Samuel Cook defends advertising on the grounds that it: funds; drives culture; creates competition; and influences, rather than manipulates. I have argued at length against each of these apologies for advertising. Funding. Yes, advertising does fund newspapers, online search, social media, and many other useful services. But there are better ways to fund services we […]
Cash is just another input. Concentrations of wealth, concentrations of cash, throw firm surpluses to the wealthy. Deconcentrate wealth, deconcentrate cash, and corporate surpluses will fall more evenly across inputs to the firm.
Education, or perhaps the better word is training, is the most important method of good governance in the unitary state because there is no market or public to discipline administration. Control of the mind is not just about dissent but about performance. Free speech rights undermine the unitary state as an effective organ by making […]
Reasoning by analogy is a staple of legal practice, but entirely illegitimate. Suppose that the legislature prohibits the separation of a product from its trademark. Suppose now that Facebook posts newspaper stories without placing the trademark of the newspaper beside the story. The lawyer might say: “that’s just like selling an iPhone with the name […]
It is not freedom, but coherence, that we seek. I do not mind my role, if you can convince me that it matters.
I’m an engineer by training. I’m a very systems, process, methodical decision maker. He’s an entrepreneur. Different mind-set. Management runs publicly-traded companies like ExxonMobil. Owners run private firms. The former are bureaucracies, the latter, fiefs. The former are a progressive invention, the latter much older. There is managerial capitalism, and then there is finance capitalism. […]
Have you ever paid so much for something that you had to wonder whether it was really worth it? What prices would trigger that feeling for you? $25 for toothpaste? $2,500 for a Broadway ticket? Armies of data analysts are working hard right now to help companies identify and charge those individualized prices to you. […]
Nietzsche said that we feel guilty because we killed God. We feel this same guilt today over the killing of Nature, which gave us our earliest gods. The guilt is expressed in hand-wringing over climate change, the polar bears, meat-eating, and so on. We feel the profoundest self-loathing in the creeping realization that all life […]
An important point that didn’t make it into my opinion article arguing that the FTC should unwind Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is this: Most people don’t buy groceries online today, but eventually they will. That’s why I wrote that Amazon’s website, along with its voice search service, Alexa, constitute an essential marketing platform, required […]
The trouble with governance by markets is that self-interest is highly unreliable. The theory is that a firm’s owner will optimize management of the firm because it is in the financial self-interest of the owner to do so. But here we have Eddie Lampert, owner of Sears, phoning it in to Indiana from his home […]