Elizabeth Warren’s Against Monopoly – OK, Against In Education, In Guns?

Elizabeth Warren is arguing that Big Tech is getting terribly monopoly-like and we really ought to do something about that. Hmm, well, it’s an interesting contention at least. Certainly we should always be considering whether monopoly is arising, market power being accumulated and even, if it is, is it being exercised to the detriment of consumers?

So, the initial thought to be picking at, worrying about, seems reasonable enough:

The story demonstrates why promoting competition is so important: it allows new, groundbreaking companies to grow and thrive — which pushes everyone in the marketplace to offer better products and services.

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Warren’s Plan To Break Up Google, Amazon, Facebook Isn’t, Amazingly, Entirely Stupid

Elizabeth Warren has announced her plan to break up Facebook, Google and Amazon. Plus any other tech companies that grow to such sizes. The idea has its faults – it’s unnecessary and silly and is just someone looking for something to do rather than solving an actual problem – but, to the amazement of all, it’s not entirely stupid. She’s managed to get some of the background economics here right even if the overall idea lacks any useful justification.…

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Well Done To The EU – New GDPR Data Rules Reduce Tech Investment

It’s not as if Europe’s tech investment scene is particularly vibrant to start with so the EU does indeed need to bring in rules to reduce that activity even further, doesn’t it? Which is exactly what has happened with that introduction of the GDPR rules. Sadly so:

The short-run effects of GDPR on technology venture investment
Jian Jia, Ginger Jin, Liad Wagman 07 January 2019

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation was a landmark piece of legislation stipulating how businesses approach consumers’ privacy with regards to data.…

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Of Course Only Half Amazon’s HQ Jobs Will Be Tech – How Do You Think A Modern Company Works?

We’ve a report that only some half of the new jobs in Amazon’s HQ2 – scheduled to land in Queens and Crystal City real soon now – will be tech jobs, the rest will be administrative, clerical, that sort of thing. Which is one of those ideas so damn obvious you rather wonder what people have been smoking? How does anyone think a modern corporation does work? There have to be people who count the money the code brings in, after all.…

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Apple’s Tim Cook Entirely Right On Tech Regulation – Politicians Won’t Leave That Much Money Alone

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has said that further regulation of the tech companies is inevitable – he’s entirely correct in this. The task though is to understand why such further regulation of tech is inevitable and there rational views can differ. It might be because they’re big and important parts of the economy now and therefore they should and must be regulated. It could be because they wield power and as we know, it’s always necessary that there be democratic control of power so that we’ve a monopoly of it.…

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Taxing The Tech Giants- The Guardian, As Ever, Wrong About Everything, Always

John Harris in The Guardian attempts to claim that if we don’t tax the tech giants then civilisation will fail. No, really. We get some small fraction – under 10% – of total tax revenue from corporations. The tech sector is still a minor part of the overall economy. Call it 10% maybe, just to have some sort of number. So, those tech giants dodging absolutely every penny of their just and righteous dues would mean a loss of 1% of total tax revenue.…

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Desperately Sad Research About The Internet And Economic Growth – It Doesn’t Produce It

That’s one way of looking at this piece of research out of Australia. The internet doesn’t produce any economic growth therefore everyone should stop investing in it. Which is a pretty sad conclusion to reach really. Fortunately, reality is rather better than this, it’s the research itself which is sad, not the result. That sadness being that they’ve entirely missed what everyone already knows about the effects of the internet – and ICT more generally – on the economy.…

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The Reason For The Globalisation Of Tech R&D

Why are companies employing all these foreigners to do this work? Why are they offshoring? Because there isn’t the talent at home:

The IT revolution and the globalisation of R&D

Lee Branstetter, Britta Glennon, J. Bradford Jensen 21 August 2018

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What Is The Value of X? It May Depend On Your Level Of Enlightenment.

Those evil market driven capitalistic pigs never manage to do anything for their fellow man who is not rich. A lot of people know this to be true. A lot of people are idiots.

The race to improve in order to sell stuff in our – supposedly ever so nasty – competitive environment does yield some particularly nice results for those of lesser means.

Take cell phones for instance. It is getting quite hard to truly distinguish one from the other in this day and age so we get some odd – but nice – results.…

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Getting Around Town

 

I’ll go out on a limb and predict that passenger-carrying drones will be in commercial use before driverless cars. Now, driverless cars will almost certainly be ferrying passengers from parking lots to theme parks, from railroad stations to metro stations, etc. in the very near future. Driverless mini-buses will be amongst us very soon. But as far as point to point transportation of individuals, drones will beat the driverless car.

Autonomous land vehicles have to understand quite a few difficult things.…

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