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
There is a fundamental disconnect between large-scale, for-profit media and the crushing power of enthusiasm, which is that when they try to control it, it instantly isn't real. It's patently unreal. It's excitement given life by force, Pet Sematary-style.
But when they don't control it, it isn't profitable. And that means that when they run into people excited about their stuff, they vacillate between an Ebenezerian lack of generosity and a Professor-Harold-Hillian smarm. To own enthusiasm and to exploit it are competing instincts, much as they often seem to be twins. You can, in fact, sometimes best exploit it — or only exploit it — by leaving it alone.
-- In what could be considered a Metafilter Manifesto, Mefi's own Linda Holmes
takes on the multivariate economics of fandom and the internet.
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio
 actually makes a case against austerity
 and for redistribution, but also for money printing
(and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public
investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore
, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)
... [more inside]
"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment. The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Walmarts to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."
-- War is Betrayal. Persistent Myths of Combat
, an essay by Chris Hedges
of Truthdig. Responses within. [more inside]
Five Reasons Why I Am Not An “Artist”
, an essay by
(formerly of 1980s industrial electropop band Severed Heads
and now an academic and media art practitioner in Australia; previously
), touching on areas such as artificial divisions between art and technical practice, the politics of the role of the artist and the conflict between creative exploration and artistic recognition and success.
In the spirit of the Nobel season, Yasha Levine discusses the history of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel
as a PR gimmick for laissez-faire economics, and how its existence is an affront to the Nobel legacy.
In Praise of Leisure
- "Imagine a world in which most people worked only 15 hours a week. They would be paid as much as, or even more than, they now are, because the fruits of their labor would be distributed more evenly across society. Leisure would occupy far more of their waking hours than work. It was exactly this prospect that John Maynard Keynes conjured up in a little essay published in 1930 called 'Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren
.' Its thesis was simple. As technological progress made possible an increase in the output of goods per hour worked, people would have to work less and less to satisfy their needs, until in the end they would have to work hardly at all... He thought this condition might be reached in about 100 years — that is, by 2030." (via
) [more inside]
The Mommy-Fight Site.
What does it mean to raise a child in "America’s highest-income, best-educated Census area
? D.C. Urban Moms and Dads
might be as close as it gets to a field guide to parentis Washingtonianis
" [more inside]
The Incentive Bubble
) - "The fraying of the compact of American capitalism by rising income inequality and repeated governance crises is disturbing. But misallocations of financial, real, and human capital arising from the financial-incentive bubble are much more worrisome to those concerned with the competitiveness of the American economy." [more inside]
Why Nations Fail
- In a nutshell
: "Proximately, prosperity is generated by investment and innovation, but these are acts of faith: investors and innovators must have credible reasons to think that, if successful, they will not be plundered by the powerful
. For the polity to provide such reassurance, two conditions have to hold: power has to be centralised and the institutions of power have to be inclusive." [more inside]
The Control Revolution And Its Discontents
- "the long process of algorithmisation
over the last 150 years has also, wherever possible, replaced implicit rules/contracts and principal-agent relationships with explicit processes and rules."
Are small theaters punching a ticket to oblivion?
Radical changes in the traditional structure
of the lab processing
sides of the film industry have been filling the lives of small theater operators
with uncertainty and worry for the last few years. Will filmstock
be the next Kodachrome
? (And what will that mean for the future of film preservation
?) [more inside]
Fareed Zakaria: Are America's Best Days Behind Us?
- "We have an Electoral College that no one understands and a Senate that doesn't work, with rules and traditions that allow a single Senator to obstruct democracy without even explaining why. We have a crazy-quilt patchwork of towns, municipalities and states with overlapping authority, bureaucracies and resulting waste. We have a political system geared toward ceaseless fundraising and pandering to the interests of the present with no ability to plan, invest or build for the future. And if one mentions any of this, why, one is being unpatriotic, because we have the perfect system of government, handed down to us by demigods who walked the earth in the late 18th century and who serve as models for us today and forever. America's founders would have been profoundly annoyed by this kind of unreflective ancestor worship." [for
Goodwill: Monetary policy for the 21st century Here's my proposal. We should try to arrange things so that the marginal unit of CPI is purchased with "helicopter drop" money. That is, rather than trying to fine-tune wages, asset prices, or credit, central banks should be in the business of fine tuning a rate of transfers from the bank to the public. [more inside]
A new study
suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics
. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion
in human history, as well as more complex economies
). [more inside]
Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger
. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
Doug Rushkoff throws down the gauntlet in his “Radical Abundance” speech at the O’Reilly Web 2.0 conference.
Some highlights of the speech: “The only real possible competition to Google and their economy of faux openness would be peer-to-peer exchange.”
“As a result of all this freedom the abundance of genuine creative output is declining. We are actually getting the scarce market place demanded by our currency legacy system. The same way the early Renaissance got a scarcity by killing off half the people with the plague.”
1: The development of a digital culture that actually respects the labor of individuals.
2: The creation of new modes of currency based in abundance rather than scarcity.
, price inflation
, and the great moderation
have been trying to locate the origins
of the great chain of causation
that has led us to our present situation
-- the worrying conclusion is that problems remain -- imbalances precipitated by a labour supply shock
] and/or (the rise of) machines
] have not gone away and continue to persist in decimating the ('developed world's) middle class, as evidenced by high and rising unemployment
, which has led to a crisis
in central banking
itself. [more inside]
The Global Oneness Project
is exploring how the radically simple notion of interconnectedness
can be lived in our increasingly complex world. They travel the globe gathering stories from creative
people who base their lives and work on the understanding that we bear great responsibility for each other
and our shared world. [more inside]
Keynes & Marx thought
"that productivity would grow sufficiently to allow our needs to be met with very little labour," and that humankind's biggest preoccupation in the future would be leading lives of comfortable (or comparative) leisure
, that has not yet come to pass. But why?** Yochai Benkler
), for one, is working on it
... [more inside]
Women's rights: What's in it for men?
- "Women in rich countries largely enjoy gender equality while those in poor countries suffer substantial discrimination. This column proposes an explanation for the relationship between economic development and female empowerment that emphasises changes in the incentives males face rather than shifts in moral sentiment. Technological change that raises demand for human capital may give men a stake in women's rights." [more inside]
Some say economics is changing so radically that attention
is of more value than money or material wealth. If that's true, then should Paris Hilton and Britney Spears be considered role models? Must we each be stars
in order to be a success, to get anything achieved, or to gain even the slightest traction?
Foreign Exchange TV
with Fareed Zakaria
- I'd heard about it, but thought it was only showing on OPB
; checked again and lo and behold all the episodes are online! Watched a couple episodes so far; they're pretty good, esp if you're into foreign policy and stuff :D
The Challenge: Purchase, prepare and eat healthy, mostly organic meals on a food stamp budget. These are the results
: a comprehensive description and analysis of the country or region's historical setting, geography, society, economy, political system, and foreign policy.
Art In Ruins
chronicles the economic and cultural transformation of Providence, Rhode Island through the eyes of artists, architects, and urban planners.
Understanding what makes America tick
"The belief that America is exceptional, in the double sense that it is superior and that it is different...The United States had a mission, a manifest destiny, to change the world in its image. This conviction echoes down through American history....Other countries—France, Britain, Russia—have from time to time in their history felt a sense of mission, of carrying their civilisation to other peoples and territories. But in their cases it has been episodic and not deeply rooted—usually limited to when their power was at its zenith and usually clearly recognisable as a rationalisation for what they were doing for other reasons. In the case of the United States, it has been constant and central
." [Centre of Independent Studies
in Sydney via aldaily
] American Exceptionalism. Mix it with sole super power status and massive military might. Should make it quite an intoxicating ride these next few years.