared to social infrastructure.Social infrastructure (like water supply, solid waste management, health and education) have low cost-recovery and, consequently, face massive resource-crunch.

      ppp

  5. May 2020
    1. A large number of emerging economies, especially China and some of its South-East Asian neighbours, got their manufacturing activities integrated with Global Value Chains (GVCs) to achieve efficiencies of scale and reap its benefits. Such an approach to integrate Global Value Chains and become an integral part of the Global Supply Chain significantly helped China to become the ‘factory of the world’ and transform itself into a formidable economic giant.
    1. Self-reliance in state-run heavy industries and strategic sectors in the decades following independence had placed India ahead of most developing countries. In the 1970s and 80s, however, India did not modernise these industries to climb higher up the technological ladder.
    1. Blair Reeves, a friend, and an occasional Margins contributor (on remote teams) wrote a persuasive piece on how companies should people based on what value they add, not pay them differently based on where they want to live. In some ways, I understand. People who live in more expensive neighborhoods in NYC or SF should not get paid more than those who decide to live farther away.

      Actually, they kinda do? Salaries should be a function of local prices. An expensive city should have higher salaries for workers to be able to afford living in it. The fact that now companies became so huge to cross world-wide borders (a relatively new phenomenon) doesn't change that.

    1. still took years before it paid off handsomely.

      In economics, this same concept is known as the J Curve (https://www.wikiwand.com/en/J_curve)