Policy

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Yelp, Antitrust, and Google

Google, Amazon, and Facebook are modern-day railroads. The technology companies are three of the few organizations that own and control our modern infrastructure. Connor Dougherty published a nice look at how Google’s monopolist position impacts the businesses that rely on the infrastructure it owns. Like farmers and railroads before, web service providers like Yelp are effectively… Continue reading

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Why did FDR drop Henry Wallace from the 1944 Presidential Ticket?

In July 1944, a little over a year before the end of WW2, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt looked tired and sick. Publicly, he was taking month-long rests under the guise of war planning. Privately, he was diagnosed with severe hypertension, heart disease, cardiac failure and acute bronchitis. The stress of leading a nation at war,… Continue reading

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Classic Read: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

Matt Stoller’s How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul is the best political analysis I’ve read all year. It offers a solid argument to how economic populism fell out of the national narrative—and accelerated the decline of the American middle class. It’s hard to believe today, but seventy years ago Bernie Sander’s ideas were fairly common… Continue reading

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Competition creates innovation: Creative Destruction & America’s problem

In the early 1940s, Joseph Schumpeter, a Harvard economics professor, was researching business innovation. At this time, innovation wasn’t really something that was studied, it was just something that occurred. Outside of Bell Labs, no organization seemed interested in investigating how great ideas came to be, and how they were scaled to society. Schumpeter was… Continue reading

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Book Review: Dawn of Innovation by Charles Morris

In Dawn of Innovation Charles Morris argues that America’s economic dominance wasn’t driven by science, technology or ingenuity, but our commitment to mass production (scale). “The dominating American characteristic across all major industries,” he writes, “was the push for scale—adapting the production methods, the use of machinery, and the distribution to suit the product.” Viewing… Continue reading

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The perils of privatizing public goods

In September 1987, nearly a year before Tracy Chapman sang about revolution, President Ronald Reagan started one in American policy—he started privatizing America’s public goods. The revolution didn’t happen overnight. In fact, most people didn’t even realize it occurred. As these two fantastic articles reveal, nearly thirty years later we’re dealing with the damaging consequences—economically,… Continue reading

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Autonomous Taxibots: Who owns the future?

Fast Company recently published an article on the need for public ownership of an autonomous taxi utility. The article makes a case for why cities must own both the network and physical cars of the service. It is definitely worth checking out. But what “ownership” of a taxibot network actually means is potentially confusing. That’s… Continue reading

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Mercantilism: Donald Trump’s Economic Policy

Human dried apricot Donald Trump was born on third and thinks he invented baseball. His followers feel forgotten in modern America. But hidden behind his insane belief that a wall will stop migration and America should ban ¼ of the world’s population are some “interesting” economic policy ideas. Donald Trump’s economic policy is interesting because… Continue reading

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How do you rebuild America? Stop treating government like a start up.

It’s news to no one that America’s middle class has been devastated by computers and globalization. With income inequality on everyone’s mind, it’s now the billion-dollar question policy makers face over the next twenty years. The standard solution follows something like this: The entire economy seems to be stagnant, except for Silicon Valley. Government needs to copy… Continue reading

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At what cost was China’s development miracle?

In the span of forty years the China performed a development miracle. It transformed itself from an agrarian afterthought to the world’s second largest economy. This was in spite of pervasive attitudes and policies that ran contrary to most Western economic thought. In as recent as 1980, the country’s official dictionary defined “individualism” as “the… Continue reading

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