Rick’s latest post on the creativity crisis raises the possibility that the current slowdown in technological advance is merely a period of adjustment rather than a permanent slowdown. I have three reasons for remaining pessimistic.
- The slowdown is historically unprecedented, not just part of a cycle.
- The reasons for the slowdown are built into our economy and politics, so it cannot easily be reversed.
- Even if this is just a temporary phenomenon, the results could still be catastrophic.
I have thought about this before, but a question my nine year old daughter asked me crystallised the idea. The (already existing) regulatory process can be tweaked to provide an alternative to patents that would make the market more competitive, reduce over-head costs of research, and reduce litigation costs and uncertainties. Continue reading
I am entirely unable to understand Boston Consulting Group’s much publicised claim that the “internet economy” contributes 8.3% of UK GDP. They do not define what they mean and I cannot reconcile it with the numbers. Most of the discussion in their document is of online retail so that is clearly important, but lets start with a key question. Continue reading
Investors, and others who try to predict the future, are often fond of thinking in terms of megatrends. Changes in demographics, climate, technology and culture are often discussed. One that I believe to be the most significant of all is rarely mentioned, and I have never seen the implications discussed. It is also hard to accept, because it appears to be disproved by experience. Continue reading
Another uneventful days as far as the books go, but music is going better than I expected. Continue reading
Yesterday was my first full day of consuming only free media, Its a day and a half since I started. So how is it going? Continue reading
For the next month (i.e. from 16th July 2011 to 15th August 2011) I will only read/watch/listen to legally free media (audio, video, books, whatever). The biggest changes will be reading only free ebooks (something I have been doing a lot of lately, anyway) and listening only to free music. Continue reading
One would imagine that economists would have learned by now that they need to check their theoretical models against the real world. A recent article arguing that governments need to promote a “balance” between open source and proprietary software, rather than promoting open source, rests on no fewer than five incorrect assumptions, and is easily rebutted by what happens in the real world. Continue reading
One reason that Marx’s prediction that capitalism would lead to increasing inequality, and then failure, was wrong, was that advancing technology lead to increases in prosperity for almost everyone. Slowing technological change will mean an increase in inequality, so Marx may have another chance to be proved right. Continue reading
Many of the spate of recent articles on the super-rich, such as the influential one in The Atlantic have accepted the idea that the plutocracy is meritocratic: the wealth is earned. I have my doubts, and had a look at how and where the richest of the super-rich made their money. Continue reading