In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
World After Capital by Albert Wenger [Work in Progress; GitHub; GitBook; PDF; FAQ] - "Technological progress has shifted scarcity for humanity. When we were foragers, food was scarce. During the agrarian age, it was land. Following the industrial revolution, capital became scarce. With digital technologies scarcity is shifting from capital to attention. World After Capital suggests ways to expand economic, informational and psychological freedom to go from an industrial to a knowledge society." (previously)
For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions -"The very richest are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield billions in income." (via) [more inside]
The Future of (Post)Capitalism - "Paul Mason shows how, from the ashes of the recent financial crisis, we have the chance to create a more socially just and sustainable global economy." (previously; via) [more inside]
China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour: "The Chinese government is currently implementing a nationwide electronic system, called the Social Credit System, attributing to each of its 1,3 billion citizens a score for his or her behavior. The system will be based on various criteria, ranging from financial credibility and criminal record to social media behavior. From 2020 onwards each adult citizen should, besides his identity card, have such a credit code." [more inside]
Let Us Face the Future - "All parties pay lip service to the idea of jobs for all. All parties are ready to promise to achieve that end by keeping up the national purchasing power and controlling changes in the national expenditure through Government action. Where agreement ceases is in the degree of control of private industry that is necessary to achieve the desired end. In hard fact, the success of a full employment programme will certainly turn upon the firmness and success with which the Government fits into that programme the investment and development policies of private as well as public industry." [more inside]
The US GAO Flickr page features selected photos and graphics from US Government Accountability Office reports that are searchable, viewable, and downloadable by visitors to their site. [more inside]
- Welfare economics: an introduction
- The perils of Potential Pareto
- Inequality, production, and technology
- Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
- Normative is performative, not positive
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]
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 and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
President Obama's plan for American Recovery and Reinvestment [pdf] might be thought of as TARP round two [1,2] -- instead of hiding the bodies, this one's preparing the ground for a big tent or the economic equivalent of war. There are critics and detractors (cramdown nation ;) left and right, natch, but also conservative supporters and progressive defenders to save or create
three four million jobs; hooray! [more inside]
"Like the dotcom bubble, the disaster bubble is inflating in an ad-hoc and chaotic fashion." Journalist Naomi Klein discusses how corporations and governments are working together more closely than ever, using the mandate of catastrophe — whether natural or man-made — to further concentrate power in fewer hands, with less oversight: from illegal sales of American police technology to China to avert hypothetical tragedies during the Beijing Olympics, to the privatization of water supplies in post-tsunami Sri Lanka.
The Library Of Unified Information Sources (LOUIS) is a beta-release project of the previously mentioned Sunlight Foundation, the goal of which is "to create a comprehensive, completely indexed and cross-referenced depository of federal documents from the executive and legislative branches of government." LOUIS currently contains searchable full text documents of Congressional Reports, the Congressional Record, Congressional Hearings, Presidential Documents, the Federal Register, GAO Reports and Bills & Resolutions, going back to 2001. Other interesting Sunlight Foundation projects include Visualizing Earmarks, 3 (non-satirical) Modest Proposals, The Congressional Family Business Project, and Congresspedia.
The folks at DownsizeDC have this crazy idea that the members of Congress should have to read the bills that they vote on. Here is their plan to make it happen.
A daily intelligence brief on Iraq, prepared by a private contractor for the U.S. military and companies working in Iraq--SOC-SMG Inc --paints a grim picture of life in Baghdad. The information in large sections of the brief? It came from this blog: Iraq the Model
...Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws -- many of which he says infringe on power he believes the Constitution assigns to him alone ... President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution. ... Long, eyeopening article laying out what laws have been ignored and why. ...Bush has cast a cloud over 'the whole idea that there is a rule of law," because no one can be certain of which laws Bush thinks are valid and which he thinks he can ignore. 'Where you have a president who is willing to declare vast quantities of the legislation that is passed during his term unconstitutional, it implies that he also thinks a very significant amount of the other laws that were already on the books before he became president are also unconstitutional," ...
Hacking open democracy. First came FaxYourMP, so technophobe MPs could be easily contacted by the 'net generation. Next were PublicWhip, DowningStreetSays and TheyWorkForYou (previously discussed here and here) to help voters keep tabs on what their elected representatives get up to in office. Coming soon are FaxYourRepresentative/WriteToThem, NotApathetic and YourConstituencyMailingList. (MI).
They Work For You was launched at yesterday's NotCon '04 by the people who brought you Fax Your MP. It makes Hansard accessible, via search facilities (by MP or by topic), with each individual speech presented as a separate, linkable entry. Get an RSS feed of your own MP's speeches, hold them to account over their special interests, but most of all, don't forget to vote this week!
Four 9/11 Widows Demand Truth. "This is a stonewalling job of far greater importance than Watergate. This concerns the refusal of the country’s leadership to be held accountable for the failure to execute its most fundamental responsibility: to protect its citizens against foreign attack. 'If we have an executive branch that holds sole discretion over what information is released to the public and what is hidden, the public will never get the full story of why there was an utter failure to protect them that day, and who should be held accountable.'"
Excellent summation of the Cheney/GAO tussle by someone who knows a thing or two about cover-ups: John Dean.
Conspiracy buffs - don't miss this! The latest Make Them Accountable report pulls together over 250 links around the question "What did they know (about 9/11), and when did they know it?" An amazing compendium. I don't see how ALL THIS could be crackpot ravings.
GAO to Cheney: "Show us what you got!" Ok, well it wasn't that dramatic, but this "demand letter" is one step away from giving the Veep a subpeona. Even right wing attack dog Judicial Watch is getting in with some hot lawsuit action.