By Peter Gray – We have an ever-growing number of jobs that seem completely useless or even harmful.
As examples, we have administrators and assistant administrators in ever larger numbers shuffling papers that don’t need to be shuffled, corporate lawyers and their staffs helping big companies pay less than their fair share of taxes, countless people in the financial industries doing who knows what mischief, lobbyists using every means possible to further corrupt our politicians, and advertising executives and sales personnel pushing stuff that nobody needs or really wants.
The real problem, of course, is an economic one. We’ve figured out how to reduce the amount of work required to produce everything we need and realistically want, but we haven’t figured out how to distribute those resources except through wages earned from the 40-hour (or more) workweek.
In fact, technology has had the effect of concentrating more and more of the wealth in the hands of an ever-smaller percentage of the population, which compounds the distribution problem.
Moreover, as a legacy of the industrial revolution, we have a cultural ethos that says people must work for what they get, and so we shun any serious plans for sharing wealth through means other than exchanges for work.
So, I say, down with the work ethic, up with the play ethic!
We are designed to play, not to work. We are at our shining best when playing. Let’s get our economists thinking about how to create a world that maximizes play and minimizes work. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, CONGRESS WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Leadership, Net, Technology
Tagged Business, Capital, Economics, Government, Jobs, Play, Work
In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence, Author: George Zarkadakis.
By George Zarkadakis – Mainstream economics is built on the premise that the economy is a machine-like system operating at equilibrium. According to this idea, individual actors – such as companies, government departments and consumers – behave in a rational way.
Ever since the invention of the assembly line, corporations have been like medieval cities: building walls around themselves and then trading with other ‘cities’ and consumers.
The so-called ‘gig economy’ is only the beginning of a profound economic, social and political transformation. For the moment, these new ways of working are still controlled by old-style businesses models – platforms that essentially sell ‘trust’ via reviews and verification, or by plugging into existing financial and legal systems.
Blockchain technologies promise to replace these trusted third parties with a huge digital record book, spreading out organically across a network of computers that grows and changes but can’t be meddled with.
By getting rid of middlemen, they’re likely to radically reduce transaction costs, and accelerate the mixing of many different actors in the new economy who have been freed from the grip of leaders or institutions. more> https://goo.gl/Gs6f4B
Posted in Banking, Book review, Broadband, Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Leadership, Media, Net, Product, Regulations, Technology
Tagged Automation, Blockchain, Economics, Gig Economy, Inequality
Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science, Author: Dani Rodrik.
Why is there such an enormous gulf between what economists know and what they say in public?
By Peter Turchin – Rodrik notes early in the book, “economics is by and large the only social science that remains almost entirely impenetrable to those who have not undertaken the requisite apprenticeship in graduate school.”
And economics is “impenetrable” not because of mathematical models, at least not to someone trained in mathematical natural sciences (the math is universal), but because economists have developed an entirely distinct jargon that sets them apart from other disciplines and creates artificial barriers to understanding the many truly worthwhile insights from economics models.
In popular press, comparative advantage is always used as a justification for advocating free trade. Rodrik does an admirable job explaining why, under many conditions, free trade can lead to really negative consequences for economies and populations of countries that open themselves to international competition.
For example, there is strategic behavior. A country may choose to protect its domestic industry with high tariffs and subsidize its exports in order to gain market share.
Perhaps its leaders don’t understand the Principle of Comparative Advantage, not having the benefit of apprenticeship in economics. Or perhaps they care more about their country’s long-term survival in an anarchic international environment than about making immediate profit.
As Rodrik correctly stresses, these cases do not prove that standard economics is wrong. In short, “someone who advocates free trade because it will benefit everyone probably does not understand how comparative advantage really works.” more> https://goo.gl/mQr9tV
Posted in Banking, Book review, Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Leadership, Media
Tagged Comparative advantage, Economic models, Economics, Finance, Inequality