Required Reading, Fourth Week of April 2016

Throughout the week, I read a LOT of online articles. What follows are the three I found most interesting:

The Next Conservative Movement,via The Wall Street Journal–The national representatives of the Republican Party seems to have completely lost the plot over the past few years. I liked this article’s summation of the party’s difficulties, as well as the suggestions it gives for bringing Conservatism into the 21st century:

 Liberals treasure the social liberation and growing cultural diversity of the past half-century but lament the economic dislocation, the loss of social solidarity and the rise in inequality. Conservatives celebrate the economic liberalization and dynamism but lament the social instability, moral disorder, cultural breakdown and weakening of fundamental institutions and traditions. Part of Mr. Trump’s appeal has been that he basically laments it all—and thus unites the anxieties of those who see no real upside for themselves in the evolution of modern America.

But a politics of angry lamentation, whatever visceral appeal it may have, cannot look forward. America cannot afford a competition of barren nostalgias. We need a politics that builds on our strengths to address our weaknesses.


The Global Glut of Stored Time ,via The Reformed Broker–this short article, as well as it’s companion piece ‘Abundance’,contains a number of interesting concepts for making sense of the times we live in. The author’s premise is that we live in a time of unparalleled abundance, and that we have too much money and entertainment for our own good. Sounds like a good problem to have, right? The problem is that it’s inefficient, and we have no clue what to do with it all. Also, a new way to think about money:

“People work in order to convert their time into a unit of account,” he said. “We call that money, and it’s an invention that allows us to store time.” Most people have stored little or none. So when they receive money, they quickly purchase necessities; food, shelter, health care. “People who are able to save money inevitably purchase real estate, stocks, bonds – all of which are alternative vehicles for storing time.” One share of Google stores 30 hours of work for the average American, or 30 minutes of copying-and-pasting formation documents for the average hedge fund attorney. “Bill Gates has stored enough time to fund a 1bln person army for 20 years.”


The Best is The Last,via Benedict Evans–I feel Benedict Evans’ insight about innovation, that a technology is at its finest iteration right before it gets superseded by something else, is enlightening. It explains why laptops and PCs are so amazing and cheap even though some would say that technology is passé and on the verge of becoming secondary to mobile,  among other things. This essay uses the examples of airplanes and sailing vessels:

The point of this excursion into tech history is that a technology often produces its best results just when it’s ready to be replaced – it’s the best it’s ever been, but it’s also the best it could ever be. There’s no room for more optimization – the technology has run its course and it’s time for something new, and any further attempts at optimization produce something that doesn’t make much sense.

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