Sample Sample

Sample Sample

I’ve never understood why regulating by making people go buy something is somehow more intrusive than regulating by making them pay taxes and then giving it to them.

this sculpture is made by tomohiro inaba at CASHI

this sculpture is made by tomohiro inaba at CASHI

from  gtokio
Jan 3
The Power of Roles

…where people who worked in a manufacturing company switched roles — in some cases moving from a worker to foreman and in other cases, moving from a worker to a union steward. The numbers were not large, only some 58 people changed roles. But the magnitude of the effects were quite large, especially among the new foremen. They changed their attitudes markedly, turning pro-management, pro-company, and anti-union within 6 months of taking their new jobs.

Then, there was an interesting twist that Seymour Lieberman took advantage of; as a result of a downturn, about a third (8) of the 23 workers who had been promoted to foremen were then demoted to workers, while the other two-thirds remained foremen. The numbers here are very small, and while modern studies have replicated related findings with more rigor, it is still interesting to see that the 8 workers who returned to being workers soon developed pretty much the same anti-management and pro-union sentiments as their fellow workers; but those who remained as foreman retained their pro-company and pro-management attitudes.

the returns to being a superstar content creator are much much higher in 2011 than they were in 1981. That’s because the potential audience is much bigger. It’s bigger because the world’s population is larger, it’s bigger because many poor countries have gotten significantly less poor, and it’s bigger because the fall of Communism has expanded the practical market reach of big entertainment conglomerates. At the same time, the cost of producing digital media content has fallen thanks to improved computers and information technology. Now step back and ask yourself why we have copyright in the first place. Well, it’s because policymakers think that absent government-created monopolies there won’t be adequate financial incentives to go out and create new content. That’s not a crazy thing to believe. But the implication is that if globalization and technology drive the returns to content ownership up, we need less IP protection. Instead, we’ve consistently gotten more. Copyright terms have been extended. Copyright terms have been extended retroactively. We’ve added “anti-circumvention” rules. And now we’re talking about SOPA and Protect IP. But why? What’s the policy problem being addressed here?

from  Slate
Dec 15

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”

Isaac Asimov
The End of the Future

One of the most important essays of this year from Peter Thiel

Progress is neither automatic nor mechanistic; it is rare. Indeed, the unique history of the West proves the exception to the rule that most human beings through the millennia have existed in a naturally brutal, unchanging, and impoverished state. But there is no law that the exceptional rise of the West must continue. 

The technology slowdown threatens not just our financial markets, but the entire modern political order, which is predicated on easy and relentless growth. The give-and-take of Western democracies depends on the idea that we can craft political solutions that enable most people to win most of the time. But in a world without growth, we can expect a loser for every winner. Many will suspect that the winners are involved in some sort of racket, so we can expect an increasingly nasty edge to our politics. 

Why Education Startups Do Not Succeed

VCs and entrepreneurs tend to be well educated. Well educated people think about education as an investment. You put as many of your resources in to an investment as you can. It may take 20 years to pay off, but if the return-on-investment is high (which it is for education) then you invest. This group of people — if you’re reading this, you fall into this group — generally understand that education is an investment, and as a result are price insensitive and will optimize for quality (a higher return on investment). For this group of people, quality is the primary driver of a purchasing decision, not cost.

The average, middle class person thinks about education as an expenditure, not an investment. It’s something they have to do because it’s mandated and the lack of the highest quality education hasn’t negatively impacted their lives in a meaningful way.