profit motive

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pages: 128 words: 38,187

The New Prophets of Capital by Nicole Aschoff

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3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Legislative Exchange Council, basic income, Bretton Woods, clean water, collective bargaining, commoditize, crony capitalism, feminist movement, follow your passion, Food sovereignty, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global value chain, helicopter parent, hiring and firing, income inequality, Khan Academy, late capitalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, means of production, performance metric, profit motive, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, school vouchers, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Chapter 2 examines eco-capitalism and the growing trend of “sustainable” production and consumption by looking at Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s model of conscious capitalism. Mackey’s narrative highlights key problems with the rapid spread of global capitalism and its devastating impact on the environment, but his model fails to challenge the underlying contradictions and imperatives of for-profit production. Human needs can be satiated, but the profit motive cannot—even “sustainable” production in a capitalist system cannot protect the environment from overuse and potentially irreversible damage. Chapter 3 peels back the layers of media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s model of self-help, spiritual capitalism. At a time when the American Dream seems more out of reach than ever, Oprah’s message resonates and replicates through all avenues of life. Her helping, healing, self-empowerment message turns up on college campuses, has been adopted by legions of internet entrepreneurs, and is echoed in the vision of organizations like the Freelancers Union.

When women’s ambitions and desires are silenced or undervalued, they are easier to take advantage of. Sexism and racism are part of the company toolkit, enabling firms to pay women less—particularly women of color—discriminate against them, steal their wages, and treat them badly. But even if we root out sexism and racism, the inherent contradictions of capitalism will persist. Putting women in charge will not change the power of the profit motive and the compulsion of companies to give workers as little as economic, social, and cultural norms will allow. The goal of feminism is justice and equality for all women, not simply equal opportunity for women or equal participation by women. By aligning the goals of feminism with the goals of capitalism, Sandberg’s model of emancipation functions as ideology, accepting and undergirding the dominant structures of power in society.

They were the work of institutions: CERN and the Department of Defense created the internet, while Bell Labs—a subdivision of AT&T, freed from market competition by federally granted monopoly rights—generated transistors, radar, information theory, “quality control,” and dozens of other innovations central to our epoch.25 Nearly every advance in science, technology, and mathematics emerged from people working together at universities supported by government funding. Creativity and innovation come from many places. Companies produce influential innovations, but so do other institutions that operate outside the confines of the profit motive, competitive markets, and the bottom line. As Cambridge professor of economics Ha-Joon Chang argues, this is neither theoretical quibbling nor simply a quest for historical “truth.” Instead, getting the historical narrative right is important because the stories we tell “deeply affect the very way in which we understand the nature and the development of the market, as well as its interrelationship with the state and other institutions.”26 In the neoliberal narrative states are interlopers, under the thumb of rent-seeking politicians and bureaucrats, whose field of action should be restricted.


pages: 95 words: 6,448

Mending the Net: Toward Universal Basic Incomes by Chris Oestereich

basic income, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, profit motive, rent-seeking, The Future of Employment, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, universal basic income

Given that, it’s time to consider what we might do to change the system, and to start, we need to question our fundamental assumptions about how to organize the economy and society in general. The belief that the profit motive is the optimal incentive for driving progress is often treated as a given. But a preponderance of belief is a poor substitute for proof. We know there are people who are driven by the profit motive (evidence of that is in no short supply), and maybe we all are to some degree, but there are plenty of other factors driving human behavior. Why should we believe that one takes complete precedence over the rest when we know that some of us are also pulled by things like the need to foster a sense of community, the desire to support family and friends, or even a compulsion to work on the wicked problems faced by humanity?[16] Each of us has a mix of forces pulling us in different directions. At best, the profit motive is an oversimplification. At worst, it’s a destructive force without equal.

At worst, it’s a destructive force without equal. Regardless of the reality of our motivations, our economic system remains centered on the profit motive. If I want a roof over my head, and something to eat, I better do something that affords me the necessary income. If I want to spend all my time helping others, but no one is willing to pay me enough to cover my needs, I’d better have deep enough pockets to live off of. But what if we had a different system, one in which our primary needs were taken care of? What might that system look like? A universal basic income program, that would help everyone take care of their needs, is one possible answer to that question. Can it help? Given a monthly payment that set a moderate income floor, but didn’t remove the support provided by other safety net programs (things like Medicare, SNAP, and WIC), the question about universal basic incomes is not whether they would help those who are struggling to make ends meet (they would), but whether they might create any undesirable macroeconomic effects like runaway inflation, so that’s something I think we should take great care in thinking through.


pages: 490 words: 117,629

Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment by David F. Swensen

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asset allocation, asset-backed security, capital controls, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, diversification, diversified portfolio, fixed income, index fund, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, money market fund, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pez dispenser, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, survivorship bias, technology bubble, the market place, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, yield curve, zero-sum game

When the fiduciary responsibility to produce high risk-adjusted returns for investors inevitably comes into conflict with the profit motivation to provide substantial revenues for funds management companies, investor returns lose and company profits win. Mutual-fund investors consistently fail to achieve investment objectives, because the balance of power in the investment management world skews dramatically in favor of the profit-seeking investment manager. When a sophisticated provider of financial services stands toe to toe with a naïve consumer, the all-too-predictable conclusion resembles the results of a fight between a heavyweight champion and a ninety-eight-pound weakling. The individual investor loses in a first-round knockout. Investors increase the odds for success by avoiding purely profit-motivated firms and engaging organizations that reduce or eliminate the conflict between seekers of profit and seekers of return.

The case for government intervention rests on the clear inability of market mechanisms to produce satisfactory outcomes for the vast majority of individual investors. Mutual-Fund Industry Failure Unconventional Success concludes that the mutual-fund industry fails America’s individual investors. Compelling data show that nearly certain disappointment awaits the mutual-fund shareholder who hopes to generate market-beating returns. The root of the problem lies in the competition between a mutual-fund management company’s fiduciary responsibility and its profit motive. The contest almost inevitably resolves in favor of the bottom line. Individual investors lose. Mutual-fund managers win. Evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that active management of assets fails to produce satisfactory results for individual investors. Two factors explain the individual’s predicament. The first problem stems from the investment choices available to individuals.

By 1995, the ratio declined to 1.06 percent as a result of efficiencies associated with managing a larger pool of assets. As part of the rationale for closing the fund, the portfolio managers observed that further increases in assets under management will produce “proportionately much less benefit” to the expense ratio, once again illustrating Southeastern’s focus on shareholder interests. The reduction in the expense ratio represents another example of Southeastern placing investor interests above the profit motive. Instead of allowing economies of scale to drive down expenses, the managers could have quietly maintained the percentage-of-assets charges, generated greater cash flow, and garnered greater profits for themselves. Instead, Southeastern transferred a significant portion of the benefits of increasing scale to its customers. Slightly more than three years after closing Longleaf Partners Fund, in October 1998, Southeastern reopened its flagship offering, noting that “investment opportunities exceeded the Fund’s cash levels and new inflows could enhance all shareholders’ returns.”


pages: 433 words: 125,031

Brazillionaires: The Godfathers of Modern Brazil by Alex Cuadros

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affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, big-box store, BRICs, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, family office, high net worth, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, NetJets, offshore financial centre, profit motive, rent-seeking, risk/return, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, We are the 99%, William Langewiesche

Or rather, let us say, love of glory. —MACHADO DE ASSIS, Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas (trans. William Grossman) Contents PROLOGUE: THE CRASH PART ONE: ROOTS OF WEALTH CHAPTER 1: GOD IS BRAZILIAN CHAPTER 2: THE PRICE OF PROGRESS CHAPTER 3: MANIFEST DESTINY CHAPTER 4: NATION BUILDING CHAPTER 5: PROSPERITY GOSPEL PART TWO: THE BRAZILIAN DREAM CHAPTER 6: VISIONARY CHAPTER 7: HELPING HANDS CHAPTER 8: THE PROFIT MOTIVE CHAPTER 9: THE BACKLASH CHAPTER 10: TOO BIG TO FAIL EPILOGUE: AFTER THE CRASH ACKNOWLEDGMENTS NOTES GLOSSARY INDEX PROLOGUE THE CRASH ON A STRETCH OF HIGHWAY NOT FAR FROM RIO DE JANEIRO, a silver SLR McLaren idled on the shoulder, its futuristic door hinged open at the top like a wing extended toward the evening sky. The warning lights blinked yellow. In the driver’s seat, a twenty-year-old kid named Thor sat spattered with blood.

In November, the government would announce a partnership between Eike, the BNDES, and IBM to build a microchip factory. In typical fashion, Eike called it a future Brazilian Intel. He had another important ally. Lula, even as ex-president, remained a power broker. And lately he’d been visiting Eike at the Serrador building. I started hearing whispers that, if things got bad enough, the government would bail Eike out. CHAPTER 8 THE PROFIT MOTIVE A NEW RICHEST MAN, MERITOCRACY, AND THE VALUE OF MONEY “Money in and of itself isn’t what fascinates me.” —JORGE PAULO LEMANN ($20 BILLION) “Jorge created a whole management culture in Brazil that is extraordinary.” —EIKE BATISTA ($13 BILLION) DESPITE HIS EFFORTS TO STANCH THE BLEEDING, EIKE’S WEALTH continued to shrink. In November 2012, his net worth slipped below nineteen billion dollars, and suddenly, for the first time in three years, he was not the richest person in Brazil.

But when a journalist asked him why he didn’t bet bigger on renewable energy, he replied that it just wasn’t financially viable yet. Despite his love of risk, this was a risk he wasn’t willing to take. Eike belonged to the Lemann camp. Like most of his fellows in the business world, he saw profit as a simple force of nature. It was immutable, something to be harnessed: galvanizer of wills. Even on its own terms, though, the profit motive can backfire. Eike’s story is proof of this. “Jorge Paulo created a whole management culture in Brazil that is extraordinary,” Eike said once, praising Lemann. And he followed a similar model of remuneration. To lure the best people in oil and mining, he offered stock incentives that dwarfed the salaries they earned at Petrobras or Vale. The system worked like this: After a few years at one of his companies, management could buy shares from him for just pennies each.


Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages by Carlota Pérez

agricultural Revolution, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, Bretton Woods, capital controls, commoditize, Corn Laws, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, distributed generation, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, Hyman Minsky, informal economy, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, late capitalism, market fundamentalism, new economy, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, post-industrial society, profit motive, railway mania, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus

This means that a painful and difficult process of learning and adaptation must take place, involving creative destruction across all spheres. It also explains why the fruits of that new growth potential cannot be fully reaped in the The Propagation of Paradigms: Times of Installation, Times of Deployment 43 first decades, when the accommodation and mutual shaping of society and the new economy occur, pushed by the profit motive in spite of institutional inertia and human resistance. Hence, increasing polarization and decoupling both inside the economy and between the new economy and the old social framework characterize the initial diffusion of a technological revolution. So, the installation period is one of tense coexistence of two paradigms, one declining and the other occupying more and more space on the ground, in the market and in the minds of people.

That is why, when the potential of one revolution is spent, there is a pool of radical innovations capable of coming together to form the Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital 156 Figure14.2 The dynamics of the system: three spheres of change in constant reciprocal action INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE ECONOMIC CHANGE Production capital Financial capital Socio-political ideas and behavior TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE Socio-institutional frameworks Technological revolutions Techno-economic paradigms next. Hence, a certain degree of scientific and academic freedom is an essential component of the dynamics of the system. The economic sphere is the scene of the growth process, where production and financial capital interact. More than merely interdependent, these two functional forms of the profit motive are indispensable to each other: real production supports paper wealth; borrowed money supports innovation and real investment. But it is not a simple, tranquil relationship, but rather a very turbulent one. The tensions and distensions of financial and production capital, their couplings and recouplings, will determine the rhythm and the direction of economic growth in each phase. And, at the two hinges of the surge, from Installation to Deployment and vice versa, when power struggles between them come to a head, the two other spheres will intervene.

So, as in most processes of advance, development in the capitalist system occurs through combining the forces of conservation with the forces of transformation. C. The Difficult Balance Between Private and Social Interest The model proposed takes into account the fundamental structure of the capitalist system, which is in constant tension, managing the balance between private and social interests. The profit motive acts as the basic engine of private interest, moving both finance and production capital. The social interests, incarnate in government and the various organizations of civil society, are constantly trying to shape the conditions of growth and the distribution of its toils and of its fruits. The actual social benefits, in each particular phase, will depend on the extent to which there is a positive or negative sum game between individual and collective interests and on whether the social and political forces leaning to one or the other side are capable of recognizing these – rationally or intuitively – and act effectively to attain their aims.


pages: 829 words: 229,566

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

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1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

Their vision—that greed should guide us, that, to quote the late economist Milton Friedman, “the major error” was “to believe that it is possible to do good with other people’s money”—has dramatically remade our world over the last four decades, decimating virtually every countervailing power.67 Extreme free-market ideology was locked in through the harsh policy conditions attached to much-needed loans issued by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It shaped the model of export-led development that dotted the developing world with free trade zones. It was written into countless trade agreements. Not everyone was convinced by these arguments, not by a long shot. But too many tacitly accepted Thatcher’s dictum that there is no alternative. Meanwhile, denigration of collective action and veneration of the profit motive have infiltrated virtually every government on the planet, every major media organization, every university, our very souls. As that American Geophysical Union survey indicated, somewhere inside each of us dwells a belief in their central lie—that we are nothing but selfish, greedy, self-gratification machines. And if we are that, then what hope do we have of taking on the grand, often difficult, collective work that will be required to save ourselves in time?

And it means coming up with new, nonprofit disaster insurance programs so that people who have lost everything to a hurricane or a forest fire are not left at the mercy of a private insurance industry that is already adapting to climate change by avoiding payouts and slapping victims with massive rate increases. According to Amy Bach, cofounder of the San Francisco–based advocacy group United Policyholders, disaster insurance is becoming “very much like health insurance. We’re going to have to increasingly take the profit motive out of the system so that it operates efficiently and effectively, but without generating obscene executive salaries and bonuses and shareholder returns. Because it’s not going to be a sustainable model. A publicly traded insurance company in the face of climate change is not a sustainable business model for the end user, the consumer.”38 It’s that or a disaster capitalism free-for-all; those are the choices.

As recently as the early 1970s, a Republican president—Richard Nixon—was willing to impose wage and price controls to rescue the U.S. economy from crisis, popularizing the notion that “We are all Keynesians now.”8 But by the 1980s, the battle of ideas waged out of the same Washington think tanks that now deny climate change had successfully managed to equate the very idea of industrial planning with Stalin’s five-year plans. Real capitalists don’t plan, these ideological warriors insisted—they unleash the power of the profit motive and let the market, in its infinite wisdom, create the best possible society for all. Obama, obviously, does not share this extreme vision: as his health care and other social policies suggest, he believes government should nudge business in the right direction. And yet he is still sufficiently a product of his anti-planning era that when he had the banks, the auto companies, and the stimulus in his hands, he saw them as burdens to be rid of as soon as possible, rather than as a rare chance to build an exciting new future.


pages: 350 words: 103,988

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

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate raider, 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, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job-hopping, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, lone genius, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market friction, market microstructure, means of production, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, ought to be enough for anybody, 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

Research has brought a host of other medical marvels, as pointed out by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), an alliance of U.S. drug manufacturers.12 Antibiotics and vaccines have almost eliminated diphtheria, syphilis, whooping cough, measles, and polio from the developed world. Deaths from influenza and pneumonia have been greatly reduced, as have deaths from heart disease, strokes, and ulcers. Millions live longer, more productively, and more comfortably. Market incentives are what prompted the invention of these miracle drugs. Were it not for the profit motive, many of them would not exist. Adam Smith said self-interest can lead to beneficent outcomes: there is no more striking instance of this than the aggressive pursuit of profit giving rise to life-preserving medicines. No economic system that has ever been implemented, other than the market, has succeeded in consistently spawning major pharmaceutical innovations. The alternatives to the market—such as provision by international agencies or the state—have been far less successful than the drug companies in developing new pharmaceuticals.

Some programs are written with no expectation of a patent. The Linux open-source software is an example; Linux developed as it did because users, unhindered by patents, shared their ideas and built on each others’. Writing code is not the same, though, as writing poetry. Some programmers want to change the world; many just want to make a living. The writing of much of the software we use every day was driven by the profit motive. If software were free, less of it would be produced. The evidence on the effects of the patenting of software is inconclusive. There are examples of patented software that probably would not have been written were it not for the prospect of patents. Following the various court rulings in the early 1980s allowing the patenting (rather than just copyrighting) of software, research-and-development spending by software-related firms increased steadily but unspectacularly.

And most of the time you do get it back. If you tried to describe this process to a Rip van Winkle, awakened after sleeping through the last hundred years of history, you would be hard-pressed to convince him you weren’t just making it up. “Give me your money and I’ll multiply it for you” is the spiel of every con man. Why are we able to trust corporations presenting the same pitch? Whereas markets are driven by the profit motive, corporations are based on the presumption that managers are not seeking profits for themselves: instead, they follow their fiduciary duty and seek profits for the shareholders. Managers are no more altruistic than the rest of us. To ensure they will act in their shareholders’ interests, they must be given incentives to do so. Creating such incentives is not easy. Many countries have not yet succeeded.


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

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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, intangible asset, Internet of things, inventory management, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, litecoin, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, 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, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, QR code, 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, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

For one, power consumption must be measured against the value of validating transactions in a payment system, a social service that gold mining has never provided. Second, the costs must be weighed against the high energy costs of the alternative, traditional payment system, with its bank branches, armored cars, and security systems. And finally, there’s the overriding incentive for efficiency that the profit motive delivers to innovators, which is why we’ve seen such giant reductions in power consumption for the new mining machines. If power costs make mining unprofitable, it will stop. Bitcoin’s environmental doomsday is not, therefore, just around the corner. Even so, it would be irresponsible to ignore energy usage as a concern. As BitCarbon’s Lane points out, the improved energy efficiency of mining rigs simply increases profitability, which, when combined with a rising price, draws more miners into the race for bitcoins and increases total power consumption.

There’s a genesis problem here, though: Who will put up the initial capital to create this not-for-profit entity if its founder can’t earn a return from investing in it? Clearly, the assets of these autonomous agents need to be thought of as public goods. The societal profit we all share from having more services abundantly available at low prices should be self-evident, but what incentive is there for profit-motivated individuals to invest in providing them? One option is to have governments direct this effort, applying taxpayer money. Another is to hope that philanthropists pick up the challenge. Ideally, though, the investment would come as a community effort. Perhaps residents of a particular neighborhood could invest in a driverless car and be rewarded with free or discounted rides for a prescribed period, and to achieve that kind of broad-based funding objective, Hearn offers up another solution: cryptocurrency assurance contracts, a blockchain-based version of the popular crowdfunding model in which organizers pledge a certain amount when others’ donations reach target levels.

In part because the Ripple network is run by a private, for-profit company, rather than taking on an ownerless and decentralized structure like bitcoin’s, it draws suspicion from cryptocurrency purists, who often wrongly define it as a centralized system. Despite the company’s elaborate efforts to create transparent, arm’s-length rules for issuing and disseminating its XRP currency, it inevitably comes in for flak on Reddit and other forums favored by the crypto mob. The issue of Ripple’s profit motives came to a head in May 2014, when McCaleb made the stunning announcement that he would sell all of his XRP holdings. In a short message posted on Reddit, the cofounder said that after giving away some of his 9 billion XRP to charity, he now planned to sell the remainder over two weeks. That represented about 9 percent of the initial 100 billion XRP money supply, which unlike the drawn-out, 130-year issuance of bitcoins, was created in one batch in 2012.


pages: 264 words: 115,489

Take the money and run: sovereign wealth funds and the demise of American prosperity by Eric Curt Anderson

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asset allocation, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, business continuity plan, business intelligence, business process, collective bargaining, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, diversified portfolio, fixed income, floating exchange rates, housing crisis, index fund, Kenneth Rogoff, open economy, passive investing, profit maximization, profit motive, random walk, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, sovereign wealth fund, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Vanguard fund

While we can bemoan the mean-spirited nature of this investment, the properties clearly cannot be removed from the United States and are, therefore, likely to eventually once again land in American hands. My vote is that it is profit-motivated behavior.48 Now, what about the commodities speculation? This story is a more difficult read. I can understand how some readers would argue this is a case of strategic investment—governments using sovereign wealth funds to purchase future rights to scarce resources. On the flip side of the coin, I also have empathy for readers who conclude the sovereign wealth funds were simply engaging in profit-motivated commodities speculation. In either case, this second story should cause policy makers to consider the viability of our existing foreign investment laws and regulations. Is Washington really unable to monitor the activities of swap dealers?

At the end of 2006, the Chinese “big four” financial institutions reported the following nonperforming loan ratios: Bank of China: 4.04% Construction Bank of China: 3.39% Industrial and Commercial Bank of China: 3.79% Agricultural Bank of China: 26.17%68 The Agricultural Bank of China’s problem—an estimated $114 billion in bad loans—has not gone unnoticed, both in and outside China.69 In fact, there are rumors that the Agricultural Bank of China is preparing to join the other “big four” with a public stock listing in 2010,70 and the CIC is reportedly slated to participate in the official effort to address the Bank’s nonperforming loan problem.71 Given this background on China’s nonperforming loan problem, and specifically how that issue was addressed within the “big four” financial institutions, we are now ready for a return to an evaluation of CIC’s initial purchases. As stated above, the CIC executive board was apparently caught between those who argued the sovereign wealth fund be strictly used for profit motives and those who felt the money should be used to assist Chinese firms as they venture into the global market. The Chinese Investment Corporation, as any good Chinese bureaucracy will do, sought a middle ground, a decision that probably earned a unanimous vote from the board members. 54 Take the Money and Run The first evidence of this effort to find a middle ground came in the form of CIC’s acquisition of Central Huijin for an estimated $67 billion.72 A key participant in Beijing’s efforts to prepare China’s financial institutions for foreign competition, Central Huijin had become a clearing house for funds headed to the country’s ailing banks.

Speaking as the CIC chief investment offer, Gao declared “we have done a few [other private equity deals]. We are looking at a lot more.” The ultimate goal: “We would like to build up a much more balanced portfolio.”128 As the comments above should indicate, we—and apparently the Chinese— don’t really know what investment strategy will guide CIC’s future acquisitions. Although there are certainly signs Chinese officials are seeking to follow a strict “profit motive,” the push to employ CIC assets in a blocking strategy suggest political dictates will occasionally rule the day. For the moment, it seems likely the China Investment Corporation will seek to avoid the limelight and the associated international examination and criticism. This translates into an investment strategy heavy on indexed funds and stakes below common automatic foreign government investigation levels—typically 5–10% of a corporation.


pages: 298 words: 81,200

Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

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Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, digital map, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, mass immigration, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

To be sure, capitalism accelerated the growth of the Italian cities, and created surplus wealth that was then deployed to support artists and architects like Michelangelo and Brunelleschi. But the connection between capitalism and innovation is more subtle than we often make it out to be. Yes, free markets introduce new forms of competition and capital accumulation that can drive the creation and adoption of new ideas. But markets should not be exclusively defined in terms of the profit motive. Consider the invention of one of capitalism’s key conceptual tools: double-entry accounting, which Goethe called one of the “finest inventions of the human mind.” Now the cornerstone of all financial bookkeeping, double-entry’s innovation of recording every financial event in two ledgers (one reflecting a debit, the other a credit) allowed merchants to track the financial health of their businesses with unparalleled accuracy.

Against all odds, the first quadrant turns out to be the least populated on the grid. Willis Carrier is an outlier after all. In the private sector, the proprietary breakthrough achieved in a closed lab turns out to be a rarity. For every Alfred Nobel, inventing dynamite in secret in the suburbs of Stockholm, there are a half dozen collective inventions like the vacuum tube or the television, whose existence depended upon multiple firms driven by the profit motive who managed to create a significant new product via decentralized networking. Folklore calls Edison the inventor of the lightbulb, but in truth the lightbulb came into being through a complex network of interaction between Edison and his rivals, each contributing key pieces to the puzzle along the way. Collective invention is not some socialist fantasy; entrepreneurs like Edison and de Forest were very much motivated by the possibility of financial rewards, and they tried to patent as much as they could.

Yet so many of the insights his theory made possible have revealed the collaborative and connective forces at work in the natural world. We have been living with a comparable caricature in our assumptions about cultural innovation. Look at the past five centuries from the long view, and one fact confronts the eye immediately: market-based competition has no monopoly on innovation. Competition and the profit motive do indeed motivate us to turn good ideas into shipping products, but more often than not, the ideas themselves come from somewhere else. Whatever its politics, the fourth quadrant has been an extraordinary space of human creativity and insight. Even without the economic rewards of artificial scarcity, fourth-quadrant environments have played an immensely important role in the nurturing and circulation of good ideas—now more than ever.


pages: 289 words: 22,394

Virus of the Mind by Richard Brodie

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cognitive dissonance, Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach, joint-stock company, New Journalism, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy

Those ways of thinking won’t be wiped out completely, but more and more people infected with old cultural viruses will be restricted to self-contained, incommunicado enclaves like the Amish. 196 Designer Viruses (How to Start a Cult) After that battle, designer viruses will have to start competing with each other, and increasingly sophisticated technology will be needed to create a winner in the mind war. We will see computer programs doing sophisticated memetic modeling to fine-tune the memes before launching. What kinds of designer mind viruses will we see in the future? It depends upon the intentions and the skill of their creators—and on the memes those creators are infected with! I would expect to see many profit-motivated viruses, many power-motivated ones, and perhaps a few motivated by someone’s vision of a better future for humanity. Profit Viruses Profit-motivated designer viruses, many of which are completely legal and aboveboard today, have their shady origins in the crooked Ponzi scheme.* Charles Ponzi was an Italian immigrant who opened a business in Boston in 1919 called the Securities Exchange Company. He offered to repay people’s investments in 90 days with 50 percent interest: an investment of $10 would bring $15 in three months.

., 51 Heisenberg, Werner, 13–14 241 virus of the mind Henry Weinhard’s beer, 155 Hofstadter, Douglas: Gödel, Escher, Bach, 35 Hugo, Victor, 65 Hunger Project, 208–9 initiation ordeals, 122–23, 143, 203–4 instincts, 18 journalism, 159–61, 164–67 bias and, 160–61 King, Larry, 162 Kusnick, Greg, 1–4, 121–22 learning pyramid, 220–22 Limbaugh, Rush, 159 making sense of senseless things, 81, 162, 188 Manchurian Candidate movie, 125 marriage, programming and, 139 Maslow, Abraham, 216 MCI telephone company, 200–201 memes, 71–72 biological definition of, 5–6 bundling of, 132–33 classes of, 19–25, 70–71 cognitive definition of, 8–11 cognitive dissonance and, 126–27, 130–31 concept of, xvi conditioning and, 126, 127–30 danger and, 111–12, 117 embedding of, 133–35 evangelism and, 80 evolution of, 65–66, 212–13 fitness and, 71–74 language and, 71 242 Index laws and customs and, 26–27 metamemes and, 12–14 origins of, 4–5, 72–74 peer pressure and, 27–28 primary drives and, 71–74, 79 programming and, 18–19 psychological definition of, 6–8 replication and, 68–69 secondary drives and, 79 self-fulfilling prophesy and, 28–29 selfish-gene theory and, 66–68 sexual evolution and, 96–98 spoked wheels as, 9–10 success and, 14–15 television and, 70 tradition and, 80 Trojan horses and, 127, 132–34 truth and, 12–14, 16 vehicles and, 9, 11 working definition of, 11–12 See also button-pushing memes; memes, spreading of; specific meme types memes, spreading of, 80–82, 222–23 evangelism and, 80 faith and, 81 familiarity and, 81 making sense and, 81 skepticism and, 81 tradition and, 80 memetics, xiii–xv concepts and, xv–xvii definition of, 5 instinct and programming and, 34 paradigm shifts and, xv–xvii quality of life and, xix–xxi Truth and, 16 243 virus of the mind Mensa, 67 Microsoft, 1, 28, 205–6 mind viruses, 15–16 cognitive dissonance and, 143 concept of, xvi cultural institutions and, 34 cultural viruses and, 45–46 definition of, 16 designer viruses and, 45–46, 195–96 evangelism and, 146 faithful reproduction and, 144–45 the future and, 196–97 penetration and, 142–44 profit motive and, 197 quality of life and, xix–xxi, 207–9 repetition and, 143 spreading of, 145–46 as threat to humanity, xvii–xix Trojan horses and, 143–44 mirroring, rapport and, 139–40 mission meme, 73 mission statements, 203 Morris, Robert, Jr., 36 multilevel marketing (MLM), 199, 206 mutation, 39 natural selection, xiii, xvii, 48–49, 58, 71–72, 79 sex drives and, 100, 109 Nazism, 15 Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), 133–34 New York Times Magazine, xxi NFL instant replay, 214–15 niche strategies, 101–2 obeying authority drive, 78 operant conditioning, 129–30 244 Index opportunity meme, 73 Oprah, 156 O’Rourke, P.

Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge by Cass R. Sunstein

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affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, Build a better mousetrap, c2.com, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, framing effect, hindsight bias, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, market bubble, market design, minimum wage unemployment, prediction markets, profit motive, rent control, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, slashdot, stem cell, The Wisdom of Crowds, winner-take-all economy

It is one thing to emphasize the price system, which creates material incentives for disclosure of information. It is quite another thing to emphasize the use of bazaars to create computer code. From the standpoint of conventional economists, the success of open source software remains a bit of a puzzle. The problem is that some contributors appear to have no incentive to make improvements. In most markets, those who create or improve a product are likely to make money; the profit motive is the great impetus for innovation. Or so it is 172 / Infotopia thought. But for open source software, some of those who make changes receive no economic reward. Tens of thousands of people, from all over the world, have been willing to contribute to open source software, and they have done so without gaining a dollar. There are interesting complications here. Much work performed on open source projects, especially major ones, is carried out by programmers who work at big firms, such as Hewlett Packard and IBM.

On the contrary, they are compensated for their labor by employers who want to ensure that high-quality open source software is available, with the company selling support services and hardware.37 But it remains true that many programmers do not receive direct compensation at all. Is this a truly Hayekian process, to be explained directly in Hayek’s terms? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, in the sense that open source software benefits from the inclusion of countless bits of information from widely dispersed people with diverse knowledge and tastes. No, in the sense that financial incentives are not always responsible for people’s behavior. But when the profit motive is absent, why do people contribute? Some people act out of a simple commitment to the enterprise of innovation. Others are devoted to the idea of open source as such, connecting it with freedom and democracy; they participate for that very reason. Some contributors greatly enjoy spending their time writing code. Others are genuine altruists, hoping to benefit others. Raymond himself contends that the world of hackers is a “gift culture” as distinguished from an “exchange culture”; in this gift culture, “social status is determined not by what you control but by what you give away.”

Open source projects typically combine deliberation with access to widely dispersed information and creativity. For this Many Working Minds / 195 reason, they provide an exciting model, one that might well be adapted to many domains. It is true that one cannot say, in the abstract, whether open source methods will work better than proprietary ones. For many commodities, internal labor and deliberation, with a direct profit motive, will be best. The success of open source software does, however, give reason to explore the use of the same approach in many other arenas, through a system that includes significant deliberation and numerous contributors. With respect to the blogosphere, the picture is mixed, notwithstanding Posner’s enthuasiastic invocation of Hayek. The immense range of voices unquestionably adds to the stock of perspectives and information in a way that can and does correct social errors.


pages: 2,045 words: 566,714

J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax by J K Lasser Institute

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, asset allocation, collective bargaining, distributed generation, employer provided health coverage, estate planning, Home mortgage interest deduction, intangible asset, medical malpractice, medical residency, money market fund, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, passive income, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, rent control, Right to Buy, telemarketer, transaction costs, urban renewal, zero-coupon bond

- - - - - - - - - - Court Decision Allocation of Taxes and Interest The IRS position on allocating mortgage interest and real estate taxes to rental income is not as favorable as the position adopted by the Tax Court and several appeals courts. - - - - - - - - - - 9.10 Rentals Lacking Profit Motive If you rent a residential unit for 15 days or more and a loss is not barred under the personal-use limitation (9.7), the IRS may attempt to disallow a loss by claiming that you had no profit motive in placing the unit up for rent. If the IRS makes such an argument, you must try to prove a profit motive (40.10). Any loss disallowed on these grounds may not be carried over to a later year. - - - - - - - - - - Planning Reminder Profit Motive A profit motive is presumed if you can show a profit for at least three of the last five years you engaged in rental activities. The IRS, however, may rebut this presumption, but there are ways to fight this rebuttal (40.10)

This way you may be able to deduct maintenance expenses and depreciation on the unit even if it remains vacant. However, the IRS has disallowed loss deductions for rentals preceding a sale on the ground that there was no “profit motive” for the rental (40.10). Courts have allowed loss deductions in certain cases. EXAMPLES 1. The IRS and Tax Court disallowed a loss deduction for rental expenses under the “profit-motive rules” (40.10) where a principal residence was rented for 10 months until it could be sold. According to the Tax Court, the temporary rental did not convert the residence to rental property. Since the sales effort was primary, there was no profit motive for the rental. Thus, no loss could be claimed; rental expenses were deductible only to the extent of rental income. The favorable side of the Tax Court position: Since the residence was not converted to rental property, the owners could under prior law rules defer tax on the gain from the sale by buying a new home.

8.18 SIMPLE IRA Contributions and Distributions 8.19 Roth IRA Advantages 8.20 Annual Contributions to a Roth IRA 8.21 Converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA 8.22 Recharacterizations and Reconversions 8.23 Distributions From a Roth IRA 8.24 Distributions to Roth IRA Beneficiaries Chapter 9: Income From Real Estate Rentals and Royalties 9.1 Reporting Rental Real Estate Income and Expenses 9.2 Checklist of Rental Deductions 9.3 Distinguishing Between a Repair and an Improvement 9.4 Reporting Rents From a Multi-Unit Residence 9.5 Depreciation on Converting a Home to Rental Property 9.6 Renting a Residence to a Relative 9.7 Personal Use and Rental of a Residence During the Year 9.8 Counting Personal-Use Days and Rental Days for a Residence 9.9 Allocating Expenses of a Residence to Rental Days 9.10 Rentals Lacking Profit Motive 9.11 Reporting Royalty Income 9.12 Production Costs of Books and Creative Properties 9.13 Deducting the Cost of Patents or Copyrights 9.14 Intangible Drilling Costs 9.15 Depletion Deduction 9.16 Oil and Gas Percentage Depletion Chapter 10: Loss Restrictions: Passive Activities and At-Risk Limits 10.1 Rental Activities 10.2 Rental Real Estate Loss Allowance of up to $25,000 10.3 Real Estate Professionals 10.4 Participation May Avoid Passive Loss Restrictions 10.5 Classifying Business Activities as One or Several 10.6 Material Participation Tests for Business 10.7 Tax Credits of Passive Activities Limited 10.8 Determining Passive or Nonpassive Income and Loss 10.9 Passive Income Recharacterized as Nonpassive Income 10.10 Working Interests in Oil and Gas Wells 10.11 Partners and Members of LLCs and LLPs 10.12 Form 8582 10.13 Suspended Losses Allowed on Disposition of Your Interest 10.14 Suspended Tax Credits 10.15 Personal Service and Closely Held Corporations 10.16 Sales of Property and of Passive Activity Interests 10.17 At-Risk Limits 10.18 What Is At Risk?


pages: 484 words: 136,735

Capitalism 4.0: The Birth of a New Economy in the Aftermath of Crisis by Anatole Kaletsky

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bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, global rebalancing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, paradox of thrift, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

Part of the reason is simply the size of deficits created by the crisis and the political resistance to taxes, which appear to be approaching the limits of public acceptability in many countries. A deeper cause of the shrinkage of the public sector in Capitalism 4.0 will be the inability of bureaucratically inflexible big government to meet society’s ever-changing demands. These complex demands, ranging from universal health care and energy independence to stable mortgage financing and rising wages, can be satisfied only by the profit motive acting through competitive capitalist markets. What will change, however, is the role played by government in managing these markets and creating incentives for profit-seeking businesses to achieve politically favored objectives. Clearly financial regulations will be tightened, but Capitalism 4.0 will mean a host of other reforms and shifts in the boundaries between the market and the state.

Nevertheless, serious historians will justifiably point out that the 150 years from 1776 to 1929 saw more radical political and economic changes than any previous period in human history and thus it is ludicrous to lump them together into a single epoch—and if this were a work of history they would be right. But economics relies on simplifications and stylized facts. And one consistent theme ran through all the politico-economic variations of the nineteenth century and justifies, at least for this discussion, the single label of Capitalism 1. This entire epoch had in common a clear and unquestionable ideology: a belief that the capitalist system based on private property and the profit motive was an elemental force of nature, governed by iron laws of economics that were as immune to human manipulation as a hurricane or a tidal wave. The general philosophy of laissez-faire6—a belief that economics and politics are two distinct spheres of human activity and emotion that must remain as distinct as possible in the interests of both economic and political progress—was dominant throughout this 150-year period.

Even more important than the physical break-up of the Soviet bloc was the ideological collapse of Marxism as a political doctrine and of central planning as an idea for organizing economic activity without markets. From 1989 onward, all nations, regardless of their political institutions, their stage of development, or their local traditions, were forced to acknowledge private property, the profit motive, and the voluntary exchange of goods and services through competitive markets as the only plausible basis for economic life. As revealed by the epigraphs to this chapter, the aftershocks from this sudden and unexpected implosion spread far beyond the Soviet bloc—to India, China, South Africa, and every country and political movement that had been beguiled by the deceptive logic of socialist delusions.


pages: 400 words: 129,841

Capitalism: the unknown ideal by Ayn Rand

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, East Village, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, Isaac Newton, laissez-faire capitalism, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, profit motive, the market place, trade route, transcontinental railway, urban renewal, War on Poverty, yellow journalism

In a free economy, when an individual businessman makes an error of economic judgment, he (and perhaps those who immediately deal with him) suffers the consequences; in a controlled economy, when a central planner makes an error of economic judgment, the whole country suffers the consequences. But it was not the Federal Reserve, it was not government intervention that took the blame for the 1929 depression—it was capitalism. Freedom—cried statists of every breed and sect—had had its chance and had failed. The voices of the few thinkers who pointed to the real cause of the evil were drowned out in the denunciations of businessmen, of the profit motive, of capitalism. Had men chosen to understand the cause of the crash, the country would have been spared much of the agony that followed. The depression was prolonged for tragically unnecessary years by the same evil that had caused it: government controls and regulations. Contrary to popular misconception, controls and regulations began long before the New Deal; in the 1920’s, the mixed economy was already an established fact of American life.

That the underlying motive is the desire to be taken care of, the desire to be spared the responsibility of independence, is revealed explicitly in Fromm’s socio-political “solution” to the problem of alienation. In order that man may be enabled to conquer his feeling of aloneness and alienation, to practice love and to achieve a full sense of personal identity, a new social system must be established, Fromm declares. Private ownership of the means of production must be abolished. The profit motive must be forbidden. Industry must be decentralized. Society should be divided into self-governing industrial guilds; factories should be owned and run by all those who work in them. Why—according to Fromm’s social philosophy—should a janitor in an industrial plant not have the same right to determine its management as the man who happened to create the plant? Does not the janitor’s personality require as much self-expression as anyone else’s?

Since the encyclical is concerned with history and with fundamental political principles, yet does not discuss or condemn any social system other than capitalism, one must conclude that all other systems are compatible with the encyclical’s political philosophy. This is supported by the fact that capitalism is condemned, not for some lesser characteristics, but for its essentials, which are not the base of any other system: the profit motive, competition, and private ownership of the means of production. By what moral standard does the encyclical judge a social system? Its most specific accusation directed at capitalism reads as follows: “The desire for necessities is legitimate, and work undertaken to obtain them is a duty: ‘If any man will not work, neither let him eat.’ But the acquiring of temporal goods can lead to greed, to the insatiable desire for more, and can make increased power a tempting objective.


pages: 448 words: 142,946

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

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Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Bretton Woods, capital controls, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate raider, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial independence, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global supply chain, God and Mammon, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, land value tax, 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, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, 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

Wisely, perhaps, many people refuse on principle to mix business with friendship, wary of the essential conflict between money and personal relationship. Money depersonalizes a relationship, turning two people into mere “parties to an exchange” driven by the universal goal of maximizing self-interest. If I seek to maximize self-interest, perhaps at your expense, how can we be friends? And when in our highly monetized society we meet nearly all our needs with money, what personal gifts remain from which to build friendship? That the profit motive is antithetical to any benignant personal motive is nearly axiomatic—hence the phrase, “Don’t take it personally; it’s just business.” Today, an ethical business movement and ethical investment movement seek to heal the opposition between love and profit, but however sincere the motives, such efforts often mutate into public relations, “green-washing,” or self-righteousness. This is no accident.

We are quick to descry financial motives in everything people do, and we are deeply moved when someone does something so magnanimous or so naively generous that such motive is obviously absent. It seems irrational, even miraculous, that someone would actually give without contrivance of return. As Lewis Hyde puts it, “In the empires of usury the sentimentality of the man with the soft heart calls to us because it speaks of what has been lost.”11 The near-universality of the suspicion of an ulterior profit motive reflects money as a universal aim. Imagine yourself back in school, speaking to the career counselor, discussing what your gifts are and how you might use them to make a living (i.e., to convert them into money). This habit of thought runs deep: when my teenage son Jimi shows me the computer games he makes, I sometimes find myself thinking about how he might commercialize them and about which programming skills he could develop next to be more marketable.

Nothing I have written disqualifies backed currencies. But if we are to choose a backed currency, let us be clear about the reasons. It is not to make the money “real” in a way that unbacked currencies are not. It is to imbue money with the story of value that we want to create. The story of backing can be used to limit and guide the creation of money. Today, we limit that right to banks and guide it by the profit motive—money goes to those who will make more of it. Properly and historically speaking, though, the issue of money is a special, sacred function, not to be relinquished lightly. Money bears the magical power of the sign and embodies the agreement of an entire society. Part of a society’s soul lives within it, and the power to create it should be guarded as jealously as a shaman guards his medicine pouch.

The Fugitive Game: Online With Kevin Mitnick by Jonathan Littman

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Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, centre right, computer age, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Menlo Park, profit motive, Silicon Valley, Steven Levy, telemarketer

If true that would mean Qualcomm's proprietary cellular software ended up publicly available on the Internet. "What's the software good for?" I ask. "You can clone a phone with it." In other words, the source code, or base software, would enable a hacker to hijack the serial number and other identifying information of other people's cellular phones, thereby sticking them with the bills. "Why do you think Mitnick's doing it?" Markoff doesn't seem to know, and admits he's "never found a profit motive" behind Mitnick's hacking. Markoff has a copy of the Janet Reno letter claiming FBI misconduct and tells me he's heard Agent Steal pursued Mitnick and "he [Eric] was dirty." He plans to fly down to visit De Payne's attorney in Los Angeles soon, but he isn't impressed by the government's wayward undercover operative. Markoff thinks Kevin Mitnick is by far the superior hacker. ■ ■ ■ "Have you talked to Kevin?"

I slowly notice items missing from the fifteen-hundred-word article. Like the word "hacker," the term chosen by the Times's headline writers. Markoff never calls Mitnick a hacker. He uses phrases like "computer programmer run amok" and derogatory terms like "grifter," and "criminal." He's right in a sense. Mitnick definitely has the skills of a grifter. But Markoff himself acknowleges in his article that Mitnick doesn't appear to have a profit motive. Why then does he call him a grifter? Grifting is about conning people out of money. And what about Justin Petersen (aka Eric Heinz)? The government's informant isn't even mentioned. Why is Markoff ignoring Petersen's role in entrapping Mitnick and sending him on the run? Several paragraphs recount decade-old Mitnick myths, yet Petersen's involvement is timely and newsworthy. Why is there no reference to the Janet Reno letter alleging FBI misconduct?

His 'modem operandi': breaking and entering codes at will and escaping through the Internet — that is, until now." The CBS Evening News segment provides a snapshot of the increasingly notorious Mitnick reputation — billions of dollars of stolen trade secrets, thousands of swiped credit card numbers, the biggest, baddest hacker of all time. But the network adds its own spin. CBS neatly sidesteps Mitnick's lack of a profit motive by quoting a Justice Department spokesman who, without ever mentioning Mitnick, insists hackers are more profit-oriented and malicious than ever before. And CBS flatly states, "Mitnick was working the phones even as agents pounded on the door." Does the network really know Mitnick's last phone calls were malicious or criminal? The facts of Mitnick's case seem less and less important. It's the message that counts, a message that seems to play right into popular sentiment.


pages: 424 words: 121,425

How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy by Mehrsa Baradaran

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access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, British Empire, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, credit crunch, David Graeber, disintermediation, diversification, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, housing crisis, income inequality, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, McMansion, microcredit, mobile money, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Own Your Own Home, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, price discrimination, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, savings glut, the built environment, the payments system, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, union organizing, white flight, working poor

—GEORGE BAILEY, IN DIRECTOR FRANK CAPRA’S 1946 FILM, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE Until the 1900s, most commercial banks serviced the wealthy. The poor and middle class (before such terms even existed) put their savings under their mattresses and, should they need credit, were left to the mercy of loan sharks. Eventually, alternative movements began to fill the void, and in time, the state blessed each. Banks with specific missions to help the poor overcame economic obstacles to challenge and ultimately reject the profit-motivated culture of mainstream banks.1 They were movements aimed at wage-workers, small farmers, and the unbanked—and their innovative structures would revolutionize the banking sector. But over time, and largely because of deregulation, these missions changed. Today, those banks once established for the purpose of helping the lower classes are practically indistinguishable from mainstream banks. It is one of the biggest losses of deregulation, and one that is universally ignored—the United States has lost its banks with souls.

(The relationship did solidify over time, leading to legislation that allowed federal post office buildings to house credit unions.)27 The second round of federal support came in 1932 when President Hoover signed a house bill, referred to as “the poor man’s bill,” to authorize credit unions in the District of Columbia. Filene and Bergengren sold the bill to President Hoover as a remedy to the problem of loan sharks. The suffering endured during the Great Depression had contributed to a Populist fervor that made cooperative banking a preferred alternative to profit-motivated commercial banks.28 But the major animating force legitimizing the credit union came when President Franklin D. Roosevelt, already familiar with the movement, included credit unions in his expansive New Deal reforms. Roosevelt said of the credit union: “I have sort of a hunch that we owe a duty to our fellow citizens not to violate the biblical injunction against usury.”29 He urged Congress to pass the Federal Credit Union Act (FCUA) in 1934 to address the “great national problem” of addressing the credit needs of the “poorer and working classes.”30 The FCUA facilitated the establishment of credit unions in all states to “make more available to people of small means credit for provident purposes through a national system of cooperative credit, thereby helping to stabilize the credit structure of the United States.”

Du Bois said of the bank failure that “not even ten additional years of slavery could have done so much to throttle the thrift of the freedmen as the mismanagement and bankruptcy of the series of savings banks chartered by the Nation for their special aid.”112 If the government and the philanthropists purported to teach the freed slaves thrift and responsibility, the lesson they actually learned was to distrust the government and philanthropists. The Freedman’s Savings Bank serves as a cautionary tale for government support of banking for the poor when that support is just a façade. Draping a flag over a building and then installing private profit-motivated management inside is the most dangerous sort of government support. It induces trust in a vulnerable customer base that not only suffers from financial loss, but also loses all faith in public institutions. It poisons true government efforts to help. A similar phenomenon was at the heart of the failure of the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the recent financial crisis.


pages: 469 words: 146,487

Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World by Niall Ferguson

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British Empire, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, Corn Laws, European colonialism, imperial preference, income per capita, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Khyber Pass, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, Livingstone, I presume, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, night-watchman state, profit motive, Scramble for Africa, spice trade, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, zero-sum game

The monopoly trading companies of Asia would never have tolerated such a slump. But in America, where attracting settlers was the objective, there could be no such monopolies. In short, the economics of British America were precarious; and by economics alone British America could not have been built. Something more was needed – an additional inducement to cross the Atlantic over and above the profit motive. That something turned out to be religious fundamentalism. After breaking with Rome under her father, wholeheartedly embracing the Reformation under her half-brother, then repudiating it under her half-sister, England finally settled on a moderately Protestant ‘middle way’ at the accession of Queen Elizabeth I. For the people who came to be known as Puritans, however, the Anglican Establishment was a fudge.

But the town had no church and no preacher until 1684, over sixty years after the Pilgrims founded Plymouth. By this time the fishing industry was well established, exporting hundreds of thousands of barrels of cod every year. The Pilgrims might have come to the New World to escape from Popery. But the ‘main end’ of the men of Marblehead ‘was to catch fish’. This, then, was the combination that made New England flourish: Puritanism plus the profit motive. It was a combination institutionalized by the Massachusetts Bay Company, founded in 1629, whose Governor John Winthrop cheerfully united in his person Congregationalism and capitalism. By 1640 Massachusetts was booming, thanks not just to fish but also to fur and farming. Already some 20,000 people had settled there, far more than were living by that time around the Chesapeake Bay. The population of Boston trebled in just thirty years.

In much the same way, it was to settle a debt of £16,000 to one of his supporters – William Penn, the admiral who had captured Jamaica – that Charles II granted Penn’s son ownership of what became Pennsylvania. Overnight, this made William Penn junior the largest individual landowner in British history, with an estate well over the size of Ireland. It also gave him the opportunity to show what the combination of religious fervour and the profit motive could achieve. Like the Pilgrim Fathers, Penn was a member of a radical religious sect: since 1667 he had been a Quaker, and had even been imprisoned in the Tower of London on account of his faith. But unlike the Plymouth colonists, Penn’s ‘Holy Experiment’ was to create a ‘tolerance settlement’ not just for Quakers but for any religious sect (provided it was monotheistic). In October 1682 his ship, the Welcome, sailed up the Delaware River and, clutching his royal charter, he stepped ashore to found the city of Philadelphia, the Ancient Greek word for ‘brotherly love’.


pages: 329 words: 103,159

People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil by M Scott Peck

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Milgram experiment, profit motive, school choice, the scientific method

But I think the antiwar activists, the Berrigan brothers, are correct when they say that the task before us is nothing less than to metaphorically exorcise our institutions. There is no word adequate to describe the urgency of this task. The military-industrial complex that played such a large role in Vietnam, and continues to be a primary creator of the grotesqueness of the arms race, is submitted to nothing but the profit motive. This is no submission at all. It is pure self-interest. I am not an enemy of capitalism per se. I believe it is possible for the profit motive to be operative and at the same time submitted to higher values of truth and love. Difficult, but possible. If we cannot somehow engineer this submission and “Christianize” our capitalism, we are doomed as a capitalist society. The total failure of submission is always evil—for a group, for an institution, for a society as for an individual.

I began this discussion by noting how responsibility becomes diffused within groups—so much so that in larger groups it may become nonexistent. Consider the large corporation. Even the president or chairman of the board will say, “My actions may not seem entirely ethical, but after all, they’re not really a matter of my prerogative. I must be responsive to the stockholders, you know. On their account I cannot help but be directed by the profit motive.” Who is it, then, that determines the corporation’s behavior? The small investor who does not even begin to understand the operations involved? The mutual fund on the other side of the nation? Which mutual fund? Which brokerage house? Which banker? So, as they become larger and larger, our institutions become absolutely faceless. Soulless. What happens when there is no soul? Is there just a vacuum?


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

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Airbnb, Airbus A320, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Bernard Ziegler, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, computerized trading, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, turn-by-turn navigation, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche

IS IT any wonder we’re enamored of automation? By offering to reduce the amount of work we have to do, by promising to imbue our lives with greater ease, comfort, and convenience, computers and other labor-saving technologies appeal to our eager but misguided desire for release from what we perceive as toil. In the workplace, automation’s focus on enhancing speed and efficiency—a focus determined by the profit motive rather than by any particular concern for people’s well-being—often has the effect of removing complexity from jobs, diminishing the challenge they present and hence the engagement they promote. Automation can narrow people’s responsibilities to the point that their jobs consist largely of monitoring a computer screen or entering data into prescribed fields. Even highly trained analysts and other so-called knowledge workers are seeing their work circumscribed by decision-support systems that turn the making of judgments into a data-processing routine.

It doesn’t help that engineers and computer scientists, with their strict focus on math and logic, have a natural antipathy toward the “softer” concerns of their counterparts in the human-factors field. A few years before his death in 2006, the ergonomics pioneer David Meister, recalling his own career, wrote that he and his colleagues “always worked against the odds so that anything that was accomplished was almost unexpected.” The course of technological progress, he wistfully concluded, “is tied to the profit motive; consequently, it has little appreciation of the human.”14 It wasn’t always so. People first began thinking about technological progress as a force in history in the latter half of the eighteenth century, when the scientific discoveries of the Enlightenment began to be translated into the practical machinery of the Industrial Revolution. That was also, and not coincidentally, a time of political upheaval.

., 60–61, 154 death of, 53 erosion of expertise of, 54–58, 62–63 human- vs. technology-centered automation and, 168–70, 172–73 income of, 59–60 see also autopilot place, 131–34, 137, 251n place cells, 133–34, 136, 219 Plato, 148 Player Piano (Vonnegut), 39 poetry, 211–16, 218, 221–22 Poirier, Richard, 214, 215 Politics (Aristotle), 224 Popular Science, 48 Post, Wiley, 48, 50, 53, 57, 62, 82, 169 power, 21, 37, 65, 151, 175, 204, 217 practice, 82–83 Predator drone, 188 premature fixation, 145 presence, power of, 200 Priestley, Joseph, 160 Prius, 6, 13, 154–55 privacy, 206 probability, 113–24 procedural (tacit) knowledge, 9–11, 83, 105, 113, 144 productivity, 18, 22, 29, 30, 37, 106, 160, 173, 175, 181, 218 professional work, incursion of computers into, 115 profit motive, 17 profits, 18, 22, 28, 30, 33, 95, 159, 171, 172–73, 175 progress, 21, 26, 29, 37, 40, 65, 196, 214 acceleration of, 26 scientific, 31, 123 social, 159–60, 228 progress (continued) technological, 29, 31, 34, 35, 48–49, 108–9, 159, 160, 161, 173, 174, 222, 223–24, 226, 228, 230 utopian vision of, 25, 26 prosperity, 20, 21, 107 proximal cues, 219–20 psychologists, psychology, 9, 11, 15, 54, 103, 119, 149, 158–59 animal studies, 87–92 cognitive, 72–76, 81, 129–30 psychomotor skills, 56, 57–58, 81, 120 quality of experience, 14–15 Race against the Machine (Brynjolfsson and McAfee), 28–29 RAND Corporation, 93–98 “Rationalism in Politics” (Oakeshott), 124 Rattner, Justin, 203 reading, learning of, 82 Reaper drone, 188 reasoning, reason, 120, 121, 124, 151 recession, 27, 28, 30, 32 Red Dead Redemption, 177–78 “Relation of Strength of Stimulus to Rapidity of Habit-Formation, The” (Yerkes and Dodson), 89 Renslow, Marvin, 43–44 Revit, 146, 147 Rifkin, Jeremy, 28 Robert, David, 45, 169–70 Robert Frost (Poirier), 214 Roberts, J.


pages: 274 words: 93,758

Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller, Stanley B Resor Professor Of Economics Robert J Shiller

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equity premium, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, greed is good, income per capita, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, loss aversion, Menlo Park, mental accounting, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, new economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, publication bias, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave

In the video, as a squad from the casino defibrillates the heart arrest of a fellow player, the surrounding players play on, their trance unperturbed, even though the victim is literally at their feet.9 What Markets Do for Us The history of the slot-machine-good / slot-machine-bad from the 1890s to the present illustrates our dual view of our market economy. Most fundamentally, we applaud markets. Free markets are products of peace and freedom, flourishing in stable times when people do not live in fear. But the same profit motive that produced those boxes PREFACE Akerlof.indb 9 ix 6/19/15 10:24 AM that opened and gave us something we wanted has also produced slot machines with an addictive turn of the wheel that takes your money for the privilege. Almost all of this book will be figuratively about slot-machines-bad, rather than about slot-machines-good: because as reformers both of economic thought and of the economy we seek to change not what is right with the world, but rather what is wrong.

We believe this huge lacuna tells us that economists (including those in finance) systematically ignore or downplay the role of trickery and deception in the working of markets. We have already put our finger on a simple reason why they were so ignored: economists’ understanding of markets systematically excludes them. The pathology, as our friend made clear, is viewed as mainly due to “externalities.” But that fails to see that competitive markets by their very nature spawn deception and trickery, as a result of the same profit motives that give us our prosperity. Had we economists appropriately seen free markets as a two-edged sword, we would all but surely have delved into the ways in which financial derivatives and mortgage-backed securities, and also sovereign debt, would turn out badly. More than a handful of us would have sounded the alarm. Failure of the War on Cancer In The Emperor of All Maladies, cancer-researcher / physician Siddhartha Mukherjee describes a similar error in the analysis and treatment of cancer.4 Using economists’ language, in this analogy there are diseases that we might view as due to “externalities.”

In their modeling DellaVigna and Malmendier described the healthclub strategy as taking advantage of their customers’ present bias.7 The high weight put by the customers on the present causes them to put off what they could do today until “just tomorrow”; but then when that “just tomorrow” comes, it has become the present, and so they put it off, yet again. Xavier Gabaix and David Laibson have produced another way in which sellers take advantage of buyers, in this case because some attributes of the product are hard to see.8 In their terminology those attributes are “shrouded.” Implicitly they ask: what rice would restaurants serve if their customers could not tell the difference between Basmati and Uncle Ben’s? The profit motive says the restaurants will choose the cheaper. Gabaix and Laibson’s leading example of shrouded attributes concerns inkjet printers. The buyers focus on the price of the printers. But the subsequent cost of the ink cartridges is significant relative to the initial cost of the printer (on average something like two-thirds).9 The relevant cost does not just come then from the initial layout for the printer: it is the total cost of printing a page.


pages: 355 words: 92,571

Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets by John Plender

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, diversification, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, God and Mammon, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, money market fund, moral hazard, moveable type in China, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, too big to fail, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Veblen good, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck, zero-sum game

By degrees, we shall again have a Society with something of Heroism in it; something of Heaven’s Blessing on it; we shall have again, as my German friend asserts, ‘instead of Mammon-Feudalism with unsold cotton shirts and Preservation of the Game, noble just Industrialism and Government by the Wisest’.15 Some of that vision, outlined in Carlyle’s Past and Present, finds its way into the Victorian novel, most notably in the shape of Mrs Gaskell’s northern textile manufacturer John Thornton in North and South, a self-made man who is persuaded by the heroine of the novel to adopt a more humane attitude to his workers after a violent strike at his factory. Impressive though the economic and industrial achievements of the Victorians were, it has to be acknowledged that those of the Americans were even greater. In the twentieth century, the United States emerged as the ultimate capitalist economy, combining strong religious roots with a greater commitment to the profit motive than any other country. The intensity of this potent combination no doubt explains what the historian Simon Schama has called ‘a pulsing vein of American insecurity about the moral character of money’. Yet the country also had the lowest quotient of anti-business snobbery. This found expression most famously, or notoriously, in President Calvin Coolidge’s declaration in 1925 that ‘the chief business of the American people is business’.

Because of his belief in minimal regulation in the period of corporate and securities market abuses before the 1929 Wall Street Crash, Coolidge has been roughly treated by many historians. And there is, I feel, a delightful irony in a President named Calvin presiding over an era of licence known as the Roaring Twenties.16 That said, the verdicts on Coolidge often overlook his more reflective side. In his Memorial Day address shortly before becoming President in 1923, he gave a notably more measured view of the conflict between Christian values and the profit motive: There are two fundamental motives that inspire human action. The first and most important, to which all else is subordinate, is that of righteousness. There is that in mankind, stronger than all else, which requires them to do right. When that requirement is satisfied, the next motive is that of gain. These are the moral motive and the material motive. While in some particular instance they might seem to be antagonistic, yet always, when broadly considered or applied to society as a whole, they are in harmony.

This is an important lesson of 1929–32, when a collapse of trade acted as a spur to German and Japanese imperialism, which was directed, among other things, at improved access to food and raw materials. The verdict on the kind of thinking exemplified by Montesquieu and other liberal-minded intellectuals must nonetheless be that while it was an interesting attempt to legitimise what we now call market capitalism and to make the profit motive respectable, its claims to be able to restrain human passions were overstated. The astonishing thing is that this essentially romantic idea has such enduring appeal despite its manifest failure to prevent a world war at a time in the early twentieth century when international trade links had never been more intense. CHAPTER SEVEN SPECULATION – THE MISSING SHAME GENE ‘You have brought this country to the greatest financial panic in history.’


pages: 452 words: 110,488

The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead by David Callahan

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, David Brooks, deindustrialization, East Village, fixed income, forensic accounting, full employment, game design, greed is good, high batting average, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, job satisfaction, mandatory minimum, market fundamentalism, McMansion, microcredit, moral hazard, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, old-boy network, Plutocrats, plutocrats, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Oldenburg, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Chicago School, Thorstein Veblen, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, young professional, zero-sum game

Braunstein pushed supplements to Cummiskey in which he had a clear financial stake, and while the AMAs guidelines do not explicitly prohibit in-office sales of health products, they clearly prohibit such conflicts of interest in other areas, such as the sale of medical equipment. These rules arose after the medical profession agreed that too many conflicts of interest occurred when doctors tried to both objectively advise patients and act as salesmen. For obvious reasons caregiving responsibilities and the profit motive don't mix well together. "Having a financial interest in a product, however indirect, sets up an inherent bias," commented one eminent doctor, Wallace Simpson. "It's just human nature; you want the product or approach to work out, and that affects your judgment."19 Many in the AMA have pushed for an outright ban on in-office sales of health products, but the doctors who benefit from such sales have blocked this move during ferocious battles at AMA meetings.

In so many professions, ethical problems have escalated in tandem with growing bottom-line pressures. Neither outside regulation nor internal ethics programs can force the private sector to abandon the extreme bottom-line thinking that it has embraced over the past two decades. However, both types of reform can curb the worst abuses associated with this shift and push companies to not measure performance by earnings alone. Despite the laissez-faire revolution of the '80s and '90s, the profit motive has never achieved total dominance in the business world and midcentury notions of responsibility to multiple stakeholders have not been extinguished entirely. Many of the reform challenges that face the private sector boil down to the task of reinventing these notions for a new era—and, here again, putting market values back in their proper place. Teaching Integrity There is nothing fantastical about the society I am sketching out—a place where people believe that the rules are fair and that if they play by the rules, they will get ahead; where people feel more connected to each other and less obsessed with piling up posses-sions;where business is serious about following both the letter and the spirit of the law.

"Americans Express Little Trust in CEOs of Large Corporations or Stockbrokers," The Gallup Organization, 17 July 2002. [back] 17. Cummiskey's story is related in Patrick Kiger, "What's Your Doctor Selling?" Good Housekeeping, 1 January 2001, 53. Cummiskey's husband also wrote a detailed complaint to AMA president Thomas Reardon in October 1999. [back] 18. Benedict Carey, "A Supplemental Pitch," Los Angeles Times, 26 August 2002, A1. [back] 19. Bradford H. Gray, The Profit Motive and Patient Care (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991). See also Marc A. Rodwin, Medicine, Money, and Morals: Physicians Conflict of Interest (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). Wallace Simpson quoted in Carey, "A Supplemental Pitch," A1. [back] 20. "Sale of Health-Related Products from Physicians' Offices," Code of Ethics, American Medical Association. [back] 21. Diane M.


pages: 375 words: 88,306

The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism by Arun Sundararajan

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, distributed ledger, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, job-hopping, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, peer-to-peer rental, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, Zipcar

OuiShare tries to embody the phenomenon of the dialog it facilitates, making a genuine attempt to create a collaborative organization with a cooperative decision-making process that values consensus over speed.4 As OuiShare Fest co-chair Francesca Pick explains in a 2015 blog post, “That’s why rather than calling it a think tank, a non-profit or anything else, I like to think of OuiShare as an incubator of people: a shared platform for experimentation that gives Connectors and members access to a commons of knowledge, tools and an international network of people they can learn and draw inspiration from.”5 I’m chatting with Léonard and Tincq about the tension I sense at the Fest between the profit-motivated and purpose-driven sides of the sharing economy, between people who see the sharing economy as a market economy and those who envision it more as a “gift economy.” “I think the confusion comes from all the hope people had in those platforms, to really change the world. And because there was so much hope, the ones that were once so hopeful are now so disappointed, in a way,” says Léonard. “But maybe the problem is not so much how much money was invested, but why did we have this hope?”

You might feel safer drinking a Coke in a country whose food safety laws you aren’t clear about because you trust the brand. Similarly, you might be comfortable letting your kids ride the roller coasters at Six Flags, but you might hesitate to let them enjoy the same ride at an unbranded theme park on the side of the highway, even though the government regulations are the same in both situations. This combination of government regulatory agencies and the brands that, pursuing a long-run profit motive, comply with these regulations and also invest in providing a consistently high quality and safe experience, are the foundation of trust in most Western economies today. And the importance of brand cannot be underestimated in today’s sharing economy. We are still a population that places its faith in brand names: platforms like Airbnb, Lyft, and Uber understand this; eBay understood this when they created Power Sellers; and BlaBlaCar understands this when they place an explicit certification of trust derived from platform activity on a driver.

Because the reputation of a platform is directly related to the quality of the transactions it helps mediate—much like the reputation and profitability of the brands we trust are tied to their commitment to high quality and sufficient safety—the self-interest of the platform is often aligned with that of society, and the platform is thus often invested in ensuring that the exchanges it facilitates do not succumb to market failure. The trick is to identify those dimensions of risk where the incentives of the platform and the incentives of society (or of consumer protection) don’t diverge, and those where the risk of divergence exists. For example, ensuring that hosts advertise their quality accurately seems well aligned with Airbnb’s profit motive, while ensuring that guests do not make too much noise when staying in an Airbnb might be less aligned. Moving to the next point, peer-to-peer platforms often offer a greater variety of transactions than traditional industrial-economy providers. This stems from the blurring of personal and professional practices and, as I discuss in chapter 7 on the future of work, the rise of the new generalists.


pages: 166 words: 49,639

Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business Is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson

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Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Grace Hopper, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, James Dyson, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, mass immigration, mittelstand, Network effects, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, patent troll, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, software patent, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traveling salesman, tulip mania, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators

Surveys show most citizens are suspicious of big business. Yet the private sector pays all the taxes, provides all the wealth-generating jobs, and keeps the entire system going. Industry needs to invest more in its public image. Without business everything we rely on would collapse. Too many opinion formers have a naive view that the public sector is somehow morally superior to the private sector – that the profit motive is a grubby urge. After all, companies have to justify themselves every day in the marketplace. They rely on repeat purchases. If customers feel ripped off or lied to, they stop buying – and the company goes bust. If private equity houses, drugs companies, television stations and food manufacturers were so terrible, then eventually the public would shun them all, because in a free market there is always a choice.

Entrepreneurs often have few qualifications and would have been unable to enter more ‘noble’ professions such as politics, law or academia. Perhaps that is why so many of the intellectual elite have always looked down on those in trade and industry. They resent the fact that in the capitalist system, uneducated but energetic individuals can reach positions of power and wealth through sheer effort. Perhaps it is the profit motive that offends the spiritual. But profit is the essential lubricant that enables mankind to advance. Inefficient and loss-making firms die, and can cause havoc for owners, staff and customers. But productive firms tend to create a virtuous circle: they do well, attract talent, pay more, make investors good returns, and can afford to launch better products. This is called progress. Presently there are all too many sceptics who think capitalism and consumerism are destroying the planet, thanks to global warming and so forth.


pages: 204 words: 54,395

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

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affirmative action, call centre, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, deliberate practice, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, functional fixedness, game design, George Akerlof, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, performance metric, profit maximization, profit motive, Results Only Work Environment, side project, the built environment, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, zero-sum game

Those staggering levels of worker disengagement I described in the previous chapter have a companion trend that companies are only starting to recognize: an equally sharp rise in volunteerism, especially in the United States. These diverging lines compensated engagement going down, uncompensated effort going up suggest that volunteer work is nourishing people in ways that paid work simply is not. We're learning that the profit motive, potent though it is, can be an insufficient impetus for both individuals and organizations. An equally powerful source of energy, one we've often neglected or dismissed as unrealistic, is what we might call the purpose motive. This is the final big distinction between the two operating systems. Motivation 2.0 centered on profit maximization. Motivation 3.0 doesn't reject profits, but it places equal emphasis on purpose maximization.

They're busy making money and attending to themselves and that means that there's less room in their lives for love and attention and caring and empathy and the things that truly count, Ryan added. And if the broad contours of these findings are true for individuals, why shouldn't they also be true for organizations which, of course, are collections of individuals? I don't mean to say that profit doesn't matter. It does. The profit motive has been an important fuel for achievement. But it's not the only motive. And it's not the most important one. Indeed, if we were to look at history's greatest achievements from the printing press to constitutional democracy to cures for deadly diseases the spark that kept the creators working deep into the night was purpose at least as much as profit. A healthy society and healthy business organizations begins with purpose and considers profit a way to move toward that end or a happy by-product of its attainment.


pages: 261 words: 64,977

Pity the Billionaire: The Unexpected Resurgence of the American Right by Thomas Frank

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, big-box store, bonus culture, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, financial innovation, housing crisis, invisible hand, money market fund, Naomi Klein, obamacare, payday loans, profit maximization, profit motive, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, union organizing, Washington Consensus, white flight, Works Progress Administration

Nor is there anything contrary to conservative principle in regarding grassroots movements as ready-made roundups of suckers. On the contrary; opportunism is one of the factors that has made conservatism so fantastically successful. Still, the appearances can be off-putting, and the resurgent Right often struggles to reconcile such naked enthusiasm for gain with its self-image as the simon-pure voice of the common people. Yes, the movement loves capitalism, but even prophets of the profit motive do not like to think of themselves as exploiters or corruptionists. Markets must triumph everywhere, they tell us, but spondulics must never mix with statesmanship. This is why a Tea Party coffee-table book that includes dozens of pictures of protest signs praising capitalism also begins with a foreword (written by the action star Chuck Norris) complaining that “the Constitution has been ousted by cash” and that “the Bill of Rights has been bartered for corporate bonuses.”7 It is another undecidable muddle, and the movement resolves it by simply having it both ways.

The lessons Beck took from Cloward and Piven’s 1966 article on the subject, however, were that leftists yearn to “collapse the system,” that leftists have an occult power actually to collapse systems, and that therefore leftists can be blamed whenever any system does, in fact, go astray. * “Window of opportunity,” “seize power,” and “fundamentally transform” are trademark Beck characterizations of liberal thinking. * In truth, however, NASA circa 1969 was far more directly run by government than were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac circa 2007. (It was also unionized.) While there was no profitable reason to send men to the moon, there were all sorts of profit motives at work at Fannie and Freddie. In fact, economists who have studied the two mortgage companies believe their failures arose not from their government-ness but from their leaders’ desire to emulate the profits and bonuses of the private sector. “Fannie and Freddie caused such horrific losses because they were private institutions run by officers who obtained a ‘sure thing,’” writes Bill Black, a professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, in his Benzinga column for January 10, 2011—“great wealth through booking high yield in the near term without establishing meaningful loss reserves


pages: 272 words: 76,089

Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, clean water, cosmic abundance, dark matter, demographic transition, Exxon Valdez, F. W. de Klerk, germ theory of disease, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Mikhail Gorbachev, pattern recognition, planetary scale, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, zero-sum game

Models of global warming show different effects—on temperature, drought, weather, and rising sea level, for example— becoming noticeable on different timescales, from decades to a century or two. These consequences seem so unpleasant and so expensive to fix that naturally there has been a serious effort to find something wrong with the story. Some of the efforts are motivated by nothing more than the standard scientific skepti- 136 • Billions and Billions cism about all new ideas; others are motivated by the profit motive in the affected industries. One key issue is feedback. There are both positive and negative feedbacks possible in the global climate system. Positive feedbacks are the dangerous kind. Here's an example of a positive feedback: The temperature increases a little bit because of the greenhouse effect and so some polar ice melts. But polar ice is bright compared to the open sea. As a result of that melting, then, the Earth is now very slightly darker; and because the Earth is darker, it now absorbs slightly more sunlight, so it heats some more, so it melts some more polar ice, and the process continues—perhaps to run away.

And even if the price of paperback books is soaring today, there are still great bargains, such as the dollar-a-volume classics from Dover Books. Along with progress in literacy such trends are the allies of JefFersonian democracy. On the other hand what passes for literacy in America in the late twentieth century is a very rudimentary knowledge of the English language, and television in particular tends to seduce the mass population away from reading. In pursuit of the profit motive, it has dumbed itself down to lowest-common-denominator programming—instead of rising up to teach and inspire. From paper clips, rubber bands, hair dryers, ballpoint pens, computers, dictating and copying machines, electric mixers, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, dish and clothes washers and driers, widespread interior and street lights, to automobiles, aviation, machine tools, hydroelectric power plants, assembly line manufacturing, and enormous construction equipment, the technology of our century has eliminated drudgery, created more leisure time, and enhanced the lives of many.


pages: 268 words: 74,724

Who Needs the Fed?: What Taylor Swift, Uber, and Robots Tell Us About Money, Credit, and Why We Should Abolish America's Central Bank by John Tamny

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Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, Carmen Reinhart, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Gilder, Home mortgage interest deduction, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, liquidity trap, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, NetJets, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Uber for X, War on Poverty, yield curve

Logic dictates that the traffic gridlock we despise would soon enough disappear as entrepreneurs set about experimenting with ways to design roads and road usage to erase the scourge that is traffic. Oh, well, one can dream. Until then, readers will see that credit is not money but actual resources. Those resources are created in the private sector exclusively, and that’s why economically free societies almost as a rule have credit in abundance. They are rich in credit because private actors, disciplined by the profit motive, are actively producing what the markets desire. Those businesses that don’t satisfy market demands are starved of the resources they’re attempting to deploy so that someone more skilled can replace them. Government cannot create credit, but it can destroy it, as the descriptions of government spending reveal. Since governments aren’t disciplined by profit and loss, the bigger they are the less credit there is in the economy, because governments can’t possibly utilize resources effectively.

As this chapter has hopefully made rather plain, savings vehicles and innovative sources of credit continue to appear well outside of a banking system that is no longer allowed to innovate. If the bank branches some of us still rely on vanish, entrepreneurs will eagerly fill the void. We don’t spend evenings worried about where the shoes, computers, and cars we rely on will come from. In a profit-motivated capitalist society, they simply reach us in varying brands, sizes, and price points in return for our own production. Savings and borrowing vehicles are no different from shoes, and they’ll always be there. They will be because in a largely free society we’ll continue to create credit. That’s why we get up in the morning. We produce for dollars, but what we’re really producing for is what those dollars can command in the marketplace.


pages: 265 words: 69,310

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

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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, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, 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

Commercial use was forbidden on early government-funded precursors to the Internet, but the 1992 Scientific and Advanced-Technology Act allowed the US National Science Foundation to interconnect with commercial networks, and the mixture of commerce and non-commercial activity started. There was vociferous argument over the ethics of pursuing profit over the Internet, but digital commerce exploded. Digital openness, which was initially a norm of the non-commercial world of researchers and enthusiasts cut off from the world of private property, was exposed to the profit motive. Inevitably, things would change. The Internet is often seen as a natural place for openness because files and documents can be copied: I can give you a copy of a song, and still keep a copy for myself, I can upload a video to YouTube and everyone can watch it. If software or songs are made “open” they are no longer commodities that can be privately owned: they are made free for others to use as they wish, and so are taken out of the normal commercial realm of buying and of selling.

What was once an initiative focused on the release of data for civic use—a contribution to government transparency—becomes instead a handover of civic resources to the data brokers and insurance companies who can use it to optimize their business models. In 2012 Change.org, a web site that hosts petitions and that made its name thanks to the actions of many progressive organizations that ran campaigns on the site, joined Couchsurfing as a “.org” site with a for-profit motive—a misleading presentation of the organization’s nature. In May 2013 it took venture capital from the Omidyar Network and started allowing “corporate advertising, Republican Party solicitations, astroturf campaigns, anti-abortion or anti-union ads and other controversial sponsorships.” 48 The change in mission was described by Lindsay Beyerstein in In These Times and Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post.49,50 The Omidyar/Change.org press release uses the standard language of social entrepreneurs: blandly inspirational and content-free.


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The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street by Robert Scheer

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banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, fixed income, housing crisis, invisible hand, Long Term Capital Management, mega-rich, mortgage debt, new economy, old-boy network, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, too big to fail, trickle-down economics

The guardians of capitalism’s survival are thus not the self-proclaimed free-marketers, who, in defiance of the pragmatic Adam Smith himself, want to chop away at all government restraints on corporate actions, but rather liberals, at least those in the mode of FDR, who seek to harness its awesome power while keeping its workings palatable to a civilized and progressive society. Government regulation of the market economy arose during the New Deal out of a desire to save capitalism rather than destroy it. Whether it was child labor in dark coal mines, the exploitation of racially segregated human beings to pick cotton, or the unfathomable devastation of the Great Depression, the brutal creativity of the pure profit motive has always posed a stark challenge to our belief that we are moral creatures. The modern bureaucratic governments of the developed world were built, unconsciously, as a bulwark, something big enough to occasionally stand up to the power of uncontrolled market forces, much as a referee must show the yellow card to a young headstrong athlete. So what kind of ref would Obama prove to be? While it is far too early to establish his legacy, so far he seems to be the kind who talks a better game than he calls.

As he assured Black Enterprise reporter Aisha Jefferson, “The Wall Street Journal finds problems where no other paper seems to find problems. They don’t believe in intervening in the market to help housing and homeownership. And so, I think this is an effort to make the case that Fannie Mae shouldn’t exist.” Unfortunately, this was just a smokescreen. Fannie Mae actually was receiving pressure not from liberal politicians to become more heavily involved in riskier mortgages but from—what else?—the profit motive. With giants like Citi moving heavily into mortgage-based securities—a sector pioneered by Fannie itself—and increasingly betting on riskier and riskier loans, the GSEs were actually playing catch-up. And when they decided to push their chips deep into the hottest, yet most unpredictable, Alt-A and subprime mortgages, it was not at the behest of the Barney Franks of this world but rather in pursuit of Wall Street profits.


pages: 464 words: 121,983

Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe by Antony Loewenstein

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, Corrections Corporation of America, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, failed state, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, full employment, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Julian Assange, mandatory minimum, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open borders, private military company, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, Scramble for Africa, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, the medium is the message, trade liberalization, WikiLeaks

Since the attacks of 9/11, the geographical heart of the West’s “war on terror” has been in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The role in those countries of privatized militaries and intelligence gatherers, both foreign and domestic, prompted me to visit them. This is a murky world, far away from the slick rhetoric deployed in London, Washington, and Canberra, where I met muscled contractors making a packet in the pursuit of a profit motive that has nothing to do with democracy or freedom. These forces partly explain the successful insurgencies against Westerners in these states and Iraq. Greece has suffered under harsh economic policies more than most Western countries. The rise of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn is a logical outcome of this failed economic model. The poor and refugees are especially suffering, and I report here on their plight.

He had few bad words to say about Karzai and his rule, dismissing the persistent corruption allegations. (He told me after we finished the interview that it was his “responsibility to not talk down Afghanistan when it’s in need of much help.”) Moradian was more forthcoming when I asked him about the presence of PMCs and intelligence-gathering companies in the country. He said that when the “profit motive is supreme,” there would inevitably be negative outcomes. He blamed people in Washington for allowing this system to thrive after 9/11, and said the companies that benefited from it should not be operating in Afghanistan. Again, he steadfastly refused to blame Karzai or his relatives for this trend. I asked Moradian if he could see a future for himself in Afghanistan if the Taliban once again took over.

The self-perpetuating business model—with increased political lobbying leading to growing demand—ignored the wider social cost of warehousing millions of Americans. On the last day of the conference, I took an ACA-organized tour of Utah’s oldest prison, the Wasatch County Jail. It housed murderers, rapists, and fraudsters. The setting of the center was spectacular, with soaring mountains on the horizon, though the facility’s buildings were mostly old and forbidding. Wasatch was a public prison but was nevertheless governed by the profit motive. Utah Correctional Industries (UCI) was based here—a business employing prisoners at low wages to produce furniture, printing services, and license plates for the people of Utah. Its stated aim was to teach prisoners the vital skills they would need upon release, but the labor overseen in the prison had more to do with profit than rehabilitation. I asked whether labor costs had to be so low but was told that detainees were pleased to be kept busy.


pages: 433 words: 127,171

The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, demand response, dematerialisation, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, full employment, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Internet of things, laissez-faire capitalism, Menlo Park, Negawatt, new economy, off grid, post-oil, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, the built environment, too big to fail, washing machines reduced drudgery, Whole Earth Catalog

We also have to pay for this system, something that renewables have complicated as they mix up producers with consumers in entirely new ways. And, because it’s America, the whole shebang needs to convey a profit into somebody’s pocket. Almost all the big utilities are investor-owned, which means they have shareholders who have been promised at least the occasional dividend. Corners get cut in order to ensure that this flow of cash continues apace, and decisions get made with profit motives in mind that brook little concern for the particular capacities, and incapacities, of the grid. We may imagine the grid as primarily a machine to make and move electricity, but integral from the very start was that it also make and move vast quantities of money. A lot of people are still happy with this way of doing things. The grid’s current shape has a lot to do with the specifics of its technological and business history.

The grid’s entanglements with culture and law and natural systems were always there. Renewables have just made these entanglements impossible to ignore; they stress the existing system just enough that all the delicate balances reached over the passage of a century are thrown off-kilter. As all of these diverse bits of what make our grid work interlock and entangle, there just isn’t a lot of room for quick action. Once people with politics and profit motives get their fingers into the briar patch, it seems at times like there is no room to act at all. This was the situation into which the equivalent output of two nuclear power plants was suddenly poured that mid-May day back in 2010. The only real option was to shut down the wind turbines. Switch the beasts off. Still their spinning. Clear the lines. Let the storm blow itself out. Leave all those electrons unreaped.

The problem with the Swiss cheese model, which is otherwise remarkably robust (we have it to thank for the past thirty years in which flying has been consistently safer than driving; even frequent fliers are more likely to be killed in a lawn mower accident than an airplane crash), is that the grid, like any complex mechanical system, is not just a machine but also the regulatory, business, cultural, and natural environments within which this machine functions. The grid is the physics, mechanics, engineering, construction, management, upkeep, and use internal to itself. It is also the storms, earthquakes, laws, hatreds (and other personal opinions), and profit motives that surround the mechanism, that change over time, and that can differ drastically between one state, one city, one climactic zone and the next. In the case of the grid these “external to the cheese” circumstances are not necessarily conducive to the machine’s capacity to function well and strongly. If the 2003 blackout was traced back to particular failings on the system—the holes in the cheese of our grid—and if a number of these failings have been since corrected, this tracing out of proximate causes to a single, massive systems failure doesn’t necessarily direct our gaze in the right direction, or set our minds to the right problems.


pages: 577 words: 149,554

The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey by Michael Huemer

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Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, experimental subject, framing effect, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, laissez-faire capitalism, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, Phillip Zimbardo, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unbiased observer, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

Just as none of Milgram’s subjects would have decided on their own to go out and electrocute anyone, very few Germans would have decided, on their own, to go out murdering Jews. Respect for authority was Hitler’s key weapon. The same is true of all of the greatest man-made evils. No one has ever managed, working alone, to kill over a million people. Nor has anyone ever arranged such an evil by appealing to the profit motive, pure self-interest, or moral suasion to secure the cooperation of others – except by relying on institutions of political authority. With the help of such institutions, many such crimes have been carried out, accounting for tens of millions of deaths, along with many more ruined lives. It is possible that such institutions also serve crucial social functions and forestall other enormous evils.

The large costs of moving from one country to another, including the barriers that governments themselves often place in the way, enable a government to extract monopoly profits from its populace with little fear of losing ‘customers’ to a rival government. Therefore, a government has less cause to wish to eliminate rival governments than a protection agency has to wish to eliminate rival agencies. These are valid considerations. On the other hand, there seem to be several reasons for expecting the problem of intergovernmental warfare to be more serious than that of interagency warfare: i) Business leaders tend to be driven chiefly by the profit motive. Government leaders are more likely to be driven by ideology or the desire for power. Because of the enormous costs of armed conflict, the latter motivations are much more likely motives for armed conflict than the desire for financial gain. ii) Due to their monopolistic positions, governments can afford to make extremely large and costly errors without fear of being supplanted. For example, the estimated combined cost of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is $2.4 trillion,10 and yet the U.S. government need fear no loss of market share as a result of this dubious investment.

Just as citizens of a democratic state believe that public officials should promote justice, the members of an anarchy may hold that protection agencies and arbitration firms should promote justice. However much efficacy that kind of social norm has in policing human behavior, the anarchist may harness it just as well as the statist. 10.6 Security for the poor Another concern is that security agencies, driven by the profit motive, will cater solely to the rich, leaving the poor defenseless against criminals. 10.6.1 Do businesses serve the poor? Unfortunately, there are no actual societies with a free market in security. We can, however, examine societies with relatively free markets in a variety of other goods and services. In such societies, for how many of these other goods and services is it true that suppliers cater solely to the rich, providing no products suitable for middle- and lower-income customers?


pages: 540 words: 168,921

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Firefox, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Parag Khanna, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

Their oversupply brought about a spectacular crash, and the Mississippi Company became the Mississippi Bubble, a new term to describe the sudden inflation and equally sudden deflation of an object of value, be it a certain kind of investment, tulips, or real estate. Law knew how to dazzle people with the prospect of future riches. Successes like his in the 1720s appear repeatedly in the history of capitalism, pointing up the psychological component of the profit motive. In France what might have been a cautionary tale became a hypercautionary one. The government wouldn’t tolerate paper money for another seventy years. Even in England it soured people on paper money and its use as an economic stimulant. A new orthodoxy congealed. The supply of money, the philosopher David Hume maintained, had nothing to do with prosperity, which depended upon real things in the economy, like shops, stores, and factories.

A total of 11 million men and women came from Africa to the New World colonies in comparison with the 2.6 million Europeans who crossed the Atlantic in the same period. Over one hundred thousand separate voyages brought this human cargo, 70 percent of them owned by either British or Portuguese traders.2 Sugar was one of capitalism’s first great bonanzas; its successes also revealed the power of the profit motive to override any cultural inhibitions to gross exploitation. Slavery was old. Egyptian slaves had built pyramids; Roman ones, bridges and aqueducts. What capitalism introduced was sustained and systematic brutality in the making of goods on a scale never seen before. It’s not size alone that distinguishes modern slavery from its ancient lineage in Greece and biblical times; it’s also race. Slavery then often had an ethnic component because slaves were taken as the captives of war, but never a consistently racial one.

The inventions that culminated in industrialization had hardly begun when Smith wrote, but there had been enough improvements for him to divine the future. Integral to Smith’s theorizing was the law of unintended consequences, an arresting insight of the Scottish philosophers that explained how acts could be willed by self-interested individuals but still turn out to be beneficial to a larger group. The most famous example of course was the invisible hand of the market that used competition to convert the profit motive into a force for good. As Smith explained, it is “not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regards to their own interest.”51 Here was a concept that contributed to the strong impression that reality was often obscured by appearances. Smith was responding to the developments of his lifetime, 1723–1790, when it was still relatively easy for an ambitious young baker to get the money to set himself up to compete effectively with established competitors.


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Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible by William N. Goetzmann

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, compound rate of return, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, delayed gratification, Detroit bankruptcy, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, invention of the steam engine, invention of writing, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, stochastic process, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, time value of money, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, wage slave

The text reflects a level of extraordinary abstraction in the realization of the role of money in the economy. Guanzi identified money as the fundamental medium of the equilibration between supply and demand for goods. It recognized it as a tool to achieve the goals of the state. It proposed—and perhaps even implemented—monetarist policies. More subtly, Guanzi highlighted the role that profit-seeking incentives play in society. The invisible hand of the market functions because of the profit motive. Most of Guanzi’s “subtle” devices make use of this natural human desire. 9 UNITY AND BUREAUCRACY Paper banknote from the Ming dynasty, ca. 1375–1425 CE. Printed on mulberry bark paper with a copper plate, the note depicts the equivalent value in strings of coins. Fiat money that has value by government decree was invented in China. The Warring States era came to an abrupt end in 221 BCE, when Qin emerged as the winner of a centuries-long rivalry.

This means that financial technology is not only robust, but also that certain parallel solutions to basic problems are discovered and rediscovered by clever entrepreneurs or officials time and again, and that certain institutions and techniques can be thought of as stable equilibria, even when they derive from different traditions: coins, loans, accounting systems, contracts, securities—even paper money. The tools and financial concepts important to the development of Chinese civilization are different from those that were most useful in the West. The scale and scope of China led, early on, to theories about management based on an understanding of economic incentives and oversight. Among these are, on the one hand, the profit motive and on the other hand the control of corruption by oversight, annual accounting, and reporting. The early Chinese mathematical text discussed in Chapter 8 considered many problems of how to measure and account for labor production, as well as problems of how to calculate wastage that occurs in construction and manufacturing. These problems are critical in a bureaucratic system in which each administrator is responsible for reporting accounts to a superior.

See also bonds; equity investments; interest; return on investment; stock markets Investment: An Exact Science (Lowenfeld), 414–16 investment bankers: eighteenth-century Dutch, 399; financial crisis of 2008 and, 285; world’s first, 399 Investment Company Act of 1940, 501, 502 investment trusts, 473–74, 482, 499–502; Fisher’s recommendation for, 506; overvalued in 1920s, 484. See also mutual funds Investors Management Company, 501–2 invisible hand: Athenian grain trade and, 102; failures of World Bank and, 460; financial mathematics and, 283, 288; Guanzi’s use of profit motive and, 166, 171. See also market system iron industry, in eighteenth-century France, 381 iron mining: Chinese, 196; near Frobisher Bay, 314, 315 iron money, of Sichuan, 183–84 iron monopoly of Chinese state, 174 Irrational Exuberance (Shiller), 331–32 Ismail Pasha, 419–21 James II of England, 322 James River Company, 394 Jefferson, Peter, 389 Jiang Shang, 153, 154 Jiangsu Dasheng Group Company, 434 jiaozi, 184–85, 186 Jixia Academy, 155–57, 160–61 joint-stock companies: Age of Discovery and, 307; Bubble Act and, 380; in eighteenth-century England, 328, 338, 366, 380; Honor del Bazacle as, 300, 307; Muscovy company as, 309; in nineteenth-century China, 431–32, 437; Rotterdam insurance company as, 366.

Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink (Politics and Society in Modern America) by Louis Hyman

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asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, card file, central bank independence, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, declining real wages, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, Gini coefficient, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, invisible hand, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, market fundamentalism, means of production, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, p-value, pattern recognition, profit maximization, profit motive, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, statistical model, technology bubble, the built environment, transaction costs, union organizing, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

In the United States, we see the first example of an economy based upon debt that can be resold at a profit, with all its associated possibilities and dangers. This history of the infrastructure and practices of American debt will both help us to understand the financial history of the postwar period and, more generally, to come to grips with the choices that have created our contemporary indebted society. No single cause can explain the entire history of borrowing and lending: profit motive, government policy, INTRODUCTION 9 technological progress, and even chance all played necessary but not sufficiently all-encompassing roles. Though to be sure there were hucksters who gamed the system, the choices responsible for today’s economic crisis were not hidden, but done in the open, and often with the best of intentions. More terrifying than individual malfeasance or trickery is the idea that the structure of our economy itself is fundamentally out of alignment.

In his words: “the future financial stability of many of our urban centers depends upon the prompt reclamation of their slum areas.”35 In Ickes’s view, slums were a sort of cancer. Without checking their growth, slums and blight would spread into the industrial and commercial areas, choking off any possibility of economic recovery. Moreover, slums consumed more taxes every year than they paid, inhibiting other uses of local tax dollars.36 In the absence of private profit motive, Ickes believed the federal government had a need and a right to intercede in the housing sector. By November of 1933, 14.7 percent, or $485,100,000 of the total PWA project budget had been designated for “low-cost housing and slum clearance.”37 Creating a subsidiary, “Public Works Emergency Housing Corporation,” Ickes planned “to build low-cost apartment houses as slum clearance projects throughout the country.”38 PWA’s creators viewed the housing division as a way to solve both the problem of slums and the larger economic problem at the same time.

Title I loans, like their Title II counterparts, were meant to be affordable so as to stimulate as much demand as possible in the hard-hit economy of the Depression.26 For home owners needing repairs and modernizations, these loans presented an affordable and easy way to improve their standard of living. BA N K E R S D I S C OV E R C R E D I T 79 For bankers, the loans guaranteed profits. As discussed in chapter 2, the FHA did not lend any money directly to consumers, but relied on the profit motive of private capital to supply the financing. The government created an insurance program for lenders, so that in case of default bankers would always get back the principal of the loan, allowing them to take on more risk than they ordinarily would. The interest rates would be low, but through the government insurance program the profits would be risk free. Crucially, the Title I loan program connected a demand by consumers with a supply of capital that, in its absence, the market could not.


pages: 257 words: 94,168

Oil Panic and the Global Crisis: Predictions and Myths by Steven M. Gorelick

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California gold rush, carbon footprint, energy security, energy transition, flex fuel, income per capita, invention of the telephone, meta analysis, meta-analysis, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, price stability, profit motive, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, statistical model, Thomas Malthus

The Stone Age came to an end, not because we had a lack of stones, and the oil age will come to an end not because we have a lack of oil.”8 The Energy Information Administration (EIA), which is part of the US Department of Energy, says that only 4–7 percent of the world’s original in-place liquid petroleum has been recovered.9 Individuals ranging from oil company executives to energy consultants to academic economists firmly believe that any concerns about global depletion in the foreseeable future are premature for several reasons – oil is abundant, we have only consumed a fraction of the global oil endowment, technology to discover and extract new oil has consistently proven out, and the profit motive combined with the law of supply and demand will prevail.10–13 Why is our oil future so uncertain? What are the underlying data, analyses, and philosophies that lead to predictions of global oil depletion by some End of the Oil Era 3 versus the conviction by others that the current state of alarm is unjustified and just crying wolf? Why is there any controversy at all? We can begin to answer these questions by considering the arguments supporting our intuition that the end of the Oil Era is near.

As one study of California gasoline prices put it, “After crude oil and wholesale gasoline prices peak and start to decline, retail prices may still be “digesting” the effects of the previous increase, even while starting to reflect the decrease as well.”77 However, there is another and perhaps more fundamental reason for the higher price of gasoline even after the oil price has declined: the profit motive of the outlet. An outlet owner can continue to sell gasoline at the higher price, since consumers have become used to paying it. What stops the outlet owner? The Global Oil Landscape 49 At some point, competing stations lower their prices, forcing other stations to lower theirs. From a market standpoint, such pricing behavior is not gouging because the station owner is not trying to extract a price and profit higher than the market will bear.


pages: 287 words: 86,919

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

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Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, 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

“When computers become available to everybody,” wrote Stewart Brand in 1972, “the hackers take over: We are all Computer Bums, all more empowered as individuals and as cooperators.”53 Or as McKenzie Wark writes, “Whatever code we hack, be it programming language, poetic language, math or music, curves or colourings, we create the possibility of new things entering the world.”54 Thus, I suggest that the hacker’s unique connection to the realm of the possible, via protocol that structures itself on precisely that threshold of possibility, gives the hacker special insight into the nature of utopia—what he or she wants out of computers. Once of the most important signs of this utopian instinct is the hacking community’s anti-commercial bent. Software products have long been developed and released into the public domain, with seemingly no profit motive on the side of the authors, simply for the higher glory of the code itself. “Spacewar was not sold,” Steven Levy writes, referring to the early video game developed by several early computer enthusiasts at MIT. “Like any other 51. Another is the delightfully schizophrenic Ted Nelson, inventor of hypertext. See Computer Lib/Dream Machines (Redmond, WA: Tempus/Microsoft, 1987). 52. Pierre Lévy, L’intelligence collective: Pour une anthropologie du cyberspace (Paris: Éditions la Découverte, 1994), p. 120. 53.

The hacker feels obligated to remove all impediments, all inefficiencies that might stunt this quasi-aesthetic growth. “In its basic assembly structure,” writes Andrew Ross, “information technology involves processing, copying, replication, and simulation, and therefore does not recognize the concept of private information property.”57 Commercial ownership of software is the primary impediment hated by all hackers because it means that code is limited—limited by intellectual property laws, limited by the profit motive, limited by corporate “lamers.” Even Kevin Mitnick, a hacker maligned by some for his often unsavory motivations, admits that the code itself has a higher priority than any commercial motivation: You get a better understanding of the cyberspace, the computer systems, the operating systems, how the computer systems interact with one another, that basically, was my motivation behind my hacking activity in the past, it was just from the gain of knowledge and the thrill of adventure, nothing that was well and truly sinister such as trying to get any type of monetary gain or anything.58 55.


pages: 321 words: 85,267

Suburban Nation by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Jeff Speck

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A Pattern Language, big-box store, car-free, Celebration, Florida, City Beautiful movement, desegregation, edge city, Frank Gehry, housing crisis, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, intermodal, Jane Jacobs, jitney, McMansion, New Urbanism, place-making, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, skinny streets, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, transit-oriented development, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration

The primary goal of the industry remains to build and sell individual houses as quickly and profitably as possible, to “blow and go,” as they put it. A pro-community panelist at the NAHB convention can’t help but feel like a flower child at boot camp. Homebuilders, land developers, and marketing advisers are all constituencies that must be won over if the campaign against suburban sprawl is to succeed. Their participation will be meaningful in the long run only if it is driven by the profit motive, because in America at the millennium, ideas live or die based upon their performance in the marketplace. While there are ways in which government intervention is necessary—most obviously in rolling back the federal, state, and municipal policies that continue to promote sprawl—sprawl will not become obsolete by changing laws alone. A higher standard of development will become commonplace only if it offers greater profits to those who practice it.

Now that citizens have earned a position in the planning process, it is their duty to become experts in good design, and to demand the same from those in charge. In this regard, it is worth repeating the five truths most often misconstrued by citizens and government alike: • Growth cannot be stopped; it never has been. The only hope is to shape it into a more benevolent form, the neighborhood. • The profit motive is not the problem with development. The best neighborhoods in America were built for profit. • Most issues are interrelated. Traffic, housing, schools, crime, and the environment can be successfully addressed only if taken together, within the context of the neighborhood. • Planners and other professionals are specialists who, when left to themselves, distort the issues. Only generalists can be trusted to offer reasonable advice


pages: 459 words: 103,153

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by Tim Harford

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Andrew Wiles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, Deep Water Horizon, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fermat's Last Theorem, Firefox, food miles, Gerolamo Cardano, global supply chain, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Netflix Prize, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, PageRank, Piper Alpha, profit motive, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, rolodex, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, web application, X Prize, zero-sum game

It boasted a superior nickel-chrome alloy for the heating element but was still flawed. Most notably, that heating element was exposed, making it a potential source of household fires, burns and electrocutions. It took several decades for the practical and familiar pop-up toaster design to emerge, by which time many manufacturers had quit the business or gone bankrupt. The market has solved the problem of generating material wealth, but its secret has little to do with the profit motive or the superior savvy of the boardroom over the cabinet office. Few company bosses would care to admit it, but the market fumbles its way to success, as successful ideas take off and less successful ones die out. When we see the survivors of this process – such as Exxon, General Electric and Procter & Gamble – we shouldn’t merely see success. We should also see the long, tangled history of failure, of all of the companies and all of the ideas that didn’t make it. 5 A shifting landscape Biologists have a word for the way in which solutions emerge from failure: evolution.

He warned against prestige projects: why drill oil wells just for the spectacular ‘gush’ when cheap coal and gas were widely available? He defended small projects that, according to his own painstaking research, were often more efficient than gigantic ones. He defended workers’ rights throughout. It is easy to forget just how successful the Soviet economy was … for a time. We tend to assume that the planned economy fell apart because it lacked the galvanising force of the profit motive and the creativity of private-sector entrepreneurs. But this does not really make sense: there were many creative people in the Soviet Union, including Palchinsky. It is not immediately obvious why they would lose their creativity merely because they worked for state-owned enterprises. Nor did the Soviet Union lackational techniques: in fact, it possessed as great a range of incentives, positive and horrifyingly negative, as any civilisation in history, and deployed them ruthlessly.


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)

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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 exclusion, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, 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, negative equity, 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

We begin by looking at what determines the demand for bank loans, concluding that as a result of the distribution of wealth, the desire to speculate, and the effect of various laws, the demand for credit will almost always be very high. The demand for money is also discussed, as is the effect on the economy of any attempt to pay down debts in aggregate. Second, we will look at the incentives facing banks: given the high demand for credit, why do banks not simply lend to every individual or business that applies for a loan? We will see that due to the profit motive, financial innovations and some other institutional quirks, banks will attempt to lend as much as they can as long as it is profitable for them to do so. Third, we will look at the reaction of the regulators. Faced with a banking sector that has a huge number of willing borrowers and an incentive to lend to them, in the current institutional structure, is it possible to temper banks’ natural desire to create credit?

This point has been made quite clearly by Adair Turner: “banks can create credit and private money, and unless controlled, will tend to create sub-optimally large or sub-optimally unstable quantities of both credit and private money.” (2012) However, if a bank plans to securitise the loans it makes then it doesn’t have to worry about repayment – it can make the loan safe in the knowledge that it can sell it off to someone else. Likewise, when a loan is collateralised with an asset that is not expected to fall in value (such as a house), the bank can make the loan safe in the knowledge that if a default does occur it may take control of the asset, sell it, and so still make a profit.13 Freed from the downside of default, the profit motive causes banks to maximise their lending, increasing the money supply and debt in the process. fig. 3.4 - UK resident monetary financial institutions’ lending Source: Bank of England Statistical Database So how much money has been created by banks? The chart of “Cash vs Bank-Issued Money” from the Introduction shows the effect on the money supply of a high demand for credit combined with a lack of regulation.


pages: 397 words: 102,910

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

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4chan, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Bayesian statistics, 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, John Markoff, Lean Startup, moral panic, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, profit motive, RAND corporation, Republic of Letters, Richard Stallman, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, social web, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

We keep hearing about information-retrieval networks,” former senator Kenneth B. Keating told Congress in 1965. “The inexorable question arises—what will happen in the long run if authors’ income is cut down and down by increasing free uses by photocopy and information storage and retrieval? Will the authors continue writing? Will the publishers continue publishing if their markets are diluted, eroded, and eventually, the profit motive and incentive completely destroyed? To pose this question is to answer it.”60 * * * IN her interesting book, Who Owns Academic Work?, Corynne McSherry made a distinction between a fact and an artifact.61 A fact is one of “nature’s creations,” an ownerless piece of knowledge or data that belongs to the public. The periodic table, for example, is a fact: the tabular relationship between the chemical elements belongs to no one person, but instead is common knowledge on which all are free to draw and build.

Not only did the DMCA prohibit the circumvention of copy-protection technology—for example, the mechanisms that require you to activate an expensive computer program before using it—the law also forbade people from using the Internet to explain how to evade copy-protection, or even linking to those explanations.11 The year before, in December 1997, President Clinton had signed a kindred bill, the No Electronic Theft Act (NET Act), which stipulated felony criminal penalties for people charged with the unauthorized online distribution of copyrighted material, even in cases where the distributor had no profit motive. The NET Act was intended to close the so-called LaMacchia loophole.12 In 1994, federal prosecutors indicted an MIT undergraduate named David LaMacchia for allegedly operating an online bulletin board that people used to freely trade copyrighted computer software. While it appeared to prosecutors that LaMacchia had helped facilitate software piracy, his actions were not considered criminal under the terms of the Copyright Act, since he had not acted for any clear commercial purpose.


pages: 313 words: 95,077

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky

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Andrew Keen, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, c2.com, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, hiring and firing, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, Internet Archive, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, Kuiper Belt, liberation theology, lump of labour, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Merlin Mann, Metcalfe’s law, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, Picturephone, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, prediction markets, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vilfredo Pareto, Yogi Berra

Instead, they would have to send messages out to many more people than would actually attend, in hopes of reaching the right audience, advertising to photographers, hipsters, New Yorkers, and so on, in hope of getting the tiny fraction of those groups who would actually go. Most such ads would be seen by people who weren’t going to the parade, while most of the people who were going wouldn’t see (or pay attention to) the ads. Given those obstacles, no business in the world would take on the job. The profit motive is little help; no one could sell enough pictures, even the skull-bikini ones, to be able to pay the photographers, much less leave any profit afterward. Likewise, no nonprofit or government agency would touch the problem; even the porkiest of pork-barrel projects isn’t going to cover publicity for hula-hooping mermaids. The gap between effort and payoff is too large for any institution to span.

The cost of all kinds of group activity—sharing, cooperation, and collective action—have fallen so far so fast that activities previously hidden beneath that floor are now coming to light. We didn’t notice how many things were under that floor because, prior to the current era, the alternative to institutional action was usually no action. Social tools provide a third alternative: action by loosely structured groups, operating without managerial direction and outside the profit motive. From Sharing to Cooperation to Collective Action For the last hundred years the big organizational question has been whether any given task was best taken on by the state, directing the effort in a planned way, or by businesses competing in a market. This debate was based on the universal and unspoken supposition that people couldn’t simply self-assemble; the choice between markets and managed effort assumed that there was no third alternative.


pages: 273 words: 34,920

Free Market Missionaries: The Corporate Manipulation of Community Values by Sharon Beder

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anti-communist, battle of ideas, business climate, corporate governance, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, income inequality, invisible hand, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, old-boy network, popular capitalism, Powell Memorandum, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, risk/return, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, shareholder value, spread of share-ownership, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Torches of Freedom, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, young professional

Keavney repeatedly toured the US, giving progress reports to the N.A.M. and the US Chamber of Commerce, among others.’44 In 1979, EA brought Barton Cummins, a key architect of the Advertising Council’s free enterprise campaign, to Australia to describe that campaign so it could serve as a model in Australia. Cummins told a business audience: In Australia – as in America – there are people who want to destroy the free enterprise system. They believe in government control of the lives of all of us, particularly the business community. They do not believe in competition. They do not believe in the profit motive. They do not believe in freedom for businessmen like you and me . . . More regulation by government is their answer . . . It is important to remember that economic freedom and personal freedom go hand in hand . . . In short, you’ve got to educate the Australian people about your economic system. When they really understand it, they’ll appreciate it more . . .45 EA’s schools and colleges programmes were ‘developed within school systems in official association with Departments of Education’ in each state.

They would be less bolshie and more understanding of what management and owners are trying to achieve, as they would all be rewarded along similar lines.52 In its submission, BHP told the same inquiry that employees owned shares or options worth 7.6 per cent of the company’s capital and that its motivation in providing this opportunity was to help wage earners to understand and experience private enterprise; to justify ‘the profit motive in terms of risk return for investors’; and to encourage ‘employees to take a more active interest as co-owners of the company and for them to look beyond their local domain’. 53 Rob Donkersley, Employee Relations Director for Coca-Cola Amatil, told the inquiry about his company’s employee share ownership plan: We feel we have captured the minds of our employees through this plan. We have provided a good vehicle for them to link themselves with the fortunes of the company and take a wider perspective than their individual role in their individual operation could allow . . .


pages: 314 words: 106,575

Black Fire: The True Story of the Original Tom Sawyer--And of the Mysterious Fires That Baptized Gold Rush-Era San Francisco by Robert Graysmith

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California gold rush, profit motive, South of Market, San Francisco, white picket fence

“The city shouldn’t be this way,” he thought. “Somebody should do something to clean this wickedness up.” Why, there were more saloons than boardinghouses in town; more gambling dens than hotels. He stalked across to Delmonico’s for a steak and sliced tomatoes. As he ate, he jotted down ideas for an editorial: “Systematic pillaging by organized gangs during the confusion of each fire suggests the presence of profit-motivated arsonists such as merchants.” “Yes,” he vowed, “someone should do something.” He heard the crackle of flames in the distance—“My God!” he thought. “The Ducks are quacking!” In the heat and tumult, the cry “Quack! Quack! Quack!” went up everywhere. It was not a complete city-destroying conflagration this time, but the volunteers, Sawyer, and the torch boys ran as if it were. Sweat dampened Sawyer’s new red shirt.

The people had lost their last bit of faith in a fireproof house or that anyone could stop the Lightkeeper, who set his blazes with impunity, greater frequency, and obvious relish. It was no coincidence that the fifth all-encompassing fire had broken out on May 4, 1851, the anniversary of the second city-destroying fire and the same day as the Firemen’s Parade. Systematic pillaging by organized gangs of army deserters and ex-convicts during the confusion and in every one of the devastating fires so far suggested the presence of a profit-motivated Lightkeeper. The gangs had been waiting. “The conflagration had to be the work of an incendiary,” citizens said. There is no doubt now. Their fury mounted against the arsonist’s “brazen chaos.” An investigation pinpointed the genesis of the blaze to the Clay Street upholstery shop. The space above Bryant’s Hotel was occupied by Baker & Meserve’s shop and should have been fireproof. According to the owners, residents had taken the lanterns out of their rooms at 10:00 P.M., no fires had been used about the house “for any purpose whatever,” and the fireplace had not yet been damped down to ash and coals to restart for the morning fire.


pages: 357 words: 95,986

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

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, basic income, 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, liberation theology, Live Aid, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, 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, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, 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, The Future of Employment, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

In this repression, what has been lost is that ambition to produce ‘a world that exceeds – existentially, aesthetically, as well as politically – the miserable confines of bourgeois culture’.54 But as an apparently universal and irrepressible characteristic of human cultures, utopian thinking can surge forth under even the most repressive conditions.55 Utopian inclinations play out across the human spectrum of feelings and affects – embodied in popular culture, high culture, fashion, city planning, and even quotidian daydreaming.56 The popular desire for space exploration, for instance, points to a curiosity and ambition that lies beyond the profit motive.57 The like-minded trend of afro-futurism offers not only a highly stylised image of a better future, but also ties it to a radical critique of existing structures of oppression and a remembrance of past struggles. The post-work imaginary also contains numerous historical precedents in utopian writing, pointing to a constant striving to move beyond the constraints of wage labour. Cultural movements and aesthetic production have essential roles to play in reigniting the desire for utopia and inspiring visions of a different world.

See Weeks, Problem with Work, pp. 213–18. 50.Manuel Castells, Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age (Cambridge: Polity, 2012), p. 15. 51.Patricia Reed, ‘Seven Prescriptions for Accelerationism’, in Robin Mackay and Armen Avanessian, eds, #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader (Falmouth: Urbanomic, 2014), pp. 528–31. 52.Wendy Brown, ‘Resisting Left Melancholy’, Boundary 2 26: 3 (1999). 53.Paul Mason, Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions (London: Verso, 2012), pp. 66–73. 54.Mark Fisher, ‘Going Overground’, K-Punk, 5 January 2014, at k-punk.org. 55.Bloch, Principle of Hope. 56.Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (London: Verso, 1993), p. 37; Weeks, Problem with Work, pp. 190–3; Geoghegan, Utopianism and Marxism, p. 20. 57.Curiously, this lack of a profit motive has led some on the left to see space exploration perversely as a ‘capitalist utopia’. George Caffentzis and Silvia Federici, ‘Mormons in Space’, in George Caffentzis, In Letters of Blood and Fire (Oakland: PM Press, 2012), p. 65. 58.Louis Althusser, ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus (Notes Towards an Investigation)’, in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (New York: Monthly Review, 2001), pp. 88–9. 59.Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, p. 10. 60.Mary Morgan and Malcolm Rutherford, ‘American Economics: The Character of the Transformation’, History of Political Economy 30 (1998). 61.G.


pages: 207 words: 86,639

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

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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 raider, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial exclusion, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, land reform, light touch regulation, loss aversion, mega-rich, 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, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working-age population

Policy regards people simply as passive consumers of goods or services, which are ‘delivered’ to them by service providers. Energy consumption is profitable under this narrow interpretation of economics, but energy conservation is more problematic, so we consume. Health care consumption is profitable in the short term for providers, preventative health is not, so we become consumers of health ‘solutions’. The pre-eminent profit motive also makes companies grow to increase their profits and grow yet more. This is facilitated by financial institutions, which have themselves grown to an enormous scale, but which also profit from arranging mergers and acquisitions in the business world. In the public sector, cost considerations, and the desire to centralize control, fosters a culture where bigger is better, and narrow economic efficiency considerations preclude holistic approaches and local participation in the delivery of public services.

Other books to read David Boyle (1999) Funny Money, HarperCollins, London David Boyle, Sherry Clark and Sarah Burns (2006) Hidden Work, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, London Colin Hines (2000) Localization: A Global Manifesto, Earthscan, London Alison Ravetz (2008) ‘Is the government trying to abolish illness?’, New Statesman, 5 May James Robertson and Joseph Huber (2000) Creating New Money, New Economics Foundation, London Shann Turnbull (1975) New Money Sources and Profit Motives for Democratising the Wealth of Nations, Company Directors Association, Sydney Notes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Tim Jackson, Nic Marks, Jon Ralls and S. Strymne (1997) An Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare for the UK 1950–1996, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Guildford. Robert Lacey and Dabby Danziger (1999) The Year 1000: What Life was Like at the Turn of the Last Millennium, Little, Brown, London.


pages: 345 words: 92,849

Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality by Don Watkins, Yaron Brook

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple II, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blue-collar work, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, financial deregulation, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Uber for X, urban renewal, War on Poverty, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Even in countries whose educational systems are comparatively successful (when judged by test scores, anyway), such as Finland or Japan, turning schools into state monopolies has rendered the entire field of education disturbingly stagnant. Nowhere do we see the diversity, choice, and innovation that define the high-tech industry. In the U.S., however, things are much worse. By almost every measure we are falling behind the rest of the world, yet because there is no competition or profit motive to punish poor performers and reward great achievers, there is no reason to expect things will get better any time soon. There are few innovators devoting their efforts to creating the educational equivalent of an Apple or a Google, and the innovators who do try to change the field are highly constrained by the government. Even a private school isn’t fully free to set its own rules and standards—it has to answer to the state.

–Peter Boettke, University Professor of Economics and Philosophy, George Mason University “Arguing the unarguable, Watkins and Brook blow the top off established wisdom on the evil of income inequality and the culpability of the 1%. Today’s one-sided debate on income inequality amounts to envy politics, not logic or fact, as these authors demonstrate in their explosive and entertaining book, Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality. This book shows why the profit motive is noble and shows that government intervention in all areas of our lives—not income inequality—is what’s really threatening the American Dream. A must read for those who desire prosperity for more of the world’s people.” –Mallory Factor, New York Times bestselling author of Shadowbosses and Big Tent, FoxNews contributor and professor at The Citadel, Oxford University and Buckingham University Thank you for buying this St.


pages: 309 words: 86,909

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson; Kate Pickett

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basic income, Berlin Wall, clean water, Diane Coyle, epigenetics, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land reform, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, moral panic, offshore financial centre, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

Greater equality can help us develop the public ethos and commitment to working together which we need if we are going to solve the problems which threaten us all. As wartime leaders knew, if a society has to pull together, policies must be seen to be fair and income differences have to be reduced. Figure 15.4 More equal countries recycle a higher proportion of their waste. 16 Building the future Turning corporations loose and letting the profit motive run amok is not a prescription for a more liveable world. Tom Scholz, Interview with the Sierra Club Before discussing what should be done to make our societies more equal, it is worth pointing out that focusing attention on the inequalities within them does not mean ignoring the international inequalities between rich and poor countries. The evidence strongly suggests that narrowing income differences within rich countries will make them more responsive to the needs of poorer countries.

There are others which continue to destroy ecosystems, land and water supplies, to exploit mineral resources where governments are too weak or corrupt to stand up to them, and still others use their patents to prevent life-saving drugs being sold at affordable prices in poorer countries. There are reasons to think that employee-owned companies might maintain higher standards of morality even with the profit motive. In conventional employment people are specifically hired to work for purposes which are not their own. They are paid to use their expertise to whatever purpose their employer chooses. You might disagree with the purpose to which your work is being put, you might not even know what the purpose is, but you are not employed to have opinions about such things and certainly not to express them. Such issues are not your concern.


pages: 756 words: 228,797

Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, conceptual framework, greed is good, laissez-faire capitalism, Milgram experiment, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, New Journalism, open borders, price stability, profit motive, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, wage slave, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration, young professional

A clue may be found in the dazzling speech she would later write for Francisco d’Anconia, one of three capitalist heroes in Atlas Shrugged. “Money is the root of all good,” Francisco famously announces to a group of hypocritical politicians and professional humanitarians assembled at a wedding party. “Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue.” Francisco goes on to deliver a virtuoso defense of the profit motive; in all of history, he tells his listeners, the free exchange of money has been the only nonviolent, orderly, and socially transparent means of calibrating the value men place upon one another’s work. Without money, and particularly money backed by gold, force decides, Rand argued.* Perhaps it was natural, then, that after many disappointing encounters with politicians, businessmen, theatrical producers, and literary rainmakers, money pleased her more resoundingly than praise.

The MPA went into action. That winter, Rand and the executive board met as often as three times a week, selecting emissaries and discussing tactics for the spring preliminary hearings. As Rand’s special contribution, she composed the “Screen Guide for Americans,” addressed to movie producers and executives who wanted to avoid the appearance of left-wing influence. She warned them not to “smear” success, the profit motive, or wealth, and not to “glorify” the common man. “Don’t spit into your own face,” she added, “or, worse, pay miserable little [Communist screenwriter] rats to do it.” As for Communists’ right to free speech, she argued, rather persuasively, that the principle of free speech requires “that we do not [pass laws or] use a police force to forbid the Communists the expression of their ideas.” It did not require privately owned and operated movie studios to offer jobs to Communist writers or give them the means to “advocate our own destruction at our own expense.”

Still angry at BobbsMerrill for its failures to support The Fountainhead, she was drawing up a list of terms she thought it would refuse to meet when the company’s sales director Ross Baker phoned and invited her and Collins to meet him over dinner. “What is it you want to discuss?” she asked on the phone. The book she had submitted was far too long, he replied. He wanted to mention sections that might be trimmed or cut, including, she later learned, to her horror, Francisco d’Anconia’s masterful fivepage speech about the benefits of a money economy and the profit motive, ending with a paean to America: “To the glory of mankind,” he tells the guests at James Taggart’s wedding reception, “there was for the first and only time a country of money, and I have no higher or more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. … Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created,” and thus they invented the felicitous phrase “to make money.”


pages: 699 words: 192,704

Heaven's Command (Pax Britannica) by Jan Morris

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British Empire, Cape to Cairo, centralized clearinghouse, Corn Laws, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, Khartoum Gordon, Khyber Pass, land reform, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, Magellanic Cloud, mass immigration, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, trade route

When, eight days later, the company dispersed, back to the Athabaska and the Mackenzie, English River and Lac la Pluie, north to the Bay or over the Rockies to the Pacific slopes, when the Governor’s bugle sounded for the last time across the lake, and Norway House returned to its ledgers and routine, no doubt it seemed that these Arrangements would survive more or less for ever. And in a way they would: the merchant venturers might disappear from the conduct of empire, but the profit motive never did.1 1 She bore him two sons and three daughters, all the same, before dying aged 41 in 1853. Other ladies gave him at least three sons and three daughters. 1 Which was supplemented by illicit whiskey from across the American frontier, commonly made of one part of raw alcohol to three parts of water, coloured with tea or plug tobacco, and flavoured with ginger, red pepper and black molasses. 1 Who are said to inhabit the Canadian north in an incidence of 5 million to the acre: a naked man would be sucked dry of all his blood in 3½ hours, and even the caribou, some theorists believe, are driven to their migrations by the insect bites. 1 The alphabet is still used, but poor Mr Evans was wrongly accused of living immorally among his Crees, and disappeared ignominiously from the imperial annals, failing even to find a place among the 167 Evanses listed in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography. 1 Such firm friends of the Honourable Company that their trading agreement operated without problems throughout the Crimean War. 2 Besides being a landowner over the frontier in the United States.

It enumerated law and order, schools, canals, roads and bridges, railways, telegraphs and public health, but made no reference to the ending of evil custom, the reform of society, or the benefits of Christian example. The British had no doubts about the merits of their own civilization, or qualms about their mission to distribute it across the world: but they had come to suppose that not all aspects of it were transplantable. The profit motive, too, had subtly shifted its emphasis. It was still potent, of course, perhaps preeminent among the imperial urges, but now it had undertones of disquiet. Great Britain was still the supreme industrial, financial and commercial Power of the world, but only just. Rivals were catching up. Economically the 1870s were difficult years for the British, and the financiers of the City of London, the industrialists of the north, began to feel that their preeminence might not last for ever.

Surreptitiously backed by Rhodes at Cape Town, conspiratorially awaited by the Reformers in Johannesburg, confident of the tacit approval of the imperial Government in London, he proposed to invade the Transvaal from across the Bechuana frontier: with a hard-riding, straight-shooting, reckless handful of true-blue Britons, he would storm into Johannesburg in the best Elizabethan style, subvert Kruger and his dour government of predikants, and make the whole of southern Africa British at last. This was something new to Victoria’s Empire. The aim was brasher. The means were more dishonest. There were hints of falsehood in high places which would have repelled Disraeli as much as they would have horrified Gladstone. Big business of a distasteful kind was concerned with the adventure. The evangelical instinct of Empire played no part in it, and the profit motive was blatant. They were not even imperial forces which were camped at Pitsani that December, but were a scratch company of colonial policemen, supplemented by miscellaneous freebooters and led by not very intelligent English gentry. There was no dignity to this gamble. If it succeeded, it would be a triumph of a vulgar kind: if it failed it would be ignominy. In all this Jameson’s Raid would prove a figure of its time.


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Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Clapham omnibus, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, financial independence, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, George Santayana, global village, index card, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War

Doesn’t a shop have the right to determine what it sells, and on what terms? But when a few companies have such a dominant market position, their policies—their private censorship, if you will—can be almost as limiting as state censorship. Tim Wu argues persuasively in his book The Master Switch that the structure of our information industries is a key determinant of our effective freedom of expression.152 These corporations’ choices are shaped by the profit motive but also by the character of their founders. The influence of a Steve Jobs or a Mark Zuckerberg on their respective empires has been more like that of an idiosyncratic absolute ruler in some mediaeval principate than that of the head of government in a modern liberal democracy. Apple’s tethered perfectionism has everything to do with Jobs’s personality. If the other Apple-founding Steve—Wozniak—had become Apple’s dominant figure, it might have remained the open, generative platform it was at the time of the 1982 Apple II desktop computer.

It is an interesting question who was responsible for more damaging invasions of privacy in Britain in the 2000s: GCHQ’s mass data-gulping spooks or Rupert Murdoch’s phone-hacking hacks. The former certainly collected far more data, but they did not publish it. The latter collected less, but ravaged lives by publishing it. If politicians and security chiefs have a motive for keeping more information secret than is truly in the public interest, commercial media also have a motive for publishing more than is truly in the public interest: the profit motive. With both newspapers and online media searching for a business model, there is a powerful temptation to confuse the public interest with what interests the public, thus selling more copies and bringing advertisement-ready eyeballs to your site or app. If it is naïve to think that security officials will all be Platonic guardians armed with invincible virtue, why should we believe that of journalists?

61 Again and again, through successive chapters of this book, we have bumped up against this power of money: from corporate lobbyists in Washington and Brussels, media ownership almost everywhere, only the rich being able to afford the lawyers to defend their reputations in court, wealthy individuals and corporations using that disparity of financial-legal power to deter critical comment that is in the public interest, all the way to the profit motive of information giants determining algorithmically what we see online. The problem is by no means confined to the United States, but it is especially salient there, not least because other constraints still painfully apparent in much of the world play a lesser role in the United States. While the American constitutional and legal tradition has been superb when it comes to restraining public power, it has been much less good at restraining private power.


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The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite by Duff McDonald

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, deskilling, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Donald Trump, family office, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Menlo Park, new economy, obamacare, oil shock, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, pushing on a string, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, urban renewal, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

By 1980, the starting salary for an elite MBA student was almost double the U.S. median pay level. 43 Managerialism Was Already Dead Lawrence Fouraker was prone to philosophical flights of fancy in his annual reports to the president of Harvard when he was dean of HBS, and his 1973–74 report was a prime example of such. In it, he compared what he called the three primary economic systems of the United States: capitalism, managerialism, and socialism. Capitalism was the profit motive, its primary mechanism the market, and its sovereign the consumer. Managerialism was the response to capitalism’s success, which had resulted in two kinds of markets—external (that is, consumers) and internal (the “economy” within a firm itself). The manager was supposed to have some sort of exclusive technical ability required to mediate between the two. Socialism was the nonprofit part of the economy—government, education, and health care.

(Piper et al), 403, 437 Capital Cities/ABC, 163, 169, 171 Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Piketty), 281, 540 capitalism, 2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 17, 184, 384; belief system, 59; communist threat, 143, 184; creative destruction, 243, 348; efficient-market hypothesis, 411; ethics and, 261, 432; free market and, 43, 57; HBS as the West Point of Capitalism, 135–39; investor capitalism, 366–67, 387; laissez-faire, 131; managerial capitalism, 132, 144, 247, 250; morality of, 566; power equals money in, 369; profit motive, 432; Research Center in Entrepreneurial History and, 243; shareholder capitalism, 6, 298, 315, 360–64, 366, 576; trade-offs, 281; trans-national capitalist class, 8 Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (Schumpeter), 348 Carnegie, Andrew, 23, 28 Carnegie, Rod, 209 Carnegie’s Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA), 214, 215, 220, 221, 225, 226, 228, 260, 297, 343, 451; Kaplan at, 443 Caro, Robert, 480–81 Carr, Nick, 303, 304, 305–6 Carroll, Thomas, 106, 220, 231, 289 Carter, Edward, 96 Carter, Graydon, 472 Carter, Jimmy, 354 Carter, John, 468 Case, Everett Needham, 234 case method, 3, 5, 6, 11, 27, 45, 46–53, 91, 92, 211, 212, 221–22, 225, 226, 277–84, 455; Associates funding, 104, 195; Bales and, 6; benefits, 52–53, 202–3, 277–78, 394, 470; bias for action, 51–52, 291; Bok’s criticism, 336, 338, 339; Bower’s defense, 206, 338–39; businesses asking to be studied, 58; Butcher Polish case, 333; casebooks, 99; casebooks, revenues from, 278, 279, 283; cases for SCMP, 326; case study hero, 107, 171, 280, 312, 436, 527; choices for study, Associates and, 106; Christensen and, 279; class section system and, 394; computerizing of cases, 155–56; Copeland-Cherington experiment and, 48–49; corporate sponsors and, 284, 520–21, 522; costs, 58, 63, 278; departure from (2010), 565–66; Dimon and Murphy on, 51; Elberse’s bestselling studies, 556; Enron cases, 281, 519, 522; ethics cases, 436; faculty development and, 46; failure to link actions to societal concerns, 51; Ford Foundation and, 278; Gay and, 27, 30, 47–48, 52; HBS vs. other schools, 397; international companies, 255; invention of, 47–53; JetBlue Airways study, 284; Johnson & Johnson cases, 527; judgment-based theory and, 5; Krasnow case, 333; Marine Basic School compared to, 50; Marriott case, 402; National Cranberry Cooperative case, 283; McNair on, 48–49; Merck, Vioxx scandal, and, 106–7; Mintzberg as critic, 483–89; negatives, 195, 280–82, 286–87; number of cases taught, 53; other schools using, 228–29, 279, 283; Raiffa and, 215–17; rationale for vs. reality of, 396–99; research and, 355, 455; SASB study, 562; skills taught by, 176–77; social aspect of, 394–98; Socratic method and, 49, 64, 394; Staples cases, 333; teaching ethics and, 429; teaching strategy and, 260; translations, 231, 255; weakness of, 51; World War II and, 137 Case Method at the Harvard Business School, The (McNair and Hersum, eds.), 279 Case Method of Teaching Human Relations and Administration, The (Andrews), 279 Cash, James, 409–10 Castle, John, 322, 468 Catchings, Waddill, 122 Caufield, Frank, 120, 127, 322 Caust, Len, 344 Caves, Richard, 412 Celler-Kefauver Act of 1950, 193 Central and Eastern European Teachers Program, 232 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 162, 187, 230, 231, 254 “CEO Incentives” (Jensen and Murphy), 371 C.

See also specific people “Corporate Malfeasance and the Myth of Shareholder Value” (Dobbin and Zorn), 462–63 “Corporate Power in the 21st Century” (Davis), 369 Corporate Strategy (Ansoff), 257–58 Corporation, The (Bakan), 362, 505 corporations, 8, 10, 14, 31, 95, 131, 182–87, 422; anthropomorphic fallacy and, 418; Balanced Scorecard and, 442–52; boards, constitution of, 388; cash hoarding, 349, 367; Citizens United decision and, 492; corporate elite, 313, 387–88; DCF adopted by, 118–19; disturbing trends, 285; diversification, 193; downsizing, 212, 301, 368, 371, 387, 431; Drucker and, 243; environmental issues, 7; federal regulation, 184, 200, 357, 358, 367; HBS and, 8, 9, 62, 105–7, 142, 153–55, 190, 336, 460, 530; HBS’s executive education and, 147–49, 151–52, 197–98; Hollywood portrayals, 183–84, 186; hostile takeovers and leveraged buyouts, 362, 367, 369, 370–71, 380, 430, 463; income inequality and, 56, 165–66, 463, 539, 544; inversions and tax avoidance, 529; investors as custodians, 366–67, 387, 388 (see also shareholder value); job turnover, 291, 383; under Kennedy, 28; labor unions and, 161; layoffs, 387, 492–93; Levitt’s redefining of identity, 261–62; MBAs in, 289, 290–92, 345, 383; megacorporations, 14, 31, 182–83, 193, 358; mergers and acquisitions, 349, 371; M-form structure, 245, 250, 251–52, 266; morality and, 114, 566; need for managers, 14–15, 132; network of interlocking directorships, 189, 191, 211, 289; Organization Man and, 183–87; as people, 509; percentage of Americans employed by, 144; power elite and, 188–93; power of, 249, 288, 342, 385; price fixing, 285; profit motive and, 10, 367; Progressive containment of, 62; recruiters for, 151, 178, 186–87, 199, 207–8, 209, 460; shareholder value and, 10, 36, 360–64, 369, 418, 442, 462, 469, 491, 550, 567; shares in, 363, 375; short-term thinking, 247, 345, 443, 469, 551; social problems and, 385; social responsibility, 145, 314–15, 360–64, 366, 382, 384–91, 427, 434, 436, 472, 525–29, 560–62; stakeholder model, 6, 367; strategy, 258–61; systems approach, 89, 112–13, 114, 217; theory of the firm and, 366; top-down power, 32; workers’ benefits lost, 462.


Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, Arthur Eddington, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, Brownian motion, business process, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Carmen Reinhart, Chance favours the prepared mind, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, diversification, diversified portfolio, double helix, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Ernest Rutherford, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, framing effect, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, housing crisis, incomplete markets, index fund, interest rate derivative, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, martingale, merger arbitrage, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, out of africa, p-value, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, predatory finance, prediction markets, price discovery process, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, survivorship bias, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

But if it’s impossible for all but a very few chess grandmasters to hold such a chain of intentions as a single thought—impossible in the same way that a three-yearold child can’t understand that his mother doesn’t know where his blanket is—how can investors in these deals always act rationally to maximize their profit? The short answer is: they can’t. If you were a true believer in the Efficient Markets Hypothesis, you might argue that other investors would take advantage of this investor’s suboptimal behavior. But how can these other investors rationally know whether they’re taking successful advantage of the failure when this might involve a sixth-order theory of mind? While arbitrage and the profit motive can exploit a misjudgment, they still rely on the ability of investors to recognize when a mistake has taken place. In many cases, this expectation is simply unrealistic. The history of markets is fi lled with “rational” investors going wrong with utter confidence in the soundness of their judgment—until brought down by information just beyond their range of consideration or understanding. The Power of Narrative • 113 To put it another way, our rationality is biologically too limited for the Efficient Markets Hypothesis to hold at all times and in every possible context.

Did Wall Street CEOs let their nucleus accumbens override their amygdala, and let their greed overwhelm their fear? For this narrative to be more than a compelling story, we need to know more about how top-level executives are compensated. 304 • Chapter 9 Executive compensation in the United States has been on the rise for decades. Wall Street has taken this now common business practice and made it even more sensitive to the profit motive. Professional employees of a typical Wall Street firm are given a low base salary (“pity pay”) and additional bonuses according to their profitability to the firm. It’s the broker-dealers—financial firms which function as brokers, trading on behalf of customers, and as dealers, trading for themselves—that are notorious for extremely high bonuses. For example, in 2006, Bear Stearns’s legendary CEO Jimmy Cayne received a base salary of $250,000: substantial, but not much higher than the average salary of a family doctor in the United States.

The other challenge is ethical. Cancer bonds are inherently complex. To reduce the possibility of a financial meltdown, the risks and rewards of these securities will have to be made clear to potential investors. (Would the subprime crisis still have occurred had every party in the chain been aware of the true risks?) Managers with the social objective of curing cancer will find themselves at odds with the profit motive of investors, while managers with the financial objective of making a profit will find themselves at odds with the ultimate medical goal of the project. The potential for abuse will increase as more money pours into the fund, from fraudulent research at the level of the individual drug program, to malfeasance in governing the fund at the very top. These challenges can be overcome, but that won’t happen through economic incentives alone.


pages: 385 words: 133,839

The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World's Favorite Soft Drink by Michael Blanding

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carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, Exxon Valdez, Gordon Gekko, Internet Archive, laissez-faire capitalism, market design, Naomi Klein, New Journalism, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, Upton Sinclair

It’s that prin­ ciple that has caused Joel Bakan to argue that corporations are essentially “pathological” entities—maximizing profit at the expense of any other good—whether workers’ rights, environmental improvements, or even its own customers’ pocketbooks. “The corporation’s legally defined mandate is to pursue, relentlessly and without exception, its own self-interest re­ gardless of the often harmful consequences it might cause to others,” he writes. That’s not to say that corporations can’t do good, however, so long as their efforts align with their profit motive. The second wave of corporate social responsibility began in the 1970s, when, faced with challenges from consumer advocates like Ralph Nader (and CSPI’s Michael Jacobson), corporations realized that investing in social causes could serve as a kind of insurance against criticism. It was in this era that Coke’s Paul Austin pursued his “halo effect” with hydroponic shrimp farms, desalinization plants, and soybean beverages that he argued could help earn goodwill in the developing world at the same time they helped make Coke’s vision of global harmony a reality.

Despite its victory in France, a 1953 poll there found that only 17 percent of respondents liked Coke “well enough” or “a lot,” while 61 percent liked it “not at all.” Com­ pany officials justified their forceful entry into Europe in the name of the free market, in contrast to the totalitarian control by communists. “My guess is that the commies don’t dislike us so intensely just because we’re American,” mused one Coke executive. “It’s because Coke is a cham­ pion of the profit motive. . . . Everyone who has anything to do with the drink makes money.” Coke had good reason to resent communists, who had nationalized bottling plants in Cuba and China after World War II. 1 50 THE COKE MACHINE For years, Coke steered clear of the communist world, even as Pepsi broke into the Soviet Union with the help of former Pepsi counsel Richard Nixon in the 1960s. With the exception of its stand against “the commies,” however, the company was as flexible in its politics internationally as it had been at home.


pages: 479 words: 133,092

The Coke Machine by Michael Blanding

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carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, Exxon Valdez, Gordon Gekko, Internet Archive, laissez-faire capitalism, market design, Naomi Klein, New Journalism, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, Upton Sinclair

It’s that principle that has caused Joel Bakan to argue that corporations are essentially “pathological” entities—maximizing profit at the expense of any other good—whether workers’ rights, environmental improvements, or even its own customers’ pocketbooks. “The corporation’s legally defined mandate is to pursue, relentlessly and without exception, its own self-interest regardless of the often harmful consequences it might cause to others,” he writes. That’s not to say that corporations can’t do good, however, so long as their efforts align with their profit motive. The second wave of corporate social responsibility began in the 1970s, when, faced with challenges from consumer advocates like Ralph Nader (and CSPI’s Michael Jacobson), corporations realized that investing in social causes could serve as a kind of insurance against criticism. It was in this era that Coke’s Paul Austin pursued his “halo effect” with hydroponic shrimp farms, desalinization plants, and soybean beverages that he argued could help earn goodwill in the developing world at the same time they helped make Coke’s vision of global harmony a reality.

Despite its victory in France, a 1953 poll there found that only 17 percent of respondents liked Coke “well enough” or “a lot,” while 61 percent liked it “not at all.” Company officials justified their forceful entry into Europe in the name of the free market, in contrast to the totalitarian control by communists. “My guess is that the commies don’t dislike us so intensely just because we’re American,” mused one Coke executive. “It’s because Coke is a champion of the profit motive. . . . Everyone who has anything to do with the drink makes money.” Coke had good reason to resent communists, who had nationalized bottling plants in Cuba and China after World War II. For years, Coke steered clear of the communist world, even as Pepsi broke into the Soviet Union with the help of former Pepsi counsel Richard Nixon in the 1960s. With the exception of its stand against “the commies,” however, the company was as flexible in its politics internationally as it had been at home.


pages: 460 words: 122,556

The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein

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Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, break the buck, Brownian motion, Carmen Reinhart, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, fixed income, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, interest rate derivative, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Northern Rock, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, race to the bottom, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, the payments system, too big to fail, tulip mania, Y2K

Fannie and Freddie were close to insolvent; to use them as agents for curing the market’s illness risked infecting the twins even more. Rodriguez, the investor, considered it a desperate measure that could lead to a taxpayer bailout. “They were not in a position to address this mortgage crisis, for which they had originally been created, because their balance sheets had become impaired by unsound profit motivated activities,” he noted. If the latest plan failed, Washington would be forced to socialize Fannie’s and Freddie’s losses.19 The regulators were widely criticized for their two interventions, especially in the case of Bear. To critics, the Bear rescue seemed to promise a helping hand to the next financial firm, no matter how reckless, that came running for help. Bernanke insisted that Bear was a special case, not a blueprint for subsequent crises.20 Yet the Fed had broken new ground, and the landscape would not be easily restored.

This was something new—a soggy blanket draped over the uninhibited revelry of Wall Street. Minutes after the Bear rescue, the Fed announced another precedent-shattering step. It would open the discount window—where, since 1913, only banks had been welcome—to overnight borrowings by investment banks and other Wall Street firms. Just as stunningly, the central bank said it would accept less-than-triple-A securities—even mortgage securities—as collateral. Since profit-motivated bankers were unwilling to lend against deflating collateral, the Fed was doing so itself. 21 Not only had the Fed become the bank to Wall Street, it was willing to take the Street’s paper. To further buoy markets, the Fed cut interest rates. These actions did not, as some argued, entice firms to fail, but they did sustain their ability to take the sort of risks that might lead to failure.


pages: 459 words: 118,959

Confidence Game: How a Hedge Fund Manager Called Wall Street's Bluff by Christine S. Richard

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Donald Trump, family office, financial innovation, fixed income, forensic accounting, glass ceiling, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, old-boy network, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, short selling, statistical model, white flight, zero-sum game

Ackman had said it was one reason he decided to short Farmer Mac. “I prefer investments where I’m not fighting against the country. You know, where there’s public policy on my side instead of against me,” Ackman had told the investigators. But the SEC attorneys had been skeptical. Wasn’t he really interested in Farmer Mac because he was seeking to profit from the company’s collapse? “I’m a bit idealistic so it isn’t only a profit motive, but there was a profit motive, absolutely,” Ackman had responded. Now Ackman asked the packed auditorium of investors to believe that he had devised a plan that would both hasten the collapse of a company he was betting against and do some public good in the process. Not many people would try to pull that off, but Ackman had his unrepentant idealism. Ackman’s 146-page presentation was titled “How to Save the Bond Insurers,” and it laid out his plan for conserving capital within the insurance subsidiaries of MBIA and Ambac.


pages: 418 words: 128,965

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

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Alfred Russel Wallace, Apple II, barriers to entry, British Empire, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, corporate raider, creative destruction, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Menlo Park, open economy, packet switching, PageRank, profit motive, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, sexual politics, 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, zero-sum game

Perhaps it is for this reason that the advent of every new technology of communication always brings with it a hope for ameliorating all the ills of society. The arrival of mass broadcasting inspired, in the United States and around the world, an extraordinary faith in its potential as the benefactor, perhaps even a savior, of mankind. And while the reason may not be readily apparent, such belief is crucial to understanding the long cycles in the development of information media. For it is not just the profit motive that drives the opening up of a medium—there is typically a potent mix of both entrepreneurial and humanitarian motives. Those who grew up in the late twentieth century have known the latter sort of idealism mainly as it manifests itself on the Internet in grand collaborative projects such as the blogosphere or Wikipedia and also in such controversial undertakings as Google’s digitization of great libraries.

It is, frankly, just the kind of phenomenon that makes one side with Theodore Vail about the blessings of a monopoly. For while AT&T was never formally required to run Bell Labs as a research laboratory, it did so out of exactly the sort of noblesse oblige that Vail espoused. AT&T ran Bell Labs not just for its corporate good but for the greater good as well. This is not to be naïve about the corporate profit motive: Bell Labs contributed to AT&T’s bottom line far more than plastic wire insulation. Nevertheless, it’s hard to see how funding theoretical quantum physics research would be of any immediate benefit to shareholder value. More to the point, it is hard to imagine a phone company today hiring someone to be their quantum physicist, with no rules and no boss. For, in part, the privileges AT&T enjoyed as a government-sanctioned monopoly with government-set prices were understood as being offset by this contribution to basic scientific research, an activity with proportionately more direct government funding in most other countries.


pages: 587 words: 117,894

Cybersecurity: What Everyone Needs to Know by P. W. Singer, Allan Friedman

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4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business continuity plan, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fault tolerance, global supply chain, Google Earth, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, M-Pesa, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, packet switching, Peace of Westphalia, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, ransomware, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day, zero-sum game

The US National Science Foundation then connected the existing supercomputering centers around the country into the NSFnet, which grew so rapidly that the expansion required commercial management. Each upgrade brought greater demand, the need for more capacity, and independently organized infrastructure. The architecture of a “backbone” that managed traffic between the different regional networks emerged as the efficient solution. This period also saw the introduction of the profit motive in Internet expansion. For instance, by this point Vint Cerf had joined the telecommunications firm MCI. In 1983, he led efforts to start MCI mail, the first commercial e-mail service on the Internet. By the late 1980s, it became obvious that managing the nascent Internet was not the business of the research community. Commercial actors could provide the necessary network services supporting the Internet and become avid consumers as well.

Ultimately, while attacks against Russia’s foes occurred in cyberspace and a parliamentary leader spoke of his office’s own role in it, a Russian ambassador could retort, “If you are implying [the attacks] came from Russia or the Russian government, it’s a serious allegation that has to be substantiated. Cyber-space is everywhere.” Patriotic hackers, though, aren’t limited to youth groups. An interesting nexus actually exists with criminal organizations. They usually operate for their own profit motives but can also be mobilized by a state for political purposes. Many of the very same tools, platforms, and tactics used in the 2008 Georgia attacks, for instance, were also utilized by the Russian Business Network, one of the larger cybercriminal organizations. This leads many to believe that agreements have occasionally been struck in the patriotic hacker world. Criminal groups are given some freedom to operate in exchange for demonstrating their patriotism when governments ask for aid.


pages: 422 words: 131,666

Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back by Douglas Rushkoff

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affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, car-free, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, global village, Google Earth, greed is good, Howard Rheingold, income per capita, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, negative equity, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, peak oil, peer-to-peer, place-making, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, private military company, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social software, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Victor Gruen, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, young professional, zero-sum game

When it takes upwards of $200 million and one hundred thousand pages of reports to get approval for a single medication, only the largest corporations can afford to engage in the process. The immense cost then helps justify long patent terms and high prices. But it also maintains the Big Pharma monopoly. When a known substance without a patent shows promise—such as the Alzheimer’s treatment vasopressin or the antiaging red-wine ingredient resveratrol—no one has the funds or the profit motive to test it for FDA approval. Instead, pharmaceutical companies attempt to create and patent analogs—molecules close to the promising substances—and then test them in their place. While we’re waiting for something similar but more expensive to be developed and patented, the substances that actually work remain unprescribed by doctors afraid to take liability for “off-label” or unconventional therapies.

This allows governments to outsource illegal activities and torture to contractors, with little liability. It’s a striking return to the outsourced war practices of the early colonial empires, which has more to do with promoting the profits of the chartered corporations than the long-term success or influence of the nations in their thrall. In today’s version of outsourced war, the blind obedience to the profit motive makes for an incompetent military force. Early chartered corporations actually wanted to win the territories they were fighting for in order to exploit their resources. Most of today’s chartered military operatives have a bigger stake in keeping the war going; they simply want to make money through their no-bid contracts. Halliburton has arrangements with the government that are structured so that the more it spends, the more it earns.


pages: 497 words: 130,817

Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs by Lauren A. Rivera

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affirmative action, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, Donald Trump, fundamental attribution error, glass ceiling, income inequality, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, performance metric, profit maximization, profit motive, school choice, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, The Wisdom of Crowds, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, young professional

See management consulting firms contest system of social mobility, 29–30 core and target schools, 31–41, 271–74, 322n14; allocation of EPS firm recruitment resources to, 33–34, 36, 40, 56; attitudes toward EPS jobs at, 26, 41, 327n25; the best and brightest at, 36–37, 63, 87–90, 186, 271, 277; career-services offices of, 76–78, 280, 322n13; coaching in interviewing skills at, 201–3, 202–3, 337n10; costs of education at, 57; diversity at, 43, 248–49; domination of EPS firm recruitment at, 76–78, 272; educational prestige of, 87–92, 271–74, 329n11; EPS firm marketing pitches at, 54–88, 280–81; extravagant lifestyles at, 61–62; hiring quotas at, 31, 87, 221, 232, 244, 275; homogeneous student bodies of, 273–74; job pressures at, 63–65; nontraditional hires from, 254–66, 276, 341nn3–4; prestige brought by new hires from, 37–40, 44, 47, 78, 87–92, 110, 271–72, 279, 323n19, 329n11; profit motive of, 271–72; selectivity rankings of, 62–63, 78, 254, 323n19; student debt for, 57–58. See also higher education courtesy interviews, 111 cover letters, 84, 108, 328n6 cultural capital, 6–12, 268–69, 342nn4–5; definition of, 316n31; embodied forms of, 7, 172, 316–17n31; extracurricular activities and, 92–101, 269; fit and, 135–45, 332nn4–5; insider coaching in, 259–61; institutionalized forms of, 39–40, 53–54, 109–10, 330n29, 330n32; merit and, 8–10, 86–87, 148, 181–82, 275–76, 318nn44–46; nontraditional acquisition of, 259–66; objectified forms of, 316–17n31; parenting strategies and, 10–12, 318n55; in personalities of firms, 94, 136–37, 329nn14–15, 330n17; polish and, 172, 335n21; resonance with interviewers and, 148–49, 155–56, 165–66, 182, 257–58, 335n11, 342nn8–9; screening of résumés and, 109–10, 332n4; subjective impressions of, 8, 136, 317n40.

See also class; cultural capital; elite reproduction; social capital education, 2–14, 24, 268, 271–74, 294; changing definitions of merit in, 8–10, 318nn44–46; choosing resource-rich schools for, 4–5, 316n23; college admissions advantages and, 5–6, 12–13, 277, 318n56, 318–19nn60–63; concerted cultivation approach to, 10–11, 109–10, 143; cultural capital and, 6–12, 26; economic capital and, 4–6, 316nn22–23; economic inquality and, 3–4, 13–14; extracurricular enrichment and, 10, 12; informal tracking systems in, 29–30; natural growth approach to, 10–11; parental levels of, 294, 316n15; parenting strategies for, 10–12, 318n55; SAT prep courses and, 12–13, 318–19nn60–61. See also core and target schools; listed schools; unlisted schools educational elites, 290 educational prestige, 87–92, 271–74, 329n11; association with the best and brightest and, 36–37, 63, 87–90, 186, 271, 277; evaluators’ backgrounds and, 90–92; polish and, 90; profit motive and, 271–72; résumé exclusion and, 92, 112, 329n9. See also core and target schools; higher education efficacy of the interview process, 278–85 eligibility criteria for jobs, 26 elite (as term), 287–90, 345nn17–18 elite professional service (EPS) firms, 2–3, 15–19, 267–68, 278–85, 320n86; applicant pool for, 16–17, 319n83; brand-building and creation of goodwill by, 114, 121, 279, 285; diversity programs at, 41–42, 70, 139, 281, 324n36; domination of core institution recruitment by, 76–78, 272; elite-institution graduates’ attitudes toward, 26, 41, 327n25; full-time hiring of interns in, 320–21nn86–88, 326n17; hiring ratios at, 36, 323n18; hiring responsibilities at, 25, 126, 131–33, 280, 284–85, 338n2, 338nn4–6; impact on future careers of employment by, 243n20; individual sponsorship and connections at, 35, 47–53, 325nn39–41; internships at, 104, 106–7; low status of HR professionals in, 25, 114, 122, 131–32, 219–20; online résumé submission at, 35–36, 48; on-the-job performance at, 40, 192, 278, 284, 323n23, 343nn31–32, 344n47; opinions on hiring process in, 283–84; organizational cultures of, 122, 136, 176, 336n25; prestige brought by new hires to, 37–40, 44, 47, 78, 87–92, 110, 279, 323n19, 329n11; proposed changes in hiring practices for, 282–85; rates of Harvard graduates in, 55–56; school ambassadors of, 34; shared characteristics of, 17; sponsored hiring selection in, 30–41; starting salaries at, 16, 57–58, 163–65, 326n15, 335n17; status and high living offered by, 58–62; stepping-stone-role of jobs at, 62–65, 162, 340n21; training of new hires at, 40, 138, 246, 280, 323n24, 344n36; turnover rates at, 40–41, 139, 280–81, 333n13.


pages: 411 words: 136,413

The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought by Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff, Peter Schwartz

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affirmative action, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, cuban missile crisis, haute cuisine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, laissez-faire capitalism, means of production, medical malpractice, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, source of truth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, urban renewal, War on Poverty

They ask for it on a single basic ground: consistency with the teachings of Christianity. Some of you may wonder here: “But if the bishops are concerned with the poor, why don’t they praise and recommend capitalism, the great historical engine of productivity, which makes everyone richer?” If you think about it, however, you will see that, valid as this point may be, the bishops cannot accept it. Can they praise the profit motive—while extolling selflessness? Can they commend the passion to own material property—while declaring that worldly possessions are not important? Can they urge men to practice the virtues of productiveness and long-range planning—while upholding as the human model the lilies of the field? Can they celebrate the self-assertive risk taking of the entrepreneur—while teaching that the meek shall inherit the earth?

“Small as the incident may later seem in history, a polluting stain is being erased from the previous American image of lassitude, uncertainty, and pessimism. This is a matter of world ideological concern as well as strategic balances because too many democracies are sick.... Now a new vibrancy creeps into the picture.” Mr. Sulzberger explains: The internationally renowned ‘American tempo’ and productivity still lag and the work ethic with its emphasis on speed and efficiency—whether prompted by puritanism or by the capitalistic profit motive—has certainly undergone visible and withering change. In this uncertain age American flabbiness is ... harmful to the United States. In the absence of American leadership, Mr. Sulzberger concludes, many Western countries were left adrift. “Now Gerald Ford seems to have put an end to that sad phase. Abruptly he has shown Americans and the world that he knows how to get where he wishes to go.

Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns

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anti-communist, bank run, barriers to entry, centralized clearinghouse, collective bargaining, creative destruction, desegregation, feminist movement, financial independence, George Gilder, invisible hand, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, lone genius, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, RAND corporation, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, side project, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, union organizing, urban renewal, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog

The rock they are trying to split is Americanism.”62 To resist, movie producers and writers must understand that politics flowed from moral premises, Rand wrote. After this assertion, however, she backed away from sweeping statements, keeping most of her suggestions specific and practical. She opposed any formal movie code but listed thirteen ways to keep movies free of Communist undertones. Rand told moviemakers to avoid smearing the free enterprise system, industrialists, wealth, or the profit motive. They should celebrate success and avoid glorifying failure or the common man. Movies should also be careful about using current events or criticizing American political institutions. Rand’s “Screen Guide” caught the eye of a congressional committee, the House Un-American Activities Commission (HUAC), which was investigating Communist penetration of the movie industry. The committee had begun sniffing out Communists in 1938, and its activities picked up steam in the postwar years, eventually resulting in the celebrated confrontation between the former Communist Whittaker Chambers and the accused spy Alger Hiss that riveted the nation.

Evans, an activist since his student days and then an editor at the Indianapolis News, was to draw the line.40 But the message had shifted, and Evans’s prominent cover story revealed how many of Rand’s beliefs had become conventional conservative wisdom even as she remained, officially, persona non grata. Unlike Chambers, Evans was untroubled by her defense of capitalism and her attack on government regulation. She had, Evans wrote, “an excellent grasp of the way capitalism is supposed to work, the efficiencies of free enterprise, the central role of private property and the profit motive, the social and political costs of welfare schemes which seek to compel a false benevolence.”41 He also admired her polemical fire and consistency, and defended her against Chambers’s accusation that she was an unconscious Nazi. Evans went on to argue that despite these features, Rand remained a dangerous figure for conservatives because she mixed her good qualities with the bad, namely, atheism.


pages: 872 words: 135,196

The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security by Deborah D. Avant

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barriers to entry, continuation of politics by other means, corporate social responsibility, failed state, hiring and firing, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Mikhail Gorbachev, Peace of Westphalia, private military company, profit motive, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, rolodex, the market place, The Nature of the Firm, trade route, transaction costs

Pessimists claim that the turn to private security threatens to undermine state control and democratic pro- cesses. 10 Ken Silverstein characterizes this process as one “by which the responsibilities of government are transferred to corporate hands.”11 In the US this allows for foreign policy by proxy – where corporate entities do what the government cannot. The implication of Silverstein’s argument is that the institutions that contain violence in the US are undermined by privatization. Violence becomes a private commodity rather than a public good – and the result, Silverstein argues, is a defense policy that ignores the real issues and threats only to be shaped by “the profit motives and egos of a small group of hardliners.” 12 In Africa, according to Musah and Fayemi, the consequences are even more severe. Though contemporary mercenaries attempt to distinguish themselves from the lawless “guns for hire” that ran riot over Africa during the Cold War, their consortium with arms manufacturers, mineral exploiters, and Africa’s authoritarian governments and warlords sustains the militarization of Africa.13 This poses “a mortal danger to 7 Oliver Williamson, “Public and Private Bureaucracies: a Transaction Cost Economic Perspective,” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization Vol. 15, No. 1 (1999), p. 320. 8 Abdel-Fatau Musah and J.

Thus party leaders from the dominant HDZ occupied prominent military positions to insure that the force would be under their control.100 Given the party’s ultra-nationalist perspective, its 96 Ibid. 97 Included among those fighting were sympathetic foreigners – whether there for profit or ideology – whom, some have argued, had an easier time committing atrocities given their lack of connection to the local population. Ibid. The breakdown of order in the Croatian territory as it seceded also opened oppor- tunities for purely profit-motivated violence. Operation Group “Rashic” would fire on the Serbs from a Croatian village, provoking a harsh Serb reaction that would cause the villagers to flee in panic. Profiteers would then loot and plunder the empty village. They operated in the Kupa River region. Ibid., p. 15. Mary Kaldor’s analysis of Bosnia points to similar profiteering. See Kaldor, New and Old Wars, pp. 53–55. See also Peter Andreas, “The Clandestine Political Economy of War and Peace in Bosnia,” International Studies Quarterly Vol. 48, No. 1 (March 2004): 29–52. 98 According to Woodward, gaining international recognition was the key to Tudjman’s strategy and it caused him to orchestrate the war in order to cast Croatia as the victim of Serb aggression.


pages: 395 words: 116,675

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, altcoin, anthropic principle, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Corn Laws, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, endogenous growth, epigenetics, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, George Santayana, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hydraulic fracturing, imperial preference, income per capita, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, land reform, Lao Tzu, long peace, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Necker cube, obamacare, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, price mechanism, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, smart contracts, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, women in the workforce

Surprisingly quickly and surprisingly blatantly, the very same arguments resurfaced in the movement to control world population. The son of the prominent pre-war eugenicist Henry Fairfield Osborn, also named Henry Fairfield Osborn, published a book in 1948 entitled Our Plundered Planet, which revived Malthusian concerns about the rapid growth of the human population, the depletion of resources, the exhaustion of soil, the overuse of DDT, an excessive reliance on technology and a rush to consumerism. ‘The profit motive, if carried to the extreme,’ wrote the wealthy Osborn, ‘has one certain result – the ultimate death of the land.’ Osborn’s book was reprinted eight times in the year it was published, and translated into thirteen languages. At almost the same time William Vogt, a biologist driven by a passion for wildlife conservation, published a very similar book, Road to Survival, in which the ideas of the ‘clear-sighted clergyman’ Malthus were even more explicitly endorsed.

Other sources: Frisby, D. 2013. Life After the State. Unbound. Stephen Davies, Institute of Economic Affairs lectures. Einstein quote from Einstein, A. 1991. Autobiographical Notes. Open Court. Albert Shanker quote from Kahlenberg, R.D. 2007. Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race and Democracy. Columbia University Press. On Swedish schools, Stanfield, James B. 2012. The Profit Motive in Education: Continuing the Revolution. Institute of Economic Affairs. On MOOCs, Brynjolfsson, E. and McAfee, A. 2014. The Second Machine Age. Norton. On Minerva College, Wood, Graeme. The future of college?. The Atlantic September 2014. Sugata Mitra’s TED talks are available at TED.com. His short book is Beyond the Hole in the Wall: Discover the Power of Self-Organized Learning. TED Books 2012.


India's Long Road by Vijay Joshi

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Basel III, basic income, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business climate, capital controls, central bank independence, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Doha Development Round, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, financial intermediation, financial repression, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, full employment, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, hiring and firing, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, Induced demand, inflation targeting, invisible hand, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, obamacare, Pareto efficiency, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, school choice, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, universal basic income, urban sprawl, working-age population

Since it will own all the profits that remain after fulfilling the requirements imposed by its contract with the state, it will have an incentive to innovate and to cut costs. In contrast, in the public sector, managerial incentives are blunted because all profits belong to the state. This is the rationale behind regulated privatization and the whole range of arrangements that go by the name of ‘public-​private partnerships’. They are all ways of harnessing the private profit motive for public purposes. Of course, it does not follow that private production is always superior to public production. In a public-​private contract, there is a danger that in the pursuit of profit the private partner will cut costs by reducing quality (particularly if competition is absent or weak and there is no fear of losing customers). To prevent that, the public-​private contract would have to specify quality requirements, monitor producer performance, and penalize violations by producers of contract terms.

But it should pay for and produce public goods, in either of the above categories, only when it is likely to be more efficient than the private sector in production.27 This could be so when it is impossible or very complicated to contract production out to the private sector, or when contracting would involve the private sector in a very severe conflict between profit maximization and fulfilling the terms of the contract (in which case the profit motive is likely to win). Are there then goods and services that the public sector, and only the public sector, should finance as well as produce, through civil servants and government employees? Yes, certainly. The list would surely include the following items among others: law and order; administration of justice; protection of contracts and property rights; external defence;28 macroeconomic stability, including financial and banking stability; indicative planning and coordination, where justified; maintenance of competition and other ‘rules of the road’ for market functioning; administration of taxes and subsidies; income redistribution, including identification of the poor; environmental regulation; and the vast area of regulation of private sector activities, more generally.29 Note that the above list does not include public goods and services, conventionally so called, such as health care, education, transport, and electricity.


pages: 153 words: 52,175

Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload by Mark Hurst

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en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Google Earth, mail merge, pre–internet, profit motive, social software, software patent, web application

It hasn’t gotten a lot of press, and no one got rich from inventing it, yet the ASCII format has become one of the most useful and widespread digital technologies ever created. The two text formats are near-opposites, in fact: ASCII is small, elegant, and compatible with everything; Word is heavy, slow, and proprietary. Much like the DRM-enabled AAC audio format, the Word format is designed with the profit motive in mind. Microsoft is the sole owner of the Word format, so no software application is supposed to read or write the Word format unless Microsoft authorizes it. (Other tools like Google Docs can do so only because their engineers have “reverse-engineered” the format to make their software compatible.) This is in contrast to ASCII, which is a publicly owned, freely available standard that has been in use for decades.


pages: 227 words: 62,177

Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probability and Statistics on Everything You Do by Kaiser Fung

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American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andrew Wiles, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, call centre, correlation does not imply causation, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, edge city, Emanuel Derman, facts on the ground, fixed income, Gary Taubes, John Snow's cholera map, moral hazard, p-value, pattern recognition, profit motive, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, statistical model, the scientific method, traveling salesman

The “100-year” hurricane is a misnomer, granting us a false sense of security. From the industry’s perspective, the 2004–2005 disasters exposed the inadequacy of the prevailing insurance rates, which relied on wayward projections of the frequency of storms and the intensity of losses. The insurers also discovered that their customers could not bear the full cost of the insurance, so they could see no profit motive, and thus the insurance market failed. ~###~ Statisticians have something else to add to this story: Natural-disaster insurers, unlike automotive insurers, have no choice but to accept risks that are concentrated in vulnerable geographies. This agglomeration of risk became more and more severe as the existing risk pools disintegrated after the 2004–2005 seasons. That Poe Financial shuttered in Wilma’s wake had much to do with its ill-advised concentration of risks in South Florida.


pages: 162 words: 50,108

The Little Book of Hedge Funds by Anthony Scaramucci

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Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, business process, carried interest, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fear of failure, fixed income, follow your passion, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, index fund, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, mail merge, margin call, mass immigration, merger arbitrage, money market fund, Myron Scholes, NetJets, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, the new new thing, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Uncon-ventional Approach to Institutional Investment (Free Press, 2000). Chapter Two The Parlor Cars of the Gravy Train The Long and the Short of It Hedge funds were the parlor cars of the new gravy train. It was fitting that their key figure was a man who had taken up stock investing as a sideline, an elegant amateur of the market who liked to think of himself as an intellectual, above and beyond the profit motive. —John Brooks, The Go-Go Years Think about it: If it didn’t exist somebody would have invented it. A system of money management that allows the manager and the capital to have an efficient, symbiotic, and symmetrical relationship. Here’s the deal. There are boring ways to run money, the blunt instruments of asset management—long-only mutual funds and their arch nemeses, the exchange-traded fund (ETF) and the index fund.


pages: 250 words: 9,029

Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Popular Culture Is Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson

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Columbine, complexity theory, corporate governance, delayed gratification, edge city, Flynn Effect, game design, Marshall McLuhan, pattern recognition, profit motive, race to the bottom, sexual politics, Steve Jobs, the market place

PoP C U LT U R E 's race to the top ove r the past decades forces us to rethi nk our assumpti ons about the base ten­ dencies of mass society: the Brave New Wo rld scenario, where we' re fed a series of stupefying narcotics by media conglomerates interested solely in their lavish profits with no concern for the mental improvement of their consumers. As we've seen, the Sleeper Curve isn't the result of media ti­ tans doing charitable work ; there 's an economic incentive in producing more challenging cultu re , thanks to the tech­ nologies of repetition and meta-commentary. But the end re­ sult is the same: left to its own devices, following its own profit motives, the media eco system has been churning out popular culture that has grown steadily more complex over time. Imagi ne a version of Brave New World where soma and the feelies make you smarter, and you get the idea. If the Sleeper Curve turns the conventional wisdom about 180 STEVEN JOHNSON mass culture o n its head, i t does something comparable to our own heads-and the truisms we like to spread about them.


pages: 142 words: 45,733

Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis by Benjamin Kunkel

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anti-communist, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, creative destruction, David Graeber, declining real wages, full employment, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Occupy movement, peak oil, price stability, profit motive, savings glut, Slavoj Žižek, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transatlantic slave trade, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

Expanded to its proper dimensions, the concept of the avant-garde includes Stalinist “total art” as its next and, so far, final embodiment. The Soviet Union, as a new kind of society chartered not only to “provide greater economic security” but also “in perhaps even greater measure meant to be beautiful,” could answer to aesthetic criteria in a way that chaotic capitalist societies in thrall to the profit motive could not. Groys summarizes, apparently with approval, a critic writing in 1949 in the “ultraofficious” journal Iskusstvo (Art): “In different forms adequate to the age, Soviet socialist realism preserved the vital modernist life-building impulses that [Western] modernism itself lost long ago, when it entered the academies and prostituted itself to its arch-enemy, the philistine consumer.” Groys presents the formal staidness of socialist realism—the forced retreat from abstraction in painting, for example—as a paradoxical sign of its true vanguardism.

Meghnad Desai Marxian economic theory by Unknown

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commoditize, Corn Laws, full employment, land reform, means of production, p-value, price mechanism, profit motive

In Marx, the role of the falling rate of profit is different. The tendency of the rate of profit to fall illustrated the second contradiction of capitalism. The first contradiction is the emergence of free labour and the class 103 monopoly of means of production. The second contradicition is the growing disparity between the productive capacity of the system - the productive potential and the actual output as dictated by the profit motive. Reproduction in a capitalist system for Marx is not the production of use values - not production for the sake of eventual consumption. Production is the production of capital in such a way that expansion of capital occurs - production for profit and for increased accumulation. The falling rate of profit comes about because of the tendency of the system to concentrate on surplus value and to replace variable capital by constant capital.

On Anarchism by Chomsky, Noam

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anti-communist, crowdsourcing, feminist movement, land reform, means of production, Occupy movement, post-industrial society, profit motive, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Still, developments are under way that contribute to anarchism’s legacy. Anarchists in this country now insist on grappling with challenges of sexual identity and ingrained oppression that mainstream society gingerly prefers not to recognize. They are at the forefront of movements to protect animal rights and the environment that future generations will be grateful for. As industrial agriculture becomes more and more poisoned by profit motives, anarchists are growing their own food. Anarchist hackers understand better than most of us the power of information and the lengths that those in power will go to control it; proof is in the years- and decades-long prison sentences now being doled out for online civil disobedience. These mighty insights, along with so much else, risk being lost to amnesia if they’re not passed on in memory and habit, if they’re not treated as part of a legacy rather than as just passing reactions against the latest brand of crisis.


pages: 187 words: 55,801

The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market by Frank Levy, Richard J. Murnane

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Atul Gawande, call centre, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, correlation does not imply causation, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gunnar Myrdal, hypertext link, index card, information asymmetry, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, pattern recognition, profit motive, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, talking drums, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, working poor

Growing proportions of the nation’s labor force are engaged in jobs that emphasize expert thinking or complex communication—tasks that computers cannot do. If the set of products and services produced in the economy did not change, there would be less and less good work for humans to do as advances in computerization increased the possibilities for substitution. Such a trend, however, would run directly counter to the profit motive. A task, once computerized, is potentially easy to replicate and so invites intense competition. The response to the competition is a constant drive to use advances in computer technology to develop new products and services—cell phones, DVDs, broad-band Internet, computer-assisted surgery, financial derivatives, sensors in cars—the list is endless. This drive to develop, produce, and market new products relies on the human ability to manage and solve analytical problems and communicate new information, and so it keeps expert thinking and complex communication in strong demand.


pages: 184 words: 62,220

Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

Donner party, East Village, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, Khartoum Gordon, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, profit motive, sealed-bid auction

The instinct is socially suicidal, and because we recognize that this is so we have developed workable ways of saying one thing and believing quite another. A long time ago, Lionel Trilling pointed out what he called “the fatal separation” between “the ideas of our educated liberal class and the deep places of the imagination.” “I mean only,” he wrote, “that our educated class has a ready if mild suspiciousness of the profit motive, a belief in progress, science, social legislation, planning and international cooperation....Those beliefs do great credit to those who hold them. Yet it is a comment, if not on our beliefs then on our way of holding them, that not a single first-rate writer has emerged to deal with these ideas, and the emotions that are consonant with them, in a great literary way.” Officially we admire men who exemplify those ideas.


pages: 181 words: 50,196

The Rich and the Rest of Us by Tavis Smiley

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Buckminster Fuller, Corrections Corporation of America, Credit Default Swap, death of newspapers, deindustrialization, ending welfare as we know it, F. W. de Klerk, fixed income, full employment, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, job automation, liberation theology, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, mega-rich, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, traffic fines, trickle-down economics, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor

According to the letter, Corrections Corporation of America’s management offer came with an interesting caveat; a 20-year contract and an assurance that the prisons would remain “at least 90 percent full.”101 This proposed prison deal speaks to a larger, more pervasive trend of our times—rich corporations’ desire to privatize public institutions for profit. With cities and states suffering budget woes, privatization of public schools—via the charter school movement—hospitals, and mental health institutions is a welcomed option. We’re not saying that private ownership or privatizing services to public institutions are across-the-board evil, we’re saying that the profit motive of privatization can lead to dangerous outcomes. These institutions serve or house the poor; and, as the recession has taught us, profits outweigh the concerns of the people. We must reverse the trend. Public financing of public services must remain a priority. FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS LOBBY “The unemployed are politically invisible. They don’t make major campaign donations. They don’t lobby Congress.


Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity by Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore, Elizabeth Truss

Airbnb, banking crisis, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, clockwatching, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, demographic dividend, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, fear of failure, glass ceiling, informal economy, James Dyson, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, long peace, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Neil Kinnock, new economy, North Sea oil, oil shock, open economy, pension reform, price stability, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Walter Mischel, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, working-age population, Yom Kippur War

Yet, in the emerging economies of Asia, South America and Africa, economic progress continued unabated. In these countries individual initiative and free enterprise continued to drive progress. Millions of people are 4 Britannia Unchained being pulled out of poverty across the world by the simple processes of capitalism. Britannia Unchained is unembarrassed about its support for business, the profit motive and the individual drive of the wealth creator. The term ‘globalisation’ is a cliché. However, it is certain that, for the first time in centuries, the world economy is being driven by what happens outside Europe and North America. At the same time, many parts of the old world are fighting back. Germany has embarked on a programme of welfare reform. Countries in Scandinavia are pursuing labour market reform.


pages: 229 words: 68,426

Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing by Adam Greenfield

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augmented reality, business process, defense in depth, demand response, demographic transition, facts on the ground, game design, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, James Dyson, knowledge worker, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, profit motive, QR code, recommendation engine, RFID, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method

There are difficulties with such a laissez-faire approach, though. For one thing, it leaves entirely too much unspoken as to what constitutes harm, as to who is at risk, as to what the likely consequences of failure would be. It assumes that everyone developing everyware will do so in complete good faith and will always esteem the abstract-seeming needs of users more highly than market share, the profit motive, or the prerogatives of total information awareness. And, even where developers can be relied upon to act in good faith, it's simply not specific enough to constitute practically useful guidance. The next best thing, then, is to develop a strategy for ethical development that does take these factors into account—something that spells out the issues in sufficient detail to be of use to developers, that strikes a balance between their needs and those of users, and that incentivizes compliance rather than punish noncompliance.


pages: 222 words: 70,559

The Oil Factor: Protect Yourself-and Profit-from the Coming Energy Crisis by Stephen Leeb, Donna Leeb

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Buckminster Fuller, diversified portfolio, fixed income, hydrogen economy, income per capita, index fund, mortgage debt, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, profit motive, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Vanguard fund, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond

If that seems too extreme a statement, it’s not. Our system can’t survive without affordable energy, and once oil doesn’t fit that bill, we’ll need to find something else that does. We’ll all have to come together on this. Rising oil prices will force the issue. But even then we can’t take for granted that we will get on the right path. We can’t rely on good old-fashioned capitalism and the profit motive to produce solutions, to generate the best technology or create the necessary infrastructure. Private enterprise will play a big role, but it can’t do it all on its own. America’s signal accomplishments during the twentieth century—whether winning wars, building the interstate highway system, or landing a man on the moon—required efforts well beyond the reach of private enterprise. They required intense and massive cooperation between the private and public sectors.


pages: 269 words: 77,042

Sex, Lies, and Pharmaceuticals: How Drug Companies Plan to Profit From Female Sexual Dysfunction by Ray Moynihan, Barbara Mintzes

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business intelligence, clean water, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Naomi Klein, New Journalism, placebo effect, profit motive, Ralph Nader

(documentary), 17, 221 pain, 1, 12, 28, 64, 111, 165 everyday, as medical disorder, 18 as female sexual ‘dysfunction,’ 2, 19, 40, 47, 52, 81, 84, 178, 190–1, 197 and Kinsey Institute, 54 and non-drug therapies, 175, 217 and Viagra, 158 Parry, Vince, 17 Pfizer, 3, 115, 121, 125 and disclosure of funding of medical education activities, 214 and ‘educating’ medical practitioners, 91–7, 100, 104–5, 110, 114 and funding research and conferences, 37, 49–50, 60–1, 85 has no current plans to develop FSD medicines, 175 and healthcare fraud case, 118–20 and inducements and kickbacks, 38, 119 and ‘key opinion leaders,’ 112 and new ‘corporate integrity agreement,’ 120 and US AIDS HealthCare Foundation lawsuit, 143 and the US Department of Justice, 92, 113 and US Food and Drug Administration, 142 and Viagra, 31, 33–4, 102–3, 124, 126–7, 131–3, 135 and Viagra for women, 3, 158–60 Pfizer Foundation Hall for Humanism in Medicine, 100 pharmaceutical industry. see also Boehringer; Pfizer; Procter & Gamble; relationships between pharmaceutical industry and medical community attempting to shape sexual concerns, 187 blurs lines between promotion and education, 93, 97 and ‘disease development,’ 17 and drug testing, 11 and financial support for medical journals, 114 fosters creation of medical disorders (see medicalisation of common sexual difficulties) and funding of scientific surveys, 62 funding supports the science of sexual medicine, 116–7 and ghost writing, 189 hungry for new markets, 2 and inflated estimates of female sexual ‘dysfunction’ (see claims of the prevalence of female sexual ‘dysfunction’) and ‘lifestyle’ market, 39 marketing machines, 90 and marketing sexual disorders, 12 and maximising markets for drug solutions, 194 primary aim is to expand markets for medicines, 112 and problems with placebo-controlled tests, 11 and role in defining disease, 15–7 sees the placebo effect as an enemy, 175 selling sickness and disease, 2 and the sponsored creation of a disease, 40 and use of statistics, 153 Pharmacia (pharmaceutical company), 119 Physicians Payment Sunshine Act, 214–5 placebo effect, 11, 86, 150–2, 158–76, 217 an obstacle to be overcome, 169 and Dr Anita Clayton’s plan to resolve, 169–75 and Dr Cindy Meston, 167–9 drugs unable to beat the placebo, 167 and flibanserin, 204–5 a regulatory problem not a failure of medicine, 170–2, 174 seen as an enemy by the pharmaceutical industry, 175 premature ejaculation, 207 prevalence, claimed, of female sexual ‘dysfunction.’ see claims of the prevalence of female sexual ‘dysfunction’ Procter & Gamble (P&G), 3 and ‘education of medical practitioners, 105–14 global survey, 61–2 marketing campaign for testosterone patch for women, 149 sells out of pharmaceutical business, 166 and testosterone patches for women, 85–6, 100, 147–66, 197 professional medical accreditation and sponsorship by pharmaceutical industry, 98–106 Profile of Female Sexual Function, 86 psychometrics. see questionnaires to diagnose ‘dysfunction’ Public Citizen (consumer watchdog), 155 questionnaires to diagnose ‘dysfunction,’ 79–90 and concern they oversimplify complex problems, 89–90 and ‘reliability’ and ‘validity,’ 82 testing pharmaceutical agents a driver of, 83 reform of financial relationships between pharmaceutical industry and medical community and, 211–5 relationships between pharmaceutical industry and medical community, 7, 9–10, 13, 17, 186 can unduly influence practitioners, 13–4 and Cape Cod meeting, 32–6, 42 dangers of mixing marketing and science, 59 the development of ‘sexual medicine,’ 32, 37–9 and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 19 emerging unease with, 13 financial, 32–8, 91–121, 210–5 and Physicians Payment Sunshine Act, 214–5 and public concern with, 116–7 as ‘public-private’ partnerships, 117–8 and reform of financial links, 211–5 and sponsored seminars, 9 Renewing Sexual Desire: Understanding HSDD in Postmenopausal Women (P &G accredited program), 105–6 Richters, Dr Juliet, University of New South Wales, 65 Robert Wood, Johnson Medical School, 33 Rosen, Dr Ray, 105, 173, 194, 196, 202 and approaches to treating sexual problems, 33 author of article in Journal of he American Medical Association, 49–50 and ‘Cape Cod’ meeting, 33–6, 42 and diagnostic questionnaires, 80–5 gives evidence at FDA hearings into testosterone patch, 155–6 and online education of medical practitioners, 106–7 and Procter and Gamble global survey, 62 and Procter and Gamble medical education program, 105–6 as ‘thought leader,’ 167 and wellness approach, 209–10 Sauers, Joan, 217 science of FSD. see sexual medicine ‘scientific’ surveys. see also questionnaires to diagnose ‘dysfunction’ confuse self-reported problems with medical disorder, 66 and funding by pharmaceutical industry, 62 The Second Sex. see de Beauvoir, Simone selling sickness, 2 Selling Sickness: How drug companies are turning us all into patients, ix serotonin, 180 Sex and the City, 5 sexual ‘dysfunction’ in women. see female sexual ‘dysfunction’ Sexual Function Questionnaire, 85 sexualisation of girl children, 5 sexual medicine. see also labelling of disorders; medicalisation of common sexual difficulties and ‘Cape Cod’ meeting, 36 driven by pharmaceutical industry profit motive, 9 emergence of, 8–9, 31–2 entangled in a web of financial relationships, 9 and female sexual ‘dysfunction,’ 7–9 and focus on sexual difficulties as ‘dysfunction’, 38 funded by pharmaceutical industry, 116–7 often ignores patient, 10 patient surveys, 7 and technology, 68–78 sexual performance, 1, 25, 31, 114, 141, 143 and anxiety due to marketing, 144 sexual problems. see also female sexual ‘dysfunction’ (FSD); female sexuality and the flawed medical model; medicalisation of common sexual difficulties are they ‘dysfunctions’?


pages: 183 words: 17,571

Broken Markets: A User's Guide to the Post-Finance Economy by Kevin Mellyn

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banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, disintermediation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial repression, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Home mortgage interest deduction, index fund, information asymmetry, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, lump of labour, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mobile money, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, Real Time Gross Settlement, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Coase, seigniorage, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, the payments system, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, underbanked, Works Progress Administration, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

This business was profitable as long as the sausage factory was humming, and was largely guaranteed and encouraged by the GSEs and their congressional patrons, notably Messrs. Dodd and Frank. In other words, the miracle of scientific financial engineering produced housing credit for all, and fat profits for everyone in the housing food chain, plus the political advantages of increasing home ownership among the less well-to-do, something that political conservatives embraced as “the ownership society.” The CRA might have been the catalyst, but the profit motive and political calculation produced the chain reaction that drove the bubble. The expansion of two other key aspects of financial inclusion also reflected innovation by banks rather than government mandates. The most important was the development of highly sophisticated predictive models that allowed credit card issuers to profitably expand into the subprime, or non-creditworthy, segments. These models allowed them to accurately forecast default rates.


pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

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airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

He had looked into using one of the existing electronic notebooks, but, he says, “[t]hey’re designed to keep people out, whereas I wanted a system that would be hard to keep private.” Eventually, he started a wiki and called what he was doing “open-notebook science.” His first open notebook, “UsefulChem,” was designed primarily to record his lab’s work trying to find chemical compounds useful in the fight against malaria.42 “Most of the people who are sick with malaria don’t have a lot of money, so the drug companies aren’t attracted by the profit motive,” Bradley explains. His lab started testing as many compounds as they could, recording the results in an open notebook that contained no heroic narrative, just daily results. He then started another open notebook that crowdsources the nearly endless question of which chemicals are soluble in which other chemicals. The result is a mammoth spreadsheet of interactions, most of which are nonevents.


pages: 272 words: 64,626

Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs by Andy Kessler

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23andMe, Andy Kessler, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Netflix Prize, packet switching, personalized medicine, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, wealth creators, Yogi Berra

Wikipedia, which as a free service has mainly a societal profit, defines it as “the making of gain in business activity for the benefit of the owners of the business.” But while the owner of the business makes a gain, so does the buyer, or else they wouldn’t have bought the damn product in the first place. Digging further, profit is derived from the Latin profectus: advance, progress, increase, growth. Hmm. Or proficere: to go forward, be useful. The profit motive has been a giant carrot for centuries and is what drives innovation and productivity, which (you should know by now!) creates increased living standards and wealth. I spent pages and pages of my book How We Got Here on James Watt, a University of Glasgow flunky who studied latent heat and tinkered for years until he came up with a more efficient steam engine, selling off two thirds of his future invention to venture capitalist Matthew Boulton in exchange for capital to fund his work.


pages: 218 words: 63,471

How We Got Here: A Slightly Irreverent History of Technology and Markets by Andy Kessler

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Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, automated trading system, bank run, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buttonwood tree, Claude Shannon: information theory, Corn Laws, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, fiat currency, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Grace Hopper, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, packet switching, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, railway mania, RAND corporation, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, Turing machine, Turing test, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

A director named John Blunt, who had written the company’s original charter, took over. By 1719, Blunt noted that Parliament was struggling under about 30 million pounds of debt. Blunt offered to exchange debt for shares again. But this time, it would not be at par or its original value or true net worth, but at the value that South Sea shares were trading. This made it ripe for manipulation. In fact, the only true profit motive for the South Sea Company would soon become CAPTIAL MARKETS AND BUBBLES 69 driving its stock price up over par and then exchanging it for debt, the profit being the difference between the stock’s value and par. These profits would then be “reported” to investors, which would drive the stock higher. Circular and dangerously wrong reasoning. Enron would pull this scam almost 300 years later.


pages: 247 words: 81,135

The Great Fragmentation: And Why the Future of All Business Is Small by Steve Sammartino

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Elon Musk, fiat currency, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, haute couture, helicopter parent, illegal immigration, index fund, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, lifelogging, market design, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer, post scarcity, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, too big to fail, US Airways Flight 1549, web application, zero-sum game

Evolution at warp speed The law of accelerating technology returns doesn’t just apply to tools, but also to the overriding ecosystems that the tools make possible. Each stage of progression is more accelerated than the previous one. Each phase has a shorter life expectancy than the previous phase. It took us about forty years to build and connect machines. It took us only a little more than 15 years for people to be plugged into the system. The phase of the web of things will be shorter again. When the profit motive and significant personal benefits conspire, the world changes quickly. This shouldn’t be very surprising given that everything we’ve witnessed in the dawn of the technology age has arrived much more quickly than we would have expected. From an historical perspective, technology and its impact on our species is now evolving at warp speed. It’s something we see and even feel in our skin. But it, the technology, has its own agenda, so it won’t stop.


pages: 281 words: 79,958

Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter

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agricultural Revolution, Anne Wojcicki, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Drosophila, food miles, invention of gunpowder, out of africa, personalized medicine, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, Skype, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, X Prize

.: Autism’s False Prophets and Poling case on vaccine safety omega-3 fatty acids Organic Consumers Association (OCA) organic foods: aims of artificially ripened and availability of arable land costs of distribution of and environmental issues and genetic engineering, see genetically modified food and the Green Revolution locally produced and “natural” food and population growth and poverty- preparation of and radiation research studies on and small-scale farming and social class and starvation total reliance on USDA guidelines for and Whole Foods wider market for organic soil, chemicals in Ornish, Dean Oz, Mehmet Paarlberg, Robert, Starved for Science pasteurization Pauling, Linus Peet, Amanda Personal Genome Project pertussis Pfizer Corporation pharmaceutical industry: direct-to-consumer advertising by greed in profit motive in and public trust regulation of research and development in unrealistic expectations for and vaccine court see also specific companies Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America pharmacogenetics placebo effect Poling, Hannah Poling, Jon polio vaccines polio virus, reconstruction of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) population growth precautionary principle progress: and hope scientific Prohibition Promethease prostacyclin public health: and economic effects and herd immunity and prevention of disease and public expectations and vaccinations Public Health Service qi gong quackery questioning authority quinine Quinlan, Karen Ann race: and discrimination and eugenics and genetics and human brain and medicine as social construct vs. scientific classification Rath, Matthias raw milk Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Ronald recombinant DNA technology Reiki religion, and science research: accidents occurring during double-blind studies funding of on middle-aged white men motivation behind open-source opposition to Rettberg, Randy Reuben, Scott S.


pages: 219 words: 61,720

American Made: Why Making Things Will Return Us to Greatness by Dan Dimicco

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American energy revolution, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, carbon footprint, clean water, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, fear of failure, full employment, Google Glasses, hydraulic fracturing, invisible hand, job automation, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Loma Prieta earthquake, manufacturing employment, oil shale / tar sands, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, Works Progress Administration

If you don’t believe me, ask Lakshmi Mittal, the chairman, CEO, and principal owner of ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steel company. He wanted to buy a controlling stake in Hunan Valin Steel, one of the major Chinese steel manufacturers. He couldn’t do it. Beijing will not allow foreign ownership of key industries. China’s economic practices seem strange to us because we believe so strongly in the free market. We believe in fair play. Most of us still believe in a good, old-fashioned profit motive. Yet we see China rising fast, on the brink of replacing the United States as the world’s largest economy and profiting in almost every business it touches, even though they’re not free and don’t play fair. Let’s face it, most of the world doesn’t really believe in an open-market philosophy like we do. When China cheats, they deny Americans economic opportunity. We really shouldn’t sit still for that.


pages: 283 words: 81,163

How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, From the Pilgrims to the Present by Thomas J. Dilorenzo

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banking crisis, British Empire, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, means of production, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, Norman Mailer, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, wealth creators, working poor, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

Their society is a more Christian one than ours.”19 John Dewey, one of the founders of the American public school movement, concurred, gushing that Soviet communism was “intrinsically religious” and had “the moving spirit and force of primitive Christianity.”20 Another clergyman, Hewlett Johnson, returned from Russia to write of how American capitalism supposedly “lacks moral basis,” creates a “divergence between principles and practice of Christian people, which is so damning to religion,” and is responsible for an “irrational wastage of wealth, the artificially induced shortage, the poverty amidst plenty.”21 In contrast, Soviet communism was supposedly a society in which “co-operation replaces competitive chaos and a Plan succeeds the rot of disorder. . . . The elimination of the profit-motive makes room for the higher motive of service.”22 Such economic nonsense is repeated literally verbatim by many of today’s American religious leaders. Their ignorance is even more egregious than Johnson’s, however, since they have the benefit of hindsight: socialism was a colossal economic and social failure, as has been amply documented. Socialism creates economic chaos, grinding poverty, and all the social pathologies that religious leaders are so concerned about.


pages: 252 words: 73,131

The Inner Lives of Markets: How People Shape Them—And They Shape Us by Tim Sullivan

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Airbnb, airport security, Al Roth, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, attribution theory, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Brownian motion, centralized clearinghouse, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, clean water, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, continuous double auction, creative destruction, deferred acceptance, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, experimental subject, first-price auction, framing effect, frictionless, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, helicopter parent, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, late fees, linear programming, Lyft, market clearing, market design, market friction, medical residency, multi-sided market, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, proxy bid, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, school choice, school vouchers, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, uranium enrichment, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, winner-take-all economy

Besides, it was concerns about overpayment that led to the crisis in the posting system in the first place: if the auction system breaks down completely, it isn’t good for anyone.7 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Amateur Auction Theorist It turned out that stamp collectors weren’t even the first to beat economists to the Vickrey auction. They were already anticipated, at least in spirit, by the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe forty years before the Penny Black appeared. Like many a temperamental and idealistic artist, Goethe had an uneasy relationship with money. He was on the one hand disdainful of the profit motive (he once wrote to a publisher, “I look odd to myself when I pronounce the word Profit”), while at the same time anxious that his worth be recognized. And no one likes to be taken advantage of; he wanted to ensure that he got his fair share from the fruits of his labors. Goethe employed various ruses and strategies to ensure that his more materialistically minded publishers didn’t exploit him.


pages: 255 words: 75,172

Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America by Tamara Draut

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, always be closing, battle of ideas, big-box store, blue-collar work, collective bargaining, creative destruction, David Brooks, declining real wages, deindustrialization, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, ending welfare as we know it, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, full employment, immigration reform, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, mass incarceration, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, occupational segregation, payday loans, pink-collar, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Powell Memorandum, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, union organizing, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, white flight, women in the workforce, young professional

As Myrla’s story illustrates, for many of these workers, the job conditions and pay eerily recall the days of domestic servitude. Much of the home care industry is dominated by big for-profit agencies, who recruit and hire out home health aides, personal care assistants, and nursing assistants. The agencies exist thanks to state and federal Medicaid and Medicare contracts, which pay the lion’s share (two-thirds) of costs related to home care. But given the profit motive and the right to pay less than minimum wage and no overtime (at least up until January 2015), these agencies could divert most of the money from the contracts for executive compensation and pay the women doing the actual work little more than an allowance (and no benefits, either). The number of home care industry jobs has more than tripled since the 1970s, and will continue to be one of the largest sources of new jobs for the foreseeable future.

Free as in Freedom by Sam Williams

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Asperger Syndrome, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Debian, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, Larry Wall, Marc Andreessen, 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

During a panel discussion lauding IBM's decision to employ the free software Apache web server in its commercial offerings, Stallman, taking advantage of an audience microphone, disrupted the proceedings with a tirade against panelist John Ousterhout, creator of the Tcl scripting language. Stallman branded Ousterhout a "parasite" on the free software community for marketing a proprietary version of Tcl via Ousterhout's startup company, Scriptics. "I don't think Scriptics is necessary for the continued existence of Tcl," Stallman said to hisses from the fellow audience members.See Malcolm Maclachlan, "Profit Motive Splits Open Source Movement," TechWeb News (August 26, 1998). "It was a pretty ugly scene," recalls Prime Time Freeware's Rich Morin. "John's done some pretty respectable things: Tcl, Tk, Sprite. He's a real contributor." Despite his sympathies for Stallman and Stallman's position, Morin felt empathy for those troubled by Stallman's discordant behavior. Stallman's Perl Conference outburst would momentarily chase off another potential sympathizer, Bruce Perens.


pages: 285 words: 81,743

Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle by Dan Senor; Saul Singer

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Boycotts of Israel, call centre, Celtic Tiger, cleantech, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, friendly fire, immigration reform, labor-force participation, mass immigration, new economy, pez dispenser, post scarcity, profit motive, Silicon Valley, smart grid, social graph, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, web application, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

But they have what affluence tends to smother: a motive.”9 The absence of motive is a problem in a number of the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is composed of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. In the case of Dubai, one of the emirates in the UAE, most of the entrepreneurs that come from elsewhere are motivated by profit—which is important—but they are not also motivated by building the fabric of community in Dubai. And as we have seen in examining Michael Porter’s cluster theory, a profit motive alone will get a national economy only so far. When economic times are difficult, as has been the case in Dubai since late 2008, or security becomes dicey, those not committed to building a home, a community, and a state are often the first to flee. In the other GCC economies, the problem is somewhat different. In our travels throughout the Arabian Peninsula, we have seen firsthand how Saudi nationals—young and old—are proud of the economic and infrastructural modernization of their economy.


pages: 518 words: 170,126

City for Sale: The Transformation of San Francisco by Chester W. Hartman, Sarah Carnochan

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, business climate, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, housing crisis, illegal immigration, John Markoff, Loma Prieta earthquake, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, strikebreaker, union organizing, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, young professional

The agency’s mission has evolved toward a comprehensive view of the City as a whole and cooperation with other City agencies and community and neighborhood groups aimed at solving citywide housing and development problems defined by elected officials and citizens of San Francisco. . . . The SFRA will assist ongoing efforts of other City agencies and community-based and other non-profit affordable housing producers in increasing the supply of housing targeted for lower-income households. Using its financial powers and funding sources available only to the SFRA, the agency will, in consultation with affordable housing producers, both non-profit and profit motivated, develop funding mechanisms for the increased production of permanently affordable housing.149 City Hall / 279 Additionally, the mission statement outlined the agency’s economic development policy, designed to “support and enhance community initiatives for new neighborhood serving economic opportunities.” The statement was remarkable, not only for the changed goals it set forth, but also for the stated intention to assist and consult with other agencies, community groups, and housing organizations.

In early 1984, the supervisors’ increasing dissatisfaction with Agnost led to a proposal, subsequently dropped, that the board hire its own outside counsel, because they believed the city attorney was not merely advising them but also attempting to influence their policies.66 Also in early 1984, controversy arose over a deputy city attorney going to work, with Agnost’s permission, for a developer whose project she had earlier handled for the City.67 Vacancy Decontrol Vacancy decontrol was the principal flaw in the supervisors’ rent control law. The 1979 law was rooted in an analysis of the city’s housing problem that acknowledged a need to protect not the housing stock as a whole, but only individual sitting tenants, in a view that the city’s housing problem was a temporary aberration rather than a relatively permanent structural feature. Landlords’ profit motivations were to be interfered with as minimally as possible. But vacancy decontrol led to increased evictions because it put a big-time money premium on tenant turnover—and rents on vacant 346 / Chapter 13 units, raised as high as landlords desired, zoomed beyond the reach of growing numbers of San Franciscans. With vacancy decontrol, landlords are less willing to give tenants any slack—late rent payments or keeping a pet in violation of lease terms may trigger an eviction action instead of being excused with a warning or overlooked.


pages: 678 words: 216,204

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

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affirmative action, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centre right, clean water, commoditize, 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, John Markoff, Kenneth Arrow, market bubble, market clearing, Marshall McLuhan, New Journalism, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, 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, Vilfredo Pareto

It qualitatively diversifies the information available to individuals. Information, knowledge, and culture are now produced by sources that respond to a myriad of motivations, rather than primarily the motivation to sell into mass markets. Production is organized in any one of a myriad of productive organizational forms, rather than solely the for-profit business firm. The supplementation of the profit motive and the business organization by other motivations and organizational forms--ranging from individual play to large-scale peer-production projects--provides not only a discontinuously dramatic increase in the number of available information sources but, more significantly, an increase in available information sources that are qualitatively different from others. 306 Imagine three storytelling societies: the Reds, the Blues, and the Greens.

PIPRA was launched as an effort of public-sector universities to cooperate in achieving two core goals that would respond to this type of barrier--preserving the right to pursue applications to subsistence crops and other developing-world-related crops, and preserving their own freedom to operate vis-a-vis each other's patent portfolios. 600 The basic insight of PIPRA, which can serve as a model for university alliances in the context of the development of medicines as well as agriculture, is that universities are not profit-seeking enterprises, and university scientists are not primarily driven by a profit motive. In a system that offers opportunities for academic and business tracks for people with similar basic skills, academia tends to attract those who are more driven by nonmonetary motivations. While universities have invested a good deal of time and money since the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 permitted and indeed encouraged them to patent innovations developed with public funding, patent and other exclusive-rights-based revenues have not generally emerged as an important part of the revenue scheme of universities.


pages: 726 words: 210,048

Hard Landing by Thomas Petzinger, Thomas Petzinger Jr.

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airline deregulation, centralized clearinghouse, collective bargaining, cross-subsidies, desegregation, Donald Trump, feminist movement, index card, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Ponzi scheme, postindustrial economy, price stability, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, the medium is the message, The Predators' Ball, Thomas L Friedman, union organizing, yield management, zero-sum game

The first generation of upstarts had tried to acquire for themselves the kind of presence that the major airlines had been awarded in the spoils conference of 1934. The second generation knew better than to overextend. The notion of critical mass had been discredited. The second upstart revolution caused many to question whether Bob Crandall really knew what he was doing after all. The pilots’ union at American hired a consulting firm that accused Crandall of overmanaging American Airlines. “The normal profit motive,” the consultants’ report said, “gave way to the notions that if two hubs are good then six must be better, and if ‘bigger is better’ then ‘biggest must be best.’ ” Hubs, the consultants said, forced flight crews to sit and wait for airplanes. Hubs required the company to maintain a massive infrastructure. Southwest by contrast had no hubs and no reservation network. Southwest simply flew from one city to another and back again, over and over.

Amster was in Europe: Amster 4/29/92 interview. 47. handled a record: AT&T 1992 Annual Report. 48. drove to the airport: “Flying Low: Simplifying Their Fares Proves More Difficult Than Airlines Expected,” by Bridget O’Brian and James S. Hirsch, WSJ, June 4, 1992. 49. help Washington understand: Kelleher 6/14/94 interview. 50. 100 city pairs: Michael Gunn, presentation to managers, American Airlines, Oct. 5, 1993. 51. “normal profit motive”: Simat, Helliesen & Eichner, Inc., Review of AMR Transition Plan, July 27, 1993. 52. “never see me”: Crandall, videotaped presentation to new captains, Facing Crucial Issues, Feb. 22, 1994. 53. “less than a mail carrier”: Pamphlet by Association of Professional Flight Attendants, Euless, Texas, Aug. 1993. 54. abusive husband: “Coffee, Tea, and Solidarity,” by Judy Mann, Washington Post, Nov. 26, 1993. 55.


pages: 662 words: 180,546

Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown by Philip Mirowski

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Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, constrained optimization, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, joint-stock company, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, loose coupling, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, random walk, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, sealed-bid auction, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, working poor

The individual’s life must be lodged, not within a framework of a big enterprise like the firm, or if it comes to it, the state, but within the framework of a multiplicity of diverse enterprises connected up to and entangled with each other . . . [It] must make him into a sort of permanent and multiple enterprise.8 B) An entrepreneurial regimen for the self will eventually extend the purview of its calculus to every conceivable social activity, and not just those narrowly oriented to pecuniary profit. This happens because it renders persons more susceptible to control, and not simply due to the profit motive. As Foucault put it, one extends the “grid, the schema, and the model of Homo economicus to not only every economic actor, but to every social actor in general inasmuch as he or she gets married, for example, or commits a crime, or raises children, gives affection and spends time with the kids . . . Homo economicus is someone who is eminently governable.” Entrepreneurship was insensibly downgraded as a narrow societal function and redefined as a set of character traits.9 C) A stance of cold calculation of interest will eventually be reprocessed as a new, warm, soulful form of moral economy.10 Quoting Margaret Thatcher: “Choice is the essence of ethics; good and evil only have meaning insofar as man is free to choose.”

Legal systems have sought to draw bright lines where identity begins and ends, although this has come under increasing pressure in the last three decades. The universe is conventionally divided up into three big categories: items and bodies that are prohibited in every instance; items and bodies that are deemed inalienable; and items and bodies that are both legal and alienable, but where exchange under the profit motive is banned or limited. The Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits both slavery and sale of military conscription, moving these phenomena into the second category from prior full commodity status. Sale and commercial possession of babies was subsequently presumed to occupy the first category, although we shall observe that this is rapidly eroding. Various drugs of potency in altering mental identity have been allocated to categories one and three.


pages: 901 words: 234,905

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Defenestration of Prague, desegregation, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Hobbesian trap, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, long peace, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Rodney Brooks, Saturday Night Live, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the new new thing, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Those with some confidence in the human species will hope this is not so and will try to determine the intrinsic characteristics that provide the framework for intellectual development, the growth of moral consciousness, cultural achievement, and participation in a free community.48 He describes his political vision as “libertarian socialist” and “anarcho-syndicalist,” the kind of anarchism that values spontaneous cooperation (as opposed to anarcho-capitalism, the kind that values individualism).49 This vision, he suggests, lies in a Cartesian tradition that includes “Rousseau’s opposition to tyranny, oppression, and established authority,…Kant’s defense of freedom, Humboldt’s precapitalist liberalism with its emphasis on the basic human need for free creation under conditions of voluntary association, and Marx’s critique of alienated fragmented labor that turns men into machines, depriving them of their ‘species character’ of ‘free conscious activity’ and ‘productive life’ in association with their fellows.”50 Chomsky’s political beliefs, then, resonate with his scientific belief that humans are innately endowed with a desire for community and a drive for creative free expression, language being the paradigm example. That holds out the hope for a society organized by cooperation and natural productivity rather than by hierarchical control and the profit motive. Chomsky’s theory of human nature, though strongly innatist, is innocent of modern evolutionary biology, with its demonstration of ubiquitous conflicts of genetic interest. These conflicts lead to a darker view of human nature, one that has always been a headache for those with anarchist dreams. But the thinker who first elucidated these conflicts, Robert Trivers, was a left-wing radical as well, and one of the rare white Black Panthers.

So why all the lamentations about its plight, decline, fall, collapse, twilight, and death? One response from the doomsayers is that the current frenzy of consumption involves past classics and current mediocrities but that few new works of quality are coming into the world. That is doubtful.19 As historians of the arts repeatedly tell us, all the supposed sins of contemporary culture—mass appeal, the profit motive, themes of sex and violence, and adaptations to popular formats (such as serialization in newspapers)—may be found in the great artists of past centuries. Even in recent decades, many artists were seen in their time as commercial hacks and only later attained artistic respectability. Examples include the Marx Brothers, Alfred Hitchcock, the Beatles, and, if we are to judge by recent museum shows and critical appreciations, even Norman Rockwell.


pages: 772 words: 203,182

What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class . . . And What Other Countries Got Right by George R. Tyler

8-hour work day, active measures, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, blood diamonds, blue-collar work, Bolshevik threat, bonus culture, British Empire, business process, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Diane Coyle, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, lake wobegon effect, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, pirate software, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Managerial incentives, such as stock options, redefined managerial self-interest from fallibility to a virtue.”26 The business community reverted to the Roaring Twenties and nineteenth-century practice of regulatory capture, in which the executives of Adam Smith’s era had viewed government as “an appendix to that of the merchant, as something which ought to be made subservient to it …”27 New York Times reporter Joe Nocera highlighted the obsessive new focus of executives this way: “To ask them to put aside the profit motive, even temporarily, for the good of the country—it’s not even in the frame of reference.”28 Advocating for this robber baron philosophy became a lifelong crusade for acolytes such as Friedman. Of course, the golden age management philosophy Friedman demonized had powered America out of the Great Depression, was vital to winning World War II, created the largest middle class in world history, and produced the greatest age ever of American research and development (R&D), investment, and prosperity.

In too many instances, it forces families to go mano a mano with front-running investment firms, as explained by economist Ghilarducci at the New School for Social Research in New York: “It is now more than 30 years since the 401(k) Individual Retirement Account model appeared on the scene…. It has failed because it expects individuals without investment expertise to reap the same results as professional investors and money managers. What results would you expect if you were asked to pull your own teeth or do your own electrical wiring?”6 The profit-motivated private system is skewed against those most in need. While 76 percent of white-collar employees enjoy private pension plans at work, over half of employees earning $27,000 or less lack access to any pension plan at work, their golden years destined to be spent working under the golden arches of McDonald’s or living in penury.7 These employees are more likely to work part time or have a broken work history, with absences that prevent steady participation in whatever pension programs might have existed at their various jobs.


pages: 328 words: 100,381

Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State by Dana Priest, William M. Arkin

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airport security, business intelligence, dark matter, drone strike, friendly fire, Google Earth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, immigration reform, index card, Julian Assange, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, WikiLeaks

He was referring to the office of the department’s civilian leadership, of which he was the head. “It just hits you like a ton of bricks when you think about it,” fumed a senior officer who has been in the military for nearly thirty years and was in Afghanistan when he had this revelation. “The Department of Defense is no longer a war fighting organization, it’s a business enterprise. Afghanistan is a great example of it. There’s so much money being made off this place.” The profit motive has a tremendous impact on policy and budgets. “The incentive for the contractor is to get more money for the contractor,” said Rostker, the former Pentagon adviser. “When would you ever think of cutting back?” The money to be made, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, isn’t lost on the people at the top. Thanks to their security clearances and their access to highly guarded information, those running the most sensitive government departments and agencies possess insider information any Wall Streeter would long for and any corporate CEO would pay through the nose for; they know where the government is heading with its intelligence and counterterrorism programs, and what goods and services it needs to get there.


pages: 273 words: 93,419

Let them eat junk: how capitalism creates hunger and obesity by Robert Albritton

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Bretton Woods, California gold rush, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate personhood, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Food sovereignty, Haber-Bosch Process, illegal immigration, immigration reform, invisible hand, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, land reform, late capitalism, means of production, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, South Sea Bubble, the built environment, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile

The company would be driven to insist on rapid approval because it cannot withstand a long period of testing before its huge investment begins to bring in profits. But this is very problematic in the case of transgenic seeds that may have enormous, dangerous and irreversible consequences. Can we really afford to have things like transgenic seeds be managed primarily by a private sector driven by the profit motive? In the case of GM seeds, they were approved by the US government based entirely on research funded by the corporations who wanted to market the seeds. There was no independent government testing.38 Recently newspaper articles have been appearing with titles such as “Whither the revered scientist?” (Toronto Star) or “A Hippocratic oath for science” (Globe and Mail), because much of 194 L E T T H E M E AT J U N K the public no longer trusts scientists.


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

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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

It is important to remember that moneylenders are often as much part of the community as their clients, which makes forgiveness and rescheduling even more likely.9 Moneylenders who feature in the South African diaries are often simply better-off people in the neighborhood. In Bangladesh also, there are very few professional moneylenders who lend for a livelihood. Most so-called mahajans, the Bengali word most often translated as “moneylender,” are simply “big persons,” wealthier people who lend as much out of obligation as out of profit-motivation; this may often be why they are willing to have interest rates negotiated downwards. Indeed because the governmentowned commercial banks rarely lend to the poor, professional lending to poor people for profit in Bangladesh is done best and most often by microfinance institutions. 141 CHAPTER FIVE In India, professional moneylenders are more prevalent and, like Mohammed Laiq’s creditor, are regularly forced to reschedule problem loans.


pages: 297 words: 103,910

Free culture: how big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity by Lawrence Lessig

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Brewster Kahle, Cass Sunstein, creative destruction, future of journalism, George Akerlof, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the printing press, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Louis Daguerre, new economy, prediction markets, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, software patent, transaction costs

No. 106-126 (22 July 1999), 150¬57 (statement of James Love). [198] International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI), Patent Protection and Access to HIV/AIDS Pharmaceuticals in Sub-Saharan Africa, a Report Prepared for the World Intellectual Property Organization (Washington, D.C., 2000), 15. [199] See Sabin Russell, "New Crusade to Lower AIDS Drug Costs: Africa's Needs at Odds with Firms' Profit Motive," San Francisco Chronicle, 24 May 1999, A1, available at link #57 ("compulsory licenses and gray markets pose a threat to the entire system of intellectual property protection"); Robert Weissman, "AIDS and Developing Countries: Democratizing Access to Essential Medicines," Foreign Policy in Focus 4:23 (August 1999), available at link #58 (describing U.S. policy); John A. Harrelson, "TRIPS, Pharmaceutical Patents, and the HIV/AIDS Crisis: Finding the Proper Balance Between Intellectual Property Rights and Compassion, a Synopsis," Widener Law Symposium Journal (Spring 2001): 175


pages: 319 words: 89,477

The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion by John Hagel Iii, John Seely Brown

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, game design, George Gilder, intangible asset, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Network effects, old-boy network, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart transportation, software as a service, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs

It’s what Tara Lemmey calls “going big or going home.” If you’re going to do something, choose something that really makes a difference—a project, an endeavor, or an organization that addresses what people find meaningful and valuable. Something that stimulates their passionate desire to make the world a better place. It may be the drive to produce some social good, but it can be as simple as the profit motive—improving standards of living through increased business productivity. The key is for it to have shared meaning among a group of participants. Meaning is the opposite of boredom. It’s present in many of the institutions that have changed the world. The point is not to find one vision, one meaning, one mission that fits every purpose, but simply to find one big enough to help mobilize a great number of people behind it.


pages: 358 words: 106,729

Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy by Raghuram Rajan

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, assortative mating, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, business climate, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, diversification, Edward Glaeser, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, illegal immigration, implied volatility, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, medical malpractice, microcredit, money market fund, moral hazard, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, price stability, profit motive, Real Time Gross Settlement, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

Politicians, however, want to couch the objective in more uplifting and persuasive terms than that of crassly increasing consumption. In the United States, the expansion of home ownership—a key element of the American dream—to low-and middle-income households was the defensible linchpin for the broader aims of expanding credit and consumption. But when easy money pushed by a deep-pocketed government comes into contact with the profit motive of a sophisticated, competitive, and amoral financial sector, a deep fault line develops. This is not, of course, the first time in history when credit expansion has been used to assuage the concerns of a group that is being left behind, nor will it be the last. In fact, one does not even need to look outside the United States for examples. The deregulation and rapid expansion of banking in the United States in the early years of the twentieth century was in many ways a response to the Populist movement, backed by small and medium-sized farmers who found themselves falling behind the growing numbers of industrial workers and demanded easier credit.


pages: 300 words: 65,976

The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know About Food Is Wrong by Barry Glassner

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Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, Gary Taubes, haute cuisine, income inequality, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Urbanism, placebo effect, profit motive, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Saturday Night Live, stem cell, urban sprawl, working poor

Ulcers, now understood to be caused by a bacterium, are an example, and pathogens have been implicated in heart disease as well.33 America’s Number Two Killer? The deeper I burrowed through the theories of obesity, the more of them I found. I also found myself entertaining an irreverent thought. How much does it really matter that Americans are getting fatter? To the diet industry, it matters a great deal, but the profit motive aside, does plumpness really deserve all the attention and resources we devote to it? Many of the theories of obesity are fascinating, to be sure, but with nearly two-thirds of Americans overweight or obese, their body types are now the norm, and medical science does not usually concern itself with trying to understand and prevent what has become the norm. Americans have also grown taller in the recent past (about four inches on average since the late 1800s), but little attention is devoted to that change, which conventional wisdom also attributes to changes in diet.


pages: 356 words: 102,224

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan

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Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, cosmological principle, dark matter, Dava Sobel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, germ theory of disease, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, linked data, nuclear winter, planetary scale, profit motive, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, telepresence

There may, for all we know, be oceans of petroleum on Titan, but transporting it to Earth will be expensive. Platinum-group metals may be abundant in certain asteroids. If we could move these asteroids into orbit around the Earth, perhaps we could conveniently mine them. But at least for the foreseeable future this seems dangerously imprudent, as I describe later in this book. In his classic science fiction novel The Man Who Sold the Moon, Robert Heinlein imagined the profit motive as the key to space travel. He hadn't foreseen that the Cold War would sell the Moon. But he did recognize that an honest profit argument would be difficult to come by. Heinlein envisioned, therefore, a scam in which the lunar surface was salted with diamonds so later explorers could breathlessly discover them and initiate a diamond rush. We've since returned samples from the Moon, though, and there is not a hint of commercially interesting diamonds there


pages: 279 words: 87,910

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

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banking crisis, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, creative destruction, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, lump of labour, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Paul Samuelson, 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, Veblen good, wage slave, wealth creators, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

They stressed the positive effect on productivity of a better fed, better housed, better clothed, healthier and better educated workforce. This was almost certainly true. However, once the commonly accepted language became one of efficiency, the moral reformers were vulnerable to the charge that their reforms had created inefficiency by lessening the incentives to work and save, and by stealing resources from the productive sector. The social liberalism of the 1950s and 1960s had nothing left to put in place of the profit motive, only qualifications that applied to particular examples of “market failure.” So when the social liberal states ran into fiscal crisis in the 1970s, they had no intellectually cogent defenses to offer against the restatement of the philosophy of untrammelled self-interest. Tax rates tumbled, the welfare state was reined in, state industries were privatized, the financial sector was set free.


pages: 342 words: 95,013

The Zenith Angle by Bruce Sterling

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airport security, Burning Man, cuban missile crisis, digital map, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, Iridium satellite, market bubble, new economy, packet switching, pirate software, profit motive, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, thinkpad, V2 rocket, Y2K

He’d never guessed that cable TV would spread like crabgrass, or that cell phones would web Planet Earth with their white roadside antennas. Time passed. Tom DeFanti grew older in his boardrooms. The wives cycled through his bedrooms, and his kids grew up and left. The Space Age gently faded into the yellowing pages of Life magazine. By the 1990s, aerospace jobs were fading away by double-digit percentages, while the Cyberspace Age exploded in the NASDAQ and a million Web sites. Business and the profit motive ruled the heavens and the earth. But now, breaking his thoughts, here came the ugly racket of a trail bike. It was, of course, the Dot-Commie. The Dot-Commie was making a beeline for DeFanti’s hidden cabin. He must have ridden the motorbike straight down his jet’s embarkation stairs. The Dot-Commie waved cheerfully as his bike veered wildly up the stony, darkening slope. The Dot-Commie wore a tartan shirt, jeans, boots, and an Australian outback hat.


pages: 346 words: 101,763

Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic by Hugh Sinclair

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Bernie Madoff, colonial exploitation, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Gini coefficient, high net worth, illegal immigration, inventory management, microcredit, Northern Rock, peer-to-peer lending, pirate software, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, profit motive

Remember Maria Otero’s $1 million bonus as CEO of Accion? One can only speculate if that prospect featured in the minds of the CEOs queuing up for a slice of LAPO’s equity. With these ratings in the public domain, can there be any other explanation why so many of the world’s supposedly most reputable funds had invested in an institution that was so obviously exploiting the poor and had only one thing going for it—profitability? Motivation is a hard thing to prove, but more evidence would soon emerge. A final blow to the creditor taskforce was mentioned in a subtle phrase toward the end of the rating: “The insufficient transparency in reporting to funders in December 2008, combined with the Nigerian economic crisis, detracted some potential investors in 2009 and contributed to a request for early repayment.”17 Although vague, this most likely refers to a microfinance fund canceling a due diligence midway upon discovery of “anomalies,” and the other funds withdrawing from LAPO as a result of the revelations emerging.


pages: 357 words: 110,072

Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst, Simon Singh

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Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, correlation does not imply causation, false memory syndrome, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, germ theory of disease, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, profit motive, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method

They are about protection of the individual, but also protection of the society so that you achieve herd immunity. Maurice believed in that and it pained him a lot to see what was happening in the UK. The mass media must decide whether it wants to report medical issues responsibly in order to inform the public, or to report it luridly in order to create shocking headlines. Unfortunately, the media has a profit motive and a lack of discipline, so the latter option will probably continue to be too tempting, particularly in light of how easy it is to scaremonger. This was demonstrated by an article entitled ‘Mysterious Killer Chemical’, published in 2005, which highlighted the dangers of the chemical DiHydrogen MonOxide, sometimes called DHMO. It’s found in many different cancers, but there’s no proven causal link between its presence and the cancers in which it lurks – so far.


pages: 340 words: 91,387

Stealth of Nations by Robert Neuwirth

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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, Vilfredo Pareto, yellow journalism

., System D income in, 8.1 women in business in, 8.1 banks, System D’s relations with, 3.1, 7.1–7.2, 11.1, 12.1, 12.2–12.3 Barakat, Assad Ahmad, 12.1 Barros Nock, Magdalena, 8.1, 8.2 Bartholomew Fair (Jonson), 12.1 Basel Action Network (BAN), 12.1 Bauer, Peter, 9.1, 10.1 Bazaaristan, 2.1–2.2 BBC, 12.1 Beethoven, Ludwig van, 5.1–5.2 Beijing Olympics, 5.1, 12.1 Bell Microproducts, 11.1 Berlusconi, Silvio, 8.1 Better Life Water, 3.1 Bierce, Ambrose, 5.1 Bike Basket Pies, 8.1 Bispo dos Santos, Sérgio, 12.1–12.2 Bolivia, System D in, 12.1 Book of Vagabonds and Beggars, The, 8.1 bookselling piracy and, 5.1–5.2, 5.3–5.4 sale of uncorrected proofs, 8.1 Braithwaite, Richard, 8.1 Braudel, Fernand, 4.1, 7.1 Brazil business tax breaks in, 11.1 cooperatives in, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3 economy of, 1.1 Lebanese population in, 12.1, 12.2 minimum wage in, 1.1 population of, 6.1 recycling industry in, 12.1–12.2 smuggling crackdown in, 6.1 smuggling into, 1.1, 6.1–6.2, 6.3–6.4, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4 taxation in, 6.1–6.2 see also Rua 25 de Março; specific cities Brecht, Bertolt, 6.1 Breitkopf, 5.1 BRIAN Integrated Systems, 3.1 bribery in Nigeria, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1 in global business, 12.1 Bromo-Seltzer, 12.1 Bronfman family, 6.1 B. Schott’s Sons, 5.1 Budweiser, 6.1 Buffett, Warren, 9.1 bus system, Lagos, 3.1–3.2 description of CMS station of, 10.1–10.2 business child labor in, 12.1 credit-based, 2.1 crime in, 12.1–12.2 growth in, 10.1 labor issues in, 10.1–10.2, 12.1–12.2 profit motive in, 5.1–5.2, 5.3, 9.1 regulation of, 12.1, 12.2 software piracy in, 5.1 System D–generated profit for, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6 System D interaction with, 1.1, 1.2–1.3, 1.4, 2.1–2.2, 2.3, 4.1, 5.1, 7.1–7.2, 8.1–8.2, 11.1–11.2, 12.1–12.2 tax deals for, 10.1–10.2, 11.1, 11.2–11.3 Western model of, 7.1, 9.1, 9.2, 10.1, 11.1–11.2 see also economics Business Day (Lagos), 3.1 Business Software Alliance, 5.1 Canton Fair, 4.1, 5.1 CAPDAN, 10.1 capitalism, 5.1–5.2 Carcopino, Jérôme, 3.1 Caribbean Discourse (Glissant), 9.1 cassava, 3.1–3.2, 12.1 catadores, 1.1, 12.1–12.2 Caveat or Warning for Common Cursitors, A (Harmon), 8.1–8.2 CDs, pirated, 1.1, 6.1 charlatans, 12.1–12.2 Chayanov, Alexander, 12.1 Chemonics, 11.1 Chen, Linda, 4.1–4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 10.1, 12.1 Chen, Martha, 11.1, 11.2 Chicago, Ill., street market in, 8.1–8.2 children, 2.1, 8.1, 12.1–12.2, 12.3 China African smuggling from, 4.1, 10.1–10.2 African trade with, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3–4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 5.1, 10.1–10.2, 12.1–12.2 child labor in, 12.1 consumerism in, 4.1, 5.1, 6.1 corporate crime in, 12.1 dominant business model in, 5.1–5.2 economic policy in, 5.1, 5.2 employment in, 2.1 factory work in, 4.1 high-end brand production in, 5.1 language in, 6.1 mobile phone exports from, 5.1 Nigerian trade with, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1–4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6–4.7, 4.8, 5.1–5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 10.1–10.2 piracy in, 5.1, 5.2–5.3, 5.4–5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 5.8 public health system in, 4.1 recycling industry in, 12.1 Rua 25 de Março merchants from, 1.1–1.2 smuggling from, 6.1–6.2 smuggling into, 6.1–6.2 System D’s role in, 2.1 tax paying in, 4.1, 4.2–4.3, 4.4, 5.1 technology retailing in, 6.1, 6.2 toxic dumping in, 12.1 2008/2009 financial crisis effects in, 5.1, 5.2 U.S. trade with, 4.1 see also specific cities China Plaza, 5.1, 5.2 China Southern Airlines, 4.1 Chinee Water, 3.1 Chinese University of Hong Kong, 6.1 Chintan, 12.1 cigarettes, smuggling of, 6.1 Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, 6.1–6.2, 6.3–6.4 business formalization in, 11.1, 11.2–11.3, 11.4 computer and electronic trade in, 6.1, 11.1–11.2, 11.3–11.4, 12.1 crime in, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3 currency trading in, 6.1–6.2 economic activity in, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3–6.4, 11.1, 12.1 Lebanese community in, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4 money transfers in, 12.1 policing in, 6.1–6.2, 6.3 street market in, 6.1 System D in, 2.1 taxation in, 6.1, 11.1–11.2 terrorism allegations against, 12.1–12.2 Clinton, Hillary, 12.1 Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria, 3.1 computer industry Chinese trade in, 6.1–6.2 falling prices in, 6.1, 11.1 illegal dumping in, 12.1–12.2 Nigerian trade in, 3.1–3.2, 10.1 Paraguayan trade in, 6.1–6.2, 11.1–11.2, 11.3–11.4 poor workmanship in, 4.1 smuggling in, 6.1–6.2, 6.3, 6.4–6.5, 11.1–11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 11.5 see also Ikeja Computer Village computer software, piracy of, 5.1–5.2 conflict resolution, 12.1–12.2 Connecticut Courant, 12.1 construction industry, 8.1 cooperative development, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3–12.4 limits of, 12.1 criticism of, 9.1 Cooper-Glicério, 12.1–12.2 copyrights, 8.1 Correct Technologies, 3.1, 3.2 Cotonou, Republic of Benin, 3.1, 4.1, 5.1, 10.1, 10.2, 11.1 courts, as an institution in street markets, 12.1–12.2 crime, 2.1, 2.2, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 12.6, 12.7, 12.8–12.9 Cross, John, 9.1–9.2 Crusades, 4.1 currency, see exchange rate Dairo, Ogun, 3.1–3.2 danfo, see bus system, Lagos Dattora, Édison Ramos, 1.1–1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 7.1 Davidson, Basil, 3.1–3.2 débrouillards, 2.1 Deleuze, Gilles, 11.1 de Soto, Hernando, 11.1–11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 11.5, 11.6 Deutsche Bank, 2.1 developed world economic inequality in, 9.1 economic model in, 3.1, 7.1, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 11.1–11.2 developing world business model in, 7.1–7.2, 10.1, 10.2, 11.1 economic growth of, 9.1–9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 11.1, 12.1–12.2 infrastructure in, 9.1, 12.1 System D growth in, 2.1, 2.2 water shortage in, 7.1 wealth gap in, 9.1–9.2, 9.3, 12.1 see also Africa; Asia; Latin America; specific countries Devil’s Dictionary, The (Bierce), 5.1–5.2 Diamond Bank, 7.1 Dias, Sonia Maria, 12.1 Diggers, 9.1 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 8.1 dollar, as global currency, 4.1–4.2 Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, 12.1–12.2 Donizetti, Gaetano, 12.1 Downy, 7.1–7.2 Drake, Francis, 5.1, 5.2 drugs discount, 6.1–6.2 illegal, 12.1 DVDs, pirated, 1.1–1.2, 1.3–1.4, 1.5, 6.1 eBay, 8.1 Ebeyenoku, John, 12.1, 12.2 economic development, 2.1, 2.2 as a human right, 12.1 redefinition of, 9.1–9.2 economics Aristotle’s definition of, 5.1 efficiency in, 9.1, 9.2 80/20 conundrum in, 5.1 modern definition of, 2.1 wealth gap in, 9.1–9.2, 9.3, 12.1 see also business; free market system Economic Times, 12.1 economists, System D’s assessment by, 1.1, 2.1–2.2, 3.1, 7.1, 9.1, 9.2, 10.1, 11.1, 12.1 education, 10.1, 12.1, 12.2 “Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, The” (Marx), 9.1 Eleazars, Ugochukwu, 3.1 electricity, 4.1, 4.2, 12.1–12.2 electronics industry gray-market, 8.1 Nigerian trade in, 3.1–3.2, 3.3–3.4 smuggling in, 6.1, 11.1–11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 12.1 see also computer industry; mobile phone industry Eleshin, Omotola, 3.1–3.2, 7.1 Emirates, 4.1 employment business tax breaks and, 10.1 System D’s provision of, 2.1, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 12.1–12.2, 12.3 21st century, 2.1 Encore Technical Sales, 11.1 Encyclopedia Britannica, 5.1 entrepreneurialism, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 12.1 environmental issues, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 12.1, 12.2–12.3 Enzensberger, Hans Magnus, 5.1 Ethiopian Airlines, 4.1 Europe literacy growth in, 5.1 Nigerian trade with, 3.1 post–World War II economic development in, 11.1–11.2 16th-century economic transition in, 8.1, 8.2–8.3 smuggling into, 6.1 System D in, 2.1, 3.1, 8.1–8.2 2008/2009 financial crisis effects in, 2.1–2.2 see also specific cities and countries EVGA, 11.1 e-waste, 12.1–12.2 exchange rate importance to System D trade, 4.1–4.2, 12.1 Eze, Sunday, 3.1 Ezeagu, Charles, 2.1 Ezeifeoma, James, 4.1, 4.2, 7.1, 9.1–9.2, 9.3, 12.1 Fable of the Bees, The (Mandeville), 5.1, 5.2 Fanon, Frantz, 9.1 fashion industry, 4.1–4.2, 4.3–4.4 labor issues in, 7.1, 12.1–12.2 piracy in, 5.1, 5.2–5.3, 7.1–7.2 Fashola, Babatunde, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 Feiyang, 5.1–5.2 Festac Town, Lagos, Nigeria, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 Festac United Okada Riders, 3.1 feudalism, 8.1 financial crisis of 2008/2009 in China, 5.1, 5.2 System D resilience to, 2.1–2.2 in United States, 8.1, 8.2 Financial Mail, 12.1 flea market, 8.1, 12.1 Fontaine, Laurence, 6.1 food industry formalization in, 8.1, 8.2–8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 12.1 street peddling in, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 3.1, 3.2, 8.1–8.2, 8.3–8.4, 12.1 System D producers in, 8.1–8.2, 8.3–8.4 formal businesses, relationship with informal firms, 1.1–1.2, 7.1–7.2, 7.3–7.4 formalization bureaucracy in, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 11.1 in computer industry, 11.1, 11.2–11.3 costs and benefits of, 11.1–11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 11.5 degrees of, 12.1–12.2, 12.3 effects of, 11.1–11.2 in food industry, 8.1, 8.2–8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 12.1 obstacles to, 11.1, 11.2 419 Advance Fee Fraud, 3.1, 10.1 Fox, Paul, 7.1 Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 12.1 France, System D in, 8.1 “Fraternity of Vagabonds, The” (Awdeley), 8.1 free market system, 2.1–2.2, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 12.1, 12.2 Gafunk Nigeria Limited, 3.1 Gala sausage roll, 7.1 Galatzer, Natalie, 8.1 Galeria Pagé (Ciudad del Este), 12.1–12.2 Galeria Pagé (São Paulo), 1.1, 1.2, 10.1 garage sales, 8.1 garbage recycling, in Brazil, 12.1–12.2 in China, 9.1–9.2 in Nigeria, 3.1, 3.2–3.3 gasoline, smuggling of, 6.1 Gates, Bill, 5.1, 9.1 General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, The (Keynes), 9.1 generators, 4.1 George II, King of England, 9.1 Germany, System D in, 8.1 Gesell, Silvio, 9.1 Glissant, Edouard, 9.1 globalization, 4.1–4.2, 12.1 peddlers as agents of, 4.1–4.2 see also System D, global trade in Gomorrah (Saviano), 5.1 Gonçalves, Reginaldo, 1.1 Goodluck, Akinwale, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 Gould, Jay, 9.1 government economic regulation by, 2.1 privatization in, 2.1 System D interaction with, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 4.1–4.2, 4.3–4.4, 5.1–5.2, 6.1, 6.2, 10.1–10.2, 11.1, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 12.6, 12.7, 12.8, 12.9–12.10, 12.11–12.12, 12.13–12.14 use of pirated software in, 5.1 Gramsci, Antonio, 2.1 Granta, 5.1 gray market, 2.1 Great Britain historical conflict resolution in, 12.1–12.2 historical wealth gap in, 9.1–9.2 System D criticism in, 8.1–8.2 see also London, England Great Transformation, The (Polanyi), 2.1–2.2 Greece, ancient, conflict resolution in, 12.1 Grimmelshausen, Hans Jakob Christoffel von, 5.1–5.2 growth, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 9.1–9.2, 10.1–10.2 Grumbling Hive, The (Mandeville), 5.1, 5.2 Guangzhou, China, 2.1 African traders in, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3–4.4, 4.5–4.6, 4.7, 4.8, 5.1–5.2, 5.3, 12.1–12.2 business regulations in, 4.1, 4.2 international population in, 4.1 policing of, 5.1, 9.1, 12.1, 12.2 recycling in, 9.1–9.2 smuggled computers in, 6.1 Guangzhou Dashatou Second Hand Trade Center, 5.1, 5.2–5.3 Guarda Municipal, 1.1, 1.2 guarda-roupas, 6.1–6.2 Guattari, Félix, 11.1 Gudeman, Stephen, 9.1–9.2 gun running, 2.1 Guys and Dolls, 8.1 Gypsies, 8.1 Hammoud family, 12.1, 12.2 Hancock, John, 12.1 Harare, Zimbabwe, 12.1 Harlem, N.Y.


pages: 339 words: 109,331

The Clash of the Cultures by John C. Bogle

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asset allocation, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, diversified portfolio, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, market bubble, market clearing, money market fund, mortgage debt, new economy, Occupy movement, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, profit motive, random walk, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, survivorship bias, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, William of Occam, zero-sum game

Mutual fund investors face the greatest challenge with investment management companies that provide returns to public shareholders or that funnel profits to a corporate parent—situations that place the conflict between profit generation and fiduciary responsibility in high relief. When a fund’s management subsidiary reports to a multi-line financial services company, the scope for abuse of investor capital broadens dramatically. . . . Investors fare best with funds managed by not-for-profit organizations, because the management firm focuses exclusively on serving investor interests. No profit motive conflicts with the manager’s fiduciary responsibility. No profit margin interferes with investor returns. No outside corporate interest clashes with portfolio management choices. Not-for-profit firms place investor interests front and center. . . . Ultimately, a passive index fund managed by a not-for-profit investment management organization represents the combination most likely to satisfy investor aspirations.


pages: 329 words: 85,471

The Locavore's Dilemma by Pierre Desrochers, Hiroko Shimizu

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air freight, back-to-the-land, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, Community Supported Agriculture, creative destruction, edge city, Edward Glaeser, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, intermodal, invention of agriculture, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, labour mobility, land tenure, megacity, moral hazard, mortgage debt, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, planetary scale, profit motive, refrigerator car, Steven Pinker, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl

More optimistic analysts emphasize instead “the increased acreage and output of the average farm,” the “sustained growth of agricultural productivity,” and the “substantial improvements in income and wealth of commercial farmers, the predominant role of the United States in world commodity markets, and American leadership in supplying both technological innovation and food aid for the developing world.”6 In the international development arena, a similarly bitter divide exists between individuals who advocate large-scale commercial agriculture and the phasing out of smallholder farming as the only practical way to escape the poverty trap in which many countries are mired, and the anti-globalization activists who view all large-scale agriculture as a source of social inequality, a threat to the peasant way of life, and subordinating human needs to the profit motive. Because our emphasis is on long-term trends rather than current difficulties and imperfect practices, our overall stance on most controversial issues is typically of the “glass half-full” type. We do not deny the severity of many agricultural and social problems, most importantly that, according to official statistics, around one billion individuals are still malnourished and therefore less productive and more prone to disease, poor health, stunting, and wasting than they would otherwise be.7 This being said, the available evidence convincingly demonstrates that long distance trade and modern technologies have resulted in much greater food availability, lower prices, improved health, and reduced environmental damage than if they had never materialized.


pages: 320 words: 97,509

Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician by Sandeep Jauhar

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, delayed gratification, illegal immigration, income inequality, Induced demand, medical malpractice, moral hazard, obamacare, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, source of truth, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Yogi Berra

Not long ago, a cardiology fellow who had been interviewing for jobs came to my office, clearly disillusioned. “I was naive,” he said. “I’d never thought of medicine as a business. I thought we were in it to take care of patients. But I guess it is.” I asked him how he felt about going into private practice. “I won’t have much time to think about it,” he replied. “I’ll be too busy vomiting for the first six months.” Certainly, there has always been a profit motive in medicine, but financial considerations have never been as prominent as they are today, in part because so many hospitals and doctors, especially in large metropolitan areas, are in financial trouble. Even as payments by insurers are decreasing inexorably to control health costs, office expenses are increasing, and the economy is in recession. More and more doctors are trying to sell their practices or are negotiating with hospitals for jobs, equipment, or financial aid.


pages: 354 words: 26,550

High-Frequency Trading: A Practical Guide to Algorithmic Strategies and Trading Systems by Irene Aldridge

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algorithmic trading, asset allocation, asset-backed security, automated trading system, backtesting, Black Swan, Brownian motion, business process, capital asset pricing model, centralized clearinghouse, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computerized trading, diversification, equity premium, fault tolerance, financial intermediation, fixed income, high net worth, implied volatility, index arbitrage, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, inventory management, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market friction, market microstructure, martingale, Myron Scholes, New Journalism, p-value, paper trading, performance metric, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Small Order Execution System, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, systematic trading, trade route, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve, zero-sum game

Static equilibrium models, however, have found little empirical support in the recent literature. In fact, Sandas (2001) in his study of limit orders on actively traded stocks on the Stockholm Stock Exchange finds that the expected profit on limit orders appears to decrease as the time duration between market orders increases, contradicting previously formulated theory. The implicit outcome of empirical evidence is that the limit orders are submitted by traders with active profit motives, rather than by market makers interested strictly in providing liquidity. Demand for trading immediacy can be fueled by the traders’ need for capital and their risk aversion, among other factors. Traders strapped for cash may choose to set the limit price close to the market to turn their positions into cash as soon as possible. Risk-averse traders may choose to set the limit price close to the market to ensure swift execution and to minimize uncertainty.


pages: 342 words: 88,736

The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis by Ruth Defries

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agricultural Revolution, Columbian Exchange, demographic transition, double helix, European colonialism, food miles, Francisco Pizarro, Haber-Bosch Process, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, out of africa, planetary scale, premature optimization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade

The list of events, people, and motives that contributed along the way is long and varied: spies who spread the secret of the Haber-Bosch process; the chemist who rescued DDT from obscurity; the expeditions to find new seeds and to unearth geologic oddities; the intellectual curiosity to painstakingly brush pollen on thousands of pea plants; competition for prestige; conquest; trade; good ideas spread from one person to another; pushes from those with political power; flukes like the locust extinction in North America; and, of course, the profit motive, which grew strong in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries once chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and high-yielding seeds could be controlled in the hands of the few. All of these contributed to the spread of humanity’s collective ability to experiment with nature. No new way to manipulate nature, from ancient animal power to modern machinery, ever occurred without trial and error. Feeding urban species from modern agriculture is our most recent trial.


pages: 370 words: 105,085

Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky

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barriers to entry, c2.com, commoditize, George Gilder, index card, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Metcalfe's law, Network effects, new economy, PageRank, Paul Graham, profit motive, Robert X Cringely, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, slashdot, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, thinkpad, VA Linux, web application

But, with very few exceptions (and I'm sure I'll get a whole host of email from tedious supporters of arcane and unloved platforms like the Amiga or RSTS-11), no software developer with the least bit of common sense would intentionally write software for a platform with 100,000 users on a good day, like BeOS, when they could do the same amount of work and create software for a platform with 100,000,000 users, like Windows. The fact that anybody writes software for those oddball systems at all proves that the profit motive isn't everything; religious fervor is still alive and well. Good for you, darling. You wrote a nice microEmacs clone for the Timex Sinclair 1000. Bravo. Here's a quarter, buy yourself a treat. So. If you're in the platform-creation business, you probably will suffer from what is commonly known as the chicken-and-egg problem: Nobody is going to buy your platform until there's good software that runs on it, and nobody is going to write software until you have a big installed base.


pages: 348 words: 98,757

The Trade of Queens by Charles Stross

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business intelligence, call centre, illegal immigration, index card, inflation targeting, land reform, profit motive, Project for a New American Century, seigniorage

And I confidently expect my department to be able to meet our labor obligation to the Forestry Commission and the Departments of Mines and Transport—" Did I just hear that? Burgeson blinked, staring at Fowler and his neighbors. Did I just hear the minister for prisons boast that he was supplying labor quotas to mines and road-building units? The skin on the back of his neck crawled. Yes, there were a lot of soldiers in the royalist camp, and many prisoners of war—and yes, there was a depression-spawned crime wave—but handing a profit motive to the screws stuck in his throat. He glanced around the table. At least a third of the commissioners he recognized had done hard time in the royal labor camps. Yet they just sat there while Fowler regurgitated his self-congratulatory litany of manacles refastened and windows barred. That can't be what's going on, he decided. I must have misheard. Next on the agenda was Citizen Commissioner Reynolds's report—and for this, Erasmus regained his focus and listened attentively.


pages: 523 words: 111,615

The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as if the Future Matters by Diane Coyle

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bonus culture, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, call centre, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Diane Coyle, disintermediation, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Financial Instability Hypothesis, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Hyman Minsky, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, low skilled workers, market bubble, market design, market fundamentalism, megacity, Network effects, new economy, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, principal–agent problem, profit motive, purchasing power parity, railway mania, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steven Pinker, The Design of Experiments, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Market for Lemons, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Spirit Level, transaction costs, transfer pricing, tulip mania, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, web application, web of trust, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

I wouldn’t want to overstate the adaptability and effectiveness of business. We’ve certainly not reached a nirvana of empowered and fulfilling employment. There are many companies that are as hierarchical as ever and place no reliance on a highly skilled and motivated workforce. Still, the transition to a business structure appropriate to the weightless economy is under way in the private sector, especially in competitive industries open to international trade. The profit motive has acted as a strong imperative for change. This is much less true of public sector organizations—a point to which I’ll return below. They tend to be organized still on a hierarchical model, with employees not allowed to take advantage of the flexibility and new capabilities created by new technologies. Initiative isn’t so highly valued, and there is often also a presumption of uniformity in public services, rather than the customization people have come to expect in their private transactions.


pages: 385 words: 111,807

A Pelican Introduction Economics: A User's Guide by Ha-Joon Chang

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, discovery of the americas, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global value chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberation theology, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, post-industrial society, precariat, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, working-age population, World Values Survey

The big break came with the agricultural collectivization in 1928, in which the lands of large farmers, or kulaks, were confiscated and turned into state farms (sovkhoz) and small farmers were forced to join agricultural cooperatives (kolkhoz), which were state farms in all but name. Markets were eventually abolished and replaced by full-blown central planning by 1928, when the first Five Year Plan started. By 1928, the Soviet Union had an economic system that was definitively not capitalist. It ran without private ownership of means of production, profit motives and markets. As for the other cornerstone of capitalism, wage labour, the picture was more complicated. Yes, in theory the Soviet workers were not wage labourers because they owned all the means of production – through state ownership or cooperatives. In practice they were indistinguishable from wage labourers in a capitalist economy, since they had little control over the way in which their enterprises and the wider economy operated, and their daily work experience was still subject to the same hierarchical relationship.


pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

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Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, 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, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, 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, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, 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, Robert Metcalfe, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wages for housework, women in the workforce

In the West, the far left remained on the doomy side of the argument: ‘The revival of economic activity in capitalist countries weakened by the war … will be characterised by an especially slow tempo which will keep their economies at levels bordering on stagnation and slump,’ wrote the Trotskyists in 1946.11 When this was proved nonsense, Marxists were not the only ones left confused. Even the theorists of moderate social-democracy were so perplexed that they declared the West’s economic system had effectively become non-capitalist. ‘The most characteristic features of capitalism have disappeared,’ wrote Labour MP Anthony Crosland in 1956, ‘the absolute rule of private property, the subjection of all life to market influences, the domination of the profit motive, the neutrality of government, typical laissez-faire division of income and the ideology of individual rights.’12 By the mid-1950s, almost the whole left had embraced the theory of ‘state monopoly capitalism’ – first suggested by Bukharin, then by Varga, and now turned into a full-blown theory by the US left economist Paul Sweezy.13 He believed that state intervention, welfare measures and permanently high military spending had abolished the tendency to crisis.


pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Galaxy Zoo, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel poses the following question as an effective way to test if a startup has an MTP that will attract not only friends, but also employees beyond your personal network who share your motivation: “Why would the 20th employee join your startup without the perks, [such as] a co-founder title or stock [options]?” Accordingly, you should gauge your MTP against each of the acronym’s letters. Is it Massive? Is it Transformative? Is it Purposeful? A profit motive alone is insufficient to build an ExO—or, frankly, any startup. Rather, it’s the burning passion to solve an obsessive, complex problem that keeps an entrepreneur pushing along the rollercoaster ride of ebullience and despair that is the story of every startup. Chip Conley, an expert at building purpose-driven companies such as Airbnb, frequently references Kahlil Gibran: “Work is love made visible.


pages: 362 words: 86,195

Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet by Joseph Menn

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Brian Krebs, dumpster diving, fault tolerance, Firefox, John Markoff, Menlo Park, offshore financial centre, pirate software, Plutocrats, plutocrats, popular electronics, profit motive, RFID, Silicon Valley, zero day

In contrast to the Russian experience, where profit predated patriotism, almost all of the early cyberattacks from within China expressed nationalistic sentiments. Numerous assaults on sites in Taiwan, Indonesia, and Japan followed some perceived insult against China. Such groups as the Red Hacker Alliance said they put patriotism first. Only after several years of pro-China activities did a profit motive emerge to such an extent that it splintered some of the most important organizations. Again like the Russians, the Chinese have used cyberattacks to harass and silence civilian foes based outside the country’s borders. Proponents of the Falun Gang and Tibetan independence movements have been targeted, and at least one small Tibetan alliance disbanded rather than risk further electronic communications.


pages: 362 words: 99,063

The Education of Millionaires: It's Not What You Think and It's Not Too Late by Michael Ellsberg

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affirmative action, Black Swan, Burning Man, corporate governance, creative destruction, financial independence, follow your passion, future of work, hiring and firing, job automation, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Norman Mailer, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Ballmer, survivorship bias, telemarketer, Tony Hsieh

Another letter, from a famous literary editor at a major New York publishing house, in its entirety: “I’m going to pass on this project. Mr. Ellsberg’s writing is not strong enough to overcome the simple fact that he is not a very likable person.” At the time, of course, I viewed these letters as pure confirmation of my worst suspicions: the corrupted aesthetics of middle-class consumerist mediocrity and philistinism, the complete venality of corporate publishing pandering to those tastes, the wickedness of the profit-motivated media-entertainment complex—unable to recognize the genius of Art even if they were hit over the head with a two-pound manuscript of experimental nonfictionin-fragments. Over time, my views of this episode in my life mellowed and matured. The word “undisciplined” was used by several different editors rejecting my manuscript, and I have come to see that they were right—in fact, all the rejections were right.

The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good by Robert H. Frank

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carbon footprint, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, clean water, congestion charging, corporate governance, deliberate practice, full employment, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, positional goods, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, smart grid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, winner-take-all economy

., paralysis in, 2, 3, 195 pollution: from cars, 113; differences in cost of reducing, 14, 79–80, 174–77; inefficiency of traditional regulation of, 175; optimal level of, 174–75 pollution taxes, 172–83; on carbon dioxide, 4, 179–82; cleanup costs with, 175–77; and climate change, 4, 179–82; congestion fees as, 113–14, 182–83; critics of, 177–80; differences in cost of avoiding, 14, 79–80, 175–77; efficiency of, 175–77; pace of implementation of, 4, 180–81; permits as form of, 176–77, 178; and price of goods, 178, 180; versus regulation of pollution, 14, 175; on sulfur dioxide, 172–79 poor, the: effect of congestion fees on, 183; income transfers to, 104, 111–16; role of luck in lives of, 142–43; willingness to pay among, 102–4, 108–10 population density: and degree of government regulation, 84; and task specialization, 204 237 positional arms races: in military, 65; in sports, 67; in workplace safety, 212 positional consumption beast, 63 positional externalities: definition of, 68; in rank, 127; taxation to limit, 79 positional goods: context in evaluation of, 70–72; Darwinian perspective on, 72–74; definition of, 70; taxes on, 76 practice time, in development of expertise, 147–48 Princeton University, 162 private sector: negotiation of efficient contracts in, 86–91, 124–25, 178, 196, 210; willingness to pay in, 102, 104–6, 197–98 private-sector waste: expenditure cascades in, 61–62; versus government waste, 59–61, 62, 63; ways of cutting, 63 “Problem of Social Cost, The” (Coase), 89–90 productivity: in labor-managed firms, 31–32; and rank, 127–33; in society-formation example, 127–31, 200–201; and task specialization, 43, 203–4; and wages, 132–35 professors, productivity of, 133–35 profit motive, in invisible-hand theory, 6, 17–18 progressive consumption surtax, 82–83 progressive consumption tax. See consumption tax, progressive progressive income tax. See income tax, progressive progressives, flaws in understanding of markets, 11 Project on Military Procurement, 47 property rights, government role in maintenance of, 120 property taxes, in California, 48–49 Proposition 13 (California), 48–49 Prozac, 26–27 public discourse, libertarian influence on, 4–5 public goods: dependence of property rights on, 120; differences in valuation of, 123–26; efficient provision of, 123–26; as nonpositional goods, 74; under progressive consumption tax, 80–81; under progressive income tax, 124–26; willingness to pay for, 123 public policy: cost-benefit analysis in, 102–4, 116–18, 209; income differences in decisions in, 102–4, 111–12; income transfers in, 104, 238 INDEX public policy (continued) 111–18, 123–26; willingness to pay in, 102–4, 106–11, 118.


pages: 465 words: 103,303

The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery by George Johnson

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Atul Gawande, Cepheid variable, Columbine, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Gary Taubes, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, Magellanic Cloud, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, phenotype, profit motive, stem cell

As with the in situ breast carcinomas, prostate cancers can also smolder harmlessly for decades. About 70 percent of men in their seventies who die of other causes have been found on autopsy to have prostate cancers that they probably knew nothing about. A man rendered impotent and incontinent by surgery may be left to wonder if he should have resisted the pressure to get tested. As with breast cancer, the hype—often well meaning but also driven by the profit motive—has been criticized for overselling the value of early diagnosis. Sports stadiums have become a popular recruiting ground. Urologists offer free tickets in return for an office visit and advertise on arena billboards. A Florida doctor places advertisements on the deoderizer pucks that sit inside the urinals of public restrooms: “Strike Out at the Urinal?” Prostate surgery will increase the flow, though possibly more than you want.


pages: 422 words: 89,770

Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges

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1960s counterculture, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, call centre, clean water, collective bargaining, Columbine, corporate governance, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, hive mind, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Lao Tzu, Pearl River Delta, post scarcity, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, working poor, Works Progress Administration

The two Catholic anarchists published the first issue of the Catholic Worker newspaper in 1933. They handed out twenty-five hundred copies in Union Square for a penny a copy. The price remains unchanged. Two Catholic Worker houses of hospitality in the Lower East Side soon followed. Day and Maurin preached a radical ethic that included an unwavering pacifism. They condemned private and state capitalism for its unfair distribution of wealth. They branded the profit motive as immoral. They were fervent supporters of the labor movement, the civil-rights movement, and all antiwar movements. They called on followers to take up lives of voluntary poverty. And when the old Communist Party came under fierce attack in the 1950s during the anticommunist purges, Day, although not a communist, was one of the only activists to denounce the repression and attend communist demonstrations.


pages: 294 words: 85,811

The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T. R. Reid

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Berlin Wall, British Empire, double helix, employer provided health coverage, fudge factor, Kenneth Arrow, medical malpractice, profit maximization, profit motive, single-payer health, South China Sea, the payments system

Some compete by promising to pay all claims within five days; some offer benefits beyond the basic package, like exotic Asian therapies or free neonatal nursing care in the home after a baby is born or longer stays in those health spas. Among health care economists, the consumer’s free choice of any insurance plan, and the resulting competition among the insurers, is one of the most admired features of the German system. “Americans tend to think that the profit motive is the only driver of competition,” Karl Lauterbach, a German economist who won a seat in the Bundestag, the national parliament, told me. “But our Krankenkassen compete because the executives earn more money, and higher prestige, if they have a larger pool of insured members. So we have universal coverage, and nobody can be turned down because of a preexisting illness.You have the required package of benefits, so the insurer can’t deny a claim for any covered treatment.


pages: 326 words: 97,089

Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars by Lee Billings

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Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, California gold rush, Colonization of Mars, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, full employment, hydraulic fracturing, index card, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, music of the spheres, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, planetary scale, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Solar eclipse in 1919, technological singularity, the scientific method, transcontinental railway

He obtained a value of $6.5 billion—coincidentally about the same amount of money astronomers often estimate would be needed to build a space telescope capable of seeking signs of life on such a world. If humans actually voyaged there, Laughlin once pointed out to me, the star would become ever brighter, until it was a new Sun in a new sky of a New World. “So in going there, you have this ability to intrinsically increase value. And that’s an exciting thing because it ultimately provides a profit motive for perhaps going out and making a go of it with these planets. This is saying that something that is several billion dollars on Earth could be, if you go there, a quadrillion-dollar payoff.” Months before our encounter at Tomales Bay, I had interviewed Laughlin about his equation for an article I published on the website BoingBoing.net. The article’s contents made their way into the mainstream media, which focused far more on Laughlin’s musing valuation of our world than on the worth of exoplanets.


pages: 322 words: 88,197

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

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Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Edward Thorp, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, lone genius, mass immigration, megacity, Minecraft, moral panic, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern

Because delightful things are valuable, they often attract commercial speculation, which funds and cultivates new technologies or markets or geographic exploration. When we look back at that process, we tend to talk about it in terms of the money and markets or the vanity of the ruling elite driving the new ideas. But the money has its own masters, and in many cases the dominant one is the human appetite for surprise and novelty and beauty. If you dig past the archeological layers of technological invention, profit motive, conquest, and status-seeking, you will often find an unlikely stratum that lies beneath the more familiar layers: the simple pleasure of a new experience—in this case, the red and blue cones of our retinas registering a strange hybrid shade almost never found in nature. Somehow the story gets cast in the retelling as a tale of heroic inventors or efficient capital markets or brutal exploitation.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

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Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Airbus A320, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

MAKING SHARING SAFE FOR CAPITALISTS November 8, 2010 “I AM NOT A COMMUNIST,” declared author-entrepreneur Steven Johnson in a recent column in the business pages of the New York Times. Johnson made his disclaimer in the course of celebrating the creativity of “open networks,” the groups of volunteers who gather on the net to share ideas and produce digital goods of one stripe or another. Because they exist outside the marketplace and don’t operate in response to the profit motive, one might think that such social-production collectives would represent a threat to traditional markets. What could be more subversive to consumer capitalism than a mass movement of people working without pay to create free stuff for other people? But capitalists needn’t worry. The innovations of the unpaid, web-enabled masses may be “conceived in nonmarket environments,” writes Johnson, but they create “new platforms” that “support commercial ventures.”


pages: 291 words: 95,468

Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton, John Huey

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inventory management, profit motive, union organizing

And I really believe there haven't been many companies that have done the things we've done at Wal-Mart. We've improved the standard of living of our customers, whom we've saved billions of dollars, and of our associates, who have been able to share profits. Many of both groups also have invested in our stock and profited all through the years. When we started out, the whole idea was nothing but a pure profit motive: our business strategy was to bring the customers into the tent by selling the highest quality goods we could at the lowest possible prices. It worked, and those few of us who believed in it from early on and invested in the idea got rich off it. Obviously, everybody who went to work in a Wal-Mart didn't get rich. But there've been many stories over the years of associates who've made enough at least to buy their first car, or own their first home, and we've had several associates who've retired with over a million dollars in profit sharing.


pages: 233 words: 75,712

In Defense of Global Capitalism by Johan Norberg

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Asian financial crisis, capital controls, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, 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, liberal capitalism, 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, zero-sum game

But instead the opposite happened: other states gradually tightened up their environmental stipulations. 226 Because car companies needed the wealthy California market, manufacturers all over the United States were forced to develop new techniques for reducing emissions. Having done so, they could more easily comply with the exacting requirements of other states, whereupon those states again ratcheted up their requirements. Anti-globalists usually claim that the profit motive and free trade together cause businesses to entrap politicians in a race for the bottom. The California effect implies the opposite: free trade enables politicians to pull profit-hungry corporations along with them in a race to the top. This phenomenon occurs because compliance with environmental rules accounts for a very small proportion of most companies’ expenditures. What firms are primarily after is a good business environment—a liberal economy and a skilled workforce— not a bad natural environment.


pages: 440 words: 108,137

The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen J. McNamee

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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, old-boy network, 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

Crucial to the establishment of the modern corporation was a series of legal decisions that redefined the essence of the corporation. These decisions allowed corporations to operate for private gain without explicitly serving the public interest, established the principle of limited liability, and extended the legal rights of individuals to corporations. The elimination of the requirement for public service enabled an unrestricted profit motive. Under the principle of limited liability, investors would risk only the amount of money they invested in a corporation and would not be liable for whatever other debts the corporation acquired. Especially critical to these court rulings was the extension of the legal rights of individuals to corporations. These rulings allowed the pooling of enormous amounts of capital from multiple investors in single companies, a phenomenon that has been described as the “socializing of capital” (Roy 1997).

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander

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Alistair Cooke, commoditize, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, full employment, invention of agriculture, Menlo Park, music of the spheres, placebo effect, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, Stewart Brand, the medium is the message, trickle-down economics

When I turned off the set and closed my eyes, laying my head back against the pillows of the sofa, the images that came to mind were of this Wattenberg person, his graveyard of dead corporations, the Gillette research labs . . . and I heard an internal record- ing of his voice: ' Planners say it would be nice if we all lived in apartments, but most