Daily Archives: October 28, 2015

Avoiding the Financial Resource Curse

By Noah Smith – To understand the financial version of the so-called resource curse, it helps to remember what the original version was.

The resource curse is the name economists give to the bizarre fact that countries with more natural resources tend to grow slower than countries without such endowments. A lot of the reason is political, but some is due simply to the math of exchange rates.

The more oil or copper that a country exports, the more expensive its currency gets, and the more difficult it then becomes to export anything other than oil or copper.

Gianluca Benigno, Nathan Converse [2], and Luca Fornaro postulate that capital inflows cause a sort of Dutch disease [2] variant. When foreign money flows into a country, it redirects the country’s resources toward things like construction, or other non-tradeable goods like finance. Manufacturing is starved for resources, and contributes less to the economy. more> http://tinyurl.com/o4zyvn4

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Building Leadership Strength for the Next Administration

By Dan Chenok and Alan Howze – Regardless of which party wins, in 2017, a new set of political appointees will serve as executive leaders across the government.

Transition teams and new administrations seldom make explicit links from priority goals and political appointments with the importance of outstanding management.

By deliberately identifying the skills needed for particular appointee positions, fostering management excellence across the career government leadership, and developing a robust approach for managing political and career executive talent the next administration can maximize opportunities and minimize risk. more> http://tinyurl.com/q5nxcrc

Paradigms lost

BOOK REVIEW

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Author: Thomas Kuhn.
The Astonishing Hypothesis, Author: Francis Crick.

By David P Barash – Many scientific findings run counter to common sense and challenge our deepest assumptions about reality: the fact that even the most solid objects are composed at the subatomic level of mostly empty space, or the difficulty of conceiving things that go beyond everyday experience, such as vast temperatures, time scales, distances and speeds, or (as in the case of continental drift) exceedingly slow movements – not to mention the statistically verifiable but nonetheless unimaginable ability of natural selection, over time, to generate outcomes of astounding complexity.

On top of this, we have the continuing paradox that the more we learn about reality, the less central and self-important is our own species.

And, the fundamental laws and processes of the natural world exist independently of human paradigms: the Earth orbited the Sun regardless of whether people signed on to a Ptolemaic or a Copernican perspective.

As B F Skinner [2, 3] said: ‘No theory changes what it is a theory about.’ more> http://tinyurl.com/nz38neg

The Future of Work: The Coming Political Storms

BOOK REVIEW

Second Machine Age, Authors: Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.
Populist Vision, Author: Charles Postel.

By Charles Postel – In the late 19th century, the telegraph, steam engines, and electric power changed everything.

But they also changed nothing.

Because, as before, most work involved long hours at low pay in domestic service, farm labor, construction, mining, and other strenuous jobs. Hiring was often day-by-day, and many workers operated as semi-independent contractors.

The infamous “sweating system” meant families set their own hours, their own pace, in their own living spaces (tenements) …

No one can predict the winners and losers in these political conflicts. Enormous wealth and resources weigh on the side of corporate power. At the same time, the creative force of social mobilization can be formidable.

Much is at stake, because the outcomes of such political contests have everything to do with the future nature of work. more> http://tinyurl.com/nl3zt92

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