Tag Archives: economics - Page 2

Is I.T. a utility?

The power companies are starting to enable homes to act as power sources as well as consumers. People can sell back any surplus. In the UK, about ⅓ of the power generated is lost during the distribution. The UK consumed[1] 647 Terawatts (1012) in 2013. This implies that 219 Terawatts are generated and lost p.a. with a market value[2] of £20bn. The loss is dependent on the distance travelled and so one policy response would be to build community micro- or meso-generators. On the whole older power stations are

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Watching Game of Thrones (again)

Yup, I am! Artistically, now I know what happens, I can concentrate on relevant harbingers since we know what they are. There’s quite a few, I was obviously concentrating on the wrong plot points the first time through.  If I was really concerned, I could probably organise my life better; I deleted my older copies of the show from my skybox and so short of buying the box set, £32 for S1-3 I am stuck waiting for them to show repeats and so I took the opportunity over Xmas. Great show but the opportunity to whinge about Sky & HBO’s monetisation strategies is too great.

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monopoly in film

On the 27th Sept, Torrentfeak comments on an MPAA funded report on film distribution in the USA.  It highlights the oddity that the most used service (Netflix) has the weakest catalogue. Later in the year, the researcher, KPMG LLP published a report on the UK market, which Torrentfreak commented on here…. The headline was that a film fan wanting the best catalogue would need to subscribe to 27 services, which seems a bit excessive.

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Three Laws, Doctorow at orgcon14

Orgcon14 was opened by its keynote speaker, Correy Doctrow, one of the UK’s leading digital liberty campaigners. This presentation was a bit of a reprise although he concludes by addressing recent developments in the politics of surveillance in the UK.

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Value, Solidarity and Exchange

A couple of thoughts provoked by my trip to Labour Party Conference, one on the value of copyright, one on solidarity and one on the unfinished Hargreaves Review reform, the establishment of a digital exchange.

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Commoditisation killed Sun Microsystems

Eric Raymond,  wrote a short article on his blog, “Commoditization, not open source, killed Sun Microsystems”, which I commented on. This blog article says a little bit more than I felt I had room for on someone else’s blog, and I probably abused his hospitality there. I have thought long and hard about this, because I worked there and thought it i.e. the company was worth saving. Here’s what I said on Eric’s blog, and a bit more.  I start by saying that the first thing about Sun’s failure is that it all depends on where you want to start; Sun’s failure was baked in long before the 2000 fall from profit.

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Say No to TTIP

So off to a meeting on TTIP, chaired by Larry Elliot, one of Britain’s foremost economic journalists introducing a panel consisting of Polly Jones of the WDM, Judith Kirton-Darling, one of Labour’s new MEPs and a member of the EP Trade Committee, Dave Prentiss, (UNISON) , Gary Smith (GMB) and one of the national officers from the University & Colleges Union who was standing in for their General Secretary, Sally Hunt. (Was it Greg Barnett?). The meeting was kicked off by Polly Jones of the WDM.

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Booze & Borrowing

Had a swift pint in the Nag’s Head, and the TV reported Ed Ball’s speech, in which he promised no more borrowing. Just have to wonder where the Bloomberg man has gone. Though Cowards Flinch reported it here, however, Jon Lansman, I think is more accurate in this article. When writing my thoughts about the NPF I withheld much of what I thought the impact on the Party would be but this speech is the natural corollary of the victory of Labour’s “Right Keynesians”. I think we all know if the National Policy Forum, the Conference or the Party were to vote, this isn’t what we would decide. The leadership, or parts of it are still triangulating, and don’t realise that the deficit does not matter as much as jobs and wages, which are more important. People need hope, and we can’t undo the damage the Tories are doing without growth. My fear is it’s too late to change the politics of the election.

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Song, Stage, Subsidy and Copyright (of course)

I walked down to the People’s Museum where Unions 21 were hosting a series of meetings, the one I was planning to attend was about policy for the encouragement of SMEs in the creative industries and had been convened by the entertainment unions, the Musicians Union, Equity and BECTU, (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union) each represented by their General Secretaries. The meeting was opened by Helen Goodman, Labour’s shadow spokesperson on Culture Media and Sport.She opened with the mandatory eulogy to the attendees, that we have the most successful creative industry in the world.

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Daten Kraken

The EU’s anti-monopoly probe into Google is explored in an article in the Guardian. The Commission have decided to re-open it. The enquiry has been focused on search, but been given greater relevance by the consumer move to phones. Unlike Microsoft in the last century, Google have engaged with the Commission while defending their business model, which is to build queries that users want. The allegation is that they prefer their own property to that of others. The Commission was about to publish a settlement but Google’s competitors, including Microsoft and the French & German governments objected.

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TTIP is forever

While the secrecy, harmonisation and the inclusion of investor state dispute resolution are bad enough aspects of TTIP, it seems this is another ‘Living Agreement’. Not only will the courts that interpret these agreements be beyond public accountability, any amendments to the treaty and agreements will be so too. I found this out at the meeting called by the Open Rights Group where Nick Dearden of the World Development Movement came to speak.

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Nails in the coffin

Investor State Dispute Resolution, the EU & TTIP

I have just submitted a short comment opposing the inclusion of Investor State Dispute Resolution (ISDR) clauses in the EU’s negotiating position on TTIP, and urge you to join me. I used this web site, at sumofus.org. While their tag line, “Fighting for people before profits” is reminiscent of Lewisham’s rag bag of careerists and trots, both ISDR and all the non-tariff extensions to TTIP should be opposed and the concept of putting people before profit is equally laudable.

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Stack Ranking

Many company’s, particularly US owned, staff evaluation schemes are based on ranking their staff, and additionally rewarding the top 20% and firing the bottom 10%. (This idea comes from the US, probably from GE; firing people because they are not as good as someone else is illegal in the UK and much of Europe.) Basically it is not about continuous improvement, it’s based on a world view that thinks people are lazy and need fear to make them work hard. Fear of not getting a bonus, or fear of dismissal. This cynicism and hate will never build a successful firm.

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