Gravity-defying CEO pay is not a payment for talent. It’s not looting by the executives, either. It’s the outcome of principal-agent relationship in a market where new technologies combined with regulatory dereliction have created a lot of winner-take-all situations.
The US government has charged Sinovel, one of the largest Chinese wind turbine manufacturers, with stealing trade secrets from one of its US suppliers, alleging the offence amounted to “attempted corporate homicide”.
If we skip over the fact that this brings the personification of the corporation to a new and, well, corporeal level (I’ll leave that matter to Yves Smith), here’s your Rorschach: is Sinovel the hero and AMSC the villain, or vice versa? Continue reading →
Despite Sweden’s reputation for equality, the rioting has exposed a faultline between a well-off majority and a minority, often young people with immigrant backgrounds, who cannot find work, lack education and feel marginalised.
…. The gap between rich and poor in Sweden is growing faster than in any other major nation, according to the OECD, although absolute poverty remains uncommon.
A possibly connected fact: Sweden has become one of the world’s few net exporters of intellectual property – one of the big ones along with the US, UK, and France. Thesis: an economy based on intellectual monopoly is one of the major drivers of inequality of income, and reduced social mobility. Continue reading →
Many westerners have scolded me when I’ve told stories of the obscene amounts of music, movies and software I have pirated. What they fail to understand is that I used this mode of distribution for the lack of any realistic access to an alternative.
“Gold Open Access” – where authors pay to have their papers published, and made freely available on line – is one response to the well documented predatory practices of commercial journal publishers (for discussion of the latter problem, mostly as regards economics journals, see Ted Bergstrom’s website.)
On-line publishing, though, has low entry costs – especially if you don’t do any real peer review, editing, or archiving – and the combination of on-line publishing and gold open access has produced new “publishers”, often with unfeasibly large suites of new journals that look very much alike, and torrents of spam-ish “calls for papers” in academic email inboxes. Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, publishes a list of “Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers” Continue reading →
Here’s the case of a troll that tried to get royalties from all on-line retailers for the Shopping Cart. Actually sued, and for some time won, for a percentage on all sales passing through those carts – that has to be huge money.
Now this particular troll has lost a big case, invalidating its previous big wins. Any guesses how much was consumed in legal bills and related costs for its various lawsuits, before the dust settled?
Software patents have two functions: they allow big businesses (the ones with patent portfolios, and pockets deep enough to retain intellectual property lawyers as needed) to increase their market power at the expense of small operators who lack those resources; and they provide a living for pure rent seeking patent trolls, and of course the IP lawyers on all sides of these disputes. Big business tends not to like the second function of software patents, but values the first. For the rest of us, they’re both dead losses.