economics Archive

Internet shutdowns cost the world at least $2.4 billion last year

Deji from Access Now writes, “How much does it cost to shut down the internet? A new report by the Brookings Institution assesses costs during a one year period between 2015-2016 and found immense losses. It’s just a baseline too — and doesn’t even include things like mobile money or lost tax receipts. The real number is likely much higher.” It …

Shadow Regulation: the secret laws that giant corporations cook up in back rooms

The winner-take-all economy has turned virtually every industry into a cartel (four record labels, two cable companies, two phone operating systems, etc) who operate without fear of competition regulation, allowing representatives of a few companies to gather in closed-door meetings to cook up operating agreements that end up having the force of law. For example, the major US ISPs and the major US …

US religion is worth $1.2T/year, more than America's 10 biggest tech companies, combined

The largely tax-free religion industry is one of the biggest in America, worth $1.2 trillion/year, a number that includes religious “healthcare facilities, schools, daycare and charities; media; businesses with faith backgrounds; the kosher and halal food markets; social and philanthropic programmes; and staff and overheads for congregations.” The figure comes from The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical …

Las Vegas: high unionization rates mean smaller wage-gaps for women, especially older women

Las Vegas is one of America’s most unionized cities, and importantly, the unionization rates are especially high in trades dominated by women, such as cocktail servers and hotel cleaners, making Vegas one of the most equal places in America in terms of wage-parity between women and men, and also between young workers and older workers. There’s still room for improvement, but unionized women …

John Oliver on subprime auto-lending and its killswitches

We’ve been following the trade in remote kill-switches for cars sold to subprime borrowers since 2009, and watched in dismay as they got worse and worse: though John Oliver’s report on the billions inflating the subprime auto-lending bubble touches on these, he focuses on the economic factors — sleaze, corruption, moral hazard — driving the tech. It’s a kind of re-run of the …

Scalpers drive Harry Potter play prices from £140 to £8,327

What do you get when you combine fantastic wealth-inequality with winner-take-all entertainment economics and high-speed trading algorithms? The Viagogo marketplace, where botmasters who’ve harvested every available ticket for the new Harry Potter play, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child are auctioning them off to the war-criminals and financiers who’ve colonized London since the Blair years — with Viagogo trousering a healthy £1,772.53 transaction fee …

Monopoly power and the decline of small business: big business vs democracy, growth & equality

In the 15 years between 1997 and 2012: 72,000 small US manufacturers shut down; as did 108,000 local retailers and 13,000 community banks (fully half of America’s complement of small banks!). The number of US startups has dropped by 50% since 1970. These statistics are not the result of the changing times: they’re due to massive, monopolistic corporations stacking the deck against small competitors …

How racist traffic stops criminalize black people, and what to do about it

When Philando Castile was killed by a Minneapolis cop after a traffic stop, we learned that he had been stopped 46 times before and had been fined for driving without a license. Castile isn’t the only black man in America to be subjected to multiple stops, nor to multiple fines — including fines and stops for failing to pay fines, resulting …

Stiglitz quits Panama's official money-laundering panel over internal sabotage

Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has resigned from the Panamanian committee set up to probe the country’s money-laundering industry in the wake of the Panama Papers leak, because the Panamanian government has reneged on its promise to publish the committee’s findings and now says it will keep them secret. “We can only infer that the government is facing pressure from those who are …