Trade-offs between inequality, productivity, and employment

You can only consume so much, but you can hedge against risk to an unlimited degree, and the ultra-wealthy do, suggests Interfluidity, and this makes a mess of a consumption-based economy when you get too much wealth concentrated in a few actors.  It’s an interesting argument, but it does kind of hinge on a zero-sum game setting — insurance against risk going only to the highest of bidders (lifeboats on a libertarian Titanic).  WWII as a giant re-set button, leading to a temporary age of prosperity.  What’s the next re-set?  Climate change seems like a good candidate…

Legalizing Crowdfunded Startups

Crowdfunding, Why the SEC Bans It, Obama Wants It, and Banks Fear It.  Kickstarter would be illegal if you were making investments in a business, instead of donations to a cause.  Even so, people have raised on occasion hundreds of thousands of dollars via the site for honor-system bound innovation.  Hopefully this will be legitimized soon.

California Dreaming

An hour long interview based documentary by some Dutch filmmakers about the changing social and economic realities of southern California, in the wake of the financial crisis, and America’s general malaise.

It’s dangerous to cling to an identity which is no longer compatible with reality.  Remember the Norse and their Greenlandic colonies.  In the long run I think adaptability is the greatest kind of power you can wield.  Evolutionary power.

We need, in so many ways, to move beyond thinking of ourselves as consumers, instead of citizens.  Consumers, instead of producers and creators.  Society and culture are almost infinitely flexible, if you’ve got the right mindset and a reason to change.

The Rise of the New Global Elite

A nice long-form piece from The Atlantic on the phenomenon and dangers of the New Plutocrats… not just Lloyd Blankfein and his parasitic bankster ilk, but nearly everyone who stands at the so-called Commanding Heights of industry, including productive innovators.  The developed world was all to hot to globalize the economy when we thought we’d always stay on top.  But that was ridiculous of course.  Now “on top” is just a few people scattered all over, and most of us will slide toward the very large bottom if we’re not careful.

Links for the week of May 29th, 2010

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Continue reading Links for the week of May 29th, 2010

Links for the week of February 21st, 2010

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Continue reading Links for the week of February 21st, 2010