What Are We Fighting For?
It's unusual for any discussion of the economy to continue for long without someone bringing up wages or unemployment rates. We care about jobs. It's evident from our political discourse that we also care about protecting the middle class and sending our youth to college. But how important are these and other issues we feel strongly about?
A Game of Privilege
Our society holds the rich and the poor to different standards. We expect the poor to earn a living. We expect them to work hard and to contribute to society in some measurable way. We consider long-term unemployment among the poor to be a condition that primarily afflicts the lazy. The poor aren't free to abstain from work as the rich are. We indoctrinate poor people with the idea that their hard work will one day be rewarded.
The Intellectual Property Cold War
In my previous post, I discussed how technology was revolutionizing education, but what's happening in education is only a small part of a much larger transformation being brought about by the internet. Never before has humanity enjoyed access to as rich an ecosystem of creative inspiration and collaboration as we have today.
If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
—Sir Isaac Newton
Too Cool For School
I can't help but feel sorry for American college students. Many of these kids have mortgaged away their future by way of student loans that they may never be able to repay. But do they have any other choice? People will pay whatever it takes for the best education possible.
We Can Do Better
Back when I was testing video games, our software pushed the limits of hardware capabilities. The mantra around the office was, "Get the game running first and optimize it later." As a result I spent my time playing choppy slow games. It was a frustrating experience, but we always knew that the inefficient code could improve. Getting the game to run and getting it to run fast were two distinct but overlapping concerns. Both efficiency and effectiveness were important.
One thing that economists and software developers have in common is a love of optimization.
The Technological Economy
I love being a software developer. Once I've performed a task a few times, I can then write some code to perform that task for me. This is fantastic! It allows me to continually focus my mind on new and exciting thoughts. The result is that I'm never bored.
All around the world, people like me are creating software and other technology that takes routine labor out of the hands of human workers. But what are the social and economic implications? The purpose of this blog is to explore that very question.