No Shortage of Profit: Semiconductor firms and the differential effects of chip shortages

Chris Mouré Note: this is the manuscript version of an article now featured in The Mint Magazine. Few will argue with the claim that shortages are socially harmful. Shortages, by definition, imply a lack of something – not enough stuff to go around. A shortage of food implies hunger; a shortage of electricity implies darkness. […]

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The antitrust case against Prime

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow The starting gun on Big Tech trustbusting was fired in 2017, when Lina Khan, then a law student (now an FTC trustbuster!) published “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” a law-review article showing how Amazon formed a monopoly without legal trouble. https://www.yalelawjournal.org/note/amazons-antitrust-paradox The key was a Reagan-era shift in antitrust policy, based […]

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The Half Life of a Spotify Hit

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. — Hunter S. Thompson meme1 Browse the internet long enough and you’ll eventually run across Hunter S. Thompson’s meme […]

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The habits of Netflix’s users

Originally published at notes on cinema James McMahon Like other streaming services, Netflix does not make its user data public. To date, there are two exceptions to this privacy. Netflix released a large dataset of anonymized user activity when it offered a one million dollar prize for the best AI model that could predict user […]

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How the Sacklers rigged the game

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow Two quotes to ponder as you read “Purdue’s Poison Pill,” Adam Levitin’s forthcoming Texas Law Review paper: “Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen.” (W. Guthrie) “Behind every great fortune there is a great crime.” (H. Balzac) (paraphrase) Some background. Purdue was/is the […]

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The Ritual of Capitalization

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix There’s something mysterious about finance. The symbols are arcane. The math is complex. The practitioners are impressively educated. And the stakes are high. All of this gives finance the veneer of higher truth — as if quants are uncovering a reality not accessible to the […]

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Patent troll IP is more powerful than Apple’s

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow I was 12 years into my Locus Magazine column when I published the piece I’m most proud of, “IP,” from September 2020. It came after an epiphany, one that has profoundly shaped the way I talk and think about the issues I campaign on. https://locusmag.com/2020/09/cory-doctorow-ip/ That revelation was about […]

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Free Speech For Me, Not You

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix They say that Americans love two things: freedom … and guns. The trouble with guns is obvious. The trouble with freedom is more subtle, and boils down to doublespeak. When a good old boy defends his ‘freedom’, there’s a good chance he has a hidden […]

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Capital as Power Essay Prize Winners, 2022

Blair Fix The Review of Capital as Power is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Capital as Power Essay Prize: First Prize: ‘Costly Efficiencies: Healthcare Spending, COVID-19, and the Public/Private Healthcare Debate’, by Chris Mouré. Second Prize: ‘Hype: The Capitalist Degree of Induced Participation’, by Yuri Di Liberto. Chris Mouré’s ‘Costly Efficiencies’ In […]

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The Deep History of Human Inequality

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains. — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1762 In his epic 18th-century treatise Discourse on Inequality, Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that inequality is an ill of civilization, created by private property. If you roll back the clock on civilization, he […]

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Ford patents plutocratic lane-changes

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow In my 2017 novel WALKAWAY, there’s a scene where the protagonists get into a self-driving car owned by a ruthless plutocrat, only to discover that it moves faster than any other vehicle they’ve ever ridden. https://craphound.com/category/walkaway/ The plute explains that he’s done an illegal mod that lets him override […]

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Google’s monopoly rigged the ad market

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow The quest to bring antitrust law to bear against tech companies is finally paying off, but it’s been a long, hard slog. At the vanguard have been two legal scholars: Columbia law’s Lina M Khan linamkhan and Yale’s Dina Srinivasan. The first watershed moment was Khan’s Jan 2017 Yale […]

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Why Are Most Textbooks Still Proprietary?

Originally published at Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Today a rant about textbooks. Every year governments spend billions of dollars on public education, teaching students knowledge that was itself created by publicly funded research. Yet each year, university students must pay anew for this information by purchasing high-priced textbooks. It needn’t be this […]

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