CEOs: agents in turbulent monopoly markets

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.

More of that, and a few links, below. But first, what prompts this Continue reading

Copying trade secrets and catching up

From Ed Crooks in The Financial Times (register to get past paywall)

US charges Sinovel with trade secret theft

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

Riots, growing inequality, in …. Sweden?

The Guardian reports that

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

Piracy as opportunity

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.

– Bozhan Chipev, “Piracy was my shot at equality

Dodgy journals go for gold

“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 publishersContinue reading