So you wanna join this bitcoin thing but can't afford the processing cycles to actually mine stuff? Now you can earn bitcoins using pencil and paper
The political economy of a universal basic income
: "your view of what is feasible should not be backwards looking. The normalization of gay marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed utopian and politically impossible until very recently. Yet in fact those developments are happening, and their expansion is almost inevitable
given the demographics of ideology... UBI
— defined precisely as periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable
and politically achievable
among policies that might effectively address problems
of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation." [more inside]
Don’t Want Me to Recline My Airline Seat? You Can Pay Me [New York Times]
"...airline seats are an excellent case study for the Coase Theorem. This is an economic theory holding that it doesn’t matter very much who is initially given a property right; so long as you clearly define it and transaction costs are low, people will trade the right so that it ends up in the hands of whoever values it most. That is, I own the right to recline, and if my reclining bothers you, you can pay me to stop."
"Using contractors it calls "brand ambassadors," Uber requests rides from Lyft and other competitors, recruits their drivers, and takes multiple precautions to avoid detection. The effort, which Uber appears to be rolling out nationally, has already resulted in thousands of canceled Lyft rides and made it more difficult for its rival to gain a foothold in new markets. Uber calls the program "SLOG
," and it’s a previously unreported aspect of the company’s ruthless efforts to undermine its competitors
Why the Ice Bucket Challenge is bad for you
: "The ALS campaign may be a great way to raise money – but it is a horrible reason to donate it" [more inside]
Millennials Don't Stand A Chance.
A terrific debate
from Intelligence Squared: "...spotlight is shown on millennials and their use of revolutionary technology while growing up in a time of recession. Some think they are coddled, narcissistic and lazy. Have we let conventional wisdom blind us to the millennial's openness to change, innovation, and optimism in the face of uncertainty, which, in any generation, are qualities to be admired?"
(running time ~50:00) [more inside]
FiveThirtyEight's Ben Casselman has crunched the economic numbers and determined: Corporate America Has NOT Been Disrupted
. "By a wide range of measures, the advantages of incumbency in corporate America have never been greater." There are fewer startups hiring fewer people and failing more often. Considering that "entrepreneurship is a critical source of jobs in the economy (and) a major driver of productivity growth", a more accurate 'd-word' may be Derangement.
The highway, however, is getting mighty crowded. Hundreds of different beers debut weekly, creating a scrum of session IPAs, spiced witbiers, and barrel-aged stouts scuffling for shelf space. For consumers, the situation is doubly confusing. How can you pick a pint on a 100-brew tap list? Moreover, beer shops are chockablock with pale this and imperial that, each one boasting a different hop pun.
America has too many craft brewers
Carlos Slim calls for a three-day working week
"We've got it all wrong, says Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecoms tycoon and world's second-richest man: we should be working only three days a week." also btw
: The four-day work week
The loaded meaning behind 'What do you do?'
: [Deb] Fallows says the questions are meant to tease out socioeconomic status, political viewpoints, and cultural background. “You know that somebody’s kind of digging for information to put you into their world – how do you fit into my world?” [more inside]
Fat-Booty Butch Buys A Suit On A Budget.
I’m a brown dyke living in the Bronx, working 40 hours a week at an non-profit arts center. I’m finally with it enough to pay all my bills on time, if at all. I’ve got a roof over my head and some change in my savings account. I’m not complaining. It’s been worse for me but fuck, just having a job feels like a blessing sometimes. Living in this city makes it feel like I’m scraping by with every penny just to live. My play money is tight and I don’t know how to sew. I wear clothes until they’ve given up on life and I’m not ashamed. I often wonder how regular people buy new clothes all the time. Clothes in the hood and at super-low discount shops never seem to last very long. Fancy clothes cost so much, like why isn’t everyone just running around in cloth diapers? What is someone like me supposed to do when they need to look good in real life? [more inside]
The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States
); press coverage
) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change
—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts
of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences
for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
... You seem to think everyone's worried about robots
. But what everyone's worried about is you
, Marc. Not just you, but people like you. Robots aren't at the levers of financial and political influence today, but folks like you sure are. People are scared of so much wealth and control being in so few hands... Unless we collectively choose to pay for a safety net
, technology alone isn't going to make it happen." [more inside]
"Maybe Angola will colonise us now," says Vasco Lourenço, the head of Associação 25 de Abril, an organisation that is trying to preserve the spirit of the 1974 revolution. Forty years ago he was one of the young army officers who took up arms to end the Salazar dictatorship and colonial wars.
While Portugal is still in the throws of recession, Angola is booming and investing heavily in its old colonial ruler. Now Portugal is struggling with the effects of this investment and the implications it brings with it
“Hindus are, on average, richer and more educated than Muslims. But oddly, the child mortality rate for Hindus is much higher. All observable factors say Hindus should fare better, but they don't. Economists refer to this as the Muslim mortality puzzle. In a new study, researchers believe that they may have found a solution to the puzzle. And, surprisingly, the solution lies in a single factor – open defecation
.” [more inside]
An outsiders guide to the City of London.
Also of interest from the Guardian is the Joris Luyendijk banking blog
which includes a ten best quotes
from financial insiders and a helpful guide
We’re all familiar with the stories of Russian oligarchs buying up mansions in London, but this is a much broader phenomenon. A torrent of capital from wealthy people in emerging markets—from China, above all, but also from Latin America, Russia, and the Middle East—has flowed into the real-estate markets of big cities in other countries, driving up prices and causing a luxury-construction boom. ... The globalization of real estate upends some of our basic assumptions about housing prices. We expect them to reflect local fundamentals—above all, how much people earn. In a truly global market, that may not be the case.
James Surowiecki writing in the New Yorker on the rise of a truly global market in real estate
The Age of Uncertainty, A Personal View
by John Kenneth Galbraith
was a 12 (or 15) part documentary mini-series about the fickle art of economics, co-produced by the BBC, CBC, KCET & OECA
, and broadcast on television in 1977.
Galbraith’s dry Scottish Canadian wit, and the 70’s-style art-direction, are worth viewing for those who like this sort of thing. The parody corporate videos for the Conglomerate UGE
anticipated some of the ideas explored later in the 2003 documentary The Corporation
Some parts will seem dated, considering that this series was produced in the thick of The Cold War
, before the rise of Reaganomics, Thatcherism, The Fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of the EU, yuan, electronic transfers, etc. The basic insights about the instability of financial markets are still real, as always. [more inside]
"In 1992, George Soros brought the Bank of England to its knees. In the process, he pocketed over a billion dollars. Making a billion dollars is by all accounts pretty cool. But demolishing the monetary system of Great Britain in a single day with an elegantly constructed bet against its currency? That’s the stuff of legends
K. Mike Merrill at BigThink has some ideas on how to modernize Monopoly
while helping players better understand the nature of our financial system.
VC for the people
- "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
A Geologic Map for Game of Thrones
BASED ON CHARACTER OBSERVATIONS, OFFICIAL MAPS, AND
EARTH PRINCIPLES OF THE GEOLOGIC SCIENCE [more inside]
Why is so much stuff mediocre? Matt Stohrer, saxophone repairman, has an explanation he has dubbed The Unprofitable Valley
How did Pathfinder become the only table-top role-playing game ever
to outsell Dungeons & Dragons, outpacing it 2:1? What were the economics of the Open Gaming License, whereby Wizards of the Coast effectively gave away
the rules to its flagship D&D product? Why did the table-top market collapse?
This and more on Episode 73 of the Game Design Roundtable
podcast, with guest Ryan Dancey, architect of the Open Gaming License strategy at Wizards of the Coast, and former marketing exec at CCP Games (makers of EVE Online). Dancey is now the business lead on Pathfinder Online, an upcoming sandbox fantasy RPG broadly in the mold of EVE and Ultima Online.
is usually about game design, but this episode is a fascinating look into the business side of the RPG world, both online and off -- from someone who has been at the heart of the most interesting business cases in the space. The first 30 minutes are all about business history and economics. [more inside]
For those who don't quite "get it" when someone makes a tulip joke in any given Bitcoin thread. This
is a short documentary on the phenomenon of Tulip Mania, a period in Dutch economic history when Tulips became such a hot commodity that empires were born and lives ruined all over the value of tulip bulbs. [slyt]
Free Money for Everyone
- "A wacky-sounding idea with surprisingly conservative roots may be our best hope for escaping endless, grinding economic stagnation." (via
) [more inside]
Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealthCare.Gov
- "Unknown to a nation following the fiasco, McDonough's assignment from the President had boiled down to something more dire than how to fix the site. As the chief of staff remembers his mission, it was 'Can it be patched and improved to work, or does it need to be scrapped to start over? He wanted to know if this thing is salvageable.' Yes, on Oct. 17, the President was thinking of scrapping the whole thing and starting over." (previously
) [more inside]
You Should Always Get the Bigger Pizza
(SL NPR blog post w/interactive graph)
The University of Southern California
's US-China Institute
has a huge number of videos on YouTube
regarding China, Taiwan, history, global diplomacy, etc. [more inside]
is a PBS documentary (live streaming through March 6) that follows two middle class African-American boys, Idris and Seun, who enter The Dalton School
as young children, and follows them for 13 years. [more inside]
"Jeopardy" over the last few days by employing strategies rooted in game theory
. This has caused consternation
among some purists.
Want to get away with not paying taxes but don't have the money to make your own offshore company in the Cayman Islands? Fret not - you can hijack an existing offshore company starting from the low low price of 99 cents! [more inside]
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins took to the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal
to compare progressive angst over income inequality to the sentiment that led to the Nazi Kristallnacht
. Citing the recent kerfuffle over Google buses in San Francisco (previously
) and accusations of snobbery
by San Francisco resident, bestselling author, and Perkins' own ex-wife Danielle Steel (who he describes as "our number-one celebrity"), Perkins asks "Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent 'progressive' radicalism unthinkable now?" [more inside]
Congress takes a casual look at the peer-to-peer economy
- “Finding new ways to monetise used or existing
assets has the obvious and immediate effects of raising their value and the wealth of their owners, while simultaneously reducing the value of comparable stuff
owned by incumbent companies — for whom monetisation already wasn’t a problem, and who find themselves burdened by the newly competitive environment. The innovations also provide a surplus to those consumers who previously would have paid more to an incumbent. And all without any new stuff
actually having to be made.” [more inside]