Thursday, September 22, 2016

Digging Deeper


Tristan Harris (now unemployed) was Google's "Design Ethicist" for 3 years, until quite recently. (He also likes sleight-of-hand "magic" tricks.)
Why are smart phones so addictive? 
Behavioral science has the answers right here: 
They are slot machines for sex fantasies, good stuff and social strokes. 
Once you get in, you get nice menu choices, which are close to what you wanted... "OUT" is not a menu choice, and you should be afraid to even have that thought. You will miss something you need and want if you are not paying attention. 
OK, now for that next click...

The Wells Fargo (control fraud) Scandal was by Design: 
You (high executive) get paid millions of dollars for certain statistics, like new-credit-card-accounts, so you tell the workers how many they have to create to keep their jobs. 
"That's impossible", becomes, "here they are, may I have more gruel?" 
You get caught.
You fire the thousands of corrupt-pawns, and say you "accept full responsibility". That means you get tens-of-millions of dollars and dressed-down by Senator Warren on TV. 
You never have to go to prison. 
You will do this again as soon as the bad press blows over.

2017 Global Financial/Economic Reset:
Such is the message from two of the world’s leading economic thinktanks, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad). Both their reports on Wednesday were thick with cloud and short on silver lining. Yes, the OECD believes that Brexit Britain will have a slightly easier time this year – but that will be followed by a far choppier 2017. And the Unctad report is even more troubling. The biggest single warning it makes is that the world is on the verge of “entering a third phase of the financial crisis”.

Ambrose Evans Pritchard follows up on that 2017 reset, with a little more flair and detail:
The third leg of the world's intractable depression is yet to come. If trade economists at the United Nations are right, the next traumatic episode may entail the greatest debt jubilee in history. It may also prove to be the definitive crisis of globalized capitalism, the demise of the liberal free-market orthodoxies promoted for almost forty years by the Bretton Woods institutions, the OECD, and the Davos fraternity... The UNCTAD critique - controversial to be sure - is that activist funds have acquired a stranglehold over the corporate management, leading to a culture of share-buybacks and the relentless extraction of profit... Its prescription is radical. The world must jettison neo-liberal ideology, and launch a "global new deal" with a blitz of investment on strategic sectors. It wants a return of the "developmental state", commanding a potent industrial policy, and backed by severe controls on capital flows.  

A fleet of offshore, deep-water drilling rigs is now mothballed-at-anchor, costing $15,000 per day per rig, a huge savings from the $40,000 per day per rig if they are kept running with minimal crews aboard. 
Easy choice? This has never been done before. 
These things cost $500 million each. They have a zillion presets to reset. They might not start up and work right. Who knows? 
This is one specific case of assuming we can go back to business-as-usual, when that business was the apogee of a one time boom in technology, driven by cheap oil. It may all be out of reach at any price, from here forward.

Here is an "October Surprise" story, from London. 
George Soros, the benevolent global multinational financial capitalist string-puller, has embarked on registering 8 million expatriate Americans to vote-against-Trump, not vote-for-Clinton (that would be illegal). 
What if they vote Green, or Libertarian?

In Praise of Community Gardens:
Directly Addressing Economic Fundamentals

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