2018/09/14: This all suggests that, given the scale and speed of change needed on sustainability, many and perhaps most of today’s major old companies, simply won’t get there. Not because they couldn’t in theory, but because they won’t in practice. They have some combination of products, assets, culture and values that means transitioning is simply too difficult, too expensive in the short term or just isn’t going to happen in time. They will instead be replaced by new companies – a process profoundly beneficial to the economy.
If this is right, it calls into question the very foundation of the global movement for corporate sustainability. We need to have that discussion.
2018/09/13: A few years ago, corporate sovereignty -- officially known as "investor-state dispute settlement" (ISDS) -- was an indispensable and important element of trade deals. As a result, it would crop up on Techdirt quite often. But the world is finally moving on, and old-style corporate sovereignty is losing its appeal. As we reported last year, the US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, hinted that the US might not support ISDS in future trade deals, but it was not clear what that might mean in practice. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) site has an interesting article that explores the new contours of corporate sovereignty:
The preliminary trade agreement the U.S. recently reached with Mexico may offer a glimpse of what could happen with NAFTA's Chapter 11 [governing ISDS].
A U.S. official said the two countries wanted ISDS to be "limited" to cases of expropriation, bias against foreign companies or failure to treat all trading partners equally.
2018/09/13: Facebook is a two-billion-strong democratic community and the personal plaything of an unaccountable thirty-something billionaire.
If it comes down to a contest between the membership and the ownership of Facebook, Zuckerberg will probably win, as he gets to set the rules. In the end it is only the regulatory power of the state that can make Facebook safe for democracy.
there were two big risks with turning the state into a giant automaton. The first was that it wouldn’t be powerful enough.
The second was that it would too closely resemble the things it was designed to regulate. In a world of machines, the state might go native. It could become entirely artificial.
This is the original fear of the modern age: not what happens when the machines become too much like us, but what happens if we become too much like machines.
The machines that most frightened Hobbes were corporations.
Many of the things that we fret about when we imagine a future world of AIs are the same worries that have been harboured about corporations for centuries.
In case after case, the Court is expanding the power of corporations and the very wealthy while making it harder for ordinary citizens to fight back.
Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamont Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. "Here we are," the friend who took me there said, "Pay your respects to our new Ruler."
Can ethics be quantified? Or, better yet, can a lack of ethics be quantified?
2014/06/01: The vision of a free-floating digital cryptocurrency economy, divorced from the politics of colossal banks and aggressive governments, is under threat. Take, for example, the purists at Dark Wallet, accusing the Bitcoin Foundation of selling out to the regulators and the likes of the Winklevoss Twins.
Bitcoin sometimes appears akin to an illegal immigrant, trying to decide whether to seek out a rebellious existence in the black-market economy, or whether to don the slick clothes of the Silicon Valley establishment. The latter position – involving publicly accepting regulation and tax whilst privately lobbying against it – is obviously more acceptable and familiar to authorities.
2018/07/22: Of the world’s 100 largest economies, 69 are transnational businesses. How can we control—and ultimately transform them?
Changes in our personal consumption patterns are important, but are ultimately inconsequential compared with the impact of the transnationals that have come to dominate our global economic and political system.
countries and cities compete with each other to beg their corporate overlords for investment dollars, even it means undermining public services and legal protections for their own populations.
Tax stock trades based on the length of the holding period:
- 10% if the stock is held less than a day
- 5% if less than a year
- 3% if less than 10 years
- 1% if less than 20 years
- Zero if more than 20 years
The effects of this single step would be enormous. The financial services industry would be transformed overnight. High frequency stock trading and same-day traders would disappear.
A logistical and privacy headache, a universe of "smart" devices may be a bad idea
When it comes to being poor, geography is destiny. But do we just leave blighted communities to die?
As Becky Hogge notes in her important report on the impact of open data, tracking impact is tricky. By its nature, open data is resistant to traditional impact reporting; in part because we don't know exactly how it is being used, and in part because the value chain is so diffuse. So, Hogge argues, outside
Economists believe in full employment. Americans think that work builds character. But what if jobs aren't working anymore?
Isolated from Europe, Elizabeth I turned to the Islamic world.
The seeds of the modern American progressive movement were arguably first sown over 50 years ago by two events which shook American's trust in their gove...
A respected human-rights expert at the United Nations, Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, has joined the global movement opposing trade treaties like TPP and TTIP. And he has novel and powerful legal arguments. In international law, de Zayas says, there is a hierarchy of agreements, and at the top is the UN Charter: "in case of conflict
Many workers in app-based businesses are being wrongly classified as independent contractors.
In recent years, the giants of Silicon Valley have played an important role in amplifying the call for marriage equality.
And yes, it would be bad if native advertising increases dramatically because everyone has adblockers.
The modern corporation is made up of people, but we have created monsters whose powers now far exceed that which were originally envisioned.
Artificial intelligence is the future, but are computers ready to take a seat at the board?