Daily Archives: May 2, 2016

Why We Should Tax and Shame Excessive Corporate Lobbying

By Luigi Zingales – “To petition the Government for a redress of grievances” is a right inscribed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This right equally belongs to individuals, organizations, and corporations.

When economic giants fight among themselves, not only does the right to lobby fulfill a constitutional right, it is also efficient. This is what Nobel Prize winner (and late University of Chicago professor) Gary Becker [2, 3] thought: competition among lobbies leads to efficient outcomes.

Yet, for this result to be true two conditions need to be fulfilled. First, the different interests (or view points) should have equal ability to organize and finance their lobbying effort.

As Mancur Olson [2, 3, 4] (a Maryland economist who died too young to win the Nobel Prize) wrote, dispersed interests face a bigger hurdle in getting organized. Thus, citizens interested in clean water have a harder time lobbying Congress than chemical companies who pollute it.

Thus, under realistic conditions lobbying tends to be excessive from a social point of view: not only does it waste resources, but also might lead to the wrong decisions: favoring the strongest player, not necessarily the one with the most valid claim. more> http://goo.gl/CRmCAu

Benchmarking: A Practical Guide for Federal Agencies

By Sukumar Dwarkanath – Mission-support functions are integral to an agency’s operations.

These administrative or back-office functions—acquisition, financial management, human capital, information technology and real property—are normally managed as cost centers.

Managed well, using advanced technologies and analytics, they have the potential to transform an agency’s operations and reap substantial cost savings, allowing managers to put more resources into mission delivery.

The Obama administration launched a cross-agency initiative, Benchmark and Improve Mission-Support Operations, which aims to establish governmentwide cost and quality metrics across mission-support functions—contracting, financial management, human capital, information technology and real property.

To truly benefit from the effort and make it sustainable, it is important for agencies to institutionalize this culture of performance management. Monitoring performance on a continual basis allows executives to be proactive to improve performance, rather than focus on it after the fact. more> http://goo.gl/ytvN98

Road Sense Becomes Connected Sensor Technology

By Caroline Hayes – Trials of autonomous vehicles continue to roll out, heralding the era of the driverless car.

In North America, four states have taken advantage of Government legislation that allows testing of automated vehicles.

In Europe, Volvo, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg have come together in the “Drive Me” project putting 100 self-driving cars, performing everyday commutes using Autopilot technology, on the streets of Gothenburg by 2017.

The test cars have so far been able to follow lanes and adapt to speeds and merging traffic, with the next stage being the cars driving the whole route in autonomous mode.

The consensus is that multicore architectures are the most silicon-efficient solution. Renesas has announced its third generation of SoCs for automotive computing, the R-Car H3. It is built around an ARM® Cortex®-A57 or Cortex-A53 core, with 64-bit CPU core architecture.

The R-Car H3 processes the data from sensors around the vehicle in real-time and allows multiple applications such as detection, prediction and avoidance to run. It conforms to the ISO 26262 (SAIL-B) functional safety standard for automotive use. The SoC is supported by Green Hills Software’s INTEGRITY Real Time Operating System (RTOS)and INTEGRITY Multivisor Virtualization platform.

The 64-bit secure virtualization platform was released last year, and was developed, says the company, with the specific capabilities of the R-Car H3 in mind. more> http://goo.gl/6eZcHl

Stop Crying About the Size of Government. Start Caring About Who Controls It.

BOOK REVIEW

The Fatal Conceit, Author: Friedrich Hayek.
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Authors: Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson.
The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Author: Robert Gordon.
Order without Law, Author: Robert Ellickson.
Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame, Author: Christopher Boehm.
Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior, Author: Christopher Boehm.
Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth, Author: Peter Turchi.
Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, Authors: Peter J. Richerson, Robert Boyd.
The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter, Author: Joseph Henrich.
Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life (Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology), Authors: Eva Jablonka, Marion J. Lamb, Anna Zeligowski.
Mixed Messages: Cultural and Genetic Inheritance in the Constitution of Human Society, Author: Robert A. Paul.
The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, Authors: Kate Pickett, Richard Wilkinson.

By David Sloan Wilson and Daron Acemoglu – We cannot benefit from so many things we take for granted without a powerful state, but then civil society and our institutions need to be even more powerful in order to be able to control the state, particularly since a capable state in a complex society could be a formidable tool of extraction that countless politicians, bureaucrats and organized interests would want to use it for their own benefit or agenda.

Put differently, trying to dominate society is in the DNA of the state, but this is no reason to belittle how much of our security, prosperity and even social development we owe to state institutions.

Most states throughout history and even today serve the interests of the political elite and are part of their economic problems, not their solution. But this is not because the state is unnecessary or evil, but because of who controls it and what capacities it has invested in and developed. more> http://goo.gl/BMjSui