I'm at Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA today (I'm on staff) at the Positive Platform Design Jam, where we had Cornell historian Louis Hyman give a presentation called "Unnatural Capitalism: How the New Deal Reinvented Capitalism and Why We Need to Do It Again." You can watch a video recording of his talk here.
In his talk, Hyman explained why today's economic climate is like that of the Herbert Hoover era -- lots of money sitting in banks because investment was too risky and there weren't that many big things worth investing in. Hyman said depressions happen when investment fails to connect with new leading sectors. The FDR government made it easy for banks to invest in high-risk industries (by insuring the investments and giving investors tax breaks), which jumpstarted the economy. We need to get that money out of banks and into new technology, or we risk entering a new depression. Unfortunately, the federal government has cut science funding, and it's likely the new administration won't invest in basic science research, either.
Hyman said his only choice is to remain optimistic:
What happens if I'm not optimistic? Well, it's over. Then Marx was right. Profits go to zero, and all of this falls apart as the strongmen take everything away from you. Why am I doubling down on optimism? It's my only chance for survival. It's definitely your only chance for survival.Read the rest
Last week, Boing Boing pals Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, and Marina Gorbis, executive director at Institute for the Future (where I'm a researcher), took the stage at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club to discuss why we've lost sight of the open Web and how the digital economy has gone terribly wrong. It was a fantastic freeform barrage of brilliant and witty criticism, insights, and ideas for rewriting the rules of this game that right now nobody can win.
Listen to it here!
Or download the podcast here.
There's about $60 trillion in public government debt worldwide, and the folks at Visual Capitalist created a chart to show proportions and debt-to-GDP ratio in one handy image.
About two dozen countries carry over 90% of the world's debt, with Japan and Greece having the worst debt-to-GDP ratios.
"A capital gains tax rate (making money off money) that is lower than the earned income rate (making money off work) is just not fair; bestowing that rate on hedge-fund managers through a specially designed loophole is just not fair" -Wick Allison, American Conservative, Nov 12, 2012. Read the rest
It's well established that the US economy fares better when a democrat is president. Why is this? Read the rest
The Washington Post reports on "super zips"--postcodes that rank highly for income and college education levels. A striking interactive map is included in the article, to show what money looks like from space. Read the rest
Diesel Sweeties creator R. Stevens has some advice for Millennials who are having a hard time finding work in the modern economy. It's so simple!
The Economist claims that prostitution in the UK has been hard-hit by the down economy, with men treating sex-for-money as a luxury lacking precedence behind rent, petrol and energy bills. At the same time, more women are reportedly engaging in sex-work, looking for money in an economy with high unemployment and inflation and contracting welfare and benefits. This increases competition for sex-work, driving prices down further. Some sex workers are dropping their prices, and one independent escort in the south of England says that she believes that prostitution can no longer serve as full-time employment adequate to covering all bills and expenses . Read the rest