Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Recently in the Economics Category

Conversation with Robleh Ali, former head of the Digital Currencies team at the Bank of England »

A conversation with Robleh Ali, the former head of the the Digital Currencies team at the Bank of England. It was a wide ranging conversation about Bitcoin, economics and the role of central banks and regulators. Audio of the conversation is available on SoundCloud and iTunes....

Conversation with Seth Godin »

Seth Godin has taught me so much about communications, leadership, publishing and life that I thought that it was important to stream my conversation with Seth. As usual, it was a great conversation. Seth is on the Media Lab Advisory Council. I streamed it to Facebook Live and posted the video to YouTube and audio to SoundCloud and iTunes....

The Future of Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence »

The library at the Minerva Priory, Rome, Italy. I recently participated in a meeting of technologists, economists and European philosophers and theologians. Other attendees included Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson, Reid Hoffman, Sam Altman, Father Eric Salobir. One of the interesting things about this particular meeting for me was to have a theological (in this case Christian) perspective to our conversation. Among other things, we discussed artificial intelligence and the future of work. The question about how machines will replace human beings and place many people out of work is well worn but persistently significant. Sam Altman and others have...

Japan and its GDP »

I find that the Japanese, myself included, use the phrase, "Japan is the world's second largest GDP" as some sort of mantra to try to keep Japan relevant in a world that is exceedingly uninterested in Japan. I was talking to Oki Matsumoto, a good friend and the CEO of Monex about this. He told me about a talk he gave at Keio University about the increasing irrelevance of Japan and showed me the following slides which I post with permission. This first slide is the percentage of the world GDP of various countries in 2004 and projected in 2050....

Happiness, compassion and sharing »

I'm reading The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. In it, they suggest that we should focus on pursuing happiness as our goal in life and the we should be careful to make a distinction between happiness and pleasure. Doing crack, drinking alcohol and even enjoying nice weather are mostly pleasures and not real happiness. One of the core elements of happiness, according to the Dalai Lama, is compassion. Cutler describes how many psychologists will argue that man is inherently greedy and that the first thing that babies try to do is look for a...

Off on a longish trip »

Just when I thought I had come home, I'm off on a longish trip again. I'll be going to Switzerland, Germany, Croatia, Macedonia, US and Puerto Rico. Haven't been to Europe in a few month so looking forward to it, but not looking forward to being away from home for so long again. I just offset 300,000 miles of flying with 60 tons of wind energy carbon credits at NativeEnergy. Should last me for a bit. See you on the other side....

Going off grid »

Yesterday, we started planning our veggie garden and started a compost bin. I'm trying to figure out what percentage of my total food intake I can grow at home. We have a relatively large yard by Japanese standards so most of this will be a matter of personal energy. I'm going to start small this year but try to increase my nutritional independence from commercial networks every year. My goal is to be able to cover nearly all of our fertilizer needs through the composting of all of our biodegradable garbage this year. Thinking through the various scenarios, I realized...

The future of credit cards »

Phillip Torrone blogs about the future of credit cards on the MAKE blog featuring yours truly on the World of Warcraft card. ;-) He writes about the interaction of credit cards, real money and virtual game money....

Tip for international living? Forget banks. »

By Thomas Crampton Add international money transfers to my list of activities that are now easier online than in the "real" world. I had always found bank transfers a pain because they generally required a visit to the bank with stacks of forms to fill in. If lucky, my money disappeared for up to eight working days before arriving in the destination bank at a horrible exchange rate. Recently I wrote about my experiences using an online foreign currency exchange service that was easier, cheaper and faster than the bank. Since it is easy to transfer small amounts, I now...

Five-star price fixing in Paris »

By Thomas Crampton Extracts from my article on how the top six Paris hotels were caught fixing prices. Fines ranged from 258,000 euros for the Hotel de Crillon to 55,000 euros for the Hotel Meurice. The Hôtel George V was fined 115,000; the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, E106,000; the Hôtel Ritz, E104,000; and Le Bristol, E81,000. Email featured prominently in the government's case: "I have the pleasure here of sending you our results and await yours," a sales coordinator at the George V, identified only as Madame X, said in an e-mail dated Feb. 2, 2001, sent to counterparts at the...

Business Idea: Arbitrage Between eBays »

By Thomas Crampton A 30-minute business idea in globalizing the many eBay sites around the world. While it may not work for my bathroom sink on sale now in Paris, if you found items that were cheaper in one market than another and the shipping costs were low, you could safely bid in one country's ebay to sell in another. This is something that you could automate for certain objects. The idea was suggested by Mahesh Murthy at the SIME conference in Stockholm last week and I cannot see anything against it. The only hinderance is if eBay started offering...

French Suburbs in Flames »

Posted by thomas crampton After spending several days in the Paris suburbs and filing stories non-stop all day today, a few things struck me. I have written about the first incident that sparked the riots and today's latest news (more violence already starting tonight and plans by French government to use curfew.) The underlying feeling I got from the young people in Clichy-sous-Bois - where the troubles began - is total despair with no way out. Seems there must be CK Prahalad opportunities for these young people to make a fortune - or at least a living - if they...

Home Video Clip of Paris Police Shooting in Suburbs? »

By thomas crampton Here's a home video clip a friend sent that claims to show Paris police shooting in the suburbs. Fairly strong stuff. Disclaimer: I do not know anything further about the site or the clip....

If you can read this: You are rich. »

Posted by thomas crampton Defining the poor is common (The World Bank's one dollar per day level, for example) But who are the rich? If you can read this posting, you are likely rich. Anyone with a university education and an income at or above the lower-middle class level for an OECD country is rich, I would argue. Being rich is more about having time and freedom to make choices about your life than bagfulls of money. Joi's latest posting may suggest a way to measure wealth through a Technorati rating! What is the best metric to define someone as...

Diseases of the Rich »

Posted by thomas crampton My minor hand operation this week highlighted to me how journalism/blogging are literally manual labor. Also, my ability to tell many people about this injury reminds me of how repetitive strain injury/carpal tunnel syndrome only became something of broad public concern when the chattering classes (ie: white collar workers, including journalists) were hit due to their typing on computer keyboards. Throughout the industrial revolution, however, the same problem had afflicted manual laborers who could not bring their problem to a wider audience. (Lately there seem to be fewer complaints about it here at the International Herald...

Sociology of Online Shoppers Worldwide »

Posted by Thomas Crampton Got an early exclusive look at a fascinating survey by ACNielsen about online shopping worldwide. The study of 21,000 web users in 38 countries, to be made public later today, found that online shopping habits vary radically by country. The US is way behind Europe in the amount of online shopping (ranking 11 worldwide), perhaps because mall shopping is so much easier than shopping in a European city. This encourages Europeans to shop online. What people purchase online is very different country-by-country. In South Korea one third of online shoppers purchase nutritional/cosmetic goods, while the global...

Narrowcasting Magazines to Hidden Markets (Divorcees and Gay Parents) »

Posted by Thomas Crampton Inevitable with the narrow-casting of magazines that Germany now has a magazine about divorce. Reminds me of the launch of a magazine in the US for gay parents. (Apologies for this being a Times Select link.) These magazines, Rosenkrieg along with And Baby magazine, show how publishers often miss obvious socioeconomic groups due to prejudices or oversight. Both gay parents and divorcing couples are willing to pay large sums of money for information relating to their situation and there are many advertisers keen to hit those demographics. For years, however, no magazines addressed those issues. Be...

Technorati Live 8 launches »

We just launched the Technorati Live 8 site.Technorati Live 8Technorati has teamed up with Live 8 to bring you the latest conversations about the campaign to Make Poverty History. Read first hand accounts of the concerts and events, and get all the news and opinion from the blogosphere. We've also put together some resources to help you find your way around Live 8 and the blog world: What is Live 8? Which organisations are behind Live 8? Are you new to blogging? Find out what it's all about. Get a Live 8 badge for your blog. Join in the...

We're just monkeys »

Jim Downing @ Smart Mobslike a monkey driving a car This article in Businessweek says that "the study of neuroeconomics may topple the notion of rational decision-making. According to the new science of neuroeconomics, the explanation might lie inside the brains of the negotiators. Not in the prefrontal cortex, where people rationally weigh pros and cons, but deep inside, where powerful emotions arise. Brain scans show that when people feel they're being treated unfairly, a small area called the anterior insula lights up, engendering the same disgust that people get from, say, smelling a skunk. That overwhelms the deliberations of...

Commons-based peer production is not communism »

Adina has a nice essay about why participants in what Benkler calls commons-based peer production are not necessarily communists. If you don't have time to read Benkler's 80 page Coase's Peguin paper, I suggest you read Adina's essay which picks up some important points that you don't get in the abstract....

Google and Iowa Electronic Markets say Bush »

Graph of Bush vs Kerry on Iowa Electronic MarketsIowa Electronic MarketsThe Iowa Electronic Markets are real-money futures markets in which contract payoffs depend on economic and political events such as elections. These markets are operated by faculty at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business as part of our research and teaching mission.Jimbo told me about IEM when I met him in Linz. A paper (PDF) describes the past elections and how the markets have been amazingly good at predicting their outcomes. IEM has a current market quote which is updated every 15 minutes. As of this posting, it...

Brainstorm 2004 - interview with Ashraf Ghani »

Ashraf Ghani is Afghanistan's finance minister. He was interviewed by David Kirkpatrick Here are my notes....

Brainstorm 2004 notes - Bjorn Lomborg »

Bjorn Lomborg What if hospitals only dealt with patients who made the most fuss. That's what it seems like we do with global resource allocation for global problems. Why don't we prioritize? What if we had an extra$ 50Bn to allocate. What would you spend it on? HIV aids? Schools? Climate age? Malnutrition? We need rational basis on our spending. The Copenhagen Consensus was a group of leading economists who got together to try to prioritize based on best information available. What we would do: 1- Prevent HIV - $27Bn will save 29M lives 2- Micronutrients - $13Bn will help...

Brainstorm 2004 notes - Bill Joy »

Bill Joy I think there will be a crisis or catastrophic event that will take our attention away from terror or war and as a positive response may redefine our focus of the century. A global pandemic/epidemic - the positive response: New found respect for natural systems and focus on health. Environmental tip. A phase change with a irreversible climate change - the positive response: Understanding balance with natural systems. Over self-consumption like the oil supply - the positive response: Might help wastefulness and make it a century of efficiency....

Brainstorm 2004 tutorial notes - Rational Executive »

The Agency Costs of Overvalued Equity - Michael C. Jensen Here are my notes. They are rough notes and may be a bit inaccurate or unclear....

Rational ignorance »

LagoRational Ignorance Academic life is ruining the internet for me. An example: Today I read Joi Ito’s wandering entry on money, economics, and physics, and the first thing I thought of doing was to post a bibliography of all of the reading that should have been done before that post was made. And then I realized that posting such a bibliography is the equivalent of shouting at the television. It doesn’t matter what I say about it. The TV (and the internet) can’t really hear me.Lago reacts to an interesting point that I in fact pondered yesterday before posting my...

Lunch, the universe and everything with Seth Lloyd »

John Brockman, literary agent extraordinaire and editor/publisher of Edge introduced me to Seth Lloyd via good old fashioned email. I had lunch with Seth today. Seth is known for his seminal works in the area of quantum computing and is visiting Japan for a year. We talked a bit about Japan, but I jumped at the opportunity to talk to him about some of the loftier things that are puzzling me these days. My first love was physics, but I dropped out when college physics turned out to be more about math than the art of physics. I'm now a...

Breakfast between Global Leaders for Tomorrow, Social Entrepreneurs and Religious Leaders »

This morning, we had a breakfast between the Global Leaders for Tomorrow, Social Entrepreneurs and Religious Leaders. I got a great table with a broad range of people from developing nations, religious leaders, economists, and entrepreneurs. We started out the discussion talking about the nature of money. We talked about how greed and the idea that more money means more happiness is compulsive behavior and the notion that more money makes you more happy may hold true in developing nations, but is not necessarily true in developed nations. We talked about how this notion of more money means more happiness...

The cultural context of money in Japan »

I'm going to reply to some of the comments on the items, but I thought I'd post this thought I had this morning in the context of the discussion about dichotomies and money/privilege. It is interesting to note that 90% of people interviewed in the US think that people around them respect entrepreneurs while only 10% of people interviewed felt the same way about entrepreneurs. The culture of the US was build during a primarily industrial revolution oriented social backdrop. Japan, however, built a great deal of its culture during the backdrop of an agrarian society. The traditional caste system...

Can computers help reverse falling employment? »

Andy Oram just posted an interesting article on the O'Reilly Weblog.Andy OramCan computers help reverse falling employment?Information technologies are implicated in a worldwide and world-historic crisis: falling employment.[...]Each labor-saving device means the idling of thousands of people, wasting their years of experience, rigorous training, and practical insights. [...]Anyone who writes programs or plans system deployment should start thinking, "What can I do to bring average people back into the process of wealth creation?"This has sparked an interesting discussion over on Slashdot.My personal opinion is that short term quarter-by-quarter capitalism can't possibly think long term enough to deal with many of the larger social issues. I don't think it's just about creating jobs. I think issues such as the environment, poverty, privacy, even computer architectures defy short term profits/gains thinking sometimes. I think it's a good idea for computer professionals to be socially responsible and think long term whenever possible. (See CPSR and EFF).I think the idea of creating jobs directly by writing software for small businesses is a bit complex. I think that "good jobs" come from innovation and new industries. Many old industries such as the restaurant business are rather zero-sum. I think that increasing the public domain and the commons (spectrum, computer software, creative content...) is the best way to allow people to innovate and be entrepreneurial without being shackled in the well-funded proprietary world. I think that focusing on creating and sharing intellectual wealth in the commons is the best way to create jobs.

Jobs and the strength of weak ties »

M. S. Granovetter .The strength of weak ties : A network theory revisited. In Sociological Theory (1), 1983. is an important paper for understanding social software. Unfortunately, it's an academic paper and therefore NOT ONLINE. (I'll rant about that later). In the paper, Granovetter describes strong ties and weak ties. Strong ties are your family, friends and other people you have strong bonds to. Weak ties are relationships that transcend local relationship boundaries both socially and geographically. He writes about the importance of weak ties in the flow of information and does a study of job hunting and shows that jobs are more often found through weak ties than through strong ties. This obviously overlaps with the whole 6 degrees thing. I do believe there are some "nodes" but think that it is much more complex than a simple power law with a few number of local maximums.After reading Shannon "Pet Rock Star" Campbell's piece on her quest for a job at a temp agency and the "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" page, I decided to look at all of "this stuff" from the perspective of jobs.I was recently at an advisory board meeting for a trade school. We had just done a survey of employers asking for what they their primary criteria for choosing new employees was and it was overwhelmingly about execution and character and very little about skills. Skills, they said, could be taught later. I believe that "character" in the context of a job is your self-esteem and your passion for what you are doing.What I would like to assert is that social software can help people with their self-esteem and can also help you find others who can find your assets and interests more valuable and place people in jobs where one can have "character". I wrote about this self-esteem thing earlier and in a trackback on that item, you can find a link to "Exhibit A". Boris writes first hand about the development of his self-esteem through blogs and IRC.Shannon is a really interesting "case" for me. She is witty, has great character, is a brilliant musician, is a poster-child for the Creative Commons (I first heard of her when Larry Lessig was raving on about her over lunch), and she's worried about her interview at a temp agency in South Carolina. Something's wrong here. I know several other people on my IRC channel who are looking for jobs where they are surrounded geographically by people who don't understand or are unable to "leverage" the assets of that individual.What I can see emerging is a way to amplify the strength of weak ties. (I knew this before, but it's becoming more crisp to me now.) IRC allows me to see the style and personality of many of the people online. Blogs help me see what their interests are and focus is. LinkedIn provides a professional context for referrals. I think that supporting the process of developing your assets and character and finding a job that best suits you will be one of the single most important benefits of social software. I know I've been ranting about Emergent Democracy and about level 2 and 3 in Maslow's hierarchy of Needs, but I just realized that social software may be most important in addressing level 1, finding the job that brings home the bacon. I know this is stupid of me and everyone is saying "doh" right now, but this, to me, is a big "ah ha".I recently hired two people who were IRC regulars. I felt very comfortable after "getting to know them" over the last few months on IRC. Of course face to face meetings and interviews were essential, but the time spent with them on IRC really added to my ability to judge their character. I realize now that I am actively recruiting from my network of weak ties on the Net and also using the Net to meet interesting people to connect with others who might be good collaborators for those interesting people. The Net has always been a big part of my arsenal of networking tools, but I think it's reaching a whole new level.

Philip Greenspun's theory of why US stocks are going up »

Philip Greenspun blogs about the idea that stocks are going up in the US because more and more public domain is moving into the hands of large corporations. He gives the example of Disney being the beneficiary of the the copyright extension and the restriction on flying thru the airspace over Disneyland.Thanks to rvr and bluehaze on #joiito.

The Nature of the Firm - R.H.Coase - Notes »

Coase comes up with a definition of the "firm" as an organization that defines employer and employee, master and servant which satisfies the "plain man's" definition of the firm....

Miscellaneous Thoughts on the Evolution of Markets »

I just talked to my sister Mimi. She is interested in thinking about the commodification of culture. It is kind of interesting because another way of saying what I am theorizing is the culturalification of economy, which is the same phenomenon, but from the opposite perspective as usual....
Whiplash by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe
Freesouls by Joi Ito

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