The Post-Industrial Revolution Challenge

Via Ezra’s linkblog, some excellent observations from Larry Summers:

The twin arguments that globalisation is inevitable and protectionism is counterproductive have the great virtue of being correct, but do not provide much consolation for the losers. Nor can they rally support for policies that maintain, let alone promote, international integration.

Economists rightly emphasise that trade, like other forms of progress, makes everyone richer by enabling them to buy goods at lower prices. But this offers small solace to those who fear their jobs will vanish.

Education is central to any economic strategy, but there is a limit to what it can do for workers in their 40s and beyond. Nor can education be a complete answer at a time when skilled computer programmers in India are paid less than $2,000 a month.

John Kenneth Galbraith was right when he observed:

More from Cuban on YouTube

Whether any of this is true or not, Mark Cuban doesn’t know (nor do I) but it does pass the smell test and is an interesting ‘behind the scenes’ take on the Google-YouTube acquisition:

In the months preceding the sale of YouTube the complaints from copyright owners began to mount at a ferocious pace. Small content owners and big were lodging official takedown notices only to see their works almost immediately reappear. These issues had to be disclosed to the suitors who were sniffing around like Google but Yahoo was deep in the process as well. (News Corp inquired but since Myspace knew they were a big source of Youtube’s traffic they quickly choked on the 9 digit price tag.) While the search giants had serious interest, the suitors kept stumbling over the potential enormous copyright infringement claims that were mounting.


So the parties (including venture capital firm Sequoia Capital) agreed to earmark a portion of the purchase price to pay for settlements and/or hire attorneys to fight claims. Nearly 500 million of the 1.65 billion purchase price is not being disbursed to shareholders but instead held in escrow.

Thios passes my sanity check because it would be utterly irresponsible to not make some kind of provision for future copyright infringement claims against YouTube. Actually, 500 million might even be a low number, depending on how many lawsuits get filed.

The letter Cuban cites, however, goes on to explain how the whole game will be rigged so that the actual artists whose content has beeen reposted will not see any of the revenue the media companies collect from YouTube. That seems a bit more farfeteched to me, but I don’t know the entertainment biz at all, perhaps that is SOP for them.

Who knows, the whole thing could just be sour grapes on Cuban’s part, but it’s still interesting reading.

Sunday Errand Day

I’ve been a little sinus-y and headache-y today, and am hoping that a cold is not on its way. Depite feeling draggy, Scott and I went out to do a couple of errands to complete the winterization of his bike today.

While we were out, we stopped by the local Tower Records, which was festooned with “going out of business” signs. CDs were all 25% off and DVDs 20% off — not the greatest of discounts, but what the heck. We walked out with 4 DVDs and 4 CDs. I probably would have bought more if it weren’t for the sticker shock. Last time I was buying CDs they were generally $16. Just about everything I looked at in the bins was $21.

Tower Records was a big part of my CD buying life before we moved to San Francisco. Living within walking distance of a branch will do that to you. Once we got to SF, I tended to do my buying via Amazon. And by and large that was just fine,. But the thing you lose by not going to a store to do your buying is the serendipity of discovery. Online stores try very hard to come up with good algorythms for “you may also be interested in…” sections on a web page, but it’s not the same by a long shot. Those things are good for reminding you to buy batteries and a travel charger after you pick out a piece of electronics, but not so good for the more random connections that result in your walking out with 3 Star Wars DVDs as well as a copy of “Good Night and Good Luck”.

With Tower going down for the count, there’s even less chance I’ll be doing much of that random browsing in the future. And that’s a shame.

Local music critic Jim Harrington has a similar response to Tower’s immanent demise.

I took some cold meds before I sat down to write this and they seem to be starting to kick in. With any luck I’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the AM.

Signs Of The Approaching Winter

California’s autumns are extremely gentle, but wven out here, there’s signs that the rainly winter season will be around soon ehough:

1) My cuticles are shot to hell (thank you, super-low humidity)
2) Daylight Savings Time is coming to an end this weekend

Today was one of the last commutes I’ll have in daylight for the next several months. One of the things I hate most about winter is the short days. Especially since the auto accident a couple of years ago, driving at night is not high on my list of things I enjoy.

On the plus side, I have a baby shower and a Halloween party to go to this weekend. The gift ias already bought, and I have a costume all set for the party. Yay me!