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Archive for the ‘economics’ category

Aug 30, 2016

Statement by Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Oettinger welcoming guidelines on EU net neutrality rules by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)

Posted by in categories: business, economics, internet, law, transportation

European Commission Vice -President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, and Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, welcome today’s publication of guidelines on EU net neutrality rules by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The publication of these guidelines was foreseen in the Regulation on the first EU-wide net neutrality rules which was agreed by the European Parliament and Council last year (press release) and which has applied in all EU Member States since 30 April 2016. The Commission has worked closely with BEREC on the preparation of the guidelines.

Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Oettinger said:

“Today’s guidelines provide detailed guidance for the consistent application of our net neutrality rules by national regulators across the EU. They do not alter the content of the rules in place which guarantee the freedom of the internet by protecting the right of every European to access internet content, applications and services without unjustified interference or discrimination. Our rules, and today’s guidelines, avoid fragmentation in the single market, create legal certainty for businesses and make it easier for them to work across border. They also ensure that the internet remains an engine for innovation and that advanced technologies and Internet of Things services like connected vehicles as well as 5G applications are developed today, and will flourish in the future. We are pleased with the intensive engagement with stakeholders in the preparation of the guidelines, which contributed to their quality.

Aug 29, 2016

Universal basic income wouldn’t make people lazy–it would change the nature of work

Posted by in categories: economics, employment, government

Americans believe in the importance of a good day’s work. And so it’s understandable that the prospect of a universal basic income (UBI), in which the government would issue checks to cover the basic costs of living, rubs some people the wrong way. Writing in The Week in 2014, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry envisions a UBI dystopia in which “millions of people” are “listing away in socially destructive idleness,” with “the consequences of this lost productivity reverberating throughout the society in lower growth and, probably, lower employment.”

This is a reasonable concern. After all, the most successful anti-poverty programs in the US thus far, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, have been carefully designed to promote work –not enable people to avoid it. But based on the evidence we have so far, there’s little reason to believe that a UBI would lead people to abandon work in droves. And even if some people did indeed opt to give up their day jobs, society might wind up reaping untold rewards from their free time in the long run.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the US and Canada were seriously considering the possibility of instating a UBI. During that time, the US government commissioned a series of experiments across six states to study the effects of guaranteed income, particularly its effects on work. The Canadian government introduced a similar experiment in the town of Dauphin.

Aug 29, 2016

China using Technology over Nature: Weather Modification Office

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, energy, finance, food

China has always been a frontrunner, especially in technological advancements. The country has engaged itself in increasingly audacious and ambitious projects. It is, therefore, no astonishment in calling China, ‘the rising power’.China has established Weather Modification Offices, that enables in manipulating weather using technology. The offices are a network of dedicated units that help in changing the weather throughout China. 55 billion tons of rain is created by China every year, making the country the largest cloud seeder on earth.

China has found the urge to manipulate weather mainly because of the extreme climate it experiences. The region has heavy downpour in rainy season while it suffers from drought in summers. Dust and sand storms are common in springtime. Moreover, given the fact that China has the largest population, it cannot afford to rely on climate. Most importantly, for agriculture. China found the only hope in technology in the manipulating weather for accruing benefits.

Weather modification offices require huge financial resources, human capital and weaponry. It is no wonder that China has spent millions of money on weather modification process. It has spent $150 million on single regional artificial rain program. China has escaped $10.4 billion dollars economic losses by employing weather modification system from 2002 to 2012. Over 35000 people have been employed to carry out this project. About 12000 rocket launchers are being used to fire pellets containing silver iodide into the clouds.

Aug 27, 2016

SpaceX’s biggest rival is developing “space trucks” to ferry cargo in an orbital economy

Posted by in categories: business, economics, Elon Musk, military, space travel

The big kahuna of American rocket companies is the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin that until this year held a monopoly on the lucrative business of launching rockets for the US Air Force.

But that monopoly is no more. The company faces a new era of competition as Elon Musk’s maturing SpaceX aims to fly more space missions in one year than ULA does, and as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin breaks ground on a new factory for orbital rockets.

ULA, for its part, isn’t sitting still. “I came here to transform the company, position it in this new competitive marketplace with all these different players,” says Tony Bruno, who took the CEO job at ULA in August 2014 after a three-decade career in Lockheed’s missile-defense business. In his first full year in charge, ULA returned more than $400 million in operating profits to its two owners, but the company must prepare for when its final no-bid launch contract expires in 2019.

Continue reading “SpaceX’s biggest rival is developing ‘space trucks’ to ferry cargo in an orbital economy” »

Aug 25, 2016

Can Biotech Companies Save The Rhinos?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics

To help stem the tide of rhino poaching, some biotech companies such as Pembient are seeking to develop and manufacture synthetic horns that are biologically identical to the real thing. The thinking behind this is that the availability of bio-identical fake horns at a substantially lower price than wild horns would cause demand to shift towards the synthetic substitutes, which would reduce people’s incentives to poach rhinos.

I have argued previously that—from the perspective of what would be most effective in curbing poaching—the synthetic horns should not be made to be perfect fakes, i.e., bio-identical. Instead, the synthetic horns should be engineered to be (i) difficult to distinguish from wild horns but (ii) undesirable or unappealing in some respect so that buyers would place little value on them. This proposal makes use of a phenomenon in economics known as adverse selection, which occurs when buyers in a market are unable to distinguish between high- and low-quality products, and their lack of information drives down demand—and, hence, prices—enough that high-quality products (which would be wild horns in the context of rhino horns) cease to be supplied by sellers.

For conservationists and others who are concerned about the fate of the rhinos, it is critical to understand why biotech companies would prefer making bio-identical synthetic horns—rather than undesirable fakes—because of the implications this has for conservation policies. Simply put, it would be more profitable to produce and sell perfect fakes rather than synthetic horns that would be considered undesirable. All else being equal, putting out undesirable fakes that buyers cannot distinguish from the real ones, by reducing demand for horns, would lead to lower prices in the horn market compared to the case with bio-identical synthetic horns. This, of course, would generate less revenue for the producers of synthetic horns.

Continue reading “Can Biotech Companies Save The Rhinos?” »

Aug 23, 2016

Alan Watts on Socially Responsible Automation and an Unconditional Basic Income Guarantee

Posted by in category: economics

It’s like he knew what the main problems of work-cultist capitalism and its socially irresponsible job automation were going to be before the whole mess even got started.

This video is a piece selected from watercourseway1’s longer version called “Alan Watts — Money and Guilt” (account since deleted). Closest copy I can see now is:

Continue reading “Alan Watts on Socially Responsible Automation and an Unconditional Basic Income Guarantee” »

Aug 22, 2016

Inside China’s effort to replace millions of manufacturing workers with robots

Posted by in categories: economics, robotics/AI

Can China reboot its manufacturing industry—and the global economy—by replacing millions of workers with machines?

Aug 19, 2016

Is Technology Killing Capitalism?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, habitats, information science, particle physics, robotics/AI

Is Market Capitalism simply an accident of certain factors that came together in the 19th and 20th centuries? Does the innovation of economics require a new economics of innovation? Is the study of economics deeply affected by the incentive structures faced by economists themselves, necessitating a study of the “economics of economics”? In this broad ranging interview INET Senior Economist Pia Malaney sits down with Eric Weinstein — mathematician, economist, Managing Director of Thiel Capital (as well as her co-author and husband) to discuss these and other issues.

Underlying the seismic shifts in the economy in the last ten years, Dr. Weinstein sees not just a temporary recession brought on by a housing crisis, but rather deep and fundamental shifts in the very factors that made market capitalism the driving force of economic growth for the past two centuries. The most profound of these shifts as Dr. Weinstein sees it, is an end to 20th century style capitalism brought about not by a competing ideology, as many had once feared, but instead by changing technology. As production is driven increasingly by bits rather than atoms, he sees the importance of private goods give way to public goods, undermining a basic requirement of market models. In a different line of thinking, as software becomes increasingly sophisticated it takes on the ability to replace humans not only in low level repetitive tasks but also, with the use of deep learning algorithms, in arbitrarily complex repetitive tasks such as medical diagnosis.

Continue reading “Is Technology Killing Capitalism?” »

Aug 13, 2016

The Transhumanist party wants to use technology to solve the world’s problems — meet their presidential candidate

Posted by in categories: economics, geopolitics, transhumanism

A short video from Now This on my campaign. It highlights my interview from the RNC in Cleveland and ideas on Universal Basic Income:

Aug 11, 2016

The gene therapy revolution is coming. Will the US get left behind?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, law

US lawmakers have saddled American biotech with another legal restriction, and scientists are only partially engaging with this looming medical and economic problem.

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