Nov 072011
 

Here is a puzzle from economist Paul Romer for you to consider: I’ll claim that there’s a recipe out there that you could use to just assemble carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms, and that if you just use the right recipe to put them together, it will make a factory that will be smaller than

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Oct 222011
 

My recent Atlantic review of Yochai Benkler’s new book on cooperation and selfishness is heavy on the assumption that evidence of our lack of selfishness poses a real problem for standard free-market models of human behavior. And it surely does. A couple bits from the review: The Penguin and the Leviathan seeks to dismantle the

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Sep 082011
 

Futurist Douglas Rushkoff has a column at CNN called Are Jobs Obsolete that’s worth a read. I want to endorse it as a thought exercise, which I believe is his main point. So much of our jobs debate occurs in this very narrow frame boxed in by the specific and path-dependent way that we currently

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Feb 062011
 

Last year The Atlantic Wire ran a terrific series in which it asked various thinkers and bloggers to write up a description of “What I Read.” From Clay Shirky to David Brooks, every response was interesting in its own way. Go read them all. I’ve been meaning for a while to write my own answer,

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Dec 222010
 

I’ve held off posting anything about Wikileaks, as the subject’s complexity is a little daunting.  I still don’t have any polished thoughts, but I’ll offer a few unpolished ones alongside some reading recommendations: If you haven’t been following this story, check out The Beginner’s Guide to Wikileaks at The Atlantic. One of the basic aspects

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Dec 162010
 
Markets and Networks

Several weeks ago Steven Johnson took to the op-ed page of The New York Times to defend his excellent new book on innovation and to declare “I am not a Communist.”  The question of possible communist sympathies was raised, apparently, on a book tour, in reference to his support of what he dubs “fourth quadrant”

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Jun 012010
 

I’m reading Tyler Cowen’s book Create Your Own Economy and I’ll be posting thoughts and snippets as I go.  Here’s Cowen on the new cultural literacy: What cultural literacy means today is not whether you can “read” all the symbols in a Rubens painting but whether you can operate an iPhone and other web-related technologies. 

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