In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century's end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There's every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn't happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

A walkable street ensures that people can safely cross from a clothing store to a coffee shop and spend money at both. It means that people who live in the neighborhood can grab groceries and other necessities easily, so they’ll probably visit nearby establishments more often. Perhaps most importantly, a walkable street is one in which many businesses occupy the bulk of the land, meaning that dozens of destinations can be accessed in a matter of minutes on foot, and that every inch of land is put to economically productive use — not squandered in empty parking lots or unnecessary landscaping.

In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly clear: America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations, and fates.

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The two sectors, notes Temin, have entirely distinct financial systems, residential situations, and educational opportunities. Quite different things happen when they get sick, or when they interact with the law. They move independently of each other. Only one path exists by which the citizens of the low-wage country can enter the affluent one, and that path is fraught with obstacles. Most have no way out.

The richest large economy in the world, says Temin, is coming to have an economic and political structure more like a developing nation. We have entered a phase of regression, and one of the easiest ways to see it is in our infrastructure: our roads and bridges look more like those in Thailand or Venezuela than the Netherlands or Japan. But it goes far deeper than that, which is why Temin uses a famous economic model created to understand developing nations to describe how far inequality has progressed in the United States. The model is the work of West Indian economist W. Arthur Lewis, the only person of African descent to win a Nobel Prize in economics. For the first time, this model is applied with systematic precision to the U.S.

For decades, economists have pointed to 17th-century tulipmania as a warning about the perils of the free market. Writers and historians have reveled in the absurdity of the event. The incident even provides the backdrop for the new film Tulip Fever, based on a novel of the same name by Deborah Moggach.

The only problem: none of these stories are true.

What really happened and how did the story of Dutch tulip speculation get so distorted? Anne Goldgar discovered the historical reality when she dug into the archives to research her book, Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age.

But down at the end of one block, there’s a sign things are changing. Scaffolding surrounds a vacant house on a corner and workers from Daiwa House are clanging away inside. They’re not demolishing the house but refurbishing it – reorganising the floor plan, knocking down walls, opening up the kitchen and enhancing the insulation. Rather than tear down the house so the next buyer can build something new, they’re rebuilding it from the inside and putting it back on the market. It’s a relatively rare commodity, but something that is increasingly common across Japan: a secondhand home.

“For the first time, Japanese people are beginning to appreciate living in older homes,” says Noboru Kaihou, a Daiwa House public information officer.

A lot of evidence suggests that in cases of this kind, employers will stubbornly trust their intuitions — and are badly mistaken to do so. Specific aptitude tests turn out to be highly predictive of performance in sales, and general intelligence tests are almost as good. Interviews are far less useful at telling you who will succeed.

StyrelseAkademien är en ideell förening som verkar för ett bättre styrelsearbete i svenska företag. Vår mission är att öka kunskapen om styrelsearbetets betydelse för lönsamhet och utvecklingskraft. Vi arbetar med utbildning, nätverk, rekrytering och opinionsbildning.

StyrelseAkademien Sverige har arton medlemsföreningar med över 6 000 individuella medlemmar. Vi utbildar ca 2 000 personer om året i styrelse- och ägarfrågor.

Thanks to the “smart” revolution, our appliances, watches, fridges, and televisions have gotten a computer-aided intelligence boost. But where there are computers, there is also copyrighted software, and where there is copyrighted software, there are often software locks. Under Section 1201 of the DMCA, you can’t pick that lock without permission. Even if you have no intention of pirating the software. Even if you just want to modify the programming or repair something you own.

After years of warning that the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership would be devastating for Internet freedom, intellectual property experts have finally gotten to look at the final draft of the proposed treaty.

And they say it’s as bad as they feared.

Sedan Kim Jong Un besteg tronen 2011 har investeringarna ökat kraftigt – i nöjesparker, hockeyrinkar, badanläggningar, ridskolor och i en sprillans ny skidanläggning. Här handlar det inte om bröd och skådespel åt vanligt folk, utan om att försöka släcka törsten efter välstånd hos en framväxande ekonomisk överklass.

Tro mig, det kommer inte att räcka. Därför blir det inte landsbygdens fattiga och undernärda som kommer att revoltera mot ett system som inte förmår att leverera livets nödtorft. Det blir huvudstadens rika som kommer att förändra ett system som inte klarar av att leverera livets guldkant.

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