Links for 29/7/2017

  1. Tim Harford: We are still waiting for the robot revolution. More on the lessons of the ATM machine. In the same vein as Tyler Cowen’s Bloomberg column yesterday. This is getting to be a trend.

  2. Diane Coyle: Economics for a Moral End. Nice review of Ian Kumekawa’s The First Serious Optimist: A. C. Pigou and the Birth of Welfare Economics. Pigou’s misfortune was that he was eclipsed by Keynes, and so undeservedly forgotten.

  3. Simon Wren-Lewis: Why Owen Jones is wrong about Brexit. Terrific post, taking down the arguments of the emerging ‘re-leaver’ lobby. I particularly like this: “It is an utterly defeatist argument: we must let people harm themselves because only then might they learn that they were mistaken in what they wanted. A much more progressive policy is to persuade people they are wrong.”

Links for 28/7/2017

  1. In a Robot Economy, All Humans Will Be Marketers. Tyler Cowen talking sense about robotics. The impact won’t be devastating in the way doomsayers think. But some of the stuff humans will be doing (like marketing) may not be all that rewarding either. Covers some of the same ground as David Autor’s article.

  2. The Agony and the Anxiety of The New York Times. Vanity Fair piece evincing a certain amount of glee at the transition-pains of the New York Times as it loses many of its backroom editors and squeezes office space to reduce costs. But the paper is also hiring 100 more journalists and having the time of its life. Trump is a gift that now keeps on giving.

  3. Ctrl + Alt + Del. Conservatives must reboot capitalism. Thoughtful essay by the leader of the Scottish Conservatives. I don’t think any member of the current Cabinet could have written anything half as interesting. Reminded me of David Sainsbury’s book Progressive Capitalism: How To Achieve Economic Growth, Liberty and Social Justice.

  4. Emily Bell and Taylor Owen, The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley reengineered journalism. Useful report on how Tech platforms have become publishers in a short space of time, leaving news organisations confused about their own future. That’s if they have one. It was always a crazy idea to think that putting your stuff on Facebook would give you a long-term future as a publisher. Think of it as going for a swim with a crocodile.

Links for 19/7/2017

  1. The Digital Tow-bar. Lovely idea by Quentin Stafford-Fraser. A realistic application for self-driving vehicles.

  2. Roger Sollenberger: How the Trump-Russia Data Machine Games Google to Fool Americans. Or how SEO meets politics.

  3. Andrew Rawnsley: Theresa May could still have a future – as a human sponge. Nice historical parallel: William Petty (2nd Earl of Shelburne) was the Prime Minister who had to mop up after Lord North lost the American colonies. Petty had to negotiate with the victors. Theresa May reminds Rawnsley of the hapless Petty. Me too.

  4. Tom Russell: How to talk to your teen about colluding with Russia. Useful advice for a naive president.

Links for 17/7/2017

  1. As a Guru, Ayn Rand May Have Limits. Ask Travis Kalanick. The obsession of Silicon Valley types (and Donald Trump’s crowd) with Rand passeth all understanding.

  2. David Brooks: Moral Vacuum in the House of Trump. “It took a few generations of the House of Trump to produce Donald Jr.”

  3. New law would force Facebook and Google to give police access to encrypted messages. The Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has whatsApp and other encrypted messaging systems in his sights. It’s insisting that the companies have to give it warranted access. But how? After all, WhatsApp doesn’t have the keys. Charles Arthur has an interesting idea. “This isn’t totally absurd”, he writes. “The clue is in Turnbull’s quote about “updates on your phone” and Brandis’s “obligation.. to provide appropriate assistance”. What’s likely to happen is that targeted individuals will receive SIM updates which let the authorities spy on them. Simple as that. If you read the above (and the story) in that light, it becomes feasible – sensible, even. If you think they want to have access to everyone’s encrypted messages all the time, you’re overthinking it.”

  4. Scholars Cry Foul at Their Inclusion on List of Academics Paid by Google. Looks as though that scoop by an advocacy group may be unravelling.

Links for 13/7/2017

  1. David Runciman: How climate scepticism turned into something more dangerous. Doubts about the science are being replaced by doubts about the motives of scientists and their political supporters. Once this kind of cynicism takes hold, is there any hope for the truth?

  2. APnews: Survey: 4 in 10 US adults have experienced online harassment. This is a summary of a sobering PEW Report on online harassment.

  3. WSJ: Paying Professors: Inside Google’s Academic Influence Campaign. Article (sadly, behind a paywall) claims that Google paid anywhere from $5,000 to $400,000 for research supporting business practices that face regulatory scrutiny; a ‘wish list’ of topics. Other tech firms doubtless do the same.

  4. Frank Pasquale: When antitrust becomes pro-trust: the digital deformation of US Competition policy. As bracing as you’d expect from Frank. Great paper.

Links for 12/7/2017

  1. Peter Turchin: What Economics Models Really Say. A Review of Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik (Norton, 2015). Really useful review — by a mathematical biologist!

  2. David Edgerton on ‘Digital Transformation’. Guaranteed to infuriate tech determinists. 20 minutes, but worth it. Make some coffee first.

  3. What Did North Korea’s Missile Test Really Change? – The Atlantic. Useful reminder that the people most at risk from Kim Jong Un are not Americans, but South Koreans.

  4. Vili Lehdonvirta: The online gig economy grew 26% over the past year. Useful empirical research. And the gig economy isn’t just about Deliveroo, btw.

Links for 11/7/2017

  1. The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas by Daniel Drezner.

  2. Dani Rodrik: Economics of the populist backlash. The backlash to globalisation was predictable, but the forms that it took weren’t.

  3. Richard Fletcher and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen: Using social media appears to diversify your news diet, not narrow it. The counter-narrative to the Cass Sunstein mantra about echo-chambers and ‘enclave extremism’.

  4. David Wallace-Wells: The Uninhabitable Earth. The most alarming article on climate change that I’ve ever read.

Links for 10/7/2017

  1. End of the shopping mall: “Sears is closing another 43 struggling stores.”. Wow! Sears Holdings announced last week that it will close eight of its Sears department stores and 35 Kmart locations, adding to the list of 236 stores the company plans to shut down in 2017. In March it said that it had “substantial doubt” about its ability to remain in business. It’s lost $10 billion since 2010, the last time it turned a profit. Sears closed 240 stores in 2016 and 53 in 2015.

  2. How often do people have sex?. Only Google knows, apparently.

  3. Echoes of Wall Street in Silicon Valley’s grip on money and power. Yep.

  4. LSE Blog: Seven Signs of Over-Hyped Fintech. Useful. Doesn’t just apply to Fintech either.

Links for 9/7/2017

  1. “Emmanuel Macron’s official portrait is a symbolic celebration of centrism”. Clever analysis of the semiotics of Macron’s official portrait — which hangs in every office of the French state. That’s a lot of offices. Very interesting in the way it demonstrates Macron’s astonishing attention to symbolic detail.

  2. By me: “Challenges to Silicon Valley won’t just come from Brussels”. Why the Reality Distortion Field centred on Palo Alto doesn’t get what’s happening in the rest of the world.

  3. Diane Coyle’s Reading List

  4. Memo to Board: spend money on cybersecurity or pay the price. New York Times report on what a cyber attack can do to your profits — and your share price.

  5. Katie Hope, BBC: “Inside the secret and lucrative world of ‘the super tutor'”. Or how to earn between £150 and £1,000 an hour tutoring rich kids so that they can get into private schools. The gig economy on steroids.