2019-05-25 Digest

| Contributions: Ben Thompson | W. Brian Arthur | Jacob Hacker | David Sloan Wilson | Irwin Corey |

Beacon NY - 2019-05-25 — A busy week. Too busy. But 1 June I am headed to Barcelona and Lisbon for a week and a half, some of which is vacation. I need a recharge.


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Microsoft, Slack, Zoom, and the SaaS Opportunity) | Ben Thompson provides a solid explanation of the dynamics in the enterprise software marketplace, as exemplified by three leading companies.

[from Work Futures Daily - Greed and Flex]


Looking at the World with One Eye Closed | At On The Horizon, I explore the premises of complexity economics, in particular W. Brian Arthur's observation that traditional economics looks closely at allocation in the economy — how quantities of goods and services and the prices are determined in markets. However, traditional economics doesn't really get into formation in the economy. As Arthur says about that side of economics, formation is

How an economy emerges in the first place, and grows and changes structurally over time. This is represented by ideas about innovation, economic development, structural change, and the role of history, institutions, and governance in the economy.

The allocation problem is well understood and highly mathematized, the formation one less well understood and barely mathematized.

Complexity economics looks at structures forming in the economy, so it's just as much concerned with formation as with allocation.

[from Work Futures Daily - Mining The Past]


The Economy Is Strong. So Why Do So Many Americans Still Feel at Risk? | Jacob Hacker picks at the scab that has grown over the central disconnect in American society: the precarious nature of life where employment, health, and retirement are contingent, and the institutions that formerly seemed to support us no longer do, and in their place we are… on our own.

The basic problem is that most of the jobs offered today don’t provide the guarantees that workers once expected. This transformation is obvious in “gig economy” jobs like driving for Uber. But the gig economy is still pretty small; for most Americans, the problem is that their work has been gig-ified. Corporations used to pool major economic risks within their labor forces. They did so because they could — the pressures of financial markets and global competition were less constraining. And they did so because they thought they had to if labor unions were to remain satisfied. Now those risks are mostly on workers alone.

[from Work Futures Daily - Chaotic and Smart]


Untelling the Dominant Economic Story | At On The Horizon I build on writing by David Sloan Wilson, who said

Putting people first has not become the norm in the business world and treating employees as chattel is perversely spreading worldwide like a cancer.

[from Work Futures Daily - Slutbot ]

Quote of the Week

If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re going.

| The comedian Irwin Corey, accepting the the National Book Award in 1974 for Gravity’s Rainbow. Thomas Pynchon sent him to accept in his place.


New posts at On The Horizon: