informal economy

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pages: 678 words: 216,204

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom by Yochai Benkler


affirmative action, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centre right, clean water, dark matter, desegregation, East Village, fear of failure, Firefox, game design, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of radio, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, market bubble, market clearing, Marshall McLuhan, New Journalism, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, profit motive, random walk, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, software patent, spectrum auction, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs

It promises to enable social production and exchange to play a much larger role, alongside property- and marketbased production, than they ever have in modern democracies. 16 The first part of this book is dedicated to establishing a number of basic economic observations. Its overarching claim is that we are seeing the emergence of a new stage in the information economy, which I call the "networked information economy." It is displacing the industrial information economy that typified information production from about the second half of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century. What characterizes the networked information economy is that decentralized individual action--specifically, new and important cooperative and coordinate action carried out through radically distributed, nonmarket mechanisms that do not depend on proprietary strategies--plays a much greater role than it did, or could have, in the industrial information economy. The catalyst for this change is the happenstance of the fabrication technology of computation, and its ripple effects throughout the technologies of communication and storage.

Because of its focus around capital-intensive production and distribution techniques, this first stage might best be thought of as the "industrial information economy." 72 Radical decentralization of intelligence in our communications network and the centrality of information, knowledge, culture, and ideas to advanced economic activity are leading to a new stage of the information economy-- the networked information economy. In this new stage, we can harness many more of the diverse paths and mechanisms for cultural transmission that were muted by the economies of scale that led to the rise of the concentrated, controlled form of mass media, whether commercial or state-run. The most important aspect of the networked information economy is the possibility it opens for reversing the control focus of the industrial information economy. In particular, it holds out the possibility of reversing two trends in cultural production central to the project of control: concentration and commercialization. 73 Two fundamental facts have changed in the economic ecology in which the industrial information enterprises have arisen.

Index Attribution Acknowledgments Chapter 1 - Introduction: A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge The Emergence of the Networked Information Economy Networked Information Economy and Liberal, Democratic Societies Enhanced Autonomy Democracy: The Networked Public Sphere Justice and Human Development A Critical Culture and Networked Social Relations Four Methodological Comments The Role of Technology in Human Affairs The Role of Economic Analysis and Methodological Individualism Economic Structure in Liberal Political Theory Whither the State? The Stakes of It All: the Battle over the Institutional Ecology of the Digital Environment Part One - The Networked Information Economy Introduction Chapter 2 - Some Basic Economics of Information Production and Innovation The Diversity of Strategies in Our Current Information Production System The Effects of Exclusive Rights When Information Production Meets the Computer Network Strong Exclusive Rights in the Digital Environment Chapter 3 - Peer Production and Sharing Free/Open-Source Software Peer Production of Information, Knowledge, and Culture Generally Uttering Content Relevance/Accreditation Value-Added Distribution Sharing of Processing, Storage, and Communications Platforms Chapter 4 - The Economics of Social Production Motivation Social Production: Feasibility Conditions and Organizational Form Transaction Costs and Efficiency The Emergence of Social Production in the Digitally Networked Environment The Interface of Social Production and Market-Based Businesses Part Two - The Political Economy of Property and Commons Introduction Chapter 5 - Individual Freedom: Autonomy, Information, and Law Freedom to Do More for Oneself, by Oneself, and With Others Autonomy, Property, and Commons Autonomy and the Information Environment Autonomy, Mass Media, and Nonmarket Information Producers Chapter 6 - Political Freedom Part 1: The Trouble with Mass Media Design Characteristics of a Communications Platform for a Liberal Public Platform or a Liberal Public Sphere The Emergence of the Commercial Mass-Media Platform for the Public Sphere Basic Critiques of Mass Media Mass Media as a Platform for the Public Sphere Media Concentration: The Power of Ownership and Money Commercialism, Journalism, and Political Inertness Chapter 7 - Political Freedom Part 2: Emergence of the Networked Public Sphere Basic Tools of Networked Communication Networked Information Economy Meets the Public Sphere Critiques of the Claims That the Internet Has Democratizing Effects Is the Internet Too Chaotic, Too Concentrated, or Neither?


pages: 209 words: 63,649

The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World by Aaron Hurst


3D printing, Airbnb, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, big-box store, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, Elon Musk, Firefox, glass ceiling, greed is good, housing crisis, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, means of production, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, Ray Oldenburg, remote working, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, underbanked, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

The portion of the economy connected to purpose will continue to grow as companies dedicate more of their business to creating purpose, and as more innovative organizations, such as hybrid non- and for-profit companies, are created. That was true also for the Information Economy. Leaders of that economy, like HP and IBM, started with a foot still in manufacturing, creating hardware to store and manage information. Today, we see the early Purpose Economy stars anchored in Information Economy platforms; Facebook, which enables self-expression and community on a massive scale, is a great example. Kickstarter, which now provides more funding for the arts than the National Endowment for the Arts, is another. With the rise of the Information Economy, most companies eventually adopted information-driven systems and tools into their operations and products, such as GPS in cars and robotics in manufacturing. It wasn’t until the auto industry in Detroit really embraced the Information Economy that they were able to turn their fortunes around.

In his 1977 thesis, he coined the term “Information Economy,” and he proved that information had surpassed industry as the leading driver of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). In reading the summary of his dissertation, I found something surprisingly similar about what he had described and what I was witnessing both through my work at Taproot and in the economy at large. Specifically, the economy was going through another major restructuring, and that just as the Information Economy supplanted the Industrial Economy, and as the Industrial Economy supplanted the Agrarian Economy before it, a new economy had begun to emerge. Like most people, I had come to see technology as synonymous with innovation, jobs, growth, and our future. And while the Information Economy was clearly still the dominant driver of our economic engine, it had become clear to me that a new economy was emerging, one centered on the need for individuals to find purpose in their work and lives.

But what did this mean? What changes could we expect to see? How could we help nudge the economy in the direction that would be most beneficial to people and the planet? The Information Economy changed organizations and the labor market as well as demanding a new, enabling environment. Could we expect the same types of changes in the emerging Purpose Economy? The impact of the Information Economy cannot be overstated. Its rise led to radical changes in government, policy, education, community dynamics, non-market human interactions, and the role and design of nonprofit organizations. Within organizations, the Information Economy not only created technology departments, it also catalyzed the widespread introduction of strategic planning, marketing, and human resources. Additionally, it completely altered the flow of capital and investments, accelerating both but also creating a culture that focused on debt, scale, and short-term investment horizons.


pages: 289 words: 99,936

Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age by Virginia Eubanks


affirmative action, Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, desegregation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of work, game design, global village, index card, informal economy, invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, low-wage service sector, microcredit, new economy, post-industrial society, race to the bottom, rent control, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, telemarketer, Thomas L Friedman, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban planning, web application, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor

As a corrective to the oversights described in chapters 2 and 3, I offer the stories and analysis of women living in the YWCA community. In chapter 4, I discuss their experiences of the information economy as our hometown of Troy, New York, seeks a place in a regional economic development initiative called Tech Valley. I also provide evidence that lowincome women in Troy participate in the information economy in huge numbers, and I describe their experiences in both low-wage, high-tech jobs and in the service and caregiving industries that make high-tech growth possible. In chapter 5, I explore the interaction of women in the YWCA community with IT in the social service office and investigate the political lessons they learn when dealing with technologies of state administration. The experiences of women in the YWCA community with the information economy and technologies of state administration directly contradict the widespread belief that poor and working-class women lack access to technology.

Public housing was allowed to deteriorate, rents skyrocketed, and social supports were harder to get and keep. From the standpoint of the YWCA, these policies seemed unmoored from reality. It was Silicon Valley all over again: the information economy was going to lift some boats, but it was a comfortable ride only if you could ignore the screams of the people drowning all around you. In this chapter, I use an intersectional approach to explore claims made by high-tech economic development boosters that the information economy is a force for equity. Intersectional feminist analysis of the information economy demands that we ask more difficult questions than “How do we fill the pipeline?” It should question taken-for-granted assumptions, center itself in explorations of power, oppression, and domination, and uncover features of social life that have been made invisible by dominant economic models (Barker and Feiner 2004, 9).

Volatility, risk, and flexibility are indeed signature features of the information economy. But they are not nearly as idiosyncratic as these writers assume. The new economy, digital technology, and laissez-faire governance do not, in fact, annihilate existing configurations of power, sweeping away the wreckage of the old, leaving a playing field that is clean, smooth, and level. Rather than magically clearing away old structures of inequality in a tide of creative destruction, the information economy is the product of two equally significant forces: increasing macroeconomic instability and comparatively stable, preexisting topographies of social and economic inequality. Rather than being unpredictable or idiosyncratic, the vulnerabilities and risk produced by the information economy display a great deal of continuity with what came before.15 I call this phenomenon volatile continuity.


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier


3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism,, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

So with that in mind, let’s consider the hard question stated above: How might a humanistic economic system support information access for those who find themselves persistently in the bottom ranks of the information economy, meaning that they have to pay more for cloud services than they earn from cloud services? We might first ask how many people will be in this situation. If the overall economy is growing, the answer is less than half. If the economy is absolutely stagnant, then the answer is half. If the economy doesn’t grow or shrink at all, then a market system is just churn, or worse, plutocracy. But there’s no reason to think that innovation and creativity will suddenly run out in the information space, so we should expect a humanistic information economy to grow in the long term. Beyond that, just because someone is on the bum side of the information economy doesn’t mean that person will be poor. There ought to be plenty of people who do very well in physicality.

At some point, you might decide you want to cash in all that’s due to you, even if the price is that you can no longer get free stuff online thereafter. The Price of Antenimbosia A trickier question is how to design the initial state of a new information economy to reflect all that had been done by people before the new accounting was initiated. Wikipedia has procedures in place to incorporate material from the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which has fallen into the public domain. When we build on the past in that way, how will we acknowledge it in a monetized information economy? Earlier it was pointed out that the seeming magic of cloud-based “automatic” translation between languages is actually based on the use of a corpus of translations performed by real people originally. Had a better-crafted information economy been in play when the original human translators provided their examples to the cloud, then they would be remembered and we could send royalties to those still living.

But the dominant principle of the new economy, the information economy, has lately been to conceal the value of information, of all things. We’ve decided not to pay most people for performing the new roles that are valuable in relation to the latest technologies. Ordinary people “share,” while elite network presences generate unprecedented fortunes. Whether these elite new presences are consumer-facing services like Google, or more hidden operations like high-frequency-trading firms, is mostly a matter of semantics. In either case, the biggest and best-connected computers provide the settings in which information turns into money. Meanwhile, trinkets tossed into the crowd spread illusions and false hopes that the emerging information economy is benefiting the majority of those who provide the information that drives it.


pages: 189 words: 57,632

Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future by Cory Doctorow


book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man,, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Law of Accelerating Returns, Metcalfe's law, mutually assured destruction, new economy, optical character recognition, patent troll, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Skype, slashdot, social software, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

This is why I give away digital copies of my books and make money on the printed editions: I'm not going to stop people from copying the electronic editions, so I might as well treat them as an enticement to buy the printed objects. But there is an information economy. You don't even need a computer to participate. My barber, an avowed technophobe who rebuilds antique motorcycles and doesn't own a PC, benefited from the information economy when I found him by googling for barbershops in my neighborhood. Teachers benefit from the information economy when they share lesson plans with their colleagues around the world by email. Doctors benefit from the information economy when they move their patient files to efficient digital formats. Insurance companies benefit from the information economy through better access to fresh data used in the preparation of actuarial tables. Marinas benefit from the information economy when office-slaves look up the weekend's weather online and decide to skip out on Friday for a weekend's sailing.

The Internet-era musicians who use the net to pack venues all over the world by giving away their recordings on social services like MySpace. Hell, look at my last barber, in Los Angeles: the man doesn't use a PC, but I found him by googling for "barbers" with my postcode — the information economy is driving his cost of customer acquisition to zero, and he doesn't even have to actively participate in it. Better access to more information is the hallmark of the information economy. The more IT we have, the more skill we have, the faster our networks get and the better our search tools get, the more economic activity the information economy generates. Many of us sell information in the information economy — I sell my printed books by giving away electronic books, lawyers and architects and consultants are in the information business and they drum up trade with Google ads, and Google is nothing but an info-broker — but none of us rely on curtailing access to information.

But not anymore: today, the US Trade Rep using America's political clout to force Russia to institute police inspections of its CD presses (savor the irony: post-Soviet Russia forgoes its hard-won freedom of the press to protect Disney and Universal!). How did entertainment go from trenchcoat pervert to top trade priority? I blame the "Information Economy." No one really knows what "Information Economy" means, but by the early 90s, we knew it was coming. America deployed her least reliable strategic resource to puzzle out what an "information economy" was and to figure out how to ensure America stayed atop the "new economy" — America sent in the futurists. We make the future in much the same way as we make the past. We don't remember everything that happened to us, just selective details. We weave our memories together on demand, filling in any empty spaces with the present, which is lying around in great abundance.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells


Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, borderless world, British Empire, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, planetary scale, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl

Lessons from the Industrial Revolution The Historical Sequence of the Information Technology Revolution Models, Actors, and Sites of the Information Technology Revolution The Information Technology Paradigm 2 The New Economy: Informationalism, Globalization, Networking Productivity, Competitiveness, and the Informational Economy The Global Economy: Structure, Dynamics, and Genesis The New Economy 3 The Network Enterprise: the Culture, Institutions, and Organizations of the Informational Economy Organizational Trajectories in the Restructuring of Capitalism and in the Transition from Industrialism to Informationalism Information Technology and the Network Enterprise Culture, Institutions, and Economic Organization: East Asian Business Networks Multinational Enterprises, Transnational Corporations, and International Networks The Spirit of Informationalism 4 The Transformation of Work and Employment: Networkers, Jobless, and Flex-timers1 The Historical Evolution of Employment and Occupational Structure in Advanced Capitalist Countries: the G-7, 1920–2005 Is There a Global Labor Force?

Such a virtuous circle should lead to greater productivity and efficiency, given the right conditions of equally dramatic organizational and institutional changes.3 In this chapter I shall try to assess the historical specificity of the new economy, outline its main features, and explore the structure and dynamics of a worldwide economic system emerging as a transitional form toward the informational mode of development that is likely to characterize the coming decades. Productivity, Competitiveness, and the Informational Economy The productivity enigma Productivity drives economic progress. It is by increasing the yields of output per unit of input over time that humankind eventually mastered the forces of nature and, in the process, shaped itself as culture. No wonder that the debate over the sources of productivity is the cornerstone of classical political economy, from the Physiocrats to Marx, via Ricardo, and remains at the forefront of that dwindling stream of economic theory still concerned with the real economy.4 Indeed, the specific ways of increasing productivity define the structure and dynamics of a given economic system. If there is a new, informational economy, we should be able to pinpoint the historically novel sources of productivity that make such an economy a distinctive one.

Therefore, to argue that productivity creates economic growth, and that productivity is a function of technological change, is tantamount to stating that the characteristics of society are the crucial factors underlying economic growth, by their impact on technological innovation. This Schumpeterian approach to economic growth12 raises an even more fundamental question concerning the structure and dynamics of the informational economy. Namely, what is historically new about our economy? What is its specificity vis-à-vis other economic systems, and particularly vis-à-vis the industrial economy? Is knowledge-based productivity specific to the informational economy? Economic historians have shown the fundamental role played by technology in economic growth, via productivity increase, throughout history and especially in the industrial era.13 The hypothesis of the critical role of technology as a source of productivity in advanced economies seems also able to comprehend much of the past experience of economic growth, cutting across different intellectual traditions in economic theory.


pages: 340 words: 91,387

Stealth of Nations by Robert Neuwirth


accounting loophole / creative accounting, big-box store, British Empire, call centre, collective bargaining, corporate governance, full employment, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, jitney, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, megacity, microcredit, New Urbanism, pirate software, profit motive, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, thinkpad, upwardly mobile

Perhaps the only people who had the good sense to ignore the term “informal” were the very ones whose lives it purported to describe. Few of the merchants who operate on the roadsides or in the chaotic marketplaces of the developing world have any idea what the informal economy is. I found this out the hard way. My first foray into the world of unlicensed trade was a trip to Lagos, Nigeria. I spent my first few days in the African megacity walking up to merchants in the city’s street markets, introducing myself, and telling them I was writing a book on the informal economy. Without exception, they gawked at me and refused to talk. My words seemed to fill them with terror. Na so trouble plenty. Fortunately, I was working with two locals who were helping me navigate the chaotic and cramped markets of the city. Olayemi Adesanya and his younger brother Taye simply translated my words into English the people in the market would understand.

“It says what people are not doing—not wearing conventional dress, not being regulated by the state—but it does not point to any active principles they may have for doing it. It is a passive and conservative concept that acknowledges a world outside the bureaucracy, but endows it with no positive identity.” That’s why I propose to jettison the phrase “informal economy” and to adopt, instead, the moniker “System D.” Of course, changing the name is cosmetic surgery. But language does encapsulate some of the deeper values inherent in a society. Rebranding the informal economy as System D provides an opportunity to strip away layers of preconceptions and judgments, to reduce the association with criminality, and to give this economic arena a chance to prove the naysayers wrong. The growth of System D presents a series of challenges to the norms of economics, business, and governance—for it has traditionally existed outside the framework of trade agreements, labor laws, copyright protections, product safety regulations, antipollution legislation, and a host of other political, social, and environmental policies.

For these merchants, the answer lies not in groveling at the altar of formalization but in creating a middle ground in which the flea market is a fine model for productive economic activity. “We need to come up with models that allow the street trader to coexist along with retail shops and along with large malls,” Chen told me. “The informal economy is not the problem. It’s part of the solution. Street traders, waste pickers, market women: these people really do contribute to the economy and to their cities. How can we manage our cities in a way that has space for them? What we need to do with the informal economy is to figure out how to help it become more productive, more efficient, and more effective.” Freedom to Trade Political œconomy … proposes to enrich both the people and the sovereign. —The Wealth of Nations John Ebeyenoku stepped outside the shed that housed his grinder.


pages: 159 words: 45,073

GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History by Diane Coyle


Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, BRICs, clean water, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, Diane Coyle, double entry bookkeeping,, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial intermediation, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, mutually assured destruction, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, new economy, Occupy movement, purchasing power parity, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, University of East Anglia, working-age population

This “no growth” advocacy is linked to concern about the environment, both in recent years and a generation ago.23 Let’s take these in turn. THE INFORMAL ECONOMY In 1987, Italy announced an overnight increase in its level of GDP. Its official statisticians decided to start including an estimate of the unofficial economy in their figures. It increased the size of the economy by about a fifth, taking Italy past the United Kingdom to become the fifth biggest in the world, just behind France at number four. It was labeled il sorpasso, the overtaking. “A wave of euphoria swept over Italians after economists recalibrated their statistics, taking into account for the first time the country’s formidable underground economy of tax evaders and illegal workers,” reported the New York Times.24 The observation and labeling of the informal economy originated with the work of the anthropologist Keith Hart, based on his fieldwork in Ghana in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In developing countries, the proportion of GDP accounted for by economic activity that stays outside the official net for taxes and scrutiny is high: the “informal” economy will be large in a poor country where many people work as self-employed entrepreneurs, farmers, or day laborers. In developed countries, the proportion is variable, ranging from around 7 percent of GDP in the United States and 8 percent of GDP in Switzerland to 20 percent in Italy and 25 percent in Greece (all 2012 estimates). The average is about 15 percent of GDP. In the formerly communist “transition” economies, the typical share of the shadow economy is 21–30 percent, and in poorer developing economies 35–44 percent of GDP. The informal economy has been growing in size around the world. Friedrich Schneider writes, “Studies based on data for several countries suggest that the major driving forces behind the size and growth of the shadow economy are an increasing burden of tax and social security payments, combined with rising restrictions in the official labor market.”25 After a bit of controversy about Italy’s decision to adjust GDP for the unofficial economy, the fuss died down quickly.

Abramowitz, Moses, 113 Africa, 31–33, 72, 93, 138 Anders, William, 68 art, 127–28, 132 assets, contributing to sustainability, 134–35, 137 austerity measures, 23 Australia, 73, 109, 118 automation, 128–29 Bangladesh, 53 base year, in GDP calculations, 31, 33–34 Baumol, William, 127 Benford’s Law, 3, 143n3 Berners-Lee, Tim, 81 Bhalla, Surjit, 53 Bhutan, 112 Bos, Frits, 47–48 Boskin Commission, 35, 88 Brazil, 94, 125 Bretton Woods system, 48 BRIC economies, 94, 96 Brynjolfsson, Erik, 128–30 Burundi, 73 business, purpose of, 95 Campaign for Happiness, 112 Canada, 73, 89, 109 capabilities, 72–73, 134 capital consumption, 131 capitalism: 1970s crisis of, 59–75; 2008 crisis of, 93–118; achievements of, 5–6; innovation as hallmark of, 91; investment and depreciation, 131–33 capital widening, 132 Carson, Rachel, Silent Spring, 69 centrally planned economies, 46–47, 56, 60, 66–68 Central Statistical Office (United Kingdom), 18 Chad, 73 chain-weighted price indexes, 33–34 China: economic growth of, 94, 96–97; economic limitations of, 96–97; GDP of, 51–53, 96, 97; living standards in, 51, 57, 96; manufacturing and exporting in, 82, 97, 125; U.S. relations with, 97 Christophers, Brett, 104, 105 circular flow, 26–27, 27f, 57, 63 Clark, Colin, 12, 13, 17, 50, 84 Clean Water Act (1972), 69 Clegg, Nick, 110 Cobb, John, 116 Cold War, 46–47, 60, 66 communications technology, 81–82 communism, 46–47, 60, 66–68, 96 compound arithmetic, 64, 83, 130–31 comprehensive wealth, 133, 135 computers, 80–82, 87–88 conspicuous consumption, 112 consumerism, 45, 112 consumer spending (C), 27–28, 45 consumer surplus, 130 customization, of goods and services, 123–25 Cuyahoga River, 69 Daly, Herman, 116 Darling, Alastair, 102 dashboard approach, 118, 136 data collection, 33, 37, 51–53, 137–38 Data Resources, Incorporated (DRI), 21 Davenant, Charles, 8 David, Paul, 79 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), 81 defense spending, 14–16 deferred stock options, 37 deflators, 31 Defoe, Daniel, 9 DeLong, Brad, 86, 117 Democratic Republic of Congo, 54, 73 Deng Xiao Ping, 96 depreciation, 25, 30, 131–33 developed/high-income countries: GDP of, 72, 93; informal economy in, 107 developing/low-income countries: economic growth/stagnation in, 61, 71–72; GDP of, 32–33, 51, 71–72; informal economy in, 107, 109; and PPP, 50–53 development aid, 72, 74 digital products and services, 129–31 disasters, GDP growth after, 43 Domar, Evsey, 55 double-entry bookkeeping, 8 Easterlin, Richard, 111 Eckstein, Otto, 21 econometric models, 20–21, 23 economic growth: critiques of, 60; in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, 12; lack of, in developing countries, 61; meanings and measures of, 15; meanings of, 123; potential rate of, 82–83; problems arising from, 63–64; real, 30–31; significance of, 135–36; sustainable, 71, 116, 137; theories/models of, 55–57, 78–81; virtuous circle of, 57, 59, 64, 73, 79; well-being and welfare aided by, 135 economics, challenges to conventional, 59–61 economic welfare.


pages: 518 words: 107,836

How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (Information Policy) by Benjamin Peters


Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Brownian motion, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, double helix, Drosophila, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, hive mind, index card, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Peter Thiel, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, scientific mainstream, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technoutopianism, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, transaction costs, Turing machine

What was the uncanny valley in this analytical zone? For those who think about the information economy, differences between the East and West are indiscernible. Cristiano Antonelli’s (1992) seminal insights into the nature of the information economy, in which cooperation and coordination are as important as—or more important than—competition for long-term economic success were inductively developed from detailed studies of the practices and activities of transnational corporations on both sides of the iron curtain (many funded by the unfortunately short-lived United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations). What Peters presents as counterintuitive actually provides further evidence of the transition to a global information economy in which ideological differences may still provide motivations but not explanations.

The reality of the latter half of Soviet economic history reveals that private life increasingly depended on the resilience and robustness of people’s connections to the informal economy. The command economy operated on hidden networks of tolkachy (literally “pushers”) or “go-to-guys” or “fixers” who got the job done outside of the formal economic plan. Without the support of tolkachy, thousands of official economic quotas over decades never would have been met.42 Recent economic studies based on previously unconsulted archival data have estimated that a stunning average of 24 percent of annual expenditures per household in the Soviet Union went to the informal economy between 1968 and 1990.43 The estimated percentage of GNP not accounted for by the informal economy over the same period ranges between 17 and 40 percent.44 Despite both official claims and its enemies’ fears otherwise, Soviet economic life drew its vitality not from the strictures of top-down command and control but from the fitful hustling and the scrambling that came about because of those commands.

For a basic review of tolkachy and other informal mechanisms in the economy, see Mark Beissinger, Scientific Management, Socialist Discipline, and Soviet Power (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988); Ledeneva, Russia’s Economy of Favors; and Alena V. Ledeneva, Can Russia Modernize? Sistema, Power Networks and Informal Governance (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013). 43. Byung-Yeon Kim, “Informal Economy Activities of Soviet Households: Size and Dynamics,” Journal of Comparative Economics 31 (3) ( 2003): 532–551. 44. Kim, “Informal Economy Activities of Soviet Households,” 532–535; Simon Johnson, Daniel Kaufmann, and Andrei Shleifer, “The Unofficial Economy in Transition,” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 2 (1997): 159–221. 45. Ledeneva, Russia’s Economy of Favors, 12. 46. Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, The Soviet Block: Unity and Conflict, rev. ed. (New York: Praeger, 1960), 116, see also 115–124. 47.


pages: 331 words: 60,536

The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State by James Dale Davidson, Rees Mogg


affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, British Empire, California gold rush, clean water, colonial rule, Columbine, compound rate of return, Danny Hillis, debt deflation, ending welfare as we know it, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Gilder, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, Kevin Kelly, market clearing, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, Parkinson's law, pattern recognition, phenotype, price mechanism, profit maximization, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, school vouchers, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, spice trade, statistical model, telepresence, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, Turing machine, union organizing, very high income

It is remarkable not only for its pervasiveness, but also for the common misunderstanding it betrays about the cybereconomy. A highway, after all, is an industrial version of a footpath, a network for the physical transit of people and goods. The information economy is not like a highway, a railroad, or a pipeline. It does not haul or transport information from point to point the way the Trans-Canada Highway carries heavy trucks from Alberta to New Brunswick. What the world calls the "Information Superhighway" is not merely a transit link. It is the destination. Cyberspace transcends locality It involves nothing less than the instantaneous sharing of data everywhere and nowhere at once. The emerging information economy is based in the interconnections linking and relinking millions of users of millions of computers. Its essence lies in the new possibilities that arise from these connections.

Still other governments may adapt to the opportunities created by the information economy, and facilitate local transactions in cybermoney. Those jurisdictions that first recognize the validity of digital signatures and provide local court enforcement of repossession for nonpayment of cyberdebts will stand to benefit from a disproportionate surge in long-term capital lending. Obviously, no cybermoney would be available for long-term credits in territories where local courts imposed penalties or permitted debtors to default without recourse. Yield Gap The combination of credit crises, competitive adjustments by national monetary authorities, and early transitional obstacles to lending cybercurrency will lead to a yield gap in the early stages of the information economy. Cybermoney will pay lower interest rates than national currencies and will probably also carry explicit transaction costs.

High taxes, burdensome regulatory costs, and ambitious commitments to income redistribution will make territories under their control uninviting settings in which to do business. Those who live in jurisdictions that remained poor or underdeveloped during the industrial period have the most to gain by the liberation of economies from the confines of geography. This is contrary to what you will hear. The main controversy surrounding the advent of the information economy and the rise of the Sovereign Individual will focus on the allegedly adverse effects on "fairness" arising from the death of politics. It is certainly true that the advent of the global information economy will deal a mortal blow to large-scale income redistribution. The main beneficiaries of income redistribution in the Industrial Age have been inhabitants of wealthy jurisdictions whose level of consumption is twenty times higher than the world average. Only within the OECD countries has income redistribution had noticeable effects in raising incomes of unskilled persons.


pages: 210 words: 56,667

The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity From Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs by Alexa Clay, Kyra Maya Phillips


3D printing, Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Burning Man, collaborative consumption, conceptual framework, double helix, fear of failure, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Occupy movement, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, union organizing, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar

From Airbnb (a rental website that has gone from 120,000 listings in early 2012 to over 300,000 at the time of this writing) to Zipcar (the car-sharing service that was sold to Avis for $500 million in January 2013), people the world over are moving away from the fixed, formal “own it” model to a more fluid “exchange it” approach. The importance of the informal economy is starting to become more apparent in other European countries. In the United Kingdom, a September 2012 study6 by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Community Links found that the informal economy was flourishing, and that its existence was, in fact, important to the health of entrepreneurship. A nod to the need for hustle, this study underscored that in order for entrepreneurs to formalize their activities (as in, legally become a taxpaying registered business), they often have to trade one skill for another—exchange a website design for a marketing strategy, for example, or pay a supplier off the books.

., 71–72 Griffel, Mattan, 23 Groupon, 83 Guangdong, China, 81 guayusa, 182–83 Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, 113 Guerrilla Girls, 151 gun use, 133 Hacker Ethic, 37–38, 110, 125, 126 hacker movement, 110–14, 123 hackers, hacking, 19–20, 107–37, 149 access to information and, 110, 112–14 characteristics and mentality of, 122, 136–37 of culture, 205 of electronics, 108–9, 110–14 of establishments, 123–25 manipulation and, 108 mistrust of authority and, 110, 112 motivation for, 112 perception of violence and, 129–36 physical, 125–27 pirates as, 116–22 rules and principles of, 37–38 as small players, 123–24 as term, 111, 115 “white hat,” 108–9 see also specific people and organizations Hackers (Levy), 110 Hadid, Zaha, 81 Hafun, Somalia, 13 H&M, 85 Hargeisa Prison, 26 Harrelson, Woody, 190 Harvard Business Review, 124 Harvard Medical School, 187, 190 Harvard University, 199–200 Hasan, Abdi, 16, 26–27 health care industry, 23–24 see also pharmaceutical industry Hearts of Darkness, 32 Hemingway, Ernest, 211–13 Hendrix College, 140 HERO, 71 High Court of Admiralty, 117 HI-SEAS, 144 HIV/AIDS, 95, 129 Hofstra University, 63 Hoke, Catherine (“Cat”), 58–60, 62, 63–64, 207–9 Hong Kong, China, 82 Hostetler, Corlene, 3 Hostetler, Sam, 3–4, 6–7, 8, 10, 11 hotel industry, hacking of, 124 “How the Weak Win Wars” (Arreguín-Toft), 123 Hulu, 96, 97 Hulu Plus, 97 Humpback Dairies, 6–7 hustling, 51–75 community building and, 68–72 for ex-criminals, 55–56, 59–64 in informal economy, 65 while in prison, 51–54, 55, 57, 59 as term, 57–58 hypnotic regressions, 187, 189 IBM, 92 IKEA, 115 “In Cannes, Women Show Their Reels, Men, Their Films,” 152 incarceration, 51–54, 55, 57, 58–59, 173–74 entrepreneurship programs and, see Defy Ventures; Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP); Venturing Out hustling and, 51–54, 55, 57, 59 India, 15, 78, 94–95 indigenous tribes, 180–84, 200 Industrial Revolution, 38 informal economy, see misfits, misfit economy information, access to, 110, 112–14 Infor-Nation, 55, 56, 58 innovation, 18, 24–25, 35, 37, 85, 86, 92, 94, 96–98, 102 copying and, see copying in large corporations, 167 patents as threat to, 92 pivoting and, 169 “In Praise of Misfits,” 35 intellectual property, 92 laws for, 79 sharing of, 89 theft of, 77, 85, 93, 105 see also copying International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, 81 International Women’s Day, 151 Internet censorship, 113 Invisible Hook, The: The Hidden Economics of Pirates (Leeson), 118 iPhone, 169 Iraq, 133 iTunes, 96 Jackson, Jesse, 176 Jamaica, N.Y., 49, 50 Jargon File, The, 111 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 148 Jobs, Steve, 30–31, 34, 169 Johns, Adrian, 93 Johnson, Charles, 118, 119 Johnson, Steven, 98 Jolly Roger: The Story of the Great Age of Piracy (Pringle), 120 Joyce, James, 213 Kenning, Tom, 156 khat drug trade, 15 Kickstarter, 102 King, Martin Luther, Jr., 115 King Blood (Latin King leader), 171, 173, 174, 175 Knockoff Economy, The (Raustiala and Sprigman), 85 Kunstmann, Lazar, 19–20, 126, 127 La Barbe, 151–53, 154, 155, 204, 214, 216 Lackman, Jon, 19–20, 126 Lady Gaga, 90 Last Broadcast, The, 32 Latin Kings, 170–79 Latinos, 170–71 Lawrence, T.

Yet across the globe, in small towns and large cities, there are misfits operating more creatively than some of the world’s biggest companies, developing solutions to challenges that traditional businesses can’t touch. The characters you will read about in this book are found on pirate ships. They’re found in gangs and within hacker collectives. They’re in the crowded streets of Shenzhen, the prisons of Somalia, the flooded coastal towns of Thailand. Resourceful and creative, loyal and wily, they are slum dwellers, dissidents, and outlaws. Call it the gray market, the black market, the informal economy. Or shadow markets or the makeshift economy. We call it the Misfit Economy. Whatever the term, misfit innovators inhabit a different world—a world that, by conventional wisdom, should have nothing to do with traditional businesses and mainstream markets. However, far from being deviants who pose a threat to our social and economic stability, these entrepreneurial misfits are pioneering new ways of thinking and operating, establishing new best practices that we all can learn from and apply to formal markets.


pages: 236 words: 67,953

Brave New World of Work by Ulrich Beck


affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, full employment, future of work, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, job automation, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, McJob, means of production, mini-job, postnationalism / post nation state, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, working poor, working-age population

For a long time now, any policy that intentionally eliminates low-cost jobs has not thereby removed the need in the economy or among the population for work of that kind. Criminalization is thus tantamount to a self-fulfilling prophecy. It hastens the movement into irregular work in the informal economy, which it then brands as criminal. Cheaper services for groups with declining incomes Formal services (because of high taxes and charges, among other things) are becoming prohibitively expensive for sections of the population with declining incomes who still want to maintain their standard of living. The informal economy is thus seen as a boon by these groups. Informalization as a strategy of corporate rationalization The spread of casual labour, spurious self-employment and ‘permanently temporary’ work offers many advantages for a strategy of corporate rationalization.

They might almost be compared to thirsty people who have to promise not to drink one drop of extra water, because they are officially given one glass a day to moisten their parched throat. Otherwise they are ‘social cheats’, whose transgression is harmful to the public good. This vicious circle – contradictory regulations, paradoxical coalitions, high-cost services, income loss, informality as a rationalization strategy, surplus time and deep financial insecurity of the unemployed – encourages the further spread of grey work and the informal economy. Unless the informal economy is decriminalized, the problems of the labour market can hardly be successfully tackled. But then the dykes may possibly break. The Either-Or policy – either work and a wage or no work at all – means that the new risks of informality are heaped on to the shoulders of people in work. On the other hand, of course, the state cannot simply withdraw from the fray or even embrace the erosion of normal work and of the associated systems of social security.

The statement that there is relatively little ‘open unemployment’ in Latin American countries is ambiguous in a quite fundamental sense. On the one hand, it points to the huge potential of the informal economy to integrate people willing to work and to offer them some chance of making a living. Truly these countries have a remarkable capacity to absorb people amid soaring population growth and flight from the land. On the other hand, the label ‘not unemployed’ can only be described as cynical in a region of the world where most of the excluded underclass does not show up in the ‘unemployment’ statistics. With regard to the Western view of unemployment as a scandal, this cynicism may even be turned to political use. For decriminalization and recognition of the informal economy might appear to some – at least as far as the statistical construction of reality is concerned – as precisely the royal road out of unemployment.


pages: 422 words: 113,525

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand


agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, working-age population, Y2K

They pay no attention to government-approved exchange rates. And yet they thrive economically, charging each other rent for space in buildings with no legal ownership, employing each other in unlicensed businesses, and selling each other all manner of services and goods—some of the goods pirated, some of the services criminal. This is what is called the “informal economy.” It is to economic theory what dark energy is to astro-physical theory. It’s not supposed to exist, but there it is, and it’s huge. While the informal economy specializes in being invisible to the formal world, of course it is highly visible to itself. This is where the social capital of a dense community pays off. Without formal property title, everyone knows who effectively owns a building and may charge rent for a room in it. If you have a skill as a language teacher or identity card forger or whatever, there’s no need to advertise: Your customers will find you, and the officials won’t.

The poor have time but no money, and the rich have money but no time; and so they deal. I find what needy people do with surplus time more interesting than what un-needy people do with surplus money. Ingenuity is the norm in the informal economy. For instance, there is a whole urban-farming subeconomy in the slums: Families save money and improve nutrition by growing their own food, and they can sell the produce a short distance from where it’s grown. In the Medellín slums in Colombia, “people raise pigs on the third-floor roofs and grow vegetables in cut-open bleach bottles they hang from their window sills,” according to blogger Ethan Zuckerman. At the entry level, the informal economy is organized around pittances. Robert Kaplan wrote in 2008 thatFor the many rural newcomers to Bangladesh’s cities, there is the rickshaw economy, as much an animating force in urban areas as the search for usable soil is in villages.

On the whole, dime-a-day for-profit schools are doing a better job of teaching the poorest children than the far more expensive state schools.” This book was finished before the full effects of the world financial crisis of 2009 could be studied. Did the informal economy in the world’s slums offer a refuge from it, or did people there suffer more than anybody? (A 2009 report in the Wall Street Journal said that in the developing world, “people are landing in the informal sector, which has become a critical safety net as the economic crisis spreads.”) Were some people driven further into the crime economy? For that matter, how did global crime do? Did the rate of urbanization slow down or speed up? Here’s my prediction from March 2009: significant growth in the informal economy from more people retreating into it; significant growth in the crime economy, because it’s always ready to exploit chaos; no change in the rate of urbanization.


pages: 418 words: 128,965

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu


accounting loophole / creative accounting, Alfred Russel Wallace, Apple II, barriers to entry, British Empire, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Menlo Park, open economy, packet switching, PageRank, profit motive, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Upton Sinclair, urban planning

For history shows that in seeking to prevent the exercise of abusive power in the information industries, government is among those actors whose power must be restrained. Government may function as a check on abusive power, but government itself is a power that must be checked. What I propose is not a regulatory approach but rather a constitutional approach to the information economy. By that I mean a regime whose goal is to constrain and divide all power that derives from the control of information. Specifically, what we need is something I would call a Separations Principle for the information economy. A Separations Principle would mean the creation of a salutary distance between each of the major functions or layers in the information economy. It would mean that those who develop information, those who own the network infrastructure on which it travels, and those who control the tools or venues of access must be kept apart from one another. At the same time, the Separations Principle stipulates one other necessity: that the government also keep its distance and not intervene in the market to favor any technology, network monopoly, or integration of the major functions of an information industry.

The one great exception to this dominion of big business was the Internet, its users, and the industry that had grown on the network. Amid the consolidation, the 1990s also saw the so-called Internet revolution. Would it lead to the downfall of those consolidating superpowers? Some certainly thought so. “We are seeing the emergence of a new stage in the information economy,” prophesied Yochai Benkler. “It is displacing the industrial information economy that typified information production from about the second half of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century.” Unfortunately, the media and communications conglomerates didn’t consult Benkler as their soothsayer. With aggregate audiences in the billions and combined revenues in the trillions, they had—in fact, have—a very different vision of the future: the Internet either remade in their likeness, or at the very least rendered harmless to their core business interests.

(The degree to which the long lines had been subsidizing loss-leading markets throughout the country was greater than even Bell itself knew!) It would be some years before these inconveniences were offset by the fruits of innovation. On the other hand, when the innovation pent up by the Bell system came out, it was not a trickle but a tidal wave, in computing, telephony, networking, and everything else that has defined the information economy of the last thirty years. It is always to be preferred that the Cycle proceed of its own accord. The examples of the Paramount decree and the Bell divestiture are both tales of much that is bad and ugly arising before the eventual good of an open industry. There is an undeniable efficiency that attends a monopoly’s doing what it has been perfected to do, whether that be to turn out a certain kind of film or provide a universal phone service.


pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason


Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey,, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, wages for housework, women in the workforce

Instead of moving from thought to action once – as the nineteenth- and twentieth-century radicals did – repression forces radicalized young people to oscillate between the two: you can jail, torture and harass people but you cannot prevent their mental resistance. In the past, radicalism of the mind would have been pointless without power. How many generations of rebels wasted their lives in garrets writing angry poetry, cursing the injustice of the world and their own paralysis? But in an information economy, the relationship of thought to action changes. In hi-tech engineering, before a single piece of metal is shaped, objects are designed virtually, tested virtually and even ‘manufactured’ virtually – the whole process modelled from start to finish – on computers. The mistakes are discovered and rectified at the design stage, in a way that was impossible before 3D simulations came about. By analogy, the same goes for the design of a postcapitalist.

The most vital component of neoliberalism – the individualized worker and consumer, creating themselves anew as ‘human capital’ every morning and competing ferociously with each other – would have been impossible without network technology. Sociologist Michel Foucault’s prediction of what it would make us – ‘entrepreneurs of the self’ – looks all the more visionary because it was made when the only thing resembling the internet was a green-screen network, owned by the French state, called Minitel.37 The promise was that new technology would produce an information economy and a knowledge society. These have emerged but not in the form envisaged. In the old dystopias – as with the rogue computer Hal, in 2001: A Space Odyssey – it is the technology that rebels. In reality, the network has allowed humans to rebel. It enabled them first of all to produce and consume knowledge independently of the channels formed in the era of industrial capitalism. That’s why we noticed the disruptions first in the news industry, in music and the sudden loss of the state’s monopoly over political propaganda and ideology.

But in the space of less than thirty years, network technologies have opened whole areas of economic life to the possibility of collaboration and production beyond the market. On 15 September 2008, the Nokias and Motorolas pointed at Lehman Brothers HQ, and the free wifi signal in the Starbucks opposite, were in their own way just as significant as the bank that had collapsed. They were conveying the ultimate market signal from the future to the present: that an information economy may not be compatible with a market economy – or at least not one dominated and regulated by market forces primarily. That, I will argue, is the root cause of the collapse, fibrillation and zombie state of neoliberalism. All the money created, all the velocity and momentum of finance built up during the last twenty-five years have to be set against the possibility that capitalism – a system based on markets, property ownership and exchange – cannot capture the ‘value’ generated by the new technology.


pages: 232

Planet of Slums by Mike Davis


barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Brownian motion, centre right, clean water, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, edge city, European colonialism, failed state, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, Internet Archive, jitney, Kibera, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, megacity, microcredit, New Urbanism, Ponzi scheme, RAND corporation, rent control, structural adjustment programs, surplus humans, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, working poor

Whereas traditional formal industries such as textiles in India or oil in the Middle East tended to foster interethnic solidarity through unions and radical political parties, the rise of the unprotected informal sector has too frequently gone hand in hand with exacerbated ethnoregious differentiation and sectarian violence.40 38 Breman, The Labouring Poor, pp. 5, 201. 39 Philip Amis, "Making Sense of Urban Poverty," Environment and Urbanisation 7:1 (April 1995), p. 151. 40 I think Manuel Castells and Alejandro Portes, however, went too f a r i n a 1989 essay that suggests that the proletariat is "fading away" in the face of the "increasing heterogeneity of work situations and, thus, of social conditions." (Castells and Portes, "World Underneath: The Origins, Dynamics and Effects of the Informal Economy," in Portes, Castells, and Lauren Benton (eds), The Informal Economy: Studies in Advanced a id Less Developed Countiies, Baltimore 1989, p. 31.) Informal workers, in fact, tend to be massively crowded into a few major niches where effective organization and "class consciousness" might become possible if authentic labor rights and regulations existed. It is the lack of economic citizenship, rather than livelihood heterogeneity per se, that makes informal labor so prone to clientalist subordination and ethnic fragmentation.

Although conditions improved in projects built later, Hong Kong maintained the highest formal residential densities in the world: the price for freeing up the maximum surface area for highrise offices and expensive market-price apartments.39 38 Berner, "Learning from Informal Markets," p. 244. 39 Smart, Making Room, pp. 1, 33, 36, 52, 55. In their restructuring of Hong Kong's spatial economy, planners seldom paid attention to actual livelihood strategies of the urban poor, including their frequent use of their homes as workshops or their need to be located close to central markets or factories. The incompatibility of peripheral, highrise housing with the social structures and informal economies of poor communities is, of course, ancient history: it's an original sin repeated over decades by urban reformers and city czars everywhere. Indeed, back in the 1850s Baron Haussmann's Second Empire showcase of workers' housing, the Cite Napoleon in Paris, was rejected by its intended residents because of its uniformity and "barracks-like" quality. According to historian AnnLouise Shapiro: "They complained that philanthropists and building societies were beginning to relegate the labouring population to special quarters as in the Middle Ages, and urged instead that the government tax vacant apartments to force down the rental price and make available a greater number of lodgings in the mixed housing of the city centre."

Some Brazilian sociologists call this process — analogous to the semi-proletarianization of landless peasants — passive proletarianisation, involving the "dissolving of traditional forms of (re)production, which for the great majority of direct producers does not translate into a salaried position in the formal labor market."3 This informal working class, without legal recognition or rights, has important historical antecedents. In modern European history, Naples, even more than Dublin or London's East End, was the exemplar of an urban informal economy. In this "most shocking city of the nineteenth century," as Frank Snowden calls it in his brilliant study, a "chronic super-abundance of labour" survived by miracles of economic improvisation and the constant subdivision of subsistence niches. A structural dearth of formal jobs — permanent unemployment was estimated at 40 percent —was transformed into an overwhelming spectacle of informal competition.


Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport


8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business climate, Cal Newport, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, deliberate practice, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey,, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, popular electronics, remote working, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, statistical model, the medium is the message, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, winner-take-all economy

In an industrial economy, there was a small skilled labor and professional class for which deep work was crucial, but most workers could do just fine without ever cultivating an ability to concentrate without distraction. They were paid to crank widgets—and not much about their job would change in the decades they kept it. But as we shift to an information economy, more and more of our population are knowledge workers, and deep work is becoming a key currency—even if most haven’t yet recognized this reality. Deep work is not, in other words, an old-fashioned skill falling into irrelevance. It’s instead a crucial ability for anyone looking to move ahead in a globally competitive information economy that tends to chew up and spit out those who aren’t earning their keep. The real rewards are reserved not for those who are comfortable using Facebook (a shallow task, easily replicated), but instead for those who are comfortable building the innovative distributed systems that run the service (a decidedly deep task, hard to replicate).

For someone who admitted to sometimes spending up to 98 percent of his day in his old job surfing the Web, Jason Benn’s transformation is nothing short of astonishing. Jason Benn’s story highlights a crucial lesson: Deep work is not some nostalgic affectation of writers and early-twentieth-century philosophers. It’s instead a skill that has great value today. There are two reasons for this value. The first has to do with learning. We have an information economy that’s dependent on complex systems that change rapidly. Some of the computer languages Benn learned, for example, didn’t exist ten years ago and will likely be outdated ten years from now. Similarly, someone coming up in the field of marketing in the 1990s probably had no idea that today they’d need to master digital analytics. To remain valuable in our economy, therefore, you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things.

No one would fault Ric Furrer for not using Facebook, but if a knowledge worker makes this same decision, then he’s labeled an eccentric (as I’ve learned from personal experience). Just because this connection between depth and meaning is less clear in knowledge work, however, doesn’t mean that it’s nonexistent. The goal of this chapter is to convince you that deep work can generate as much satisfaction in an information economy as it so clearly does in a craft economy. In the sections ahead, I’ll make three arguments to support this claim. These arguments roughly follow a trajectory from the conceptually narrow to broad: starting with a neurological perspective, moving to the psychological, and ending with the philosophical. I’ll show that regardless of the angle from which you attack the issue of depth and knowledge work, it’s clear that by embracing depth over shallowness you can tap the same veins of meaning that drive craftsmen like Ric Furrer.


pages: 791 words: 85,159

Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid


AltaVista, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, cross-subsidies, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, Frank Gehry, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, George Gilder, global village, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Productivity paradox, rolodex, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Y2K

So, while the modern world often appears increasingly impersonal, in those areas where knowledge really counts, people count more than ever. In this way, a true knowledge economy should distinguish itself not only from the industrial economy but also from an information economy. For though its champions like to present these two as distinct, the information economy, like the industrial economy, shows a marked indifference to people. The industrial economy, for example, treated them en masse as interchangeable partsthe factory "hands" of the nineteenth century. The information economy threatens to treat them as more or less interchangeable consumers and processors of information. Attending to knowledge, by contrast, returns attention to people, what they know, how they come to know it, and how they differ. The importance of people as creators and carriers of knowledge is forcing organizations to realize that knowledge lies less in its databases than in its people.

Rather, it feels more as if, as the economist Paul Krugman puts it, "We've gone from an economy where most people worked in manufacturingin fairly large companies that were producing manufactured goods and engaged in things like transportationto an economy where most people work for fairly large companies producing services." 28 The resilience of the large organization is not all that surprising. Given that information technologies are particularly good at taking advantage of large networks, the information economy in certain circumstances actually favors the aggregated, massified firm.29 These are firms that can or have knit diverse networks together, as AOL hopes to do with its purchase of Netscape or as Microsoft hopes to do with the insertion of Windows into television set-top boxes. Consequently, the small, agile firm with big ideas and little money is less likely to be the viable start-up of legend.

The great classical economist Adam Smith used the image of the invisible hand to describe forces that reconcile the pursuit of private interests through markets with the public good and with what we have called the social fabric. If not actually producing good, at least the invisible hand prevents the pursuit of private interests from doing harm. "Assumptions which underlie the microeconomics of the Invisible Hand," de Long and Froomkin conclude, "fray badly when transported to the information economy."26 Better bots, then, will require a better understanding of human negotiation, the contribution of the social fabric, and the role of human restraint in the functioning of the invisible hand. Development will be ill served by people who merely redefine elaborate social processes in terms of the things that bots do well. Page 53 How Autonomous? If human negotiation is a delicate and complex art, it is inevitably more delicate and more complicated when conducted by proxies.


pages: 204 words: 67,922

Elsewhere, U.S.A: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms,and Economic Anxiety by Dalton Conley


3D printing, call centre, clean water, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, feminist movement, financial independence, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, late capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, McMansion, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, oil shock, PageRank, Ponzi scheme, positional goods, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, principal–agent problem, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

That is, in the Amway Church or Reverend Creflo A. Dollar’s 25,000-member Atlanta congregation, parishioners pray for salvation so that they can get rich. But resolving the conflicts of midcentury America has exacted its own terrible price: the fragmentation of the self, not to mention alienation and anxiety among today’s professional classes—those Americans who earn lots of money but who need to work for it. The 24/7, dual-sex information economy in which they work—riddled with inequality between the rich and the very rich—has changed the way we do business, advance our careers, and navigate our personal lives. This socioeconomic restructuring has generated wide reverberations perhaps best illustrated by three discrete (if interrelated) phenomena: the economic red shift; the portable workshop; and the price culture. These three phenomena combine to create the Elsewhere Ethic that haunt Mr. and Mrs. 2009, giving rise to a sense of alienation among them and many of their professional colleagues.

And what we are doing during our weisure time is accumulating social capital and developing our networks. Seen as a shortcut to the top that flew in the face of meritocratic ideals back during the social ethic of the 1950s, networking through weisure is now a skill that Americans pay millions of dollars to book publishers and network trainers to cultivate. This is not false consciousness, either. Social capital is real capital in the information economy. Those who control social valves—connections between individuals—are the ones who are able to profit through information arbitrage. That’s why Mr. Elsewhere is constantly having “meetings” that are ambiguous in nature. Part of each workday is spent drinking lattes with folks who may be potential clients, or investors, or just interesting people from whom the newest hot idea for private equity may arise.

Glaeser, and Bruce Sacerdote, “Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why So Different?” Working Paper no. 11278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Mass., 2005. One Plus a Hundred Zeros Welcome to Your (N)Office If there is any “center” or “downtown” to our new economy (and to Elsewhere, U.S.A., for that matter) it is just off the 101 Freeway in Mountain View, California. The headquarters of the information economy, so to speak, is, whose mission, elegantly stated, is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Started as a Ph.D. research project, and incorporated in a friend’s Silicon Valley garage, Google epitomizes the Elsewhere Ethic better than any other company. The very service itself could not be more representative of the networked or Elsewhere Society: the search engine deploys an algorithm that ranks Web pages’ appropriateness not so much by their own content as by the number of other pages that refer (“link”) to them.


pages: 322 words: 84,752

Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up by Philip N. Howard


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, Brian Krebs, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Edward Snowden,, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Julian Assange, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, national security letter, Network effects, obamacare, Occupy movement, packet switching, pension reform, prediction markets, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stuxnet, trade route, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, zero day

The ways of measuring a country’s value have changed once again. We now have all sorts of indicators about the size of the information economy, and we often evaluate a country by how much technical innovation we find there. The World Bank now counts patents and Ph.D.s in its country-wealth indicators. We continually worry about the supply of engineers in the economy. Bytes of traffic are a good proxy for a country’s importance in the global-information infrastructure. The financial services sector expects government investment in the internet, and when countries invest in information infrastructure, many industries benefit. The perception of technical innovation, the size of the information economy, and the reach of high-tech industries are all important to the evaluation of modern economic wealth. This new sense of valuation is what drives the startling rise of virtual currencies, mobile money, and other digital exchanges.

If our current political order doesn’t seem like a Westphalian collection of distinct internet states, perhaps the right metaphor can be found in feudalism.43 After all, we are increasingly beholden to a small number of big companies for our data, connectivity, and privacy. Some of us commit to Google, others to Apple, still others to Microsoft, or sometimes our employers make that commitment for us. We commit to buying their products and services, and they commit to making new technologies available (within their information ecologies). These feudal lords try to keep our data safe. If we want to participate in the modern information economy, or we want employment in a modern workplace, or we want to use digital media to maintain social ties with families and friends, we have to pledge allegiance to at least one of these lords. As data serfs it is difficult to pick up and move between kingdoms. However, this perspective doesn’t work because social elites are hardly using the internet to usher in a new era of feudalism. There are important civil-society actors that lead successful campaigns against the absolute dominance of technology firms.

As the internet and mobile phones arrived in many corners of the world, people began to realize that they could make connections that their government couldn’t or wouldn’t make. They started communicating with their neighbors. Young people who had never known a political alternative to authoritarianism started exploring their options. People began using social media to turn political problems into opportunities. The internet and mobile phones provided a new structure for political life. Mubarak’s Choice In the late 1990s, the global information economy was booming. Egypt was also doing well, at least compared with some of her neighbors, but was coming under pressure to modernize. Since so much economic growth seemed to be tied to the internet, Egypt’s strongman, Hosni Mubarak, faced a dilemma. Giving the country’s major businesses access to fast telecommunications services seemed like a good economic strategy. Cairo is an important financial center in the region, and many of the country’s state-owned businesses would benefit from a strong communications infrastructure.


pages: 494 words: 28,046

Empire by Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri


Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, discovery of the americas, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Haight Ashbury, informal economy, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, labour mobility, late capitalism, low skilled workers, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, New Urbanism, open borders, Peace of Westphalia, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Scramble for Africa, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, urban planning, William of Occam

Services cover a wide range of activities from health care, education, and finance to transportation, entertainment, and advertising. The jobs for the most part are highly mobile and involve flexible skills. More important, they are characterized in general by the central role played by knowledge, information, affect, and communication. In this sense many call the postindustrial economy an informational economy. The claim that modernization is over and that the global economy is today undergoing a process of postmodernization toward an informational economy does not mean that industrial production will be done away with or even that it will cease to play an important role, even in the most dominant regions of the globe. Just as the processes of industrialization transformed agriculture and made it more productive, so too the informational revolution will transform industry by redefining and rejuvenating manufacturing processes.

The Ford factory in 1990s Brazil, then, would not be built with the technology of the Ford factory of 1930s Detroit, but would be based on the most advanced and most productive computer and informational technologies available. The technological infrastructure of the factory itself would locate it squarely within the informational economy. Second, and perhaps more important, the two factories stand in different relations of dominance with respect to the global economy as a whole. The Detroit auto factory of the 1930s stood at the pinnacle of the global economy in the dominant position and producing the highest value; the 1990s auto factory, whether in São Paulo, Kentucky, or Vladivostok, occupies a subordinate position in the global economy—subordinated to the highvalue production of services. Today all economic activity tends to come under the dominance of the informational economy and to 287 288 PASSAGES OF PRODUCTION be qualitatively transformed by it. The geographical differences in the global economy are not signs of the co-presence of different stages of development but lines of the new global hierarchy of production.

Where the production of soul is concerned, as Musil would say, one really ought to replace the traditional techniques of industrial machines with the cybernetic intelligence of information and communication technologies. We must invent what Pierre Levy calls an anthropology of cyberspace.14 This shift of metaphors gives us a first glimpse of the transformation, but we need to look more closely to see clearly the changes in our notion of the human and in humanity itself that emerge in the passage toward an informational economy. The Sociology of Immaterial Labor The passage toward an informational economy necessarily involves a change in the quality and nature of labor. This is the most immediate sociological and anthropological implication of the passage of economic paradigms. Today information and communication have come to play a foundational role in production processes. A first aspect of this transformation is recognized by many in terms of the change in factory labor—using the auto industry as a central point of reference—from the Fordist model to the Toyotist model.15 The primary structural change between these models involves the system of communication between the production and the consumption of commodities, that is, the passage of information between the factory and the market.


pages: 629 words: 142,393

The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man,, call centre, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation,, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, illegal immigration, index card, informal economy, Internet Archive, jimmy wales, license plate recognition, loose coupling, mail merge, national security letter, packet switching, Post-materialism, post-materialism, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert X Cringely, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, wikimedia commons

TIMES, Aug. 12, 1994, at A1. 32. Wikipedia, Signaling System #7, (as of Aug. 15, 2007, 15:00 GMT). 33. Harmon, supra note 31. 34. Id. 35. Sullivan, supra note 1. 36. Spafford, supra note 5, at 678—81. 37. Id. at 680. 38. Id. 39. Matt Blaze, Cryptography Policy and the Information Economy,, Apr. 5, 2000, available athttp://windowsecuritycom/whitepapers/cryptography_Policy _and_the_Information_Economy.html. 40. Increases in computer crime have received attention from the hacker community. See Harmon, supra note 31; see also PEKKA HIMANEN & LINUS TORVALDS, THE HACKER ETHIC (2001); BRUCE STERLING, THE HACKER CRACKDOWN: LAW AND DISORDER ON THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER (2002), available at; cf.

Craigslist, initiated as a “.org” by a single person, dominates the market for classified advertising online.33 Ideas like free Web-based e-mail, hosting services for personal Web pages, instant messenger software, social networking sites, and well-designed search engines emerged more from individuals or small groups of people wanting to solve their own problems or try something neat than from firms realizing there were profits to be gleaned. This is a sampling of major Internet applications founded and groomed by outsiders; start sliding down what Wired editor Chris Anderson calls the Long Tail—niche applications for obscure interests– and we see a dominance of user-written software.34 Venture capital money and the other artifacts of the firm-based industrial information economy can kick in after an idea has been proven, and user innovation plays a crucial role as an initial spark. GENERATIVITY AND A BLENDING OF MODELS FOR INNOVATION Eric von Hippel has written extensively about how rarely firms welcome improvements to their products by outsiders, including their customers, even when they could stand to benefit from them.35 His work tries to persuade otherwise rational firms that the users of their products often can and do create new adaptations and uses for them—and that these users are commonly delighted to see their improvements shared.

The same mode of life is a healthy excitement to one, keeping all his faculties of action and enjoyment in their best order, while to another it is a distracting burthen, which suspends or crushes all internal life.62 The generative Internet and PC allow more than technical innovation and participation as new services and software are designed and deployed. In addition, much of that software is geared toward making political and artistic expression easier. Yochai Benkler has examined the opportunities for the democratization of cultural participation offered by the Internet through the lens of liberal political theory: The networked information economy makes it possible to reshape both the “who” and the “how” of cultural production relative to cultural production in the twentieth century. It adds to the centralized, market-oriented production system a new framework of radically decentralized individual and cooperative nonmarket production. It thereby affects the ability of individuals and groups to participate in the production of the cultural tools and frameworks of human understanding and discourse.


pages: 320 words: 87,853

The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information by Frank Pasquale


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, Atul Gawande, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, bonus culture, Brian Krebs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, don't be evil, Edward Snowden,, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, hiring and firing, housing crisis, informal economy, information retrieval, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, kremlinology, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, moral hazard, new economy, Nicholas Carr, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, search engine result page, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steven Levy, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, two-sided market, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, WikiLeaks

We don’t want terrorists to be able to evade detection because they know exactly what Homeland Security agents are looking out for.12 But when every move we make is subject to inspection by entities whose procedures and personnel are exempt from even remotely similar treatment, the promise of democracy and free markets rings hollow. Secrecy is approaching critical mass, and we are in the dark about crucial decisions. Greater openness is imperative. Reputation, Search, Finance At the core of the information economy are Internet and finance companies that accumulate vast amounts of digital data, and with it intimate details of their customers’— our—lives. They use it to make important decisions about us and to influence the decisions we make for ourselves. But what do we know about them? A bad credit score may cost a borrower hundreds of thousands of dollars, but he will never understand exactly how it was calculated.

Walmart grew to be the largest retailer in the United States by attracting consumers and squeezing suppliers. As its customer base expanded, it forced its suppliers to accept ever smaller margins. Consumers had little loyalty to the sources of their shampoo, socks, and dog food; they were pleased to accept Walmart as the place to find ultracheap everything.155 Firms like Google and Apple are the Walmarts of the information economy.156 They aggressively scheme to restrict their own workers’ wages.157 They squeeze content producers (for whom making it on a big platform may mean everything), and habituate users to value the finding ser vice itself over the sources of the things found. The content contributors—the writers, musicians, fi lmmakers, artists, 86 THE BLACK BOX SOCIETY historians, scholars, photographers, programmers, journalists, activists, cooks, sailors, manufacturers, yoga teachers, knitting gurus, auto mechanics, dog trainers, fi nancial advisers, Lego architects, and muckrakers in quest of whose output people use major internet platforms—may receive no share at all of the revenues that that vast user base occasions.

This brings us back to our equestrienne presenter, to the lords of the cloud, and to the question that is really the theme of this chapter. Who are these people and these companies that wield so much power in our lives? What do we owe them? Are they really the Gandalfs of the digital world, wizards selflessly guiding us through digital brambles? Or is it time to reconsider some conventional views about technology, labor, and value in the information economy?161 Silicon Valley’s top managers are well educated and technically skilled, but they are not great sages. They hide behind corporate THE HIDDEN LOGICS OF SEARCH 87 operations so covert that their actual contributions are hard to assess, and it’s hard not to wonder whether other firms or other individuals might make more constructive use of their data than they do. If not, why all the secrecy?


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman


23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

One poll found that most British babies appear on social media within an hour of being born. Many human beings acquire a data trail almost as soon as they appear in the world—and sometimes before. Once created, it can never be destroyed, only modified, added to, parts of it made more visible while others are suppressed. To become part of the social web, then, is to join the networks of surveillance, tracking, and data circulation that now support a vast informational economy and increasingly shape our social and cultural lives. Few aspects of contemporary life have gone unaffected by this shift, by the ability to publish immediately, freely, and to a massive audience. Shareability, and the drive to rack up likes and other metrics, guides the agendas of magazine editors and the budgets of marketers. Sentiment analysis—the mining of social-network data to determine the attitudes of individuals or whole populations—helps intelligence analysts learn where potential extremists are becoming radicalized.

On an identity-driven, persistently surveilled Web, discrete bits of information matter more for what they say about us and how they inform our public demonstrations of identity. As the Danish academic Anders Colding-Jørgensen argues: “We should no longer see the Internet as a post office where information is sent back and forth, but rather as an open arena for our identity and self-promotion—an arena that is a legitimate part of reality, just like our homes, workplaces and other social arenas in our society.” We’ve moved, he explains, from an information economy to an identity economy. This is a bit self-serving—commentators have developed no shortage of dubious new types of “economy,” from the “attention economy” to the “knowledge economy”—but Colding-Jørgensen is onto something. Our consumption of information online has shifted from purely utilitarian to an expression of the self. This is the paradigm of “Pics or it didn’t happen,” where every incident is worthless without shareable documentation, because our experiences are made fuller by being shared.

Don’t be anything but a good digital citizen, concerned about the issues of the day and sincerely engaged with others, while also pushing the restaurants and designer jeans you love. (They, too, might be watching, waiting to reward you for your free advertising. Plus, spreading taste is spreading influence.) Klout measures your constancy, recommending to users that they increase their “cadence” of tweets and their positivity in order to improve their scores. It may be boring and soulless, but how else to succeed in the information economy except by turning your persona into a more rarified form of data? DOES THIS ALGORITHM LIKE ME? Reputation and influence services play on our anxiety about being invisible on social networks or about being visible in the wrong ways. We don’t want to think that all that work is for nothing. As Taina Bucher writes, social-media associates “visibility” with “empowerment.” The more you are creating content, the more you have a chance to distinguish yourself from the masses.


pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen


3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

The structure of this economy is the reverse of the technological open architecture created by the Internet’s pioneers. Instead, it’s a top-down system that is concentrating wealth instead of spreading it. Unfortunately, the supposed “new rules” for this new economy aren’t very new. Rather than producing more jobs or prosperity, the Internet is dominated by winner-take-all companies like Amazon and Google that are now monopolizing vast swaths of our information economy. But why has this happened? How has a network designed to have neither a heart, a hierarchy, nor a central dot created such a top-down, winner-take-all economy run by a plutocracy of new lords and masters? Monetization In The Everything Store, his definitive 2013 biography of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Brad Stone recounts a conversation he had with Bezos about the writing of his book.

They agreed with Tom Perkins about the enormous power and influence of this new elite. But in contrast with Perkins, Frank, and Cook—whose observations about this emerging plutocracy are supported by the later research of many distinguished economists, including Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Reich, and Thomas Piketty—didn’t celebrate this one percent, trickle-down economy. Frank and Cook argued that the new information economy was central in the creation of the new inequality. “Perhaps the most profound changes in the underlying forces that give rise to winner-take-all effects have stemmed from technological developments in two areas—telecommunications and electronic computing,” they argued.30 Scale is critical in an instantly global market like the Internet. But the bigger the Internet became, they predicted, the fewer dominant online companies there would be.

AdWords and AdSense together represented what Levy calls a “cash cow” to fund the next decade’s worth of Web projects, which included the acquisition of YouTube and the creation of the Android mobile operating system, Gmail, Google+, Blogger, the Chrome browser, Google self-driving cars, Google Glass, Waze, and its most recent roll-up of artificial intelligence companies including DeepMind, Boston Dynamics, and Nest Labs.70 More than just cracking the code on Internet profits, Google had discovered the holy grail of the information economy. In 2001, revenues were just $86 million. They rose to $347 million in 2002, then to just under a billion dollars in 2003 and to almost $2 billion in 2004, when the six-year-old company went public in a $1.67 billion offering that valued it at $23 billion. By 2014, Google had become the world’s second most valuable company, after Apple, with a market cap of over $400 billion, and Brin and Page were the two wealthiest young men in the world, with fortunes of around $30 billion apiece.


pages: 422 words: 104,457

Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin


AltaVista, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, Chelsea Manning, clean water, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Graeber, Debian, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Firefox, GnuPG, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, market bubble, market design, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, prediction markets, price discrimination, randomized controlled trial, RFID, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, security theater, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, Steven Levy, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Zimmermann PGP

Known as “muckrakers,” investigative journalists such as Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair exposed the underbelly of the industrial revolution, from monopolistic price gouging by the trusts to working conditions in slaughterhouses. Their work led to laws that reined in the worst excesses of the era. I believe that today we are at a similar turning point. As our nation shifts toward an information economy, there are few laws policing the booming industry giants and few governmental or nonprofit institutions with the technical savvy to police the information economy. And so it falls to today’s muckrakers—investigative journalists and conscientious objectors like Edward Snowden—to reveal the underbelly of the information revolution. I hope that once we see the abuses clearly, we will be able to find a way to restrain the excesses of the information age. But I wasn’t sure how to create an online identity for Ida.

She has asked data brokers to voluntarily give individuals access to their data, an opportunity to correct their data, and to opt out of its use for marketing. But since the Federal Trade Commission is not empowered to easily write rules—unlike the Environmental Protection Agency—all Brill can do is encourage the data industry to regulate itself, unless the industry’s activities cross the line and violate more general laws, such as the FTC’s ban on “unfair and deceptive” practices. In an information economy, we probably need an Information Protection Agency that is empowered to police the information economy, with a particular focus on bringing transparency and accountability to data handling and usage. * * * But just creating an Information Protection Agency is not going to be enough to police government surveillance or to remedy the plight of people like Gulet Mohamed. When it comes to government surveillance, we have tended to allow dragnets when the benefits to society appear to outweigh the intrusiveness of the search.

Even Freestylers such as Google and Facebook could perhaps pass the fairness test if they limited the intrusiveness of their tracking, provided more meaningful and real access to their data, and were held accountable for data they shared with others. My unfairness checklist is almost certainly not perfect. But it is an attempt to carve a middle path between those who ask us to hand over all our data and “get over it,” and those who suggest that we throw our body on the tracks in front of the speeding train that is our data economy. Nobody, including me, wants to give up on all the benefits of our information economy—with its magical maps and facts at our fingerprints and the ability to connect with anyone in the world in an instant. But nor should any of us simply give up all of our data without any assurances that it will not come back to bite us. We didn’t shut down the industrial economy to stop pollution. We simply asked the polluters to be more accountable for their actions. We passed laws and created a new governmental agency and forced polluters to be transparent.


pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford


3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

As more people lose the dependable income stream that anchors them into the middle class, they are likely to increasingly turn to these long-tail opportunities in the digital economy. A lucky few will provide the anecdotal success stories we will hear about, but the vast majority will struggle to maintain anything approaching a middle-class lifestyle. As techno-visionary Jaron Lanier has pointed out, a great many people are likely to be forced into the type of informal economy that is found in third-world nations.11 Young adults who find the freedom of the informal economy alluring will quickly discover its drawbacks when they begin to think in terms of maintaining a home, raising children, or planning for retirement. Of course, there have always been people living at the fringes in the United States and other developed economies, but to some extent they free-ride on the wealth generated by a critical mass of middle-class households.

At peak employment in 1979, General Motors alone had nearly 840,000 workers but earned only about $11 billion—20 percent less than what Google raked in. And, yes, that’s after adjusting for inflation.10 Ford, Chrysler, and American Motors employed hundreds of thousands more people. Beyond that core workforce, the industry also created millions of peripheral middle-class jobs in areas like driving, repairing, insuring, and renting cars. Of course, the Internet sector also offers peripheral opportunities. The new information economy is often touted as the great equalizer. After all, anyone can write a blog and run ads on it, publish an ebook, sell stuff on eBay, or develop an iPhone app. While these opportunities do indeed exist, they are dramatically different from all those solid middle-class jobs created by the automotive industry. The evidence shows pretty clearly that the income realized from online activities nearly always tends to follow a winner-take-all distribution.

The most prominent digital optimists typically live at the extreme left of the long tail—or, even better, they’ve perhaps founded a company that owns the entire distribution. In a PBS television special that aired in 2012, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil was asked about the possibility of a “digital divide”—meaning that only a small percentage of the population will be able to thrive in the new information economy. Kurzweil dismissed the idea of such a divide and instead pointed to empowering technologies like mobile phones. Anybody with a smart phone, he said, “is carrying around billions of dollars of capability circa 20 or 30 years ago.”12 Left unsaid was how the average person is supposed to leverage that technology into a livable income. Mobile phones have indeed been shown to improve living standards, but this has been documented primarily in developing countries that lack other communications infrastructure.


pages: 330 words: 91,805

Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism by Robin Chase


3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business climate, call centre, car-free, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, decarbonisation, don't be evil, Elon Musk,, ethereum blockchain, Ferguson, Missouri, Firefox, frictionless, Gini coefficient, hive mind, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, openstreetmap, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Zipcar

Once upon a time, this country, like every country, had a much larger informal economy. As wealthy countries transitioned from an agricultural economy to an industrial one, they regulated away most of the informal economy, which is now much smaller and hidden. Governments see the informal economy as unsafe, unreliable, and just plain chaotic. Productivity gains and the ensuing rise in standard of living came with the purchase of capital assets—machines, tools, factories—that only companies could afford. It made sense to favor this kind of productivity. Poor countries that still have a large informal economy strive to do the same in their central business districts, ridding their cities and economy of this uncontrollable blight and pushing the informal economy to the edges and slums, where it remains an important part of the total economy.

The Peers Inc structure transforms the economic logic and this once-sound societal-benefits argument. Remember, platforms give individuals the power of the corporation at very affordable prices (often for free). Productivity and quality-of-life gains are now not necessarily achieved only through government support of the big and wealthy. Peers now have access to the means of production themselves. We don’t have to stifle the informal economy, because platforms organize, improve quality, and even self-regulate. In Chapter 10, I profile G-Auto, an example of an Indian company that is cleaning up the disorganized auto rickshaw market. But for all that, the rise of the micro-entrepreneur requires reworking and rethinking laws that protect them and their rights to earn a living wage and to work in a safe and healthy environment. Is the Peers Inc paradigm just another way to outsource labor?


pages: 362 words: 97,862

Physics in Mind: A Quantum View of the Brain by Werner Loewenstein


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, complexity theory, dematerialisation, discovery of DNA, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, informal economy, information trail, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Norbert Wiener, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, trade route, Turing machine

Swanson et al. 1977 and [b] Salemme et al. 1973, 1977.) It was certainly not for lack of speed. Those biological lines are as fast as hard-wired lines, if not faster. Nor was it for lack of information-transmission efficiency. Their metal proteins leave nothing to be desired in that respect. On the contrary, they are fit to be compared with tunnel diodes, as we shall see. More likely, the limitations of use were dictated by information economy. The genetic-information cost of lines made from metal protein isn’t low, but is affordable when the lines are a few hundred thousandths of a millimeter long. But long-distance lines are another matter. The manufacturing cost rises steeply with length, and for lines long enough for intercellular communication, it becomes prohibitive. Thus, knowing Evolution’s economic bent, the electronic mode may have never been a serious candidate in her laboratory for transmitting information between cells, let alone neurons.

This enables the system to perform many computations at a time—a very different operational mode from that of our technological computers, in which information is processed sequentially, one piece at a time. Parallel computation has its advantages. The most obvious is speed. That on its own must have tipped the scales of Evolution toward selection. But there is another, more basic advantage: information economy. Neuronal parallel computation is inherently cooperative, as the network units share the workload and information cost of computation. From our perch high on the evolutionary ladder, it is hard to see when exactly the parallel mode came into use. But it must have been early, for we find it in neuron systems everywhere, from worms to humans. The systems vary in cell number from a hundred to a trillion—an immense range, reflecting a growth unmatched by any other type of cell.

The brain is not so much about consciousness as it is, and cannot escape being, about computing—and above all, parallel computing. To perform myriads of parallel computations is par for the course for its neuron web (chapter 14), and for this reason alone a quantum-coherent neuronal material would be a tremendous boon. I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if Evolution, ever on the lookout for information economy, had come up with materials that stay quantum-coherent long enough for physiologically meaningful computations. Quantum computation is a natural for parallel computation and is the perfect information bargain. Quantum computation may not sound like much—it may give the impression of being just another method of computation. Well, that’s what it is, but it is also a good deal more. It is a method that uses the strange rules of the quantum world but provides undreamed-of power.


pages: 162 words: 51,473

The Accidental Theorist: And Other Dispatches From the Dismal Science by Paul Krugman


Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, clean water, collective bargaining, declining real wages, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, knowledge economy, life extension, lump of labour, new economy, Nick Leeson, paradox of thrift, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, trade route, very high income, working poor

Perhaps the best way to describe the flawed vision of fin-de-siècle futurists is to say that, with few exceptions, they expected the coming of an “immaculate” economy—an economy in which people would be largely emancipated from any grubby involvement with the physical world. The future, everyone insisted, would bring an “information economy,” which would mainly produce intangibles; the good jobs would go to “symbolic analysts,” who would push icons around on computer screens; and knowledge rather than traditionally important resources like oil or land would become the main source of wealth and power. But even in 1996 it should have been obvious that this was silly. First, for all the talk of an information economy, ultimately an economy must serve consumers—and consumers don’t want information, they want tangible goods. In particular, the billions of Third World families who finally began to have some purchasing power as the twentieth century ended did not want to watch pretty graphics on the Internet—they wanted to live in nice houses, drive cars, and eat meat.

So here it is—just one question: How did you feel about my telling you that story? If your answer was “Well, that was a cute story, but I don’t see what it can have to do with the U.S. economy,” you get a D. You have failed to understand the usefulness of simplified models in cutting through the complexity of the real world. If your answer was “What’s all this about? I want to talk about globalization and the new information economy, and he’s telling me about baby-sitting,” you get an F. Not only don’t you understand the uses of models, but you have fallen into the naive error of supposing that the way to be sophisticated about economics is to use big words and talk about big things. For the fact is that by studying our model—the baby-sitting co-op, which is like a miniature version of the real U.S. economy, in which Alan Greenspan controls the supply of coupons—we can gain some very important insights that many people who believe that they are knowledgeable about these things never do seem to grasp.

Simple information processing became faster and cheaper than anyone had imagined possible; but the once confident Artificial Intelligence movement went from defeat to defeat. As Marvin Minsky, one of the movement’s founders, despairingly remarked, “What people vaguely call common sense is actually more intricate than most of the technical expertise we admire.” And it takes common sense to deal with the physical world—which is why, even at the end of the twenty-first century, there are still no robot plumbers. Most important of all, the prophets of an “information economy” seem to have forgotten basic economics. When something becomes abundant, it also becomes cheap. A world awash in information will be a world in which information per se has very little market value. And in general when the economy becomes extremely good at doing something, that activity becomes less rather than more important. Late-twentieth-century America was supremely efficient at growing food; that was why it had hardly any farmers.


pages: 318 words: 85,824

A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey


affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business climate, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, debt deflation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, financial repression, full employment, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, labour market flexibility, land tenure, late capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage tax deduction, neoliberal agenda, new economy, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, structural adjustment programs, the built environment, The Chicago School, transaction costs, union organizing, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent

The subsequent lowering of import barriers delivered yet another blow, as cheap imports from the efficient but also highly subsidized agribusinesses in the United States drove down the price of corn and other products to the point where only the most efficient and affluent Mexican farmers could compete. Close to starvation, many peasants were forced off the land, only to augment the pool of unemployed in already overcrowded cities, where the so-called informal economy (for example street vendors) grew by leaps and bounds. Resistance to the ejido reform was, however, widespread, and several peasant groups supported the Zapatista rebellion that broke out in Chiapas in 1994.19 Figure 4.3 Employment in the major maquila sectors in Mexico in 2000 Source: Dicken, Global Shift. Having signed on to what became known as the Brady Plan for partial debt forgiveness in 1989, Mexico had to swallow, mainly voluntarily as it turned out, the IMF’s poison pill of deeper neoliberalization.

Along with this has gone an extraordinary burst in information technologies. In 1970 or so investment in that field was on a par with the 25 per cent going into production and to physical infrastructures respectively, but, by 2000, IT accounted for around 45 per cent of all investment, while the relative shares of investment in production and physical infrastructures declined. During the 1990s this was thought to betoken the rise of a new information economy.7 It in fact represented an unfortunate bias in the path of technological change away from production and infrastructure formation into lines required by the market-driven financialization that was the hallmark of neoliberalization. Information technology is the privileged technology of neoliberalism. It is far more useful for speculative activity and for maximizing the number of short-term market contracts than for improving production.

Unfortunately, that culture, however spectacular, glamorous, and beguiling, perpetually plays with desires without ever conferring satisfactions beyond the limited identity of the shopping mall and the anxieties of status by way of good looks (in the case of women) or of material possessions. ‘I shop therefore I am’ and possessive individualism together construct a world of pseudo-satisfactions that is superficially exciting but hollow at its core. But for those who have lost their jobs or who have never managed to move out of the extensive informal economies that now provide a parlous refuge for most of the world’s disposable workers, the story is entirely different. With some 2 billion people condemned to live on less than $2 a day, the taunting world of capitalist consumer culture, the huge bonuses earned in financial services, and the self-congratulatory polemics as to the emancipatory potential of neoliberalization, privatization, and personal responsibility must seem like a cruel joke.


pages: 238 words: 68,914

Where Does It Hurt?: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Fixing Health Care by Jonathan Bush, Stephen Baker


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Clayton Christensen, informal economy, inventory management, job automation, knowledge economy, obamacare, personalized medicine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, web application, women in the workforce, working poor

You regularly cross the Hudson River for dinner on the town—and entrust your health to New York restaurant regulators. You drive through a tunnel and count on highway safety as regulated by New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles. But out-of-staters cannot buy insurance there. Ask yourself this: Who are those laws protecting? These geographic limitations also subvert the promise of the information economy. Let’s say someone in Wyoming develops a pink lump under the skin on his forearm. He doesn’t know that it’s an aggressive skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma, which strikes only 1,200 Americans per year. Chances are, the local radiologist in Cheyenne, Cody, or Detroit, for that matter, has never seen such a lump. But with a cloud-based service, the patient can send this image to a specialist, perhaps in Florida or the backwoods of Maine.

They don’t attend the black-tie fund-raisers at the Kennedy Center. These people are rough-hewn and break the old rules. And they’re engaged in radical and unusual behavior. They’re busy making money in health care by building something new and appealing to shoppers. For me, they’re much like the wildcatters who stormed to fortunes in oil, and the hackers, like the Steve Jobs, who outraced the staid leaders of technology and helped to build a new information economy. These people, to quote Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial, are the “crazy ones.” These crazy ones are committed to health and their patients, of course, but I’ve noticed that most of them don’t mind talking about money. It’s a subject that is broached only in hushed tones and inscrutable bills in the great research hospitals. But the entrepreneurs I’m talking about celebrate their earnings.

Within those constraints, we’ll welcome any idea, no matter how crazy, as long as it meets at least one of three conditions: It must drive revenue to our customers, take work off their plate, or improve their results. If an app is successful, our service grows richer, the entrepreneur makes money—and we keep a slice of the revenue. Win-win-win. These entrepreneurs, I should add, have chosen a rough road. Plenty of tech visionaries, from AOL’s Steve Case to the leaders of Google, have attempted to colonize the hostile health care information economy, and have retreated, battered and bruised. Even when selling to enterprises, there are few buyers in health care, and their purchasing decisions often appear to defy reason. Ideas have to percolate through layers of bureaucracy. There are meetings, and lots of questions. Can it be incorporated into our legacy IT system? What are the risks? Let’s consult and have another meeting. Next month, perhaps?


pages: 565 words: 151,129

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin


3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation,, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, Zipcar

Chapter Twelve The Struggle to Define and Control the Intelligent Infrastructure Yochai Benkler is one of the most ardent and articulate advocates of the Commons approach. He also realizes that a Communications Commons will remain elusive if tied to a proprietary infrastructure. In the last few pages of his eloquent book The Wealth of Networks, Benkler argues that if future generations are to enjoy the immense benefits that come with a networked information economy, it will be necessary to create a common infrastructure. He writes: To flourish, a networked information economy rich in social production practices requires a core common infrastructure, a set of resources necessary for information production and exchange that are open for all to use. This requires physical, logical, and content resources from which to make new statements, encode them for communication, and then render and receive them.1 No disagreement here.

Eighty years after Lange and Keynes made their observations, contemporary economists are once again peering into the contradictory workings of the capitalist system, unsure of how to make the market economy function without self-destructing in the wake of new technologies that are speeding society into a near zero marginal cost era. Lawrence Summers, U.S. secretary of the treasury during President Bill Clinton’s administration and former president of Harvard University, and J. Bradford DeLong, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, revisited the capitalist dilemma in a joint paper delivered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s symposium, “Economic Policy for the Information Economy,” in August 2001. This time, there was much more at stake as the new information technologies and the incipient Internet communication revolution were threatening to take the capitalist system to a near zero marginal cost reality in the coming decades. Summers and DeLong’s concerns focused on the emerging data-processing and communication technologies. They wrote that these “seismic innovations” were forcing a wholesale reconfiguration of commercial life, with potential impacts whose expanse rivaled the advent of electricity.

., 130. 7. John Maynard Keynes, Essays in Persuasion (Project Gutenberg eBook, 2011), 358–74, (accessed January 23, 2013). 8. Ibid. 9. J. Bradford Delong and Lawrence H. Summers, “The ‘New Economy’: Background, Historical Perspective, Questions and Speculations,” Economic Policy for the Informational Economy (2001): 16. 10. Ibid., 35. 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid., 16. 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid., 16, 38. 17. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962). 18. Isaac Asimov, “In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Even Break Even,” Smithsonian, August 1970, 9. 19. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier, Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013) 59. 20.


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Collaborative Futures by Mike Linksvayer, Michael Mandiberg, Mushon Zer-Aviv


4chan, Benjamin Mako Hill, British Empire, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative economy, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Debian,, Firefox, informal economy, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, late capitalism, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Naomi Klein, Network effects, optical character recognition, packet switching, postnationalism / post nation state, prediction markets, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Slavoj Žižek, stealth mode startup, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application

They are all very well documented, so these descriptions should be great starting points for further research. 12 Anarchism in the Collaboratory Anarchist theory provides some of the background for our framing of autonomy and self organization. This is recapitulated by Yochai Benkler, one of the leading modern theorists of open collaboration, in his book The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom: “The networked information economy improves the practical capacities of individuals along three dimensions: (1) it improves their capacity to do more for and by themselves; (2) it enhances their capacity to do more in loose commonality with others, without being constrained to organize their relationship through a price system or in traditional hierarchical models of social and economic organization; and (3) it improves the capacity of individuals to do more in formal organizations that operate outside the market sphere.

In a free cooperation, all members of the cooperation are free to quit, to give limits or conditions for its cooperative activity in order to influence the rules according to their interests; they can do this at a price that is similar and bearable for all members; and the members really practice it, individually and collectively.” —Christoph Spehr, The Art of Free Cooperation Ownership In the industrial information economy the outputs are owned by the company that produces them. Copyrights and patentable inventions produced by employees are transferred to the corporate owner, either directly or via the ‘work for hire’ doctrine, which treats the acts of individuals as extensions of the employers will. Collaborations amongst small groups o en use similar proprietary methods to control the benefits arising from their outputs, but parcel out ownership amongst collaborators.

It is obviously a drop in the ocean in comparison to the scale of the disaster and the years it would take to heal. Nations and corporations have long term interests and the resources that will probably keep them in the picture long a er the networked effort will evaporate. These are brave yet very early experiments in new political association. They are widely informed by experiments in collaboration and control in information economies. Most of them will not automatically translate to meat space. Especially at times of natural disaster, when food and medicine shortage occupies much of the human rights debate. Open Leaders Failing Forward The abundance of information technologies have also lowered the price of failure and made it an inherent part of the process. It's not about whether you will fail, it's about how you will fail.


pages: 304 words: 82,395

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier


23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Black Swan, book scanning, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, obamacare, optical character recognition, PageRank, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Post-materialism, post-materialism, random walk, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Big data changes the nature of business, markets, and society, as we describe in Chapters Six and Seven. In the twentieth century, value shifted from physical infrastructure like land and factories to intangibles such as brands and intellectual property. That now is expanding to data, which is becoming a significant corporate asset, a vital economic input, and the foundation of new business models. It is the oil of the information economy. Though data is rarely recorded on corporate balance sheets, this is probably just a question of time. Although some data-crunching techniques have been around for a while, in the past they were only available to spy agencies, research labs, and the world’s biggest companies. After all, Walmart and Capital One pioneered the use of big data in retailing and banking and in so doing changed their industries.

On the amount of data smart meters collect—See Elias Leake Quinn, “Smart Metering and Privacy: Existing Law and Competing Policies; A Report for the Colorado Public Utility Commission,” Spring 2009 ( See also Joel M. Margolis, “When Smart Grids Grow Smart Enough to Solve Crimes,” Neustar, March 18, 2010 ( prod/documents/Neustar_Comments_DataExhibitA.pdf) [>] Fred Cate on notice and consent—Fred H. Cate, “The Failure of Fair Information Practice Principles,” in Jane K. Winn, ed., Consumer Protection in the Age of the “Information Economy” (Ashgate, 2006), p. 341 et seq. [>] On the AOL data release—Michael Barbaro and Tom Zeller Jr., “A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749,” New York Times, August 9, 2006. Also see Matthew Karnitschnig and Mylene Mangalindan, “AOL Fires Technology Chief After Web-Search Data Scandal,” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2006. [>] Netflix identified individual—Ryan Singel, “Netflix Spilled Your Brokeback Mountain Secret, Lawsuit Claims,” Wired, December 17, 2009 (

“Strength in Numbers: How Does Data-Driven Decisionmaking Affect Firm Performance?” ICIS 2011 Proceedings, Paper 13 (; also available at Byrne, John. The Whiz Kids. Doubleday, 1993. Cate, Fred H. “The Failure of Fair Information Practice Principles.” In Jane K. Winn, ed., Consumer Protection in the Age of the “Information Economy” (Ashgate, 2006), p. 341 et seq. Chin, A., and A. Klinefelter. “Differential Privacy as a Response to the Reidentification Threat: The Facebook Advertiser Case Study.” 90 North Carolina Law Review 1417 (2012). Crosby, Alfred. The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 1250–1600. Cambridge University Press, 1997. Cukier, Kenneth. “Data, Data Everywhere.” The Economist Special Report, February 27, 2010, pp. 1–14. ———.


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Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle by Silvia Federici


Community Supported Agriculture, declining real wages, equal pay for equal work, feminist movement, financial independence, global village, illegal immigration, informal economy, invisible hand, labor-force participation, land tenure, means of production, microcredit, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Occupy movement, planetary scale, Scramble for Africa, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, the market place, trade liberalization, UNCLOS, wages for housework, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

Castells reproposes the theory according to which industrial competitiveness does not depend on cheap labor, but on access to technology and information. From this viewpoint, the “Third World” no longer exists, being replaced by the countries of East Asia that have industrially developed and by the emergence of a “Fourth World” characterized by its inability to access the “information economy” and its consequent economic marginalization (“The Informational Economy and the New International Division of Labor,” 2239). According to Castells’s analysis, almost all of Africa and South America, and a good part of Asia, fall into this “Fourth World” (35-39). But the magnitude of the populations involved does not prevent him from maintaining that the work done by them is irrelevant for the objectives of the world economy and capital accumulation. 9.

Carnoy, Martin, et al., The New Global Economy in the Information Age. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania University Press, 1993. Castegnaro, Alessandro. “La Rivoluzione occulta dell’assistenza agli anziani: le aiutanti domiciliari.” Studi Zancan, 2 (2002). Castells, Manuel. The End of Millennium: The Information Age. Economy, Society and Culture. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1998. _____. “The Informational Economy and the New International Division of Labor.” In The New Global Economy in the Information Age, edited by Martin Carnoy, et al., 15-45. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania University Press, 1993. Chandler, Michael Alison. “When a Kid Becomes the Caregiver.” Washington Post, August 25, 2007. Chege, Michael. “The State and Labour in Kenya.” In Popular Struggles for Democracy in Africa, edited by Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o.


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Immigration worldwide: policies, practices, and trends by Uma Anand Segal, Doreen Elliott, Nazneen S. Mayadas


affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, borderless world, British Empire, Celtic Tiger, centre right, conceptual framework, credit crunch, demographic transition, deskilling,, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, full employment, global village, guest worker program, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, New Urbanism, open borders, phenotype, South China Sea, structural adjustment programs, trade route, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, urban planning, women in the workforce

Spain’s relatively long coastline and proximity to Africa confers a strategic position as a bridge between Europe and Africa. Another reason was the restrictive immigration policies applied elsewhere in Northern Europe, particularly France, which made Spain a more attractive alternative for North Africans in particular. It gained a reputation because of the relative ease of entry and the abundant job opportunities in either the formal or informal economy available to work-seeking migrants (Martı́nez Viega 1999). Meanwhile, additional obstacles to entering the United States encouraged ever greater numbers of Latin Americans to select Spain as an alternative destination. For others, like the Argentines, the pressure to emigrate was enhanced by the dire economic conditions in their country. With regard to the Africans, the most important ‘‘push’’ factors that can be identified were the growing poverty, unemployment, and population growth, all of which exerted pressure to leave.

The first is the employment structure. Spain’s economy is notable for the large number of small businesses and the high quotient of the selfemployed. This means that employment opportunities still occur predominantly in the lowskilled jobs and in small, family-run firms. It explains why employers look to foreign labor, despite the existence of a pool of educated jobless native workers. The second is the existence of a large informal economy, estimated by the European Employment Observatory to have reached around 22 percent of GNP (EEO 2004), that provides an access route into employment, albeit often of the temporary and low-paid variety. Among Spaniards, only a small number of the pool of the young unemployed are forced to accept any type of work in order to survive because they live at home, where there is already usually at least one breadwinner.

Notes Acronyms CIS CCOO ECRE EEO EU GDP GRECO INE INEM NGOs OECD PP SIVE Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas (Socio- logical Research Centre) Comisiones Obreras (Workers’ Commissions) European Council on Refugees and Exiles European Employment Observatory European Union Gross Domestic Product Global Programme to Regulate and Coordinate Foreigners and Immigration in Spain Instituto Nacional de Estadı́stica (National Statistics Institute) Instituto Nacional de Empleo (National Employment Institute) Nongovernmental Organizations Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Partido Popular (Popular Party) Integrated System for External Vigilance References Arango, J. (2000), ‘‘Becoming a country of immigration at the end of the twentieth century: The case of Spain.’’ In R. King, G. Lazaridis, & C. Tsadanidis (eds.), Eldorado or Fortress? Migration in Southern Europe, Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, pp. 253–276. Azurmendi, M. (2001), ‘‘Inmigración y conflicto en el Ejido,’’ Claves de Razón Práctica, 116, pp. 8–17. 151 Baldwin-Edwards, M., & Arango, J. (eds.), (1999), Immigrants and the Informal Economy in Southern Europe, London: Frank Cass. Castellanos, M. L., & Pedreño, A. (2001), ‘‘Desde El Ejido al accidente de Lorca,’’ Sociologia del Trabajo, 42, pp. 3–31. Chislett, W. (2005), Inside Spain 9. Madrid: Real Instituto Elcano. Colectivo IOE, Angel del Prado, M., Actis, W., Pereda, C., & Pérez Molina, R. (1998), Labour Market Discrimination against Migrant Workers in Spain, Geneva: International Labour Organization.


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Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani


affirmative action, BRICs, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, clean water, colonial rule, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, joint-stock company, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, land reform, LNG terminal, load shedding, Mahatma Gandhi, market fragmentation, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, open economy, pension reform, Potemkin village, price mechanism, race to the bottom, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, smart grid, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

This became especially pronounced as Europe’s GDP began to double every thirty-five years after 1900. And as labor became a powerful economic force, a large working population became more valuable. This idea of population as an asset rather than a burden has especially gained currency with the rise of knowledge-based industries such as IT, telecommunications and biotechnology in the 1970s. In fact the information economy is the culmination of what the Industrial Revolution started—it has placed human capital front and center as the main driver of productivity and growth. I do shy away, however, from unbridled optimism—that would be almost as bad as the previous mood of relentless pessimism on population growth. The pressures of India’s vast population are indeed humungous—our natural resources are no bottomless pool.

The lack of the most basic connectivity has deeply limited rural India’s growth, since it cuts off access to critical information such as market prices for crops and weather patterns. Transmitting information about a price shock around a certain crop from the central markets to the outlying rural areas can sometimes take months. As a result farmers in India find out about a price collapse too late, often after the planting season. For these farmers, IT is not just access to the information economy—it is their only access to it, and a critical, life-changing one. The demand for IT has consequently grown dramatically across rural India, and rural IT-based services led by the private sector have soared in recent years. Sriram Raghavan’s Internet community centers and kiosks, for instance, offer low-cost computing and networking services across villages, and ITC’s 7000 e-Choupal centers allow farmers to check commodity prices and sell crops online.

Accessing the exchange allows farmers to access prices of far-flung mandis with a single click. Purchasing crop futures on the exchange is also giving them some insight into the potential price volatility of their crops and helps them make their planting decisions accordingly. From being virtually cut off, India’s farmers are now moving, in a single leap, from third-world infrastructure into the information economy. The exchange is now expanding its efforts to reach farmers by putting up price tickers on rural bus stops. It has also tied up with Reliance Communications to transmit voice-enabled information on crop prices over the company’s CDMA network, which now covers more than half of India’s rural areas. The other major commodity exchange in India, the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), is along with the NCDEX also tying in with the broader network, for example by bringing in more people within the Tax Information Network.


pages: 339 words: 57,031

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner


1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

As Savio’s speech suggested, the students of the Free Speech Movement were afraid not only of becoming victims of a social machine, but also of becoming fuel for the engines of economic production. In the 1990s, the computer once again served as a metaphor for the organization of production and labor, but this time that link promised to liberate both individuals and society. How was it that the informational economy came to be seen not as an oppressive force, but as a site of political and cultural change? In order to answer this question, we need to revisit the research world out of which the computational metaphor arose in the 1940s and 1950s and the countercultural world of the 1960s. Contrary to the perceptions of many in the counterculture in the 1960s and of many scholars since, the two worlds had a great deal in common.

Thus, the rhetoric of community provided the ideological cover necessary to transform a potentially stark and single-minded market transaction into a complex, multidimensional act. To the extent that they could describe themselves as the givers and receivers of informational gifts within a community, members of the WELL could simultaneously recognize and ignore the degree to which they were also exchanging financially valuable goods within a newly informational economy. As a result, they could increase their own social capital and their access to the informational and social resources on which their work off-line depended. On the WELL, this heterarchical form of information work came together with the experience of interpersonal intimacy. Under the rubric of a New Communalist vision of a community of consciousness, this blend of emotional interconnection and informational labor gave rise to one of the most influential frames with which we have since understood the Internet: virtual community.

Richard Barbrook has argued that the gift-economy paradigm grew out of the New Left and has become a standard feature of the working world online. The history of the Whole Earth network suggests that in America, at least, it was the New Communalist movement rather than the New Left that drove the rise of the gift-economy paradigm. But Barbrook’s work remains an early and influential account of the gift economy’s role in the information economy. See Barbrook, “Hi-Tech Gift Economy.” 44. Mauss and Halls, The Gift. For a critique and extension of Mauss’s arguments, see Lévi-Strauss, “Selections from Introduction to the Work of Marcel Mauss.” See also Bourdieu, “Selections from The Logic of Practice”; and Bourdieu, “Marginalia.” For a broad-brush analysis of gift economies, see Cheal, Gift Economy. For a study of gift economies on the early public Internet, see Kollock, “Economies of Online Cooperation.” 45.


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Arrival City by Doug Saunders


agricultural Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, call centre, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, guest worker program, Hernando de Soto, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Kibera, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, megacity, microcredit, new economy, pensions crisis, place-making, price mechanism, rent control, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, white flight, working poor, working-age population

Until the economic crises of the 1980s, the cities of the developing world were dominated by an elite core of lifelong jobs backed by a few low-paying service jobs. Now, this world has exploded into small constellations of permanent employees dwarfed by a galaxy of informal work: small, unlicensed shops or street-vending sites; services, including domestic work and transportation; or short-term work in building and small manufacturing. The informal economy, previously considered a parasitic irrelevance on the edge of the “main” industrial economy, now represents a quarter of all jobs in post-communist countries, a third in North Africa, half in Latin America, 70 percent in India, and more than 90 percent in the poorest African countries.2 It is a form of labor that is often less secure and that offers none of the social-security benefits or long-term guarantees of industrial work—but, to its immense benefit, it is a form of work that is available to almost everyone who comes to the city.

This ambiguous approach to citizenship can have damaging effects on arrival cities, turning them from opportunities into threats. THE ARRIVAL CITY IN THE POST-MIGRATION NATION The presence of a Central American peasant, like Mario Martinez, in Los Angeles, or a family of Bangladeshi villagers, like the Tafaders, in the East End of London, strikes many people as an aberration, an artifact of the past or a political mistake. In this age of border controls, high-technology information economies, and selective immigration policies, we often think there should be no reason to have large masses of the developing world’s rural poor forming enclaves in the cities of the West. In many western European countries, in Canada, the United States, and Australia, governments respond to the arrival city not by making it function better but by trying to pretend that village-origin migration won’t happen or can be permanently stopped or filtered out.

The residents of arrival cities do not consider themselves “the poor” but rather successful urbanites who happen to be passing through a period of poverty, perhaps for a generation.5 The arrival city, if it is to function at all, must create members of a middle class: Families with enough earnings and savings to start businesses and employ others, to own and improve dwellings, to send children to university, to have a sustainable quality of life capable of moving them, and their neighbors, beyond merely surviving. An arrival-city middle class is important for a number of reasons. It creates social and political stability, because the middle class ties the neighborhood to the institutions of the wider city and thereby opens a pathway to something other than crime, marginal informal-economy employment, and dependency. The presence of an arrival-city middle class shows new arrivals and their children that the process of migration is not a journey into perpetual injustice, that sustainable prosperity is available to those willing to study and invest. It tends to generate employers and political leaders within the arrival city, improving the quality of life for others. And research has shown that the presence of a middle class raises living standards for those neighbors who remain poor.6 The economist Steven Durlauf has shown that a middle class, even a small one, within a poor community can generate “neighborhood feedback effects” in which investments in the higher education of children become a behavioral norm.7 And, significantly, the presence of a middle class within the arrival city helps improve the standards of living in the originating villages, financing non-agricultural industries in rural areas and creating a parallel rural middle class.


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The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin


banking crisis, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, cashless society, collective bargaining, computer age, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, general-purpose programming language, George Gilder, global village, hiring and firing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land reform, low skilled workers, means of production, new economy, New Urbanism, pink-collar, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, Thorstein Veblen, Toyota Production System, trade route, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

Wilson blames the exodus for a spiraling decline in the inner-city tax base, a precipitous drop in public services, and the entrapment of millions of black Americans in a self-perpetuating cycle of permanent unemployment and public assistance. In New York City in 1975, more than 15 percent of the residents were on some form of public assistance. In Chicago it was nearly 19 percent. 23 In the 1980s many of the nation's northern cities partially revived by becoming hubs for the new information economy. Scores of downtown areas made the transition from "centers of production and distribution of material goods to centers of administration, information exchange and higher order service provision."24 The emerging knowledge-based industries have meant increased jobs for highskilled white collar and service workers. For large numbers of AfricanAmericans, however, the new urban renaissance has only served to accentuate the ever widening employment and income gap between highly educated whites and poor unskilled blacks.

This small elite owns 37.4 percent of all corporate stocks and bonds and 56.2 percent of all U.S. private business assets. 39 Below the super rich is a slightly larger class consisting of 4 percent of the working population of the United States. Their ranks are made up largely of the new professionals, the highly trained symbolic analysts or knowledge workers who manage the new high-tech information economy. This small group, numbering fewer than 3.8 million individuals, earns as much as the entire bottom 51 percent of American wage earners, totaling more than 49.2 million. 40 In addition to the top 4 percent of American income earners who make up the elite of the knowledge sector, another 16 percent of the American workforce also consists mostly of knowledge workers. Altogether, the knowledge class, which represents 20 percent of the workforce, receives $1,755 billion a year in income, more than the other four fifths of the population combined.

'l\t the end of the morning," says Brod, "she is exhausted, and wonders how she'll find the energy to complete the day's work."19 The new computer-based technologies have so quickened the volume, flow, and pace of information that millions of workers are experiencing mental "overload" and "burnout." The physical fatigue generated by the fast pace of the older industrial economy is being Requiem for the Working Class 189 eclipsed by the mental fatigue generated by the nanosecond pace of the new information economy. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), clerical workers who use computers suffer inordinately high levels of stress. 20 The hyperefficient high-tech economy is undermining the mental and physical well-being of millions of workers around the world. The International Labor Organization says that "stress has become one of the most serious health issue of the 20th century."21 In the United States alone,job stress costs employers in excess of $200 billion a year in absenteeism, reduced productivity, medical expenses, and compensation claims.


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The End of Men: And the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin


affirmative action, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, edge city, facts on the ground, financial independence, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, job satisfaction, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, Results Only Work Environment, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, union organizing, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, young professional

Indeed, the US economy is becoming a kind of traveling sisterhood: Professional women leave home and enter the workforce, creating domestic jobs for other women to fill. Our vast and struggling middle class, where the disparities between men and women are the greatest, is slowly turning into a matriarchy, with men increasingly absent from the workforce and from home, and women making all the decisions. In the past, men derived their advantage largely from size and strength, but the postindustrial economy is indifferent to brawn. A service and information economy rewards precisely the opposite qualities—the ones that can’t be easily replaced by a machine. These attributes—social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus—are, at a minimum, not predominantly the province of men. In fact, they seem to come more easily to women. Women in poor parts of India are learning English faster than men, to meet the demands of new global call centers.

Hannah and all her classmates take a “communications” class where they are graded on their ability to show empathy and get through even to ornery patients. “We get graded on people skills,” Hannah says about her upcoming residency, and then “the drug knowledge is important, too.” As a profession, pharmacy put itself on the right side of history. It sidestepped a future in manual labor and moved itself into the more feminine-friendly service and information economy, where higher degrees are always required and technology does not make your job obsolete; instead it frees you to shake hands and smile. Pharmacy followed the script for success in the modern economy. And in that script, the flood of women into the profession is no longer a sign of pollution, but the assurance of a bright, happy future. Pharmacy—the woman’s profession—now has an average salary of somewhere around $110,000, a secure future, and the promise of a reasonably balanced life.

See also Doctors, female; Nursing profession; Pharmacists Hearts of Men, The (Ehrenreich), 63 Hegedus, Nathan, 267 Heilman, Madeline, 210–11 Henderson, Darren, 89 Heriot, Gail, 145–48, 158 Hewlett Packard (HP), 219 “Hey, Soul Sister” (song), 122 Higher education, 94, 163 gender dynamics of, 149–60 See also specific colleges and universities Hiroshima, atomic bombing of, 175 History Channel, 126 Hodge, Monica, 109 Home health care, 118, 124 Honduras, 81 Hooking Up (Bogle), 20 Hook-up culture, 17–45 Housewives, 65, 152, 172 in Asian cultures, 239, 259 role reversal fantasy about, 122 in television shows, 47–48 Housing industry, collapse of, 87, 89 Houston, 81 How to Train Your Dragon (Cowell), 190 Huggies, 266 Humber, Gabby, 100 Hungary, 237 Hunger Games, The (Collins), 34, 190 Hunter-gatherer societies, 175 Hwang Myeong-eun, 241–45 Hyundai Motors, 204, 234, 250 Iceland, 5, 202 I Love Lucy (television show), 47–49 India, 5, 119, 184, 188 traditional families in, 220 Indiana, University of, 21 Information economy, 5 Information technology (IT), 138 Institutional Investor, 203 International Olympic Committee, 250 Internet boom, 201 Iowa, 96 Iraq war, 175 Israel, 237 Ivy League schools, 26–29, 31, 145, 198. See also specific universities J. C. Penney department stores, 97 Jackass 3D (movie), 143 Jacks, Margaret, 132 Jackson, Shirley, 170 Japan, 55, 238, 241, 253, 267 Jersey Shore (TV reality show), 178–79 Jews, 227 Job, The (Lewis), 120–21 Job loss.


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Digital Bank: Strategies for Launching or Becoming a Digital Bank by Chris Skinner


algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, bank run, Basel III, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, demand response, disintermediation, don't be evil,, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Google Glasses, high net worth, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, margin call, mass affluent, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, platform as a service, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pre–internet, quantitative easing, ransomware, reserve currency, RFID, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, smart cities, software as a service, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Stuxnet, trade route, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, web application, Y2K

Admittedly, he made these statements as we moved through the height of the information revolution discussions of the 1990s, when Microsoft was rocking the world as mainframe moved to desktop, and internet banking was bubbling on the horizon. Even then, it should be noted that most of this banker’s views that the basis for wealth has evolved from land to labour to information were formed back in the 1970s, when technology first hit the banking system and moved us to an information economy. Today, this vision is realised and businesses exist as information economies and they fight based upon information. Google is not a monopoly as there were and are plenty of search engines around - Ask Jeeves, Lycos, Altavista, Bing, etc - but Google won this game early on by making algorithmic analysis of data more relevant and organised. They continue to do this today by making searches contextual and geographically localised.

Get more cross-sell, get more relationship depth, get more profit, get rid of loss-making customers ... nothing was really focused upon customer service in that era. It’s similar to the days of Business Process Re-engineering, where the push was for banks to reinvent the customer relationship from the external interaction viewpoint inwards ... instead, most banks opted for purely incremental improvements to internal processes to lower costs. Now there is a big change. That big change is the information economy and the ability of new players to use information as a competitive weapon. Deep data mining can now be used to leverage electronic relationships that deliver the depth, loyalty and sales that banks were seeking a decade ago, and it can all be done today without a human hand involved. We see this with Apple, Amazon, Google and more. On Apple, you download an app or iTune and suddenly get recommendations of a thousand others.


pages: 357 words: 95,986

Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams


3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, battle of ideas, blockchain, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, late capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, post scarcity, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, surplus humans, the built environment, The Chicago School, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Spring 2014. 86.Loïc Wacquant, ‘The Rise of Advanced Marginality: Notes on Its Nature and Implications’, Acta Sociologica 39: 2 (1996), p. 125; Richard Florida, Zara Matheson, Patrick Adler and Taylor Brydges, The Divided City and the Shape of the New Metropolis, Martin Prosperity Institute, 2014, at 87.William Julius Wilson, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor (New York: Vintage Books, 1997), p. 15. 88.Loïc Wacquant, ‘Class, Race and Hyperincarceration in Revanchist America’, Socialism and Democracy 28: 3 (2014), p. 46. 89.Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail (New York: Random House, 1988), p. 191. 90.Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow (New York: New Press, 2012), p. 218. 91.The number of black males working in manufacturing was nearly cut in half between 1973 and 1987. Wilson, When Work Disappears, pp. 29–31. 92.Ibid., p. 42. 93.Ibid., p. 19. 94.Wacquant, ‘Rise of Advanced Marginality,’ p. 127. 95.While the size of the informal economy is notoriously difficult to measure, by all accounts it forms a significant part of the global economy. For an overview of methods to measure the global shadow economy, see Friedrich Schneider and Andreas Buehn, Estimating the Size of the Shadow Economy: Methods, Problems, and Open Questions (CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4448, 2013), pdf available at For a more detailed, ethnographic account of one urban informal economy, see: Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006). 96.The United Nations suggests that two-fifths of workers in developing economies are in the informal sector, while other research notes a significant growth in this proportion between 1985 and 2007.

Index 1968, 16–7, 63, 188n33 15M, 11, 22 abstraction, 10, 15, 36, 44, 81 additive manufacturing, 110, 143, 150, 182 affect, 7–8, 113–4, 140–1 afro-futurism, 139, 141 AI (artificial intelligence), 110, 143 alienation, 14–5, 82 algorithmic trading, 111 Allende, Salvador, 148, 149 alternativism, 194n95 Althusser, Louis, 81, 141–2 anti-globalisation, 3, 159, 162 anti-war, 3, 5, 22, 162 Apple, 146, Arab Spring, 131, 159 Argentina, 37–9, 173 authenticity, 10–1, 15, 27, 82, 180 automation, 1–2, 86, 88–9, 94–5, 97–8, 104–5, 109–17, 122, 127, 130, 143, 150–1, 167, 171–4, 181–2, 203n15, 212n121, 214n161, 215n9, 218n45 banking, 43–6, 61, 147 Beveridge Report, 118 big data, 110, 111 Bolshevik Revolution, 131 Bolsheviks, 137 Russian Revolution, 139 Brazil, 75, 119, 147, 157, 169 Bretton Woods, 61–2 Brown, Michael, 173 care labour, 113–4 Chicago School, 51, 59–60 Chile, 52, 62, 148, 149, 150 China, 87, 89, 97, 170 class, 14, 16–7, 20–1, 25, 53, 64–5, 87, 91, 96–102, 116, 120, 122–3, 126–7, 132–3, 155–62, 170, 173–4, 189n1, 206n44, 233n119, 233n4, 233n5, 234n18 Cleaver, Eldridge, 91–2 climate change, 13–4, 116 colonialism, 73, 75–6, 96–7, 225n3 common sense, 9–11, 21–2, 40, 54–5, 58–60, 63–7, 72, 131–7 communisation, 92, 225n5 competitive subjects, 63–5, 99, 124 complex systems, 13–4, conspiracy theories, 14–5 cosmism, 139 Critchley, Simon, 72 cryptocurrencies, 143, 182 Cybersyn, 149–150 debt, 9, 22, 35–6, 94 demands, 6–7, 30, 33, 107–8, 130, 159–62, 167 no demands, 7, 34–5, 107, 186n3 non-reformist demands, 108 transitional demands, 215n5 democracy, 31–3, 182 direct democracy, 27–9, 31–3, 164, 190n8 direct action, 6, 11, 27–9, 35–6 education, 64, 99, 104, 141–5, 165–6 Egypt, 32–4, 190n21 energy, 2, 16,19,41, 42–43, 116, 147, 148, 150–51, 164, 171, 178, 179, 182, 183 Engels, Friedrich, 79 Erhard, Ludwig, 57 ethics, 42 work ethic, 124–6 evictions, 8, 12, 36 feminism, 18–21, 122, 138, 161 Fisher, Antony, 58–9, 196n34 food miles, 42–3 fracking, 8 France, 17, 62, 149, 167 free time, 80, 115–6, 120–1, 167, 219n50 freedom, 63–5, 120–1, 126–7, 180–1 negative freedom, 79 synthetic freedom, 78–83 Friedman, Milton, 56, 59–61 full employment, 98–100 future, 1, 71–5, 175–8, 181–3 G20, 6, 94 gender, 21, 41, 90, 122 Germany, 45, 56–7 ghettos, 95–6 Gramsci, Antonio, 132, 165 Graeber, David, 33 grand narratives, 73–4 Great Depression, 46, 65, 99–101, 114–5 Harvey, David, 135 Hayek, Friedrich, 54–6 Holzer, Jenny, 175, 178 horizontalism, 18, 26–39 housing, 8, 28, 35, 48, 77, 80, 95, 96, 148, 159, 167, 168, humanism, 81–3, 180–1 hyperstition, 74–5, 138–9 Iceland, 34, 164 idleness, 85–6 immediacy, 10–1 immigration, 101–2, 161 India, 87, 97–8, 130 inequality, 22, 80, 93–4 informal economy, 95–8, 203n10, 206n44, 210n95 Institute of Economic Affairs, 58–9 Iranian Revolution, 131 Jameson, Fredric, 14, 92, 198n10 Japan, 147 Jimmy Reid Foundation, 117 jobless recovery, 94–5 Jobs, Steve, 179 Johnson, Boris, 172 Kalecki, Michał, 120 Krugman, Paul, 118 labour, 2, 3,9, 17, 20, 21, 33, 38, 48, 52, 58, 61–3, 74, 79, 81, 83, 85–143, 148, 150, 151, 156–8, 161, 163–181, 182 Laclau, Ernesto, 155, 159 Lafargue, Paul, 115, language, 81, 132, 160, 164–5 leisure, 85–6 Leninism, 17, 131, 188n33 Live Aid, 8 localism, 40–6 locavorism, 41–2 Lucas Aerospace, 147 Luxemburg, Rosa, 15 Lyotard, Francois, 73, 74 Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, 58, 59 marches, 6, 30, 49 Marikana massacre, 170 Marinaleda, 48 Marx, Karl, 73, 79, 85, 86, 92, 115, 119, 121, 122, 132, 142, 156, 158, 180 Mattick, Paul, 92, 118 media, 2, 7–8, 31, 36, 52, 58, 60, 63, 67, 88, 118, 125–6, 129, 133–5, 163–5, 176, 182 Mirowski, Philip, 66 modernity, 23, 63, 69–85, 86, 131, 176, 181 modernisation, 23, 60, 63, 137, 174 Mont Pelerin Society, 54, 86, 134, 164, 166 MPS, 55, 56, 58, 66, 67, 134 Move Your Money, 44 Murray, Charles, 59 Musk, Elon, 179 National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, 172 negative solidarity, 20, 37 neoliberalism, 3, 12, 20–3, 47, 49, 51–67, 70, 72, 108, 116, 117, 119, 121, 124, 134, 141, 142, 148, 156, 176, 179, 183 neoliberal, 7, 9, 14–16, 20, 21, 37, 47, 49, 73, 93, 99, 118, 126, 127, 129, 131–2, 134, 135, 162, 169, 174, 176, 181 New Economics Foundation, 117, 144 new left, 18–22 New Zealand, 151 occupations, 5, 7, 10, 11, 29–31, 34, 49, 94, 172 Occupy Wall Street, 3, 6, 7, 11, 18, 22, 26, 29–38, 126, 133, 158, 159, 160, 162, 189n1 ordoliberals, 54, 57 organic intellectual, 165–6 Overton Window, 134, 139 Partido dos Trabalhadores, 169 parties, political, 2, 10, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 30, 34, 39, 46, 59, 105, 116, 118, 124, 129, 162, 164, 168, 169 personal savings, 94 Piketty, Thomas, 140 Plan C, 117 planning, 1, 15, 56, 141, 142, 149, 151, 182 Plant, Sadie, 82 Podemos, 159, 160, 169 police, 6, 30, 33, 36, 37, 102, 133, 161, 168, 171, 173 postcapitalism, 17, 38, 130, 143, 145, 150, 151, 158, 168, 178, 180 postcapitalist, 12, 15, 16, 32, 34, 83, 109, 115, 126, 136, 143, 145, 150, 152, 153, 157, 179, 180 Post-Crash Economic Society, 143 post-work, 23, 69, 83, 85, 86, 105, 107–127, 129, 130, 138, 140, 141, 153, 155, 156, 158, 161, 163, 164, 167, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178 Pou Chen Group, 170 power, 1, 2, 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, 18–21, 26, 28–30, 33, 36, 43, 46, 48, 49, 59, 61, 62, 65, 73, 78, 79, 80, 81, 87, 88, 93, 100, 108, 111, 116, 120, 123, 127, 130–5, 146, 148, 151, 153, 155–74, 175, 176, 179, 180, 182 precarity, 9, 86, 88, 93, 94, 95, 98, 104, 121, 123, 126, 130, 156, 157, 166, 167, 173, 174 precarious, 2, 64, 117, 129, 167 Precarious Workers Brigade, 117 premature deindustrialisation, 97, 98 primitive accumulation, 87, 89, 90, 96, 97 prison, 90, 102, 103, 119, 133 incarceration, 102, 103, 104, 105, 161 productivity, 74, 88, 97, 110–17, 125, 150, 167 progress, 21, 23, 46, 71–5, 77, 107, 114, 115, 120, 126, 131, 138, 179, 180 protests, 1, 7, 18, 22, 28, 31, 37, 49, 66, 153, 164 psychopathologies, 64 radio-frequency identification, 110 race, 14, 31, 90, 102, 103, 140, 156, 171, 172 Reagan, Ronald, 60, 62, 66, 70 Republican Party (US), 135 resistance, 2, 5, 12, 15, 30, 35, 46–8, 49, 69, 72, 74, 83, 114, 124, 134, 158, 173, 181 Rethinking Economics, 143 Robinson, Joan, 87 Roboticisation, 110, 209n69 mechanisation, 95, 101 Rolling Jubilee, 9 Samuelson, Paul, 142 second machine age, 111 secular stagnation, 143 self-driving cars, 110, 111, 113, 173 shadow work, 115 slavery, 74, 90, 95, 103 slow food, 41, 42 slum, 86, 96–8, 102, 104 social democracy, 3, 17, 46, 66, 70, 167, 176 social democratic, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 47, 57, 72, 80, 98, 100, 108, 123, 127, 168 social media, 1, 8, 182 South Africa, 119, 157, 170 Spain, 12, 22, 34, 35, 45, 159, 164 stagflation, 19, 27, 61, 65, 100 Stalinist, 17, 18, 137 strategy, 12, 20, 26, 49, 56, 67, 117, 127, 131–3, 136, 148, 153, 156, 163, 164 strategic, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 25, 28, 29, 35, 49, 52, 55, 66, 70, 77, 108, 116, 131, 135, 157, 162, 163, 164, 170, 171, 173, 174 strikes, 9, 10, 28, 36, 37, 116, 120, 157, 167, 170–3 suicide, 94 surplus populations, 40, 86, 88–94, 96–97, 101–3, 104, 105, 120, 130, 166–7, 173, 203n10 Syriza, 159, 160 tactics, 6, 10, 11, 15, 18, 19, 26, 28, 39, 40, 49, 157, 164, 171–4 Tahrir Square, 32, 34 Taylorism, 152 technology, 1, 3, 72, 81, 88, 89, 98, 109, 110, 111, 129, 136, 137, 145–8, 150–3, 178, 179, 182 Thatcher, Margaret, 59, 60, 62, 66, 70, 72, 100 think tanks, 16, 55, 56, 58, 59, 60, 63, 67, 117, 134, 135, 165 trade unions, 10, 27, 47, 59, 61, 62, 71, 105, 116, 117, 124, 129, 148, 162, 166 labour unions, 16, 171 unions, 17, 18, 20, 27, 30, 44 UK Uncut, 126 unemployment, 20, 56, 60, 79, 86–98, 99, 100, 101, 101, 102, 115, 116, 118, 121, 123, 125, 127, 129, 147, 159, 161, 168, 170, 173, 207n44 United Automobile Workers, 170 United Kingdom UK, 8, 20, 40, 42, 45, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61, 62, 92, 93, 94, 117, 118, 126, 144, 147, 151, 172 United States, 8, 18, 29, 36, 44, 45, 59, 62, 78, 92, 95, 103, 114, 118, 123, 133, 135, 138, 167 America, 6, 16, 30, 38, 47, 56, 62, 76, 95, 97, 98, 100, 101, 102, 103, 110, 164 universal basic income, 108, 118, 123, 127, 140, 143 basic income, 80, 108, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 127, 129, 130, 140, 143, 164, 165, 167 universalism, 69, 70, 75–8, 83, 119, 132, 175, 197n1, 199n40 USSR, 62, 63, 79, 139 Soviet Union, 57, 70, 74, 139 utopia, 3, 28, 32, 35, 48, 54, 58, 60, 66, 69, 70, 72, 108, 113, 114, 132, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 150, 153, 177, 179, 181, 182 vanguard functions, 163 Venezuela, 169 wages, 2, 71, 87, 90, 91, 93, 94, 97, 98, 101, 111, 120, 122, 125, 156, 166, 167 welfare, 14, 38, 57, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 71, 73, 90, 100, 101, 103, 105, 118, 119, 122, 124 Wilde, Oscar, 182 withdrawal, 11, 47, 48, 69, 131, 182 exit, 47, 48, 181 escape, 3, 9, 11, 38, 69, 107, 114, 139, 165, 178 work, 1, 2, 16, 17, 23, 32, 36, 41, 44, 47, 64, 71, 85, 86, 90–6, 98, 100, 101, 103–5, 108, 109, 110–7, 120–7, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 136, 140, 141, 142, 143, 147, 150, 151, 152, 157, 163, 165, 166, 170, 173, 174, 176, 177, 178, 181 wage labour, 74, 85, 86, 87, 89, 90, 92, 103, 104, 105, 120, 136, 141, 180 job, 2, 38, 41, 47, 48, 63, 64, 79, 85, 86, 88, 89, 90, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 103, 104, 105, 110, 111, 113, 114–23, 124, 125, 126, 129, 147, 148, 161, 166, 167, 171 worker-controlled factories, 38, 39 workfare, 59, 100, 104 World Trade Organisation, 6 World War II, 46, 54, 56, 57, 115, 156 Zapatistas, 11, 22, 26, 35 zero-hours contracts, 93 Žižek, Slavoj, 140 Zuccotti Park, 31, 32


words: 49,604

The Weightless World: Strategies for Managing the Digital Economy by Diane Coyle


barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, clean water, computer age, Corn Laws, cross-subsidies, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, Edward Glaeser, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, financial deregulation, full employment, global village, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, McJob, microcredit, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, night-watchman state, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, pension reform, pensions crisis, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, spinning jenny, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, two tier labour market, very high income, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, working-age population

The bill for current entitlements has risen painfully high, yet governments are not achieving the basics their citizens expect: there are more paupers on the streets of our cities; there are, in Europe at any rate, more people without work than at any time since the Great Depression. Even trickier for the existing social contract, as the average productivity and income in Western society rises, a small group of citizens is getting left behind. Their productivity is not rising but their expectations keep pace with the rest of us. They will not accept the exploitative jobs in which they might be employable, preferring the informal economy or even the illegal, drugsbased economy. Meanwhile, the grotty jobs that still need carrying out — we still need the cleaners, the auxiliary nurses and the all-night sales assistants at the convenience store — become harder to fill because of the political classes’ mania about keeping out immigrants. A first attempt to provide some answers to these dilemmas follows later, after an exploration of the current tensions in our welfare state in Chapters 5 The Weightless World 15 and 6.

The rhetoric had changed, and for the first time the American equation of ‘welfare’ with ‘dependency’ entered the debate in Britain. From the late 1980s onwards policy-makers became much more concerned about the effects of social security on incentives to work. However, there was no great rolling back of the state under that most ideological of governments. The Thatcher experiment can be interpreted as an attempt to shape the welfare state into a more flexible form better suited to the modern information economy — not that there was any master plan to do so. There can be no doubt that the devolution of managerial power to unelected bodies such as the boards of hospital trusts and self-governing schools has damaged the fabric of democracy.10 It has devolved the responsibility without the accountability. At the same time, it was an instinctive reaction to the fact that fundamental economic changes are shrinking the arena of conventional politics.

On the other hand, health rationing has become extremely visible in the UK, and almost nothing arouses more public passion than the fear of being denied access to treatment because of a limited health service budget. It is less true in education that the public sector is more efficient, but there the issue is the benefits to the economy as a whole derived from having a better-educated work force. There is a social benefit on top of the private benefit people reap from education in the form of higher earnings. Skills and a sophisticated general education are essential to the information economy and no government can afford to see its citizens under-invest in their own education. So if there is one branch of the welfare state that will have to continue growing, it is spending on education. With education essential to individual economic success, higher public expenditure might even be repaid in the form of reduced demands on other forms of social spending in future. And with investment in human capital crucial to the growth of productivity and output across the economy as a whole, education spending will augment the ability to fund the welfare state.


pages: 207 words: 63,071

My Start-Up Life: What A by Ben Casnocha, Marc Benioff


affirmative action, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, call centre, David Brooks, don't be evil, fear of failure, hiring and firing, index fund, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, Menlo Park, Paul Graham, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technology bubble, traffic fines

(Don’t take my word for it: a conference in Paris named him one of the “twenty-five most influential people in the world of internet and politics.”) My Start-Up Life is not a how-to that will delineate how to create a successful business like Comcate with a few cookie-cutter instructions. This narrative will, however, reveal everything you xiv FOREWORD need to know as you begin your entrepreneurial journey. You’ll learn about everything from writing a business email to dealing with offshore contractors to the dynamics of an information economy. You’ll learn about the risks Ben took: the ones that paid off (offering early customers a discount) and the ones that didn’t (prematurely hiring an outsider as CEO). Most of all, you will enjoy this provocative, honest, and fun romp through an entrepreneurial achievement, which will leave you determined to embark on your own enterprising endeavor—and inspired to find your own way to make a difference.

I appreciated the tireless, if sometimes inefficient, work of public servants, especially after a thirtyminute harangue from a traffic engineer who described in bloody detail how he had placed sensors under the road to time the red light exactly . . . all in response to my client’s complaint. On the business side, I learned the difference between a sole proprietorship and a corporation. I learned about client relations and marketing. I learned how to write a business letter and how to make a business phone call. On the technology side, I learned about dealing with offshore contractors. I learned about the wonders of a “flat” information economy, and how even someone as young and inexperienced as I could partake in it. It all boiled down to one revelation: While I had learned a lot through ComplainandResolve, I was ready to move on. To what, I didn’t know, but something big, something world-changing. . . . Brain Trust: Take Responsibility BY HEIDI ROIZEN Three weeks into my junior year in college, my boyfriend was killed in a plane crash.


pages: 226 words: 59,080

Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik


airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, butterfly effect, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, distributed generation, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, fudge factor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, loss aversion, low skilled workers, market design, market fundamentalism, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, open economy, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, white flight

Some branches of economics, such as mathematical economics, have come to look more like applied mathematics than like any kind of social science. Their reference point has become other mathematical models instead of the real world. The abstract of one paper in the field opens with this sentence: “We establish new characterizations of Walrasian expectations equilibria based on the veto mechanism in the framework of differential information economies with a complete finite measure space of agents.”16 One of the profession’s leading, and most mathematically oriented, journals (Econometrica) imposed a moratorium at one point on “social choice” theory—abstract models of voting mechanisms—because papers in the field had become mathematically so esoteric and divorced from actual politics.17 Before we judge such work too harshly, it is worth noting that some of the most useful applications in economics have come out of highly mathematical, and what to outsiders would surely seem abstruse, models.

Thomas C. Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1960); Schelling, Micromotives and Macrobehavior (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978). 15. Diego Gambetta, “‘Claro!’ An Essay on Discursive Machismo,” in Deliberative Democracy, ed. Jon Elster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 24. 16. Marialaura Pesce, “The Veto Mechanism in Atomic Differential Information Economies,” Journal of Mathematical Economics 53 (2014): 33–45. 17. Jon Elster, Explaining Social Behavior: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 461. 18. Golden Goose Award, “Of Geese and Game Theory: Auctions, Airwaves—and Applications,” Social Science Space, July 17, 2014, 19.


pages: 234 words: 63,149

Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World by Ian Bremmer


airport security, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, global rebalancing, global supply chain, income inequality, informal economy, Julian Assange, labour mobility, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nixon shock, nuclear winter, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, trade route, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

The international community might not be able to cope with all the threats that state failure could create. State failure in Somalia or Yemen is one thing. That kind of breakdown in Pakistan or Russia is quite another. Then there is the subtler version of this issue. In countries like India and Brazil, large populations of the urban poor living in largely ungoverned enclaves might simply provide their own governance, neighborhood by neighborhood, with an informal economy that operates under its own rules. This is a phenomenon already developing in some of the world’s most important emerging cities.15 Call this larger scenario the G-Subzero. As leadership weakens and power fragments inside individual countries, control is divided between local and central leaders, and competition arises among power brokers within individual states. In China and Russia, cash-rich governments maintain control of the troops and guns needed to maintain basic order, but other states could face more existential threats.

* In late 2011, Myanmar showed signs of trying to become a pivot state. Political concessions and a shift in rhetoric earned a visit from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It remains to be seen if Myanmar will follow through, but even Myanmar’s leaders recognize that a single powerful friend can’t beat the power of the pivot. * Given the importance of drug trafficking for organized crime and the flow of drugs across the border, even Mexico’s informal economy is heavily dependent on U.S. demand. * They warned, however, that debt was the tie that bound the two together and later argued that the financial crisis had killed what had always been an unnatural alliance. * That said, this period featured several smaller wars and revolutions. * More than a million Taiwanese now live on the mainland. * Between 1995 and 2008, the United States fell from second to thirteenth among OECD countries in the percentage of its citizens with college degrees


pages: 241 words: 83,523

A Swamp Full of Dollars: Pipelines and Paramilitaries at Nigeria's Oil Frontier by Michael Peel


banking crisis, British Empire, colonial rule, energy security, informal economy, megacity, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, trade route, UNCLOS, wage slave

On the Third Mainland Bridge, which led to the airport, executives and commuter wage slaves alike would have to be on the lookout for cars driving on the wrong carriageway to avoid night-time traffic jams. Not for nothing did road-safety signs warn in pidgin English that ‘Life no get duplicate’. In the hands of skilful operators, Lagos’s disorder and disorientation can be turned to financial advantage. The stop-start geography of the roads is well suited to the army of street sellers who underpin the city’s dynamic informal economy. One day I saw a man hawking T HE BOYS FROM THE BOOKSHOP STARK ILLITERATES AND JUNKIES 79 an eclectic selection of magazines that included Vanity Fair and BBC Top Gear; another held a wilted puppy up for sale in the lunchtime sun. Men even stand dangling dead rats on strings, to show the effectiveness of the rodent poison they are trying to sell. It is supply and demand economics at is most unadorned: the rich man can stop his car anywhere and wait for a smorgasbord of services to be offered him by a clamour of sweaty, competing traders.

‘I want me to stand as a whole, to talk to people about what they are doing, to talk to the government.’ I am struck by Scorpion’s characterization of a beach society whose superficial chaos hides sophisticated shadow systems of organization and support. Just as on Lagos Island, or in a Delta militant camp, financial power flows on the beach through highly personalized structures buttressed by oil money. I wonder how many oil-worker expense accounts have drained into Kuramo Beach’s informal economy. Many multinational employees seem to come to Lagos with the same attitude as the man who, on finding out that a friend of mine had moved to Nigeria with his girlfriend, had asked in puzzlement, ‘But why bring a sandwich to a restaurant?’ The top dogs and paymasters in Kuramo are bar owners such as Kenneth Eze, manager of Dreams, a rival bar to Varieties down the T HE BOYS FROM THE BOOKSHOP STARK ILLITERATES AND JUNKIES 85 sand.


Raw Data Is an Oxymoron by Lisa Gitelman


collateralized debt obligation, computer age, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, index card, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, knowledge worker, Louis Daguerre, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, RFID, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, social graph, software studies, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, text mining, time value of money, trade route, Turing machine, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

True interpellation—in his terms “a complicated configuration of unconsciousness, indirection, automation, and absentmindedness”—requires a coercive system, a “superpanopticon,” capable of rendering us as both subjects of and subjects to that particular assemblage that David Mitchell, in a fictional context, calls a corpocracy.22 For Kevin Robins and Frank Webster, this is the essence of “cybernetic capitalism,” by which they mean the whole of the socioeconomic control system that is in part dependent on the capacity of state and corporate entities to collect and aggregate personal data to the extent that each individual can be easily monitored, managed, and hence controlled.23 As my epigraphs indicate, Robins and Webster are far from alone in their concern with our dynamic incorporation within a totalizing technological system of data management. 24 Greg Elmer also explicates the techniques by which consumer profiles are developed and individuals are “continuously integrated into a larger information economy and technological apparatus.”25 But for Elmer and Lyon and others, a crucial aspect of this incorporation is our voluntary participation: the composition of consumer profiles in part results from solicitation—whether in the form of a request for feedback or personal data so as to be granted access to a particular service or program—which means we are interpellated as “self-communicating” actors.26 To be sure, to participate in the project of modernity has arguably always meant that one becomes a calculable subject by voluntarily surrendering data.

For a thorough account of pattern-based searches by government and corporations and the techniques one can use to mask online activity; a detailed overview of the public outcry over TIA, its subsequent de-funding, and the continuation of the same data-mining exercises under the classified intelligence budget; and, finally, a detailed legal review that makes the case for transparency and new identity technologies with privacy protections, see Rubinstein, Lee, and Schwartz, “Data Mining and Internet Profiling.” It is important to note, however, that these debates are premised on a notion of privacy with a particular history and cultural specificity. 25. Greg Elmer, Profiling Machines: Mapping the Personal Information Economy (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), 17. 26. Lyon, The Electronic Eye, 52. 27. There are substantive juridico-political questions that need to be addressed as the legal infrastructure develops: What is the legal status of our financial records, unique ID codes, and biometric data? How or to what extent will individual data be monetized? Can individual browsing be considered labor? If so, would not the unique ID code that records sites visited be considered a product of that labor and thus private property?


pages: 251 words: 76,868

How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance by Parag Khanna


Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, bank run, blood diamonds, borderless world, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, don't be evil, double entry bookkeeping, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, global village, Google Earth, high net worth, index fund, informal economy, invisible hand, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, Masdar, megacity, microcredit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, private military company, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, sustainable-tourism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, X Prize

Israelis have long practiced the art of kibbutz living, and today Chinese and Japanese people are moving back to the land in droves in search of stable and sustainable community living. The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India has its own community-level banks, health clinics, child-care programs, legal services (such as sexual harassment and workers’ compensation), and retirement accounts. SEWA doesn’t just champion women’s rights; it provides those rights through its own quasi-economic and political communities across India. The so-called informal economies of community cooperatives often go unregistered in economic statistics, yet they are a legitimate mode of economic and social survival for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. What is crucial to understand about Grameen, BRAC, SEWA, and other such organizations is that their primary unit of organization is not the town or village but the community. Community building is nation building done right.

Signer, Michael. Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Simmons, P. J., and Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, eds. Managing Global Issues: Lessons Learned. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2001. Singer, Peter. One World. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2002. Singh, J. P. Negotiation and the Global Information Economy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Slaughter, Anne-Marie. A New World Order. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004. Smith, David Livingstone. The Most Dangerous Animal: Human Nature and the Origins of War. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2007. Smith, Rupert. The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World. New York: Allen Lane, 2005. Snow, Nancy, and Philip M.


pages: 91 words: 26,009

Capitalism: A Ghost Story by Arundhati Roy


Bretton Woods, corporate governance, feminist movement, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, Howard Zinn, informal economy, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, megacity, microcredit, neoliberal agenda, Occupy movement, RAND corporation, reserve currency, special economic zone, spectrum auction, stem cell, The Chicago School, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks

National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS), Report on Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganised Sector, Government of India, August 2007. The state-supported study notes that though a “buoyancy in the economy did lead to a sense of euphoria by the turn of the last century . . . a majority of the people . . . were not touched by this euphoria. At the end of 2004–5, about 836 million or 77 per cent of the population were living below Rs.20 a day and constituted most of India’s informal economy” (1). 6. As of March 2013, Mukesh Ambani was worth $21.5 billion, according to a Forbes profile: 7. “RIL Buys 95% Stake in Infotel Broadband,” Times of India, June 11, 2010, 8. Depali Gupta, “Mukesh Ambani–Owned Infotel Broadband to Set Up over 1,000,000 Towers for 4G Operations,” Economic Times, August 23, 2012, -04-23/news/31387124_1_telecom-towers-largest-tower-tower-arm. 9.


pages: 443 words: 112,800

The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World by Jeremy Rifkin


3D printing, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, borderless world, carbon footprint, centre right, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate governance, decarbonisation, distributed generation,, energy security, energy transition, global supply chain, hydrogen economy, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, knowledge economy, manufacturing employment, marginal employment, Martin Wolf, Masdar, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, urban planning, urban renewal, Yom Kippur War, Zipcar

In a sense, rethinking work this time around is more akin to the great upheaval that ensued when millions of serfs were released from their indenture in a feudal system and forced to become free agents and wage earners in a market economy. The issue, then, becomes more of how we reenvision what we mean by work rather than just how we retrain the workforce. There are four areas where people can engage in work: the market, the government, the informal economy, and the civil society. Market employment, however, is going to continue to shrink with the introduction of intelligent technology systems. Governments around the world are also culling their work-forces and introducing intelligent technology in areas as diverse as tax collection and military service. The informal economy, which includes household production, barter, and at the extreme end, black-market and criminal economic activity, is also likely to diminish as traditional economies transition into high-tech societies. This leaves us with the civil society as a means of employment.

The Third Industrial Revolution offers the prospect, at least, that the poorest countries on Earth, who were virtually left out of both the First and Second Industrial Revolutions, could leapfrog into the new era of distributed capitalism over the course of the next half century. Still, no one, myself included, doubts the enormity of the challenge ahead. Assuring that 40 percent of the human race reaches the level of material comfort necessary to free themselves from the shackles of backbreaking and often mindless toil in the marketplace and informal economy, so they can be free to engage in deep play in the pursuit of social capital is a daunting task—made all the more difficult by the need to reorganize economic life to mitigate industrially induced climate change. Yet, for the first time in history, we are close enough to at least imagine such a possibility, which makes me guardedly hopeful that we might succeed. CIVILIZATIONS THROUGHOUT HISTORY have experienced critical moments of reckoning where they have been forced to radically change course to meet a new future or face the prospect of demise.


pages: 457 words: 128,838

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey


3D printing, Airbnb, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative economy, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Columbine, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, hacker house, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, informal economy, Internet of things, inventory management, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, litecoin, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending,, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, special drawing rights, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, The Great Moderation, the market place, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing complete, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zimmermann PGP

It’s why de Soto and others from his Lima-based Institute for Liberal Democracy spend time in the slums of Peru, Haiti, Egypt, and other places surveying and documenting people’s property and handing out mortgage deeds. But with this work, they are merely scratching the surface. In aggregate, this global informal economy, or System D as the journalist Robert Neuwirth has chosen to call it, is worth $10 trillion by his estimates. If it were its own country—Neuwirth suggests the names Bazaaristan or the USSR, the United Street Sellers Republic—this economy of the undocumented would be second only to that of the United States. As BitPesa’s Rossiello suggests, the biggest opportunities may lie not with the digital currencies per se but with the technology behind them. The potential is great for people in the informal economy to exploit the blockchain’s middleman-free way to exchange assets and information and its irrefutable public record that’s free from the control of any one central institution.

Whereas judicial corruption means that low-income people in a developing country can’t rely on watertight contracts to shore up their businesses and unlock de Soto’s mystery of capital, subjecting such agreements to the infallibility of the blockchain could end all that. Jonathan Mohan, who works at Ethereum, the new Bitcoin 2.0 platform that’s seeking to disrupt all sorts of legal and contractual arrangements, offers a compelling explanation for how these “smart contracts,” each designed to be executed on the blockchain via an automated piece of software, would benefit the informal economy. “As long as you render collateral for a contract and the blockchain recognizes the contract, then you know there’s no fraud and you know there’s no need to have to trust a third party,” he said at an Inside Bitcoins conference in New York. “So the contract is simple and all these other things sort themselves out. If you are in places like Africa, in China—hell, even in America—you know that justice will be rendered because the entity will execute the contract exactly how it was programmed to execute.”


pages: 399 words: 116,828

When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor by William Julius Wilson


affirmative action, citizen journalism, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, declining real wages, deindustrialization, deliberate practice, desegregation, Donald Trump, edge city, ending welfare as we know it, full employment, George Gilder, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, income inequality, informal economy, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, pink-collar, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, school choice, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Chicago School, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

Americans in more affluent areas have jobs that offer fringe benefits; they are accustomed to health insurance that covers paid sick leave and medical care. They do not live in neighborhoods where attempts at normal child-rearing are constantly undermined by social forces that interfere with healthy child development. And their families’ prospects for survival do not require at least some participation in the informal economy (that is, an economy in which income is unreported and therefore not taxable). It is just as indefensible to treat inner-city residents as superheroes who are able to overcome racist oppression as it is to view them as helpless victims. We should, however, appreciate the range of choices, including choices representing cultural influences, that are available to inner-city residents who live under constraints that most people in the larger society do not experience.

Among the inner-city mothers who were not receiving AFDC, those who lived in a coresidential household and received informal child care had a very high (90 percent) probability of labor-force activity. On the other hand, those who maintain sole-adult households and did not receive informal child care had a much reduced (60 percent) probability of working. Of the 12 percent of inner-city women on AFDC who candidly reported that they worked at least part-time—probably in the informal economy—those who lived in a coresidential household and received informal child care were more than five times as likely to work as were those who lived in single households and did not receive informal child care. There are many factors involved in the precipitous decline in marriage rates and the sharp rise in single-parent families. The explanation most often heard in the public debate associates the increase of out-of-wedlock births and single-parent families with welfare.

Residence in highly concentrated poverty neighborhoods aggravates the weak labor-force attachment of black males. The absence of effective informal job networks and the frequency of many illegal activities increases nonmainstream behavior such as hustling. As Sharon Hicks-Bartlett, another member of the UPFLS research team, points out, “Hustling is making money by doing whatever is necessary to survive or simply make ends meet. It can be legal or extra-legal work and may transpire in the formal or informal economy. While both men and women hustle, men are more conspicuous in the illegal arena of hustling.” In a review of the research literature on the experiences of black men in the labor market, Philip Moss and Christopher Tilly point out that criminal activity in urban areas has become more attractive because of the disappearance of legitimate jobs. They refer to a recent study in Boston that showed that while “black youth in Boston were evenly split on whether they could make more money in a straight job or on the street, by 1989 a three-to-one majority of young black people expressed the opinion that they could make more on the street.”


pages: 700 words: 201,953

The Social Life of Money by Nigel Dodd


accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, David Graeber, debt deflation, dematerialisation, disintermediation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial repression, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, informal economy, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kula ring, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, late capitalism, liquidity trap, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, mental accounting, microcredit, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, payday loans, Peace of Westphalia, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, postnationalism / post nation state, predatory finance, price mechanism, price stability, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, remote working, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, Scientific racism, seigniorage, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Wave and Pay, WikiLeaks, Wolfgang Streeck, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

First, there is the liberalization and expansion of international money and financial markets and the development of private monies, such as derivatives and collateralized securities (Bryan and Rafferty 2007). Second, there is the increasing use of major currencies beyond the legal jurisdiction of their respective authorities, whatever the preferences of governments, together with dollarization (where a government chooses to adopt a foreign currency in place of its own) (Cohen 2004). There is also widespread use of major currencies (especially U.S. dollars and euros) within the global informal economy, wherein currencies (normally in the form of cash) are used for transactions that take place in the interstitial spaces of the international system (Staudt 1998; Neuwirth 2011). Third, there is a transnational monetary union: although the Eurozone has been in crisis, it is by no means clear that the project will be abandoned altogether; indeed, with the inclusion of Latvia on January 1, 2014, the Eurozone has now expanded to a membership of eighteen states.

Generation Online. Nelson, A. and F. Timmerman, Eds. (2011). Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies, London, Pluto Press. Nettlau, M. (1996). A Short History of Anarchism, London, Freedom Press. Neu, J. (2005). In Memoriam Norman O. Brown, Santa Cruz, CA, New Pacific Press. Neuwirth, R. (2011). Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy, New York, Pantheon Books. Newton, T. (2003). “Credit and Civilization.” British Journal of Sociology 54 (3): 347–71. Nietzsche, F. (1973). The Will to Power: In Science, Nature, Society and Art, New York, Random House. Nietzsche, F. (1979). Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is, Harmondsworth, U.K., Penguin. Nietzsche, F. (1980). On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life: Thoughts Out of Season, Pt. 2, Cambridge, MA, Hackett Publishing Company.

February 18. Spannos, C. (2008). Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century, Oakland, CA, AK Press. Sperber, J. (2013). Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, New York/London, W. W. Norton and Co. Spiegel, H. W., Ed. (1991). The Growth of Economic Thought, 3rd ed., Durham, NC, Duke University Press. Spinoza, B. (1996). Ethics. London, Penguin. Staudt, K. (1998). Free Trade? Informal Economies at the U.S.–Mexico Border, Philadelphia, Temple University Press. Steiner, P. (2008). “Who Is Right about the Modern Economy: Polanyi, Zelizer, or Both?” Theory and Society 38 (1): 97–110. Stephens, H. M. (1915). “Nationality and History.” Annual address of the president of the American Historical Association, Washington, DC, December 28, American Historical Review 21 (2): 225–36. Stephenson, N. (1994).


pages: 268 words: 112,708

Culture works: the political economy of culture by Richard Maxwell


1960s counterculture, AltaVista, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, business process, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, intermodal, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, Network effects, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, structural adjustment programs, talking drums, telemarketer, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban renewal, Victor Gruen, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

Rowe, “The Global Love-Match,” 566. 45. David Rowe and J. McKay, “Field of Soaps: Rupert v. Kerry as Masculine Melodrama,” in SportCult, ed. Randy Martin and Toby Miller (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), 191. 46. Quoted in R. Snoddy, “Alliances for a Digital Future,” Financial Times, December 11, 1996, 1. 47. Quoted in C. Bruck, “The Big Hitter,” New Yorker, December 8, 1997, 826. 48. Forefronting the new informational economy is a species of economically and culturally imposing global media corporations such as Time Warner, Disney, Viacom, Sony, Seagram, Bertelsmann, Granada, and News Corporation. These purveyors of variously formatted mass-mediated cultural products represent the dynamic force in the latecapitalist economy, occupying much the same role as mass-manufacturing titans such as Ford, General Motors, General Electric, Dupont, and Westinghouse Electric did in the industrial economy.

It has been created and maintained by programmers working over the Internet on a largely voluntary basis, and is legally organized by what people are calling an Open Software License, wherein one not only can use it free of charge, but one can have access to the source code for further modification and improvement as long as those improvements are published and shared. Source code is at the heart of all forms of software. This is what companies and intellectual property lawyers fight so rabidly to protect and to market; it is the commodity par excellence of the so-called information economy. Linux, however, is the flagship of the Open Software movement, which sees itself in a struggle against the protection and marketing of source code. Open Software is in one view a kind of political movement against the commodification of information. And it has been making some significant inroads among computer users, which in turn has inspired emulation by some of the major firms in the industry.


pages: 364 words: 99,613

Servant Economy: Where America's Elite Is Sending the Middle Class by Jeff Faux


back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, centre right, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, McMansion, medical malpractice, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, private military company, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, South China Sea, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working poor, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

India and China turned out scientists and engineers at a phenomenal rate, and the outsourcing of high-tech jobs spread throughout the economy. Projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2006 concluded that by 2014 the number of occupations filled by people with college degrees will rise by merely 1 percent, from 28 to 29 percent. The share of jobs for which a college education will actually be required is projected to be just 21 percent.6 It turned out that much of the job and wealth creation associated with the information economy was tied to the making of goods; success results from setting trained people to work on problems in the context of day-to-day production, whether of sneakers, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, or Hollywood films. The more we offshored production jobs, the more we offshored research and development as well. What had been touted as a natural comparative advantage for the United States in skills, technology, and organization was in reality duplicated or even surpassed by other nations.

As early as 1974, the CEO of Dow Chemical said he yearned to place his headquarters on an island “beholden to no nation or society and prevent the U.S. Government from attempting to force its subsidiaries to conform to American interests.”16 In 1995, the CEO of the Ford Motor Company said, “Ford isn’t even an American company, strictly speaking. We’re global. We’re investing all over the world. . . . Our managers are multinational. We teach them to think and act globally.”17 In 2006, the CEO of Cisco Systems—poster company for the information economy—went a step further: “What we are trying to do is outline an entire strategy of becoming a Chinese company.”18 And the CEO of Intel—a company like Cisco, whose growth was built on technology paid for by the American taxpayer—stated, “Intel can thrive today and never hire another American. It is not our desire [to never hire another one]. It is not our intention, but we can do that.”19 Ralph Gomory, a former IBM executive and later the president of the Alfred P.


pages: 353 words: 98,267

The Price of Everything: And the Hidden Logic of Value by Eduardo Porter


Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Credit Default Swap, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, happiness index / gross national happiness, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, new economy, New Urbanism, pension reform, Peter Singer: altruism,, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, ultimatum game, unpaid internship, urban planning, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, young professional

By October of 2008, In Rainbows had sold more than 3 million copies, according to the band’s publisher, including 100,000 of a special boxed set that retailed for about $80. This surpassed the sales of the previous two albums, Hail to the Thief and Amnesiac . Pumped by the enormous publicity surrounding the album’s release, the subsequent concert tour was a smashing hit. To believers in the transformational potential of the Internet, Radiohead’s experiment suggested that the information economy could revolutionize capitalism by allowing creators to make a living while giving away their creations for free. This new economy might require people to radically change their approach to property. But In Rainbows demonstrated that if creators would free themselves of the capitalistic shackles represented by record labels, Hollywood studios, and other representatives of corporate greed that siphoned off a big slice of their revenues, this new paradigm could work out for everybody.

Giulio Prisco, a former scientist at CERN who founded Metafuturing Second Life, an Internet services company, added: “You cannot stop a tide with a spoon.” Perhaps not. The media companies that rose in the twentieth century might be irrevocably doomed. Record labels might disappear. But I doubt that free information will ever be the natural state of affairs in a capitalist economy. In fact, I would wager that whatever the information economy looks like ten years from now, information in it will not be free. The last battle over free might serve as an illustrative precedent. Music piracy didn’t exist until the late eighteenth century because property rights didn’t cover music compositions. Agents from opera companies would attend the opening nights of their rivals to “steal” the best melodies and reuse them in their own dramas.


pages: 394 words: 108,215

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, El Camino Real, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

He entered Columbia University after deciding the goal of the political demonstrations he had been in was to get on Walter Cronkite’s evening news. It seemed only logical to him that it was all about media coverage, and he was determined to become a top executive at CBS, which would enable him to make the changes from the inside. It didn’t work out that way, however, and two years later he was back at Stanford, where he received a graduate degree in economics. He coined the term “information economy,” went to work for Apple Computer, and later became the cofounder of General Magic, one of Silicon Valley’s ill-starred start-up companies. The West Coast counterculture acted like a magnet for thousands of young people around the country. Dorothy Bender picked the Summer of Love to leave Washington, D.C., and come to California. She was a rarity in the computer world of the 1960s: a woman and a programmer.

Certainly Stolaroff’s impact on the history of the computer was less direct than those of Engelbart and Moore. But his obsession with creativity and psychedelics unleashed forces the impact of which has never been adequately acknowledged. In their individual ways, all three men helped lay the groundwork for the personal computer, which in turn during the past three decades has given risen to the information economy. Today, that industry embodies some of what all three men dreamed of. It has spread the conflict over the dual nature of digital information into every nook and cranny of modern life. In league with Hollywood and publishers, Microsoft and Intel have now embarked on a crusade to build computer software and hardware that wraps information with a protective layer of encryption designed to prevent sharing via computer networks.


pages: 345 words: 105,722

The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling


Apple II, back-to-the-land, game design, ghettoisation, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, pirate software, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Silicon Valley, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review

What security there was, was entirely physical, for it was assumed that anyone allowed near this expensive, arcane hardware would be a fully qualified professional expert. In a campus environment, though, this meant that grad students, teaching assistants, undergraduates, and eventually, all manner of dropouts and hangers-on ended up accessing and often running the works. Universities, even modern universities, are not in the business of maintaining security over information. On the contrary, universities, as institutions, pre-date the "information economy" by many centuries and are not-for-profit cultural entities, whose reason for existence (purportedly) is to discover truth, codify it through techniques of scholarship, and then teach it. Universities are meant to PASS THE TORCH OF CIVILIZATION, not just download data into student skulls, and the values of the academic community are strongly at odds with those of all would-be information empires.

Terminus had not crashed the AT&T phone system on January 15. He was, however, blithely running a not-for-profit AT&T software-piracy ring. This was not an activity AT&T found amusing. AT&T security officer Jerry Dalton valued this "stolen" property at over three hundred thousand dollars. AT&T's entry into the tussle of free enterprise had been complicated by the new, vague groundrules of the information economy. Until the break-up of Ma Bell, AT&T was forbidden to sell computer hardware or software. Ma Bell was the phone company; Ma Bell was not allowed to use the enormous revenue from telephone utilities, in order to finance any entry into the computer market. AT&T nevertheless invented the UNIX operating system. And somehow AT&T managed to make UNIX a minor source of income. Weirdly, UNIX was not sold as computer software, but actually retailed under an obscure regulatory exemption allowing sales of surplus equipment and scrap.


pages: 351 words: 100,791

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction by Matthew B. Crawford


airport security, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, David Brooks, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, digital Maoism, Google Glasses, hive mind, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, large denomination, new economy, new new economy, online collectivism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

At O’Hare International Airport, the moving handrail on the escalator was covered with an endlessly recurring message from the Lincoln Financial Group: You’re In Charge.® When I got to my hotel, I was handed a key card that was printed on one side with an advertisement for Benihana, the restaurant. Somehow, the fact that such a key card presents about five square inches for inevitable eyeballing had gone unnoticed, or rather unmonetized, until recently. Capitalism has gotten hip to the fact that for all our talk of an information economy, what we really have is an attentional economy, if the term “economy” applies to what is scarce and therefore valuable. As these last examples illustrate, the pertinent development here is a social technology, not something electronic. Turning unavoidable public surfaces into sites of marketing isn’t inherently “digital.” We have developed methods for tuning out commercial messages, for example by inserting earbuds or burying our faces in our devices.

escaping of, through abstraction as inflicted by world of objects Kant on will and heuristics hipsters Hobbes, Thomas on “war of all against all” homosexuality Houk, Peter How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive (Muir) Huffington Post human beings conflicting views on environmental claims on as evaluative creatures potential capabilities of hunches Husserl, Edmund HVAC system hyperpalatable stimuli hypocrisy IBM ice hockey hockey stick intimacy in motorcycling and puck-handling finesse and mastery in rules as jigs in identity theft Igo, Sarah immune system imperfect contingency independence individualism epistemic paradox of in U.S. individuality conformity vs. Fichte on other people and as passé subjectivism and see also self infants gaze-checking by learning by perfect contingency in minds of inference infidelity information economy information technology inheritance installment plan “Intelligence Without Representation” (Brooks) “Intelligent Use of Space, The” (Kirsh) intensification of nervous stimulation intentionality interactionism introspection Iraq War Italy Jacksonian era jail, staying out of James, William James-Lange theory of emotions Japan “jazz hands” jazz musicians, collaborative improvisation of Jefferson, Thomas jigs, jigging administrative background cultural for hire nudging vs.


pages: 207 words: 86,639

The New Economics: A Bigger Picture by David Boyle, Andrew Simms


Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling,, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, land reform, loss aversion, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, working-age population

It may not be appropriate for that work to be paid but, equally, it is certainly not right to ignore it, or pretend that somehow it isn’t essential and hugely valuable. The futurist Alvin Toffler used to ask executives what it would cost in real cash terms if none of their staff members had been toilet trained. The fact that they are is, in effect, a massive subsidy from the informal economy to the formal. The co-production theoretician Edgar Cahn describes this informal economy as ‘core’ because it is far more important than the money economy.23 Yet the money economy, and the traditional economic obsession with it, is constantly corroding the core economy, leading to the current problems of crime and alienation. There is also another, new category of activity – rewarded work, that is not paid with money – that is beginning to emerge, especially for single mothers, or refugees and asylum seekers who are not allowed to work, also for people with mental health problems.


The Future of Money by Bernard Lietaer


agricultural Revolution, banks create money, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, clean water, complexity theory, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, diversification, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Gilder, German hyperinflation, global reserve currency, Golden Gate Park, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invention of writing, Lao Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Norbert Wiener, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, post-industrial society, price stability, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, the market place, the payments system, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, working poor

Some people foresee the spread of a 'Winner-Takes-All' economic environment.81 The trend towards increasingly exorbitant compensation for the very few at the top has been notorious. It started with movie stars, entertainment and sports heroes, and spread over the past decade to high-performance CEOs, traders, lawyers and doctors. Is this just a strange shift in societal values, or is this also a consequence of deep-seated forces in the information economy? The 'network economist' Brian Arthur claims that positive marginal rates of return can propel some corporations into an almost impregnable monopoly. For instance, once a particular software moves towards becoming an industry standard, it will tend automatically to crowd out competitors until it captures 100% of the market. Microsoft's dominance in the PC software market is often cited as an example of this process in action.

Oil Environment (Mature Industrial Age) New Environment (Post Industrial Age) Predictability and Control Assumed Fundamental Structural Changes Assumed Intelligence and information Centralised Intelligence and information Distributed Expert Driven Solutions Many agents experimenting with new patterns Command and Control Structure Structures Complex Adaptive As long as the assumption was valid that we are living in an environment which is both predictable and controllable (both key Yang assumptions), it made sense to centralise information and leave the decisions to 'experts'. The most coherent management structure in such circumstances is the traditional command and control hierarchical structure, which is now almost ubiquitous. However, as breakdowns and crises spread to many domains (e.g. global monetary system, government, education, environment, jobs, etc.) if the transition towards an information economy becomes indeed an 'Age of Uncertainty’ then the time is ripe to reconsider the old organisational assumptions. Under such circumstances, holding on to the old expert-driven, hierarchical command and control structures will predictably kill the very innovations that the circumstances require. Tony Judge, whom Alvin Toffler described as 'one of our most brilliant organisation theorists', claims that the organisations of the future will take the form of' networks not co-ordinated by anybody; the participating bodies co-ordinate themselves'.


pages: 636 words: 202,284

Piracy : The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates by Adrian Johns


banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Corn Laws, demand response, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Marshall McLuhan, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, pirate software, Republic of Letters, Richard Stallman, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, software patent, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, traveling salesman, Whole Earth Catalog

They reach, in fact, to the defining elements of modern culture itself: to science and technology; to authorship, authenticity, and credibility; to policing and politics; to the premises on which economic activity and social order rest. That is why the topic of piracy causes the anxiety that it so evidently does. Ours is supposed to be an age of information – even of an information revolution. Yet it suddenly seems as though enemies of intellectual property are swarming everywhere, and the ground rules for an information economy are nowhere secure. Universities find themselves havens for countless devotees of filesharing software, making blithe use of services that the recording industry condemns flatly as piracy. Biotechnology companies, testing genetically modified organisms in Indian cotton fields, accuse local farmers of being “seed pirates” when they use part of one year’s crop as seed for the next. And Hollywood executives make frontpage headlines when their companies join forces to sell movies online, having been spurred into rare cooperation by their mutual fear of losing control of their intellectual property.

His scheme stalled, and he left the administration in frustration. In 1950 Congress and the White House finally settled on a National Science Foundation that would be based on Bush’s design, not Kilgore’s or Wallace’s. Pure science, expert appraisal, and a patentbased structure of public and private research prevailed as policy. The scientific commons shrank into an ideal. intellectual property versus information economy The years of these conflicts saw the inauguration of a series of disciplines dedicated to understanding the sciences and their place in society. Between 1920 and 1945 one can see the beginnings of, for example, sociologies of invention (in S. C. Gilfillan’s Sociology of Invention), science (in R. K. Merton’s classic papers), and technology (in W. G. Ogburn’s work). There also appeared a psychology of creativity (with patent officer Joseph Rossman’s Industrial Creativity), and a grand theory of technology and society (with Lewis Mumford’s Technics and Civilization).

Today any corresponding taxonomy would extend to a vast array of sins – phishing, identity theft, biopiracy, seed piracy, and so on. It would surely ba√e even someone as worldly as Defoe. Because more things fall under the aegis of intellectual property today than ever before – including recordings, algorithms, digital creations, genes, and even living organisms – practices that until relatively recently would not have seemed even potentially piratical may now be deemed actually so. Meanwhile, as the information economy has grown, so it seems that piracy has metastasized beyond anyone’s ability to understand and master it. Some of its species are industries in their own right. In political and economic rhetoric the accusation of piracy has become the indictment of the age, and a ubiquitous element in the framing of national and international trade politics. The story of piracy has two major implications in this context.


pages: 376 words: 121,254

Cocaine Nation: How the White Trade Took Over the World by Thomas Feiling


anti-communist, barriers to entry, crack epidemic, deindustrialization, illegal immigration, informal economy, inventory management, land reform, Lao Tzu, offshore financial centre, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, upwardly mobile

The farming economies of countries such as Colombia and Peru were shrinking, feeding a stream of unemployed farmers and labourers who gravitated towards the biggest cities in search of work. They ensconced themselves as best they could in the shanty towns that sprang up on the peripheries of cities like Lima, Caracas and Kingston. For millions, their first experience of urban life also gave them their first taste of what it meant to be illegal. They worked, if they worked at all, in the informal economy, where their wages went untaxed. They often had no access to basic services, and found themselves maligned by mainstream society and unable to count on the protection of the law. Many of these migrants from countryside to city kept going until they arrived in the United States. In the space of twenty years, traditional village-based societies in countries like the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Guatemala, whose members had been schooled to have strong moral objections to drugs and criminality by the Catholic Church, were uprooted and transplanted into urban milieux.

The Mexican city of Tijuana, which lies across the border from San Diego, California, has 100,000 methamphetamine addicts; far more than you’d expect to find in a city of 1.4 million.17 Mexico, Brazil and Argentina are all struggling to deal with growing numbers of cocaine users. The destitute have latched on to paco, which is made from leftovers from cocaine processing. There has also been an epidemic of crack use among the street children of Mexico City. But to adduce increases in rates of drug use in Mexico to poverty would be to miss the real changes afoot. Most street children get food and shelter from charities and NGOs. They make money in the informal economy, guarding market stalls, picking up rubbish to sell, unloading trucks and the like, and that money goes on crack. More important than poverty in driving the rise in cocaine consumption in Third World countries is the fragility of the family. As more women go out to work, many machista men respond to their partners’ newfound independence with violence. This leads to divorce and traumatizes children, who often flee the family home for a life on the street.18 Once there, many children find that drugs offer the only respite to be had.


pages: 448 words: 142,946

Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein


Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Bretton Woods, capital controls, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial independence, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, lump of labour, McMansion, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, Own Your Own Home, peak oil, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, special drawing rights, spinning jenny, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail

Of course, physical currency would need to be subject to the same depreciation rate as reserves, which could be accomplished either through Gesell’s method, by having expiry dates on currency, by replacing it with (or redefining it as) bearer bonds with a negative interest rate, by using cash currency that is distinct from the official unit of account, or by letting the exchange rate between bank reserves and currency fluctuate.20 Another option would be to ban official physical currency altogether, which could vastly increase the power of government since every electronic transaction could be recorded. Frightening as that is to those (including myself) who are wary of the surveillance state, my response to that concern is, “Too late.” Already today nearly all important transactions are done electronically anyway, with the notable exception of those involving illegal drugs. Cash is also used extensively in the informal economy to help people avoid taxes, a motive that would disappear if taxation were shifted away from incomes and onto resources as I propose. Moreover, there is no reason why unofficial currencies shouldn’t thrive alongside the official, negative-interest electronic currency. Whether these are electronic or paper depends on the application: probably commercial barter rings and credit-clearing cooperatives would use electronic money while local, community-based currencies might prefer paper.

Corporations bypass banks by obtaining financing directly from money markets, while new P2P lending websites such as LendingClub and now allow individuals to borrow directly from each other. Commercial credit-clearing rings, mutual factoring systems, and commercial barter networks, which I will discuss later, are other ways that information technology is reducing the role of centralized intermediary institutions. All of these developments will reduce GDP by lowering spending on “financial services.” Because these ever-cheaper “information economy” services are a factor of production in nearly every other sector, degrowth here is contagious. This is true even in industries that we think of as growth industries. In 2000, for example, $371 billion was spent on PC hardware, including printers, servicing, and data storage. By 2009, this had shrunk to $326 billion. Obviously, this drop is not because we are buying fewer computers; it is because costs have fallen dramatically.


pages: 411 words: 114,717

Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles by Ruchir Sharma


3D printing, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, American energy revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, cloud computing, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, eurozone crisis, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, housing crisis, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, informal economy, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, land reform, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population

Adcorp, South Africa’s largest employment-services company and a leading authority on labor-market trends, calls this split a “new apartheid” and warns that, in the worst-case scenario, it could lead to an upheaval that pits the unemployed rural masses against the privileged urban job holders. Today the 2 million COSATU members are greatly outnumbered by the 6.4 million unemployed, the 3.7 million who do freelance work through labor contractors, and the 2 million-plus working in the informal economy. To date, however, the unemployed are not organized, and they are rebelling only through channels that do not threaten the ANC. While there is scuttlebutt about corruption in powerful places, there is little visible sign of it. No leader is building a vast palace that would attract public protest and serve as the ramparts of his last stand in office. Yet there are mounting attacks on other targets, including white farmers in the countryside and the workers spilling over the border from Zimbabwe, fleeing the chaos of the Mugabe regime.

Rates of alcoholism and of street crime are also extremely high: visitors are advised not to walk outside their Johannesburg hotels even in broad daylight, or stop at traffic lights at night, and it is impossible to meet anyone in the capital who has not been a violent-crime victim or known one. Why the Unemployed Masses Are Not Angry at the ANC The sprawling black market for labor may be siphoning off some of the discontent over the official unemployment rate. As many as one out of four workers has a job in the informal economy. At every traffic light and street corner, hawkers sell just about anything from jeans to sunglasses, or hire themselves out as day labor. Unlike surprised citizens in nations like Greece or Spain, where unemployment is climbing today, these South Africans have never experienced better economic times. A top official at the country’s central bank told me that the outlook of this group helps explain the ANC’s longevity: far from coalescing as an angry opposition, he said, most workers in the informal sector have “learned to live with what they have, and learned to live with quite little.”


pages: 153 words: 45,871

Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson


AltaVista, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, edge city, informal economy, means of production, megastructure, pattern recognition, proxy bid, telepresence, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

What is this casting of the nets of identity? Do we engage here in something of a tragic seriousness? In the age of wooden television, media were there to entertain, to sell an advertiser’s product, perhaps to inform. Watching television, then, could indeed be considered a leisure activity. In our hypermediated age, we have come to suspect that watching television constitutes a species of work. Postindustrial creatures of an information economy, we increasingly sense that accessing media is what we do. We have become terminally self-conscious. There is no such thing as simple entertainment. We watch ourselves watching. We watch ourselves watching Beavis and Butt-Head, who are watching rock videos. Simply to watch without the buffer of irony in place, might reveal a fatal naïveté. But that is our response to aging media like film and television, survivors from the age of wood.


pages: 171 words: 54,334

Barefoot Into Cyberspace: Adventures in Search of Techno-Utopia by Becky Hogge, Damien Morris, Christopher Scally


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Naomi Klein, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks

Whole Earth Catalog. Brand, Stewart. 1972. “Space War: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums.” Rolling Stone, December 7. ———. 1974. “History – Demise Party etc.” Whole Earth Catalog, October. ———. 1985. “Keep Designing: How the Information Economy is Being Created and Shaped by the Hacker Ethic.” Whole Earth Review, May. Brandeis, Louis. 1913. “What Publicity Can Do.” Harpers Weekly. Burns, John F. 2010. “WikiLeaks Founder on the Run, Trailed by Notoriety.” The New York Times, October 23. Bush, Vannevar. 1945. “As We May Think.” The Atlantic, July.


pages: 193 words: 47,808

The Flat White Economy by Douglas McWilliams


access to a mobile phone, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, correlation coefficient, Edward Glaeser,, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, George Gilder, hiring and firing, income inequality, informal economy, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, Productivity paradox, Silicon Valley, smart cities, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, working-age population

Their definition of R&D, and hence innovation, is constructed in such a way that most software development is consequently excluded.16 The reason for this is that the scientists involved in the process (and the distinguished economist Christopher Freeman, emeritus Professor of the Economics of Science at Sussex University) were focussing on research carried out by the type of scientists operating in dedicated research establishments and wearing laboratory coats. In the days when this definition was invented, no one had ever envisaged that economically valuable research would be carried out by young(ish) kids playing at their desks with their computers in between other activities. But in the new digital economy this is how R&D mainly happens, and with the information economy being one of the largest parts of the world’s economy and certainly its fastest growing, this probably accounts for the bulk of the innovative activity that takes place anywhere in the world, and especially in the UK. The result is that the desk research conducted by government economists using the Frascati definition of research misses the key points – that the UK is not only one of the leading nations in the world for innovation but also for its dissemination.


What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian


banking crisis, British Empire, Doomsday Clock, failed state, feminist movement, Howard Zinn, informal economy, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Thomas L Friedman, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus

Sainath has pointed out, for the first time in Indian history there is mass migration from the countryside.19 There always was migration during harvests. This is different. People are fleeing the devastated countryside, where the large majority lives, and essentially pouring into the Mumbai slums. The most serious economic analyses—not the rave reviews on the op-ed page of the Times but real analyses—indicate that maybe 80 percent of the population or so is in the informal economy, which is not even counted.20 In states such as Uttar Pradesh, which has about the same population as Pakistan, the conditions for women are probably worse than under the Taliban. Go around India, and that’s what you find. There is growth, which is good. They’re improving roads, they have a big software program, they do have great labs. But for most of the population, it’s hardly heaven. Very far from it.


pages: 186 words: 49,595

Revolution in the Age of Social Media: The Egyptian Popular Insurrection and the Internet by Linda Herrera


citizen journalism, crowdsourcing, Google Earth, informal economy, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, Occupy movement, RAND corporation, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, WikiLeaks

In the breathtaking pace at which images and stories spread, there is little time for fact-checking, reflection, or bottom-up movement building. The meme-like spread of Mohamed Bouazizi seems to have traveled a path via social media similar to that traversed by Khaled Said. First was the grippingly tragic story of the martyr’s demise. Bouazizi was a twenty-six-year-old man from Tunisia’s interior region of Sidi Bouzid. He left high school early to work full-time in the informal economy as a fruit and vegetable vendor. As the eldest son in his family, he provided the primary support for his widowed mother and five younger siblings. Overwhelmed by the burden of fines, debts, and the humiliation of being serially harassed and beaten—in the end by a female police officer who literally struck the final blow to his dignity when she slapped him in public—he sought retribution. He tried to lodge complaints with government authorities, but they were indifferent to his plight.


pages: 226 words: 71,540

Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web by Cole Stryker


4chan, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, crowdsourcing, Firefox, future of journalism, hive mind, informal economy, Internet Archive, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, wage slave, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

It’s pretty pie-in-the-sky stuff, but I can’t help but feel energized about the future when talking to him. Middle East Activism Most recently, some Anons have been fighting for freedom of information in the Middle East, in what is perhaps the collective’s most noble and important mission yet. In 2011, Amnesty International, the human rights NGO, focused its annual report on what could be called the “information economy.” It recognized the Orwellian truism that he who controls information controls the world. Today’s networking technology has placed new power in the hands of the people, which has enabled them to keep their governments more accountable. For one, information is more freely available. Also, social networking platforms give people an opportunity to initiate activism. Because freedom of information is an ideal all Anons seem to share, they are happy to fight censorship and promote truth across the globe, even if it doesn’t generaste much lulz.


pages: 220 words: 73,451

Democratizing innovation by Eric von Hippel


additive manufacturing, correlation coefficient, Debian, hacker house, informal economy, inventory management, iterative process, James Watt: steam engine, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, placebo effect, principal–agent problem, Richard Stallman, software patent, transaction costs, Vickrey auction

As we saw in our earlier discussions of why innovators might freely reveal their innovations, researchers now understand that significant private rewards to innovation can exist independent of intellectual property rights grants. As a general principle, intellectual property rights grants should not be offered if and when developers would seek protection but would innovate without it. The debate rages. Gallini and Scotchmer (2002) assert that “intellectual property is the foundation of the modern information economy” and that “it fuels the software, lifesciences and computer industries, and pervades most other products we consume.” They also conclude that the positive or negative effect of intellectual property rights on innovation depends centrally on “the ease with which innovators can enter into agreements for rearranging and exercising those rights.” This is precisely the rub from the point of view of those who urge that present intellectual property regimes be reconsidered: it is becoming increasingly clear that in practice rearranging and exercising intellectual property rights is often difficult rather than easy.


pages: 248 words: 72,174

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau


big-box store, clean water, follow your passion, if you build it, they will come, index card, informal economy, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, late fees, price anchoring, Ralph Waldo Emerson, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, web application

When you have a success or “moment you knew” story, hold on to it; these experiences are powerful and will help you later if times get hard. The most important lesson in the whole book: Don’t waste your time living someone else’s life. CODA The story about freedom and value doesn’t end in the Western world; these themes are just as important in helping people create opportunities for themselves wherever they are. In many parts of Africa and Asia, more people work as buyers and sellers in the informal economy than work as employees for someone else. They may not all be professional bloggers or mobile application developers (yet), but they earn their living through the principles outlined in this book. In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I met a tuk-tuk driver named Rhett. Tuk-tuks are the open-air taxis of Southeast Asia in which you can ride anywhere in the city for a dollar or two. Some tuk-tuk drivers, just like some cab drivers in other places around the world, are unreliable and dishonest.


pages: 256 words: 76,433

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline


big-box store, clean water, East Village, feminist movement, income inequality, informal economy, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, megacity, race to the bottom, Skype, special economic zone, trade liberalization, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, upwardly mobile

After the quotas were lifted, employment in the L.A. factories “dropped precipitously,” says Quan, who surveyed the city’s garment workers after the MFA expired. Paychecks, already dismally low, took another hit. “We found that wages dropped 9 percent in the year after the end of the MFA and that employment was harder to find,” Quan says. She also found that the out-of-work garment workers, most of them non–English speaking immigrants, were pushed into even lower-paying jobs like child care, home health care, and “other small odd jobs” in the informal economy. In March 2011 the New York Times reporter Nadia Sussman documented the lives of New York City garment workers in a video segment called “Struggling to Stitch.” Sussman interviewed Hispanic day laborers lined up in the early morning hours on Eighth Avenue at West Thirty-eighth Street in the Garment Center, vying for scarce jobs sewing, packing, ironing, or cutting loose threads. She found a situation strikingly similar to Los Angeles, where garment workers were turning to lower-paying jobs, like housecleaning and babysitting, and some were moving back to their home countries.


pages: 259 words: 73,193

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris


4chan, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Burning Man, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation,, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Google Glasses, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Loebner Prize, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Republic of Letters, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, Steve Jobs, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test

The bus rattles around a corner and we all sway in unison, we bump into one another, but nobody looks up. An elderly woman, with perfect white hair, turns to look out the window and appears to disappear. • • • • • Jaron Lanier wrote that “one good test of whether an economy is humanistic or not is the plausibility of earning the ability to drop out of it for a while without incident or insult.” This seems a good gauge to me. And I know that dropping out of our current information economy would indeed damage my livelihood, put me at odds with the “ordinary” lives of my peers. It’s this fact of the hassle—the incorrectness of dropping off the grid—that solidifies my ambition to do it. I decide that I will take that sabbatical from the future. For thirty days, I will return to something akin to the technological circumstances of my childhood. No Internet. No mobile phone.


pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen


Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila,, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

It’s also interesting to look at the geographic concentration of the wage benefits that result from the internet. Investment in the internet correlates with wage and employment growth in American counties that represent about 42 percent of the American population. In the other locales wages have not benefited from the internet at all, and so it can be said that the internet has increased regional inequality in the United States. This is far from the utopian dreams of the early days of the information economy. It is worth considering a little more exactly the new ways in which distance does and does not matter. Because of the internet and Amazon, among other developments, it is easier to become self-educated in many more different parts of the world. It is also easier to have a “good enough” or low budget (but happy) life in many more different parts of the world, again because of technology.


pages: 254 words: 72,929

The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy by Tyler Cowen


Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, David Brooks,, endowment effect, Flynn Effect, framing effect, Google Earth, impulse control, informal economy, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, neurotypical, new economy, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind

Tyler Cowen offers an entertaining guided tour of our unprecedented information age, pondering implications for how creative we are, how long our attention span is, how our politics work, and the future of our economy.” —Samuel R. Sommers, assistant professor of psychology, Tufts University ALSO BY TYLER COWEN Discover Your Inner Economist THE AGE OF THE INFOVORE SUCCEEDING IN THE INFORMATION ECONOMY Tyler Cowen Previously published as Create Your Own Economy A PLUME BOOK PLUME Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.); Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England; Penguin Ireland, 25 St.


pages: 239 words: 70,206

Data-Ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else by Steve Lohr


23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, David Brooks, East Village, Edward Snowden, Emanuel Derman, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, impulse control, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of writing, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, obamacare, pattern recognition, payday loans, personalized medicine, precision agriculture, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

How do you maximize the technological payoff and minimize the privacy risk? There is no definitive answer. But by now, there are some identifiable camps of thinking—each with a somewhat different emphasis. One camp—think of it as the enlightened business community—contends that the focus of privacy rules should be on the use of data rather than the collection of data. Data, in this view, is an asset, the currency of the information economy. So, like money, the greatest value will be created if it flows freely. That case was forcefully made by the World Economic Forum, in a report issued in 2013, Unlocking the Value of Personal Data: From Collection to Usage. The report grew out of a series of workshops on privacy, attended by government officials and privacy activists, as well as business executives. The corporate members, more than others, shaped the final document.


pages: 261 words: 78,884

$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin, H. Luke Shaefer


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, clean water, ending welfare as we know it, future of work, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, impulse control, indoor plumbing, informal economy, low-wage service sector, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration

These small Delta towns, along with other sparsely populated farm hamlets and derelict mill towns across the Deep South and Appalachia, contain a disproportionate share of the $2-a-day poor. Locales like the Delta have long been among America’s poorest places—stops on the “poverty tours” of generations of politicians—due to economic travails evidenced generations ago. If legitimate means for getting cash—from either welfare or employment—have become increasingly scarce, the infrastructure necessary to earn cash in the informal economy isn’t much in evidence either. There are no plasma clinics to be found, and only a few scrapyards in the region’s biggest cities. Private charity, which is in greater abundance in rich cities such as Chicago, is noticeably absent here, and many of the public spaces are in disrepair. For the residents of these little towns, the nearest food pantry is often miles away, despite the sky-high poverty.


Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics by Francis Fukuyama


Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive bias, cuban missile crisis, energy security, flex fuel, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Norbert Wiener, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Yom Kippur War

But measured by their impact on decisionmakers’ new understanding of opportunities and dangers, SRES has had far less effect. The scenarios have had little discernable influence over the expectations or mental models that participants bring to debates over the actions needed to slash global emissions of greenhouse gases. Even the arguably most surprising of the scenarios, the “B1” storyline, where rapid global shifts to a service and information economy combine with widespread use of green technology to eventually reduce global emissions, has prompted little discussion about how policymakers might encourage such an outcome. In fact, contrary to the vision of Wack and 2990-7 ch10 lempert 7/23/07 12:13 PM Page 115 can scenarios help policymakers? 115 Schwartz, SRES’s range of quantified emissions paths are ever-present among climate policy studies, while the narrative storylines exist primarily as four short paragraphs perfunctorily quoted if mentioned at all.


pages: 265 words: 69,310

What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee


4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, David Brooks, don't be evil, gig economy, Hacker Ethic, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, ultimatum game, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Kevin Hipkins of Molly Maid, an Ontario cleaning services company with about 1,200 employees, claims that “If we could wave a magic wand, we could bring down our costs by about 30%, and avoid all this messy tax stuff. Taxation is a moral responsibility, I think we are creating a culture of tax cheats.” 16 The way Sharing Economy platforms work, paying taxes is left to the cleaners, and of course there is a temptation for low-paid service workers to postpone or minimize the tax being paid. Services such as cleaning have long been part of the informal economy, done for cash. What’s different now is that people are building billion dollar businesses on this informal model. Molly Maid’s Hipkins believes “there’s a difference when it’s a small under-the-table arrangement between a client and individual cleaner, versus a large US company, with millions in market capitalization.” In October 2014, two former Handy cleaners took the company to court.


Free as in Freedom by Sam Williams


Asperger Syndrome, cognitive dissonance, Debian, East Village, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Isaac Newton, John Conway, Maui Hawaii, Murray Gell-Mann, profit motive, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software patent, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, urban renewal, VA Linux, Y2K

Our decision will be guided by the two goals of preserving the free status of all derivatives of our free software and of promoting the sharing and reuse of software generally. "To compare something to a virus is very harsh," says Stallman. "A spider plant is a more accurate comparison; it goes to another place if you actively take a cutting." For more information on the GNU General Public License, visit [] In an information economy increasingly dependent on software and increasingly beholden to software standards, the GPL has become the proverbial "big stick." Even companies that once laughed it off as software socialism have come around to recognize the benefits. Linux, the Unix-like kernel developed by Finnish college student Linus Torvalds in 16 1991, is licensed under the GPL, as are many of the world's most popular programming tools: GNU Emacs, the GNU Debugger, the GNU C Compiler, etc.


pages: 1,797 words: 390,698

Power at Ground Zero: Politics, Money, and the Remaking of Lower Manhattan by Lynne B. Sagalyn


affirmative action, airport security, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, conceptual framework, corporate governance, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, estate planning, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, informal economy, intermodal, iterative process, Jane Jacobs, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, place-making, rent control, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, the High Line, time value of money, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, young professional

These trends were the advance guard of a transition to an information economy and Manhattan held a unique position as the global hub for information. “What the city could do better than any other,” remarked urban planner Mitchell Moss, “was harness its strengths in finance and entertainment to create new forms of electronic production and distribution.”13 The original World Trade Center “symbolized the aggressiveness and the dominance of the New York region in worldly matters,” wrote political scientist Jameson W. Doig in his definitive book on the Port Authority of New York, Empire on the Hudson.14 Though it was a financial white elephant for many years, the push behind the original World Trade Center was a harbinger of the city’s move toward an information economy. In 1960, David Rockefeller, president of the family-associated Chase Manhattan Bank and the Downtown–Lower Manhattan Association (DLMA), a business organization he founded to promote downtown’s revitalization, put forth a proposal for a $250 million commercial complex devoted to world trade, on 13.5 acres of land on a site on the East River waterfront.

Most critically, New York City had become a highly attractive place to live as well as work, as attested to by its historic-high population count. The city’s burgeoning information economy had occurred “without any major help from the state or federal government,” wrote Mitchell Moss in his celebratory century-opening ode to the city, “Why New York Will Flourish in the 21st Century.”41 All of these positive distinctions promised to enhance New York’s ability to recover quickly and benefit long-term from the opportunity born out of the tragedy of 9/11—an opportunity to rebuild the historic heart of the city and assure its central position in the global constellation of cities. How the rebuilding effort could meet the needs of the information economy and related social and economic trends was an open question. A Site with History The World Trade Center was built as an emblem of government ambition and, in time, its twin towers came to be an icon of New York recognizable across the globe.


The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil


additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business intelligence,, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter,, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

There are always early and late adopters. There's always a leading edge and a trailing edge to technology or to any evolutionary change. We still have people pushing plows, but that hasn't slowed down the adoption of cell phones, telecommunications, the Internet, biotechnology, and so on. However, the lagging edge does ultimately catch up. We have societies in Asia that jumped from agrarian economies to information economies, without going through industrialization. NED: That may be so, but the digital divide is getting worse. RAY: I know that people keep saying that, but how can that possibly be true? The number of humans is growing only very slowly. The number of digitally connected humans, no matter how you measure it, is growing rapidly. A larger and larger fraction of the world's population is getting electronic communicators and leapfrogging our primitive phone-wiring system by hooking up to the Internet wirelessly, so the digital divide is rapidly diminishing, not growing.

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, "Regional Road Map Towards an Information Society in Asia and the Pacific," ST/ESCAP/2283,; Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, "Regional Profile of the Information Society in Western Asia," October 8, 2003,; John Enger, "Asia in the Global Information Economy: The Rise of Region-States, The Role of Telecommunications," presentation at the International Conference on Satellite and Cable Television in Chinese and Asian Regions, Communication Arts Research Institute, Fu Ien Catholic University, June 4–6, 1996. 78. See "The 3 by 5 Initiative," Fact Sheet 274, December 2003, 79. Technology investments accounted for 76 percent of 1998 venture-capital investments ($10.1 billion) (PricewaterhouseCoopers news release, "Venture Capital Investments Rise 24 Percent and Set Record at $14.7 Billion, PricewaterhouseCoopers Finds," February 16, 1999).


pages: 467 words: 503

The omnivore's dilemma: a natural history of four meals by Michael Pollan


additive manufacturing, back-to-the-land, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Community Supported Agriculture, double entry bookkeeping, Gary Taubes, Haber-Bosch Process, index card, informal economy, invention of agriculture, means of production, new economy, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, Whole Earth Catalog

Salatin adamantly begged to differ: "It might not look that way, but this is all information-age stuff we're doing here. Polyface Farm is a postindustrial enterprise. You'll see." 192 * THE O M N I VO R E ' S D I L E M M A 2. MONDAY EVENING As I neared the blessed, longed-for end of my first day as a Polyface farmhand, I must say I didn't feel at all the way I normally do after a day spent laboring in the information economy. And there was still one more daunting chore before dinner: moving the cows, an operation that, Joel wanted me to understand, is a whole lot easier than it sounds. I certainly hoped so. Throwing and stacking fifty-pound bales of hay all afternoon had left me bone tired, sore, and itchy all over from pricks of the chaff, so I was mightily relieved when Joel proposed we ride the four-wheeler to the upper pasture where the cows had spent their day.

By the same token, a reliance on agrochemicals destroys the infor- 222 *THE O M N I VO R E ' S D I L E M M A mation feedback loop on which an attentive farmer depends to improve his farming. "Meds just mask genetic weaknesses," Joel explained one afternoon when we were moving the cattle. "My goal is always to improve the herd, adapt it to the local conditions by careful culling. To do this I need to know: Who has a propensity for pinkeye? For worms? You simply have no clue if you're giving meds all the time." "So you tell me, who's really in this so-called information economy? Those who learn from what they observe on their farm, or those who rely on concoctions from the devil's pantry?" OF COURSE the simplest, most traditional measure of a farm's efficiency is how much food it produces per unit of land; by this yardstick too Poly face is impressively efficient. I asked Joel how much food Poly face produces in a season, and he rattled off the following figures: 30,000 dozen eggs 10,000 broilers 800 stewing hens 50 beeves (representing 25,000 pounds of beef) 250 hogs (25,000 pounds of pork) 1,000 turkeys 500 rabbits.


pages: 725 words: 221,514

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber


Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, colonial rule, corporate governance, David Graeber, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, double entry bookkeeping, financial innovation, full employment, George Gilder, informal economy, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, oil shock, payday loans, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit motive, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, urban decay, working poor

In China, many also turned prospector. There was a minor silver rush, with illegal mines cropping up everywhere. Uncoined silver ingots, instead of official paper money and strings of bronze coins, soon became the real money of the off-the-books informal economy. When the government attempted to shut down illegal mines in the 1430s and 1440s, their efforts sparked local insurrections, in which miners would make common cause with displaced peasants, seize nearby cities, and sometimes threaten entire provinces.5 In the end, the government gave up even trying to suppress the informal economy. Instead, they swung the other way entirely: stopped issuing paper money, legalized the mines, allowed silver bullion to become the recognized currency for large transactions, and even gave private mints the authority to produce strings of cash.6 This, in turn, allowed the government to gradually abandon the system of labor exactions and substitute a uniform tax system payable in silver.


pages: 598 words: 172,137

Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, anti-communist, asset allocation, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business process, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, family office, full employment, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, mortgage debt, new economy, Occupy movement, Own Your Own Home, Peter Thiel, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Renaissance Technologies, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Vanguard fund, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K

., November 28, 2009, http://​www.​dnaindia.​com. 45 American IT outsourcing firms Ron Hira, interview, January 7, 2011. 46 Even Perot Systems “Perot Systems, Founded by an Offshoring Foe, Increases Offshoring,” Computer World, February 12, 2009, http://​www.​computer​world.​com. 47 India has burst upon “The Other Elephant,” The Economist, November 4, 2010, http://​www.​economist.​com. 48 India has largely leapfrogged over manufacturing “Information Economy Report 2010,” United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, October 14, 2010, http://​unctad.​org, 49–40, figures III.4 and III.5. The report estimated global exports in IT services and business processing at $92 billion to $96 billion and India’s share at 35 percent, but it said these figures underestimate the overall global IT offshoring market. NASSCOM, India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies, put India’s exports in this field at $50 billion in the executive summary of its Strategic Review 2010, “Global Sourcing Trends,” http://​epi.​nasscom.​in/​upload/​SR10/​Executive​Summary.​pdf. 49 “The Indian firms had a disruptive business model” Hira, interview, January 7, 2011. 50 “Cross border job shifting” IBM Directors’ Presentations on Offshoring, internal IBM document, March 13, 2003. 51 “Hiring over There” “Cutting Here, Hiring over There,” The New York Times, June 24, 2005. 52 Job reductions would save IBM $1.8 billion “Amid Layoffs, IBM Scours the Globe for IT Talent,” CRN TechWeb, September 23, 2005, http://​www.​crn.​com. 53 The cuts were being rolled out in modest batches “IBM Quietly Cuts Thousands of Jobs,” CBS, January 27, 2009. 54 IBM had fired another five thousand employees Steve Lohr, “Piecemeal Layoffs Avoid Warning Laws,” The New York Times, March 6, 2009; Steve Lohr, “Tallying I.B.M.’s Layoff Numbers,” The New York Times, March 30, 2009; William Bulkeley, “IBM to Cut U.S.

., Armonk, NY, publication date March 26, 2009. 64 “Downright unpatriotic” “IBM Files for Patent on Offshoring Jobs,” Times Herald-Record, March 30, 2009; “IBM Drops Patent Application for Outsourcing Offshore Jobs,” Times Herald-Record, March 31, 2009. 65 “Task by task, function by function” David Streitfield, “Office of Tomorrow Has an Address in India,” Los Angeles Times, August 29, 2004. 66 Offshoring today involves brainpower jobs Marla Dickerson, “Offshoring Trend Casting a Wider Net,” Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2004. 67 Shot up exponentially since 1990 “Information Economy Report 2010,” United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, http://​www.​unctad.​org. 68 “They told all the workers” Lee Conrad, interview, January 24, 2011. 69 83 percent cited outsourcing “Americans Sour on Trade,” The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2010. 70 “Job cuts at home, big hiring overseas” Hackett Group, “Offshoring of Back Office Jobs Is Accelerating,” January 6, 2009; “New Data: 2.8 Million Business-Support Jobs Eliminated Since 2000,” November 15, 2010, and “How Offshoring Could Prolong the Jobless Recovery,” January, 18, 2011, http://​news.​thomasnet.​com/​IMT/​archives/​2011/​01/​how-​offshoring-​trend-​could-​prolong-​jobless-​recovery-​hackett-​group.​html. 71 The big Wall Street banks Pankaj Mishra & Shruti Sabharwal, “Citi, Bofa & JPMorgan to Outsource $5 Bn of IT and Back Office Projects to India,” Economic Times, Times of India Group, February 14, 2011, http://​economictimes.​indiatimes.​com. 72 At home, the big banks were firing “Profits Falling, Banks Confront a Leaner Future,” The New York Times, August 29, 2011. 73 “How Offshoring Could Prolong the Jobless Recovery” “How Offshoring Could Prolong the Jobless Recovery,” Hackett Group, January 18, 2011, http://​www.​thehackettgroup.​com; “New Data: 2.8 Million Business-Support Jobs Eliminated Since 2000,” Hackett Group, November 15, 2010, http://​www.​thehackett​group.​com. 74 That “corresponds to about 30–40 million jobs” Alan S.


The Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley by Leslie Berlin


Apple II, collective bargaining, computer age, George Gilder, informal economy, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, means of production, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, open economy, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, union organizing, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

The “$120 billion social surplus” was the difference between (on the one hand) the theoretical costs of such productivity improvements if chip prices had not historically fallen so precipitously and (on the other hand) the actual costs to consumers. This “windfall,” Noyce contended, “can be used to further the other goals of society.”44 Noyce repeatedly stressed the link between the semiconductor industry and the emerging “information economy.” He told the Department of Commerce that “half of the country’s work force is now dealing with information rather than goods” and that the semiconductor industry was “fundamental to the new information age.” He promised that the new information technologies would improve workplace efficiency “even more than the mechanical age enhanced the output of manual labor in the last century.”45 Noyce further sought to stress that the semiconductor industry was not seeking protectionist legislation: the Section 301 petition focused on gaining access to Japan’s market, rather than closing off America’s market to Japanese imports.

.: as actuary, 23, 106; angel (private) investing by, 192– 93, 218–20, 240, 275; April Fool’s joke, 148; arm fracture of, 41; attitude toward government contracting, 50, 130–31, 281; attitude toward management, 90, 106–7, 128, 154, 180; birth of, 10–11; book-printing analogy of, 138; camera (hobby), 278; camera (stepand-repeat design), 94; childhood of, 11–18; college years, 14 (See also Grinnel College; MIT); on computers, 212, 225–27, 252, 278; on confidence, 113, 133, 179, 246; on cooperative research, 281; creativity of, 97–98, 130–31; day declared in honor of, 3, 246, 304–5; death of, 303–5; decision to leave Fairchild, 149–54; decision to leave Shockley, 81; and dislike of confrontation, 35, 89–90, 145, 198, 260; dislike of hierarchy, 114–16, 128, 191; dissertation of, 38–42; and diving, 18, 19, 21; divorce of, 214–18, 234; draft concerns of, 24, 25, 51, 52; early physics studies of, 17–19; extramarital affair of, 146, 200–202, 215–16, 232; as Fairchild general manager, 105–7, 111–16, 119–23, 128–34, 142–43, 146–48, 153–54; as Fairchild R&D head, 90, 95, 106–7; family life of, 1, 47, 51–53, 65, 117–18, 134, 143–46, 178–79, 220, 228–29, 277, 300– 303; as father of Silicon Valley, 246; finances, early, 16, 20, 34–37, 45, 52, 86, 113, 203; and Fullbright award, 37; glider and model plane building by, 6–9, 37; graduate work of (MIT), 30–42; as Grinnell college student, 17, 19–22, 27–29, 33; as Grinnell college trustee, 144, 166, 193–94, 208; in group of eight, 82–86, 96, 112, 124; on group think, 172; high school, 14– 18; on information economy, 271; as Intel board chair, 238–39, 243– 46, 250, 255; as Intel director, 257– 58, 297; as Intel president, 157–59, 160–91, 195–210, 222–28; investment philosophy of, 240–41; jobs, early, 16, 20, 23, 28; as leader vs. manager, 153, 225–27; Lifetime Achievement Medal, 302; lobbying by (against rolling blackouts), 209; lobbying by (capital gains), 262; lobbying by (SEMATECH), 283– 84; lobbying by (SIA), 262, 266, 268–70, 273; love of California, 59, 82, 118–19; marriages of (See Bowers, Ann; Noyce, Betty Bottomley); mentoring young entrepreneurs, 2, 192–93, 241–43, 275–77, 278, 280, 299–300, 306, 307; on microprocessor, 182–83, 185, 186, 195–96, 203–6; move to California, 59–60, 62; on Murphy’s Law, 255; and music, 15, 35–36, 51, 144, 191; and Nobel Prize, 3, 66, 110, 246; obituaries for, 305; oil and gas investment, 300–301, 304; on optimism, 264; patents of, 48, 87, 97, Index 99, 100, 117, 389–90; philanthropy of, 210–12, 228–29, 274, 306; at Philco, 47–52; philosophy of, 240; physics studies of, 17–19; pig stealing by, 23; pilot hobby and personal airplanes of, 2, 117, 179–80, 201, 202, 208, 213, 228–29, 252, 278–80, 304–5; property owned by, 218, 277, 278, 302; public image of, 243–49; puffin airlift by, 211; on quick-and-dirty research approach, 175; as Rapid Robert, 1, 34, 37; relationship with Japanese, 117, 134, 184, 195, 260, 269; on religion, 16, 118, 235; as Renaissance man, 305; scuba diving of, 278; as SEMATECH CEO, 289– 304; sense of future, 2, 3, 206; and Shell Fellowship, 37; at Shockley Semiconductor Labs, 59–62, 64– 68, 71–78, 80–81; and skiing, 2, 38, 41, 191–92, 228, 248; and smoking, 16, 233–34; speaking schedule of, 297–98; as spokesman, 239; and stock options, 120, 150, 165, 179, 197–98, 246; support for education by, 274, 306; and tinkering, 7, 16, 36–37, 51, 144, 278, 298, 299–300; travel by (business), 117, 184, 195– 97; travel by (family vacation), 168–69; travel by (to China), 277; travel by (to Europe), 117, 121, 196–97, 228; travel by (to Japan), 117, 184, 185, 228; travel by (with Bowers), 277–78, 292; wealth, early discomfort with, 113, 117, 203; wealth of, 255, 275; and youth movement, 213 Noyce Chapel, 228–29 Noyce Foundation, 306 Oakmont, Pennsylvania, 230 obituaries, 305 oil and gas investment, 300–301, 304 Olivetti corporation, 121 Olson, Keith, 387 OmniPage, 276–77.


pages: 287 words: 86,919

Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway


Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor

Part I examines protocol in its positive representation, specifically how protocol exists as a physical technology, as a formal technology, and also as a political technology. Parts II and III examine protocol in its negative representation, a profile that Armand Mattelart describes well within a larger context of globalization: When some political scientists speak of the “new global fronts of disorder,” “areas of darkness,” or “anti-worlds,” they are referring to fundamentalism, sects, channels or the underground of informal economy, Mafia networks and illicit trafficking (from narcotics to children or contraband electronics), transnational flows of diasporas and migrant labor—both regular and illegal—toward the affluent countries and regions, etc. These dissonant fronts and parallel worlds reveal the crises, conflicts, and Conclusion 241 imbalances affecting our changing societies and confront them [with] the constant risk of collapse or disaster.1 This constant risk of collapse or disaster is what makes the subcultures discussed here—hacking, cyberfeminism, Net art—so necessary for the assumption and continuing maturation of protocol.


pages: 296 words: 87,299

Portfolios of the poor: how the world's poor live on $2 a day by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford


Cass Sunstein, clean water, failed state, financial innovation, financial intermediation, income per capita, informal economy, job automation, M-Pesa, mental accounting, microcredit, moral hazard, profit motive, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, transaction costs

The hottest public debates in world poverty, therefore, are those about aid flows and debt forgiveness, and about the virtues and vices of globalization.1 Discussion of what the poor might do for themselves is less often heard. If it’s hard to 1 CHAPTER ONE imagine how you would survive on a dollar or two a day, it’s even harder to imagine how you would prosper. Suppose that your household income indeed averaged two dollars or less a day per head. If you’re like others in that situation, then you’re almost surely casually or part-time or self-employed in the informal economy. One of the least remarked-on problems of living on two dollars a day is that you don’t literally get that amount each day. The two dollars a day is just an average over time. You make more on some days, less on others, and often get no income at all. Moreover, the state offers limited help, and, when it does, the quality of assistance is apt to be low. Your greatest source of support is your family and community, though you’ll most often have to rely on your own devices.


pages: 364 words: 101,286

The Misbehavior of Markets by Benoit Mandelbrot


Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black-Scholes formula, British Empire, Brownian motion, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, carbon-based life, discounted cash flows, diversification, double helix, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Elliott wave, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, implied volatility, index fund, informal economy, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market microstructure, new economy, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, stochastic volatility, transfer pricing, value at risk, volatility smile

How about the cost of the Windows operating system, the basic software with which Office was designed to work? How about the cost of installing and maintaining Office on millions of customers’ computers, without which Office would not have the “network economies” that have been so crucial to its growth? Such questions, difficult enough in a manufacturing economy, become intractable in our modern information economy, in which so much money changes hands for the mere right to use somebody else’s intangible ideas. And even if we could agree on a cost, how could we ever derive a useful formula for translating it into a price? Things sell below cost all the time. The price of a dress can drop 90 percent, simply by moving it from the shop window at the start of the season to the basement clearance rack at the end of the season.


pages: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan


1960s counterculture, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, computer age, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, data acquisition, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full text search, global village, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pirate software, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, single-payer health, Skype, social web, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, web application

It even provides videos explaining how to do this.11 But unless you act to change them, the company’s default settings constitute your choices. When Mayer and others at Google speak about the practices and policies governing their private-data collection and processing (otherwise known as privacy policies), they never discuss the power of defaults. They emphasize only the freedom and power that users have over their data. Celebrating freedom and user autonomy is one of the great rhetorical ploys of the global information economy. We are conditioned to believe that having more choices—empty though they may be—is the very essence of human freedom. But meaningful freedom implies real control over the conditions of one’s life. Merely setting up a menu with switches does not serve the interests of any but the most adept, engaged, and well-informed. Setting the defaults to maximize the benefits for the firm and hiding the switches beneath a series of pages are irresponsible, but we should not expect any firm to behave differently.


pages: 336 words: 90,749

How to Fix Copyright by William Patry


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, barriers to entry, big-box store, borderless world, business intelligence, citizen journalism, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers,, facts on the ground, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, haute cuisine, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, lone genius, means of production, new economy, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, web application, winner-take-all economy

See Paul Heald, Property Rights and the Efficient Exploitation of Copyrighted Words: An Empirical Analysis of Public Domain and Copyrighted Fiction Bestsellers, 2nd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper (January 9, 2007), http://papers.>; and Paul Heald, Testing the Over- and Under-Exploitation Hypotheses: Bestselling Musical Compositions (1913–32) and Their Use in Cinema (1968–2007), 3rd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper (April 1, 2008), cfm?abstract_id=1115405. 30. See Michael Yuan, Should Different Information Economies Have the Same Duration of Copyright?, 6 Review of Economic Research 13 (2009). 31. See Jason Schultz,The Myth of the 1976 Copyright “Chaos”Theory (2002); Edward Rappaport, Copyright Term Extension: Estimating the Economic Value, Congressional Research Service, May 11, 1998, at 5–6. Chapter 9 1. See Stef van Gompel’s excellent study, Formalities in Copyright Law: An Analysis of Their History, Rationales and Possible Future (2011, Kluwer). 2.


pages: 279 words: 87,910

How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life by Robert Skidelsky, Edward Skidelsky


banking crisis, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, lump of labour, market clearing, market fundamentalism, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, union organizing, University of East Anglia, wage slave, World Values Survey

In an immigrant society like America, money-making was seen as the royal road to success; in Europe, the legacy of a hierarchical culture that limited opportunities for money-making both at the top and the bottom led to the adoption of ways of life that downgraded money-making as a goal. Britain is an intermediate case, more open to wealth-creation than Continental Europe, less socially egalitarian than the United States. These cultural differences are embedded in, and reinforced by, the specific institutions of the tax system, welfare system and labor market. It may well be that the long Italian hours miss out those who work only intermittent hours in the informal economy. (This seems to be a feature of all the Mediterranean countries.) Chart 4. Hours of Work since 1983 Source: OECD Employment Outlook 2011 Second, the fall in average working hours conceals a divergence in hours worked by different groups within countries. While overall working hours have stalled, many lower paid workers are working less than they want to, while many of the rich are working more than they need to.


pages: 240 words: 109,474

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner


Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, book scanning, Columbine, corporate governance, game design, glass ceiling, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software patent, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, X Prize

Journalists from all walks cooed over the game’s immersion, the marketing scheme, the violence, the great American success story, “It’s as close to virtual reality as you’re going to get.” gushed the Chicago Sun-Times. “Virtual Mayhem and Real Profits,” headlined The New York Times. The Economist published an essay titled “Doomonomics,” which academically explored how “the drippingly gory computer game took its creators from obscurity to riches… [It’s a tale that] holds a lesson of striking relevance to tomorrow’s information economy.” The Red Herring marveled that id had “an entire file filled with letters from VCs and private investors who are just dying to sink cash into [the company]”–yet the company was remaining staunchly and profitably independent. Of course the millions of players who were living the game could give two flying fireballs about any of those things. What was really selling the game, they knew, was deathmatch.


pages: 299 words: 91,839

What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis


23andMe, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Anne Wojcicki, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, clean water, connected car, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, fear of failure, Firefox, future of journalism, Google Earth, Googley, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, peer-to-peer lending, post scarcity, prediction markets, pre–internet, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, web of trust, Y Combinator, Zipcar

If you want to be courageous, why not reveal that people who like this restaurant also like that one? Sure, that sends the other guys business—it’s linking to them—but in an open pool of information, they will also send business back. Nobody eats at the same place every night (well, there was the time when I went to McDonald’s entirely too often). Even a restaurant can think as a member of a network in a linked information economy. Networks force specialization. In a linked world, you don’t want to be all things to all people. You want to stand out for what you do best. That’s why chef Gordon Ramsey focuses the menus of the restaurants he fixes on his show, Kitchen Nightmares, so they know the business they’re in. Serve your niche instead of the mass. Do what you do best. Now, as Emeril would say, let’s kick it up a notch: Open-source the restaurant.


pages: 398 words: 107,788

Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman


Benjamin Mako Hill, crowdsourcing, Debian, dumpster diving,, financial independence, ghettoisation, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jason Scott:, Jean Tirole, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Paul Graham, pirate software, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, software patent, software studies, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, web application, web of trust

There is little to distinguish this form of consciousness from the guild labor mentality of yore that sought security in the protection of craft knowledge. (Ross 2006, 747) He deems this insufficient, however, poetically stating: “Voices proclaiming freedom in every direction, but justice in none” (ibid., 748). If Ross faults free software for its supposed political myopia, others shine a more revolutionary light on free software and related digital formations, treating them as crucial nodes in a more democratic informational economy (Benkler 2006), and as allowing for novel forms of group association and production (Shirky 2008). If one position demands purity and a broader political consciousness from free software developers, the other position veers in the opposite direction: it has free software perform too much work, categorizing it and other digital media as part of a second coming of democracy, shifting in fundamental ways the social and economic fabric of society.


pages: 314 words: 94,600

Business Metadata: Capturing Enterprise Knowledge by William H. Inmon, Bonnie K. O'Neil, Lowell Fryman


affirmative action, bioinformatics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, continuous integration, corporate governance, create, read, update, delete, database schema,, informal economy, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, semantic web, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application

However, the frantic problem of being late still looms, and we dash out the door, desperately trying to redeem the time by driving fast so we can make up some time, minimizing our lateness without getting into an accident. Sound familiar? We have all had experiences like this. Is this the same type of experience that people would have if they were unable to find information to do their jobs? Information and “Knowledge Workers” Peter Drucker first created the term “knowledge worker” in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The economy of the twenty-first century is an information economy, and most workers today are knowledge workers who produce abstract work products consisting mainly of information, not tangible items like cars or pencils. Therefore, the know-how of the knowledge worker is not necessarily knowledge of everything, but knowing where to find it. Samuel Johnson, who compiled the first English dictionary in the 1700s, said: 66 Chapter 4 Business Metadata, Communication, and Search Figure 4.4 Searching for a Needle in a Haystack.


pages: 465 words: 109,653

Free Ride by Robert Levine


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Anne Wojcicki, book scanning, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Firefox, future of journalism, Googley, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, linear programming, offshore financial centre,, publish or perish, race to the bottom, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

Remember that the Electronic Frontier Foundation was cofounded by John Perry Barlow, who told the governments of the world, “You have no sovereignty where we gather.”35 In May 2010, the organization made the very reasonable suggestion that creators need to stop suing individual copyright infringers.36 Then, a few months later, it objected to COICA on the grounds that it constituted censorship. So what, exactly, should creators do to enforce their rights? And if the answer is nothing, how can any kind of legitimate market develop online? It would be both ironic and tragic if the United States finally developed an information economy only to find that information isn’t actually worth anything. The future isn’t what it used to be. Back in 1993, when Bruce Lehman began to think about crafting a copyright policy for the online world, almost everyone predicted the information superhighway would be a huge boon to the culture business. Good jobs would be created by new opportunities to sell music, movies, and other forms of entertainment still being developed.


pages: 364 words: 102,528

An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies by Tyler Cowen


agricultural Revolution, big-box store, business climate, carbon footprint, cognitive bias, cross-subsidies, East Village,, food miles, guest worker program, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, informal economy, iterative process, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, price discrimination, refrigerator car, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Upton Sinclair, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce

On the energy costs of sugar refining and processing, and also gasoline versus food, see “Energy Use in the U.S. Food System,” by Patrick Canning, Ainsley Charles, Sonya Huang, Karen R. Polenske, and Arnold Waters, United States Department of Agriculture, March 2010. 9. Why Does Mexican Food Taste Different in Mexico? On the strong Latin influence in El Paso, see Kathleen Staudt, Free Trade? Informal Economies at the U.S.-Mexico Border (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998), pp. 35, 46, and see p. 33 on the history of border relations between the two cities. Juárez is one of the wealthiest parts of Mexico. El Paso has been slipping in wealth compared to the rest of the United States. El Paso per capita income was slightly above the national average in 1950, but by 1991 had declined to 59 percent of the national average; see Staudt, Free Trade?


pages: 349 words: 114,038

Culture & Empire: Digital Revolution by Pieter Hintjens


4chan, airport security, anti-communist, anti-pattern, barriers to entry, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, blockchain, business climate, business intelligence, business process, Chelsea Manning, clean water, congestion charging, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, Debian, Edward Snowden, failed state, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, German hyperinflation, global village, GnuPG, Google Chrome, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, informal economy, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, national security letter, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, packet switching, patent troll, peak oil, pre–internet, private military company, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, Skype, slashdot, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, transaction costs, union organizing, web application, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero day, Zipf's Law

Industrial-age market regulation is becoming less relevant as people choose more and more to rely on private law. For example, in the workplace, contracting has become a growing replacement for regulated employment. The employee who is working for a large static firm is a zombie concept. The future belongs to the self-employed contractor who joins highly focused groups, some of which may be small companies, and most are simply "projects." The Internet hosts untold millions of such projects -- an informal economy that must surely exceed the formal economy by at least an order of magnitude. The reason is very simple: an employee who can work on one project at once is an order of magnitude less productive than a contractor who can share bandwidth with half a dozen projects. Not only can contractors specialize and thus be more efficient, they can also reuse their knowledge and skills over and over in different contexts.


pages: 193 words: 98,671

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum by Alan Cooper


Albert Einstein, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Menlo Park, natural language processing, new economy,, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, urban planning

The user must perform the tasks necessary to handle clients' demands and process orders, but these are only hygienic, because offering these features without addressing the user's personal goals will fail. If the user fails to achieve her own personal goals, she cannot effectively achieve the company's. It is a simple fact of human nature that happy, satisfied workers are more effective ones. This is truer than ever in the modern information economy, in which the true assets of a company are human and not mechanical. On the other hand, if your software ignores practical goals and serves only the user's goals, you will have just designed a computer game. False Goals Most of the software-based products we use every day are created with false goals in mind. Many of these goals ease the task of software creation, which is a programmer's goal, and this is why they get promoted at the expense of the software's user.


pages: 346 words: 101,255

The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters by Rose George


American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Anton Chekhov, Celtic Tiger, clean water, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, informal economy, job satisfaction, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, land reform, New Urbanism, Potemkin village, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Steven Pinker, urban planning

Finally, Rajesh stops outside the building where he thinks the restaurant used to be. A man sits inside a dark room, stripping copper wire, careful among tangles. He is a recycler, because slums are the recycling centers of most cities in the developing world. (In Cuba, I saw doorknobs made from telephones and hairdryers converted from Soviet fans and paint cans.) In poor places, nothing is wasted, because waste only comes with wealth, and waste can, in the flourishing informal economy of the slums, create it. The recyclers and 15,000 one-room businesses in Dharavi, a Mumbai slum that is the largest in Asia, create an economic output estimated at $1.4 billion a year. The recycling man points into the room behind. There are abandoned tables and chairs, the signs of Shankar’s restaurant, now closed. Please sit, the man says, while Shankar is found. The restaurant closed after the floods two years earlier.


pages: 371 words: 110,641

On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman


ghettoisation, informal economy, payday loans, traffic fines, unemployed young men, working poor

You want them to pass right by [the picture], you want them to choose the other guy, the guy who never did nothing for them. Mike and Chuck regarded this practice with admiration, acknowledging that it’s smart to send money to a man in jail who, if he gives you up, will see his commissary account quickly dry up. But like a marriage, this relationship requires consistent income, and most men in the neighborhood have only sporadic work in either the formal or the informal economy, with quite uneven and low returns. Mike and Chuck certainly couldn’t afford to maintain long-term relationships in which a steady flow of cash or other resources guaranteed the ongoing cooperation of neighborhood residents. But they did occasionally scrape together enough money for one-time payments, mostly to witnesses during trials. According to Mike, about two years before we met, he had been walking home from a dice game with a large wad of cash when a man put a gun to his head and ordered him to give up his money.10 Mike told me that he refused, and attempted to draw his own gun when the man shot him.


pages: 317 words: 101,475

Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones


Asperger Syndrome, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit crunch, deindustrialization, Etonian, facts on the ground, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Occupy movement, pension reform, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, race to the bottom, rising living standards, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working-age population

'Labour bought into the whole myth of the boom in the financial sector and the City,' says Elliott. Like previous Tory governments, New Labour presided over an overvalued exchange rate, rendering our manufacturing goods deeply uncompetitive abroad. 'It paid lip service to its old industrial base, but did absolutely nothing to help it, and in fact actually made things a lot worse for the manufacturing sector.' With all the talk about the 'information economy' and a country where more people work in pop music than down the mines, it is easy to overstate the point. Nearly four out of every ten men are still manual workers. But there is no denying an obvious trend. Industrial occupations are vanishing with every passing year. Already embattled sectors suffered yet more crippling blows at the hands of the Great Recession of 2008. The crisis may have been caused by the greed of bankers, but manufacturing paid the price.


pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee


2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, employer provided health coverage,, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, payday loans, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

If one assumes that each additional unit of production created a similar increment in well-being, then counting up how many units were produced, as GDP does, would be a fine approximation of welfare. A nation that sells more cars, more bushels of wheat, and more tons of steel probably corresponds to a nation whose people are better off. With a greater volume of digital goods introduced each year that do not have a dollar price, this traditional GDP heuristic is becoming less useful. As we discussed in chapter 4, the second machine age is often described as an “information economy,” and with good reason. More people than ever are using Wikipedia, Facebook, Craigslist, Pandora, Hulu, and Google, with thousands of new digital goods introduced each year. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis defines the information sector’s contribution to the economy as the sum of the sales of software, publishing, motion pictures, sound recording, broadcasting, telecommunications, and information and data processing services.


pages: 357 words: 99,684

Why It's Still Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions by Paul Mason


back-to-the-land, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, capital controls, centre right, citizen journalism, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, illegal immigration, informal economy, land tenure, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, Network effects, New Journalism, Occupy movement, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rising living standards, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, union organizing, We are the 99%, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, young professional

‘To be honest,’ he says, ‘what we lack in a place like London is that the lower classes can’t live in central London and have to commute for two and a half hours to do the jobs that keep people going.’ But what’s driven this new thinking is not so much vision as a set of ugly economic facts. After the 1970s there was a sharp slowdown in the provision of social housing across the globe. In cities, the move away from state provision of services fuelled the rise of the informal economy and a growing inequality between rich and poor. As a result, we’re having to ask ourselves a question that would have made the nineteenth-century fathers of city planning shudder: do we have to learn to live with slums forever? It’s a question to which the Filipino political elite has defiantly answered ‘No.’ A vision in vanilla Estero de Paco, Manila. ‘Should I buy them ice cream?’ Gina Lopez asks me, tilting back her white Stetson and peering over her sunglasses.


pages: 363 words: 107,817

Modernising Money: Why Our Monetary System Is Broken and How It Can Be Fixed by Andrew Jackson (economist), Ben Dyson (economist)


bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, credit crunch, David Graeber, debt deflation, double entry bookkeeping, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, informal economy, land reform, London Interbank Offered Rate, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Northern Rock, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, Real Time Gross Settlement, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, seigniorage, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, unorthodox policies

For example, in 2004 human rights groups reported that about 90 percent of the opposition members suffered from criminal violation, 24 percent had survived potentially lethal attacks and 42 percent had been tortured. By 2005, economic conditions had grown particularly bad. More than 80 percent of the Zimbabwean population was officially unemployed. The informal sector of the economy, which accounted for less than 10% of the total in 1980, was by 2005 the main source of income for the majority of Zimbabweans: more than 3 million people worked in the informal economy compared to only 1.3 million in the formal sector (Tibaijuka, 2005). With economic conditions rapidly worsening, the government resorted to extreme measures to both bolster its position and get the economy under control. For example, in 2005 the government implemented a law which required exporters to sell up to 30 percent of their foreign exchange earnings to the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank at an artificially low exchange rate.


pages: 397 words: 102,910

The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet by Justin Peters


4chan, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Brewster Kahle, buy low sell high, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, don't be evil, global village, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Lean Startup, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, profit motive, RAND corporation, Republic of Letters, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Silicon Valley, social web, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

Though the SEC database was comprised of public data, the agency persisted in treating it as proprietary information. “The SEC database is not a product, but the way that investors are informed of the status of public corporations so they may direct their investment dollars to the proper place,” Malamud wrote in 1997. “Large government databases are not products; they are the very fuel that makes an information economy function properly.”40 Since the SEC filings were public data, once they were purchased from Mead they could be redistributed freely and legally. Theoretically, nothing could stop Malamud from subscribing to EDGAR and then posting every document for free online. And that’s just what he did. He obtained a grant to purchase the data tapes of all SEC filings—the $78,000 option—and, starting in 1994, posted those filings on his website.41 Gradually, the database found an audience.


pages: 265 words: 15,515

Nomad Citizenship: Free-Market Communism and the Slow-Motion General Strike by Eugene W. Holland


capital controls, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, deskilling, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, peak oil, price mechanism, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, slashdot, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, wage slave, working poor

Although Taylor and Follett were contemporaries, it must be said that Taylor’s view was the more influential of the two for much of the twentieth century. This may be because Taylorization better suited a manufacturing economy, up to and including the mass production and mass marketing of commodities characteristic of Fordism, while Follett’s management theory is better suited to the growing importance of what we now know as “im­ material labor” in the post-Fordist information economy. A very different, sociological rather than economic explanation is offered by Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello in their study The New Spirit of Capitalism, which shows that ideas of delayering, flat management and network enterprise represented the nouvelle vague in management theory in France as well as the United States and Japan at the end of the twentieth century.24 But in their view, this new spirit represents capital’s response to the crisis and criticisms of the May 1968 movement rather than gains in economic ef­ ficiency.


pages: 364 words: 102,225

Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi by Steve Inskeep


battle of ideas, British Empire, call centre, Edward Glaeser, European colonialism, illegal immigration, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Khyber Pass, Kibera, knowledge economy, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, megacity, new economy, New Urbanism, urban planning, urban renewal

The United Nations noted a sharp decline in urban poverty around the world in the first decade of the twenty-first century. But progress was uneven, and a UN agency described an “urban divide” between haves and have-nots: “a chasm, an open wound.” One of the big dividing lines is between the people in the formal economy, like the developers and construction workers at the Icon Tower, and people in the informal economy, like many of those in illegal homes at Machar. The formal economy has higher wages, greater security, and at least some rules. Rashida. There are also divides between instant cities. Karachi residents know it, and feel it. It pains them. Mumbai has some of the same problems as Karachi, but is seen as a city on the rise. Karachi has some of the same advantages as Mumbai, but is seen as a city in crisis.


pages: 350 words: 100,822

Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella H. Meadows, Jörgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows


agricultural Revolution, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, financial independence, game design, income per capita, informal economy, means of production, new economy, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review

Gross National Income by Sector The history of the distribution of the value of the U.S. economic output among service, industry, and agriculture shows the transition to a service economy. Note that although services assume the largest share of the economy, the industrial and agricultural sectors continue to expand in absolute terms. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.) Steel mills and mines may be located far away from the offices of the information economy. The tonnage of materials used may not rise as fast as the dollar value of output. But as figure 2-9 shows, even in a "post-industrial" economy, the industrial base does not decline. Information is a wonderful, valuable, disembodied commodity, but it is typically stored in a desktop computer that, as of 1997, was made from 55 pounds of plastic, metal, glass, and silicon; that drew 150 watts of electricity; and that generated in its manufacture 139 pounds of waste materials.13 The people who produce, process, and use information not only eat food but also drive cars, live in houses, work in heated or cooled buildings, and-even in the age of electronic communications-use and discard reams of paper.


Nation-Building: Beyond Afghanistan and Iraq by Francis Fukuyama


Berlin Wall, business climate, colonial rule, conceptual framework,, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, informal economy, land reform, microcredit, open economy, unemployed young men

On the positive side, sound macroeconomic policies and the very low starting point have made it possible for Afghanistan to enjoy rapid economic growth of “nearly 50 percent cumulatively over the last two years (not including drugs), with double-digit economic growth expected to continue in 2004.”13 The drivers of this growth are largely recovery-related and temporary, however, necessitating a continuing search for sustainable growth alternatives. Most (80–90%) of the Afghan labor force is employed in the informal economy, much of which will have to be formalized for Afghanistan’s recovery to continue. Constraints to developing sustainable development alternatives in a formal economy are substantial, including continuing insecurity, corruption, burdensome regulations, and a broken infrastructure (especially the road network and power grids).14 Also significant was the completion of the Kabul-to-Kandahar portion of the national highway, known as the “Ring Road.”


pages: 233 words: 75,712

In Defense of Global Capitalism by Johan Norberg


Asian financial crisis, capital controls, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, Gini coefficient, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, Lao Tzu, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Naomi Klein, new economy, open economy, profit motive, race to the bottom, rising living standards, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, union organizing

Little wonder, then, that more people do not translate their good ideas into entrepreneurial activity.1 Such rules are also harmful in another way. When regulation raises barriers to necessary activity, a large portion of a firm’s time—time that could otherwise be devoted to production— ends up being spent either complying with or circumventing the rules. If this proves too burdensome, people join the informal economy instead, thereby depriving themselves of legal protection for their business dealings. Many firms will use their resources— resources that could otherwise have been used for investment— to coax politicians into adapting the rules to their needs. Many will be tempted to take shortcuts, and bureaucrats will oblige in 69 return for generous bribes, especially in poor countries where salaries are low and regulatory systems more or less chaotic.


pages: 440 words: 108,137

The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen J. McNamee


affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, collective bargaining, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, equal pay for equal work, estate planning, failed state, fixed income, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, job automation, joint-stock company, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, occupational segregation, pink-collar, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, prediction markets, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, school choice, Scientific racism, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, white flight, young professional

“Self-Employment in the United States: An Update.” Monthly Labor Review, July, 13–23. ———. 2010. “Self-Employment in the United States.” Monthly Labor Review, September, 17–32. Hout, Michael, Asaf Leanon, and Erin Cumberworth. 2011. “Job Loss and Unemployment.” In The Great Recession, ed. David B. Grusky, Bruce Western, and Christopher Wimer, 59–81. New York: Sage. Leonard, Madeleine. 1998. Invisible Work, Invisible Workers: The Informal Economy in Europe and the US. New York: St. Martin’s. Massey, Douglas S. 2007. Categorically Unequal: The American Stratification System. New York: Sage. McCrary, Michael. 1998. “Same Song, Different Verse: Processes of Race-Sex Stratification and Self-Employment.” In Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, vol. 16, ed. Kevin T. Leicht, 319–50. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. Miller, Arthur Selwyn. 1977.


pages: 319 words: 103,707

Against Everything: Essays by Mark Greif


1960s counterculture, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, crack epidemic, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, income inequality, informal economy, Ponzi scheme, postindustrial economy, Ronald Reagan, technoutopianism, telemarketer, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, white flight

Babies have long stood as the prime resource-devouring symbol of the ill-controlled profligacy of the irresponsible lower classes. (Remember the song they sing at the party in The Great Gatsby, “Ain’t We Got Fun,” with its rewritten verse: “One thing’s sure and nothing’s surer / The rich get richer and the poor get—children.”) Nowadays, children are a liability even for the middle classes, because, had too early, they keep you from your now necessary bachelor’s and graduate degrees and, in an “information economy,” stunt your income growth. Yet to choose to have a baby rather than abort is suddenly to be a certain kind of moral hero, at least for antiabortionists and the increasingly wide swath of popular media they pull in their train. The old Malthusian politics of elites (like that of George H. W. Bush, once a staunch advocate of international family planning) has been born again (like his son W.) in a politics of conservative Christian fecundity.


pages: 361 words: 97,787

The Curse of Cash by Kenneth S Rogoff


Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, cashless society, central bank independence, cryptocurrency, debt deflation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, ethereum blockchain, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial intermediation, financial repression, forward guidance, frictionless, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, illegal immigration, inflation targeting, informal economy, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, large denomination, liquidity trap, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, moveable type in China, New Economic Geography, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, payday loans, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, RFID, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, The Great Moderation, the payments system, transaction costs, unbanked and underbanked, unconventional monetary instruments, underbanked, unorthodox policies, Y2K, yield curve

In China, in particular, a large share of the population still lives in relatively poor agricultural communities, so even if the major coastal cities could go cash free, the whole of China cannot. The challenges in India, which is growing but still significantly lags China in economic development, are even greater. Perhaps most importantly, for emerging markets and developing economies, it is far from clear that measures to reduce the size of the informal economy by reducing the use of cash will be a net benefit. A great deal of informal employment makes use of workers with low human capital who could not clear the threshold for employment in the formal sector and could not be easily absorbed by firms required to bear the costs of dealing with weak government institutions. That said, many emerging markets have profound corruption problems, which are a central cause of the weak institutions that are holding back development.8 A case in point is Brazil’s spectacular recent oil and construction corruption scandal, where the total amount for bribes and kickbacks is reported to have exceeded $3 billion and counting, and corruption allegations have reached the highest level.9 Of course, corruption on this scale takes many forms besides cash, but cash still features in many reports.


pages: 378 words: 102,966

Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H Naylor, David Horsey


big-box store, Community Supported Agriculture, Donald Trump, Exxon Valdez, financial independence, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, McMansion, medical malpractice, new economy, Ralph Nader, Ray Oldenburg, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, The Great Good Place, trade route, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra, young professional

In the first place, the poor are often the original victims of the environmental consequences of cost-cutting production strategies. They live disproportionately in areas where environmental contaminants and patterns of pollution are most severe —one such area is Louisiana’s notorious “Cancer Alley,” where petrochemical companies unleash a frightening barrage of carcinogens into the air and water. At the same time, the vastly inflated wage scales paid to winners in the new “information economy” lead to competitive bidding on housing stock that drives the cost of shelter beyond the reach of average earners. Many are forced to leave communities where they and their families have spent their entire lives. Finally, the poor are taunted by television programs and commercials that flash before them images of consumption standards that are considered typical of the average American, but which they have no possibility of achieving—except perhaps by robbing a bank or winning the lottery.


pages: 350 words: 103,988

Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets by John McMillan


accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, congestion charging, corporate governance, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, Deng Xiaoping, experimental economics, experimental subject, fear of failure, first-price auction, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, George Gilder, global village, Hernando de Soto, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job-hopping, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, land reform, lone genius, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market friction, market microstructure, means of production, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, proxy bid, purchasing power parity, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Stewart Brand, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, yield management

Against this drawback of the longer copyright, there is no countervailing benefit. Authors are hardly likely to find motivation in the prospect of earnings that will arrive fifty years after their death. Also, the legislators applied the extension retrospectively to existing copyrights. This is impossible to fathom. Authors do not need incentives to write books they have already written. As the information economy has grown, so have debates about whether information should be owned. To some, intellectual property is a relic of an earlier age. They see a struggle for cyberspace, as copyrights and patents fence off what should be free. A headline in the satirical magazine The Onion put their worries in a nutshell: “Microsoft Patents Ones, Zeroes.” Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web (which he did not patent), has called for software developers to fight the patent system.


pages: 283 words: 85,824

The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Brewster Kahle, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, digital Maoism, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, future of journalism, George Gilder, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Naomi Klein, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, oil rush, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, slashdot, Slavoj Žižek, Snapchat, social graph, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Works Progress Administration, young professional

Other new technologies (automated machinery, computers, and ever more sophisticated software applications) took over many other jobs (remember bank tellers? telephone operators? service station attendants?). By the ’80s, any job requiring that the same steps be performed repeatedly was disappearing—going over there or into software.25 At the same time the ideal of a “postindustrial society” offered the alluring promise of work in a world in which goods were less important than services. Over time, phrases like “information economy,” “immaterial labor,” “knowledge workers,” and “creative class” slipped into everyday speech. Mental labor would replace the menial; stifling corporate conventions would give way to diversity and free expression; flexible employment would allow them to shape their own lives. These prognostications, too, were not to be. Instead the increase of shareholder influence in the corporate sector accelerated the demand for ever-higher returns on investment and shorter turnaround.


pages: 319 words: 90,965

The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere by Kevin Carey


Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business intelligence, carbon-based life, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, declining real wages, deliberate practice, discrete time, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google X / Alphabet X, informal economy, invention of the printing press, inventory management, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, Network effects, open borders, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, transcontinental railway, Vannevar Bush

When an educational institution becomes grotesquely swollen with money, pawed at by tourists, possessed of an immensely valuable brand name the popular meaning of which it can’t control and the benefits of which it cannot bestow on nearly everyone who wants them, the pressures of that threaten to distort and split the place open at the seams. Harvard was never meant to be this wealthy or important. It all happened more inadvertently than anyone imagines, a combination of first-mover advantage, just the right sequence of industrialization and globalization, Cold War government spending, the rise of the information economy, and not getting bombed into rubble during World War II. But Real Harvard continued getting richer even as Imaginary Harvard grew larger and weirder and more important, because the hybrid university severely restricts your freedom of movement, and really there was nothing else to do. It’s hard to argue for dramatic change when the fourth Class of ’16 is lining up outside the gates—and there were tens of thousands of young people who hoped they’d be part of that group.


pages: 423 words: 126,096

Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity by Edward Tenner


Bonfire of the Vanities, card file, Douglas Engelbart, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Network effects, optical character recognition, QWERTY keyboard, Stewart Brand, women in the workforce

(Like Anton Lorenz, Marie Le Doux had an unorthodox background in physiology—in her case, limited to a course in a chiropractic hospital in Los Angeles. In civilian life, her French-born husband was a professional mind-reader. The chair was later produced under the Craftmatic brand until the 1990s.)32 Just as the pace of industrial work in the early twentieth century inspired desk chairs that promoted an optimal upright posture, the beginnings of an information economy made people more conscious of their leisure. Barcalo successfully courted physicians, who recommended and even prescribed its chairs. A 1951 article, “Learn to Relax,” in Today’s Health, recommended stretching out on a couch or bed with the head supported by a pillow: “You relax by letting yourself go limp. If you shift or fidget, speak unnecessarily or lie stiff and uncomfortable, you are not relaxing.”


pages: 391 words: 22,799

To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise by Bethany Moreton


affirmative action, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, collective bargaining, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, estate planning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Gilder, global village, informal economy, invisible hand, market fundamentalism, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, price anchoring, Ralph Nader, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, walkable city, Washington Consensus, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, Works Progress Administration

These taxpayer gifts to the sectarian faith sector included donating public land and former military installations; underwriting overseas missions; maintaining the military chaplaincy; and subcontracting serÂ�vices to religious aid orÂ� gaÂ�niÂ�zaÂ�tions. Far from being a redoubt of private associational life, the faith arena developed a robust relationship with the state along the same lines as many for-Â�profit industries: legal protection and public funding were welcomed, oversight rejected as government tyranny. As New Deal–style social provisions fell to the conservative ascendancy of the 1980s, the lightly regulated, tax-Â�free informal economy of the faith industries steadily expanded for two deÂ�cades. It grew with help from state lawmakers, government agencies, and court decisions that granted the religious orÂ�gaÂ�niÂ�zaÂ�tions ever-Â�wider access to government funds while proclaiming government itself to be the problem.6 The New Christian Right of the 1970s and 1980s combined religious efforts to regulate sex with an equally religious celebration of material comforts, self-Â�expression, technological innovation, and secular success.


pages: 205 words: 18,208

The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? by David Brin


affirmative action, airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, data acquisition, death of newspapers, Extropian, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, informal economy, Iridium satellite, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, means of production, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, open economy, packet switching, pattern recognition, pirate software, placebo effect, Plutocrats, plutocrats, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telepresence, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yogi Berra, Zimmermann PGP

Ideally, some means should be found for intellectual property to be compensated in proportion to the amount that it is used by people and institutions in the world. Even so, the approach taken by CIC lawyers is catastrophically flawed. By insisting on criminalizing so many harmless traditional behaviors, they are following an ancient and discredited path—one that will only foster disdain for the law and drive the real information economy underground. A much better approach would use positive measures to attract society toward a system based on fair payment. This might be accomplished in a number of ways: 1. Developing technology to make pay per use reliable and convenient. 2. Creating one or more commercially distinct zones within cyberspace, which people can visit to test and grow familiar with these payment schemes, while sampling therein some truly distinct and original entertainment experiences they can find nowhere else. 3.


pages: 476 words: 118,381

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil Degrasse Tyson, Avis Lang


Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, carbon-based life, centralized clearinghouse, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, dark matter, Gordon Gekko, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Karl Jansky, Kuiper Belt, Louis Blériot, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Pluto: dwarf planet, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, space pen, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, trade route, V2 rocket

Their explanation, titled “Finding a needle in the haystack or proving that there may be none,” is worth quoting at length: In the short run, knowing the gravitational constant to one more decimal digit of precision or placing even tighter limits on any deviation from Einstein’s gravitational theory may seem like painfully nit-picking detail. Yet one must not lose sight of the “big picture.” When researchers were measuring the properties of electricity with ever more refined instruments over two hundred years ago, they did not envision continent-spanning power grids, an information economy, or tiny electrical signals reaching us from the unfathomable depths of the outer solar system, sent by man-made machines. They just performed meticulous experiments laying down the laws connecting electricity to magnetism or the electromotive force to chemical reactions. Yet their work paved the way to our modern society. Similarly, we cannot envision today what research into gravitational science will bring tomorrow.


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley


23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser,, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Using such technologies, Africa can follow the same route to prosperity that the rest of the world is following: to specialise and exchange. Once two individuals find ways to divide labour between them, both are better off. The future for Africa lies in trade – in selling tea, coffee, sugar, rice, beef, cashews, cotton, oil, bauxite, chrome, gold, diamonds, cut flowers, green beans, mangoes and more – but it is almost impossible for poor Africans in the informal economy to be entrepreneurs in such international trade. A handwritten contract between two people in Tanzania may be affordable and enforceable, but it is little help if the debtor wishes to start an export business supplying cut flowers to a London-based supermarket. Of course, it will not all be easy or smooth, but I refuse to be pessimistic about Africa when such an opportunity is available at a few strokes of a pen and when the evidence of entrepreneurial vitality in the extralegal sector is so strong.


pages: 421 words: 120,332

The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future by Laurence C. Smith


Bretton Woods, BRICs, clean water, Climategate, colonial rule, deglobalization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, energy security, flex fuel, global supply chain, Google Earth, guest worker program, Hans Island, hydrogen economy, ice-free Arctic, informal economy, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, land tenure, Martin Wolf, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, purchasing power parity, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, side project, Silicon Valley, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, urban planning, Washington Consensus, Y2K

There are many economic, social, and political choices contained within different SRES scenarios, but the differences are not important for our purposes here. SRES refers to the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios. They are grouped into four families (A1, A2, B1, and B2) exploring alternative development pathways, covering a wide range of demographic, economic, and technological driving forces and resultant greenhouse gas emissions. B1 describes a convergent, globalized world with a rapid transition toward a service and information economy. The A1 family assumes rapid economic growth, a global population that peaks around 2050, and rapidly advancing energy technology, with A1B assuming a balance between fossil and nonfossil energy. A2 describes a nonglobalized world with high population growth, slow economic development, and slow technological change. For more, see N. Nakicenovic, R. Swart, eds., Special Report on Emissions Scenarios: A Special Report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 570 pp. 279 The three SRES scenarios shown, which I have renamed for clarity, are B1, A1B, and A2, respectively.


pages: 429 words: 114,726

The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise by Nathan L. Ensmenger


barriers to entry, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, deskilling, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Grace Hopper, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, loose coupling, new economy, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, performance metric, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the market place, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Y2K

In fact, it would be difficult to identify a single aspect of contemporary social, economic, political, or cultural life that has not been profoundly influenced by computers and computer-based technologies—and by extension, the computer specialists who designed and developed these technologies. Despite their omnipresence in contemporary popular culture and sizable representation in the modern information economy, historians have thus far devoted little attention to these ubiquitous but mysterious computer specialists. There are, of course, whole shelves of books devoted to the small number of inventors and entrepreneurs—Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Larry Ellison, in particular—who have managed to translate their computing expertise into fabulous wealth and personal celebrity. There is also considerable literature on the intriguingly subversive subculture of teenage computer hackers.


pages: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom


agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk,, epigenetics, fear of failure, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, iterative process, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Netflix Prize, new economy, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, prediction markets, price stability, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, social graph, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm,