Daily Archives: October 17, 2019

How to save capitalism from itself

Meet the CEOs, workers, activists, thinkers, policy wonks, and class traitors leading the way toward a more equitable, humane, and democratic economic system that works for the many and not the few.
By Darren Walker – Capitalism is in crisis.

The United States—and our democratic values, discourse, and institutions—is suffering from unprecedented levels of inequality. Today, the three richest Americans collectively own about as much wealth as the bottom half of the population combined. Worse, extreme levels of economic inequity are only one of the many forms of inequality that plague our nation: We also face rampant discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, and ability. Looming over all of this is the threat of a global environmental catastrophe, which will make every one of these disparities more extreme through droughts, food shortages, and refugee crises.

Today, a growing number of leaders in the business and social sectors are finding ways to make our capitalist system fairer. They recognize that if we create the context and conditions for an inclusive and just economy, the more we can use capitalism’s undeniable productive power to unlock better ideas and outcomes for humankind.

The idea is simple: Everyone affected by the policies and practices of a firm should have a voice in shaping them.

Moving to stakeholder capitalism is not only a matter of doing the right thing, economists such as Harvard University’s Oliver Hart and the University of Chicago’s Luigi Zingales argue. In many cases, it’s also economically more efficient—which will in turn help everyone’s bottom line.

It’s less expensive to not pollute the environment than it is to clean up pollution. It’s less costly to not sell addictive opioids than it is to provide mental and physical care for those who become addicted.

By considering the perspectives of all the stakeholders involved, we can avoid cases like these where everyone involved ends up suffering. more>

This is the one secret to managing an organization

By Maynard Webb – It’s all about people. You don’t have anything if don’t have great people doing great things.

So, what’s the secret? You have to have conviction about what you are doing. You have to have a mindset that says you are doing something amazing and exciting and people will want to be a part of it. In order to attract people to your endeavor, you must believe that it’s an incredible opportunity for others and you must execute and deliver on that promise.

Always be on the lookout for great people, and do so with a mindset of abundance. People are yearning for good opportunities and you have the privilege of being able to offer them a chance. See what you have as what’s scarce—a rare and special opportunity. Instead of thinking of hiring as chore, see it as a gift that can change someone’s life.

Always pick and promote people who will help you and your culture grow.

Don’t eliminate people because they don’t seem like a “culture fit”—embrace differences and stay rigorously focused on the cultural attributes that actually define your company. more>

Updates from Georgia Tech

Diversity May Be Key to Reducing Errors in Quantum Computing
By John Toon – In quantum computing, as in team building, a little diversity can help get the job done better, computer scientists have discovered.

Unlike conventional computers, the processing in quantum-based machines is noisy, which produces error rates dramatically higher than those of silicon-based computers. So quantum operations are repeated thousands of times to make the correct answer stands out statistically from all the wrong ones.

But running the same operation over and over again on the same qubit set may just generate the same incorrect answers that can appear statistically to be the correct answer. The solution, according to researchers at the Georgia institute of Technology, is to repeat the operation on different qubit sets that have different error signatures – and therefore won’t produce the same correlated errors.

“The idea here is to generate a diversity of errors so you are not seeing the same error again and again,” said Moinuddin Qureshi, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who worked out the technique with his senior Ph.D. student, Swamit Tannu. “Different qubits tend to have different error signatures. When you combine the results from diverse sets, the right answer appears even though each of them individually did not get the right answer,” said Tannu. more>

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Updates from ITU

How Switzerland is winning the battle against e-waste
ITU News – A handful of old mobile phones – different makes and models, all different sizes and colors – lay in a grey bucket. They are about to be chopped into thousands of unrecognizable pieces.

These outdated and unused devices will be given a second life as recycled e-waste. But many phones won’t.

According to the latest estimates, the world discards approximately 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste annually. E-waste is full of hazardous material – including mercury, cadmium and lead – that can cause damage to human health and the environment if not managed properly.

But only 20 percent of global e-waste is recycled. The rest ends up in landfill, burned or illegally traded every year – or is not recycled at all.

In Switzerland alone, a country with a population of just 8.4 million people, there are an estimated 8-10 million smartphones lying unused in homes throughout the country.

“It’s mostly emotional; people are very sentimental about their cell phones,” said Lovey Wymann, Communications for Swico, Switzerland’s digital e-waste agency.

And yet, Switzerland is a good example of how to deal with the growing environmental issue.

Despite being one of the biggest global producers of e-waste – producing 184 kilotons in 2016 – the country collects and recycles roughly 75 percent of this discarded material, with 134 kilotonnes recovered in 2015. When it comes specifically to digital e-waste (for example, mobile phones and other devices), the recycling rate in 2018 was as high as 95 percent. more>

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