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Opinion | Abolish Billionaires - The New York Times
By Farhad Manjoo
Opinion Columnist

Feb. 6, 2019

A radical idea is gaining adherents on the left. It’s the perfect way to blunt tech-driven inequality.
Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez  Anand_Giridharadas  artificial_intelligence  capital_acumulation  digital_economy  Farhad_Manjoo  income_distribution  income_inequality  moguls  network_effects  rhetoric  software  superstars  winner-take-all 
10 days ago by jerryking
The Rise of Global, Superstar Firms, Sectors and Cities - CIO Journal.
Jan 18, 2019 | WSJ | By Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

Scale increases a platform’s value. The more products or services a platform offers, the more consumers it will attract, helping it then attract more offerings, which in turn brings in more consumers, which then makes the platform even more valuable. Moreover, the larger the network, the more data available to customize offerings and better match supply and demand, further increasing the platform’s value. The result is that a small number of companies have become category kings dominating the rest of their competitors in their particular markets.

Network dynamics also apply to metropolitan areas. For the past few decades, the demands for high-skill jobs have significantly expanded, with the earnings of the college educated workers needed to fill such jobs rising steadily. Talent has become the linchpin asset of the knowledge economy, making capital highly dependent on talented experts to navigate our increasingly complex business environment.

“Just as the economy confers disproportionate rewards to superstar talent, superstar cities… similarly tower above the rest,” wrote urban studies professor and author Richard Florida. “They are not just the places where the most ambitious and most talented people want to be - they are where such people feel they need to be.”
cities  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger  platforms  start_ups  superstars  talent  winner-take-all  clusters  geographic_concentration  hyper-concentrations  Richard_Florida  knowledge_economy 
24 days ago by jerryking
Where You Should Move to Make the Most Money: America’s Superstar Cities - WSJ
By Christopher Mims
Dec. 15, 2018 12:00 a.m. ET
Technology is creating an economy in which superstar employees work for superstar firms that gather them into superstar cities, leading to a stark geographic concentration of wealth unlike any seen in the past century.

The latest example of this is Apple announcing this past week a billion-dollar investment in a new campus that could ultimately accommodate up to 15,000 employees in a city already red hot with talent (Austin, Texas).....When economists talk about “superstar” anything, they’re referencing a phenomenon first described in the early 1980s. It began as the product of mass media and was put into overdrive by the internet. In an age when the reach of everything we make is greater than ever, members of an elite class of bankers, chief executives, programmers, Instagram influencers and just about anyone with in-demand technical skills have seen their incomes grow far faster than those of the middle class.

In this winner-take-all economy, the superstar firms—think Apple, Google and Amazon, but also their increasingly high-tech equivalents in finance, health care and every other industry—appear to account for most of the divergence in productivity and profits between companies in the U.S.

As firms cluster around talent, and talent is in turn drawn to those firms, the result is a self-reinforcing trend toward ever-richer, ever-costlier metro areas that are economically dominant over the rest of the country.
Christopher_Mims  cities  clusters  geographic_concentration  geographic_inequality  hyper-concentrations  start_ups  superstars  winner-take-all  disproportionality  digitalization 
9 weeks ago by jerryking
Why Jeff Bezos Should Push for Nobody to Get as Rich as Jeff Bezos
Sept. 19, 2018 | The New York Times | By Farhad Manjoo.

Why does Jeff Bezos have so much money in the first place? What does his fortune tell us about the economic structure and impact of the tech industry, the engine behind his billions? And, most important, what responsibility comes with his wealth — and is it any business of ours what he does with it?.........Bezos’ extreme wealth is not only a product of his own ingenuity. It is also a function of several grand forces shaping the global economy...the unequal impact of digital technology..... direct economic benefits have accrued to a small number of superstar companies and their largest shareholders.....the most important thing Bezos can do with his money is to become a traitor to his class,” said Anand Giridharadas, author of a new book, “Winners Take All.”.....Giridharadas argues that the efforts of the super-wealthy to change the world through philanthropy are often a distraction from the planet’s actual problems. To truly fix the world, Mr. Bezos ought to push for policy changes that would create a more equal distribution of the winnings ......there are fans of Amazon who will dispute the notion that Bezos’ wealth represents a problem or a responsibility....He acquired his wealth legally and in the most quintessentially American way: He had a wacky idea, took a stab at it, stuck with it through thick and thin, and, through patient, deliberate, farsighted risk-taking,.......Tech-powered businesses are often driven by an economic concept known as network effects, in which the very popularity of a service sparks even greater popularity. Amazon, for instance, keeps attracting more third-party businesses to sell goods in its store — which in turn makes it a better store for customers, which attracts more suppliers, improving the customer experience, and so on in an endless virtuous cycle........Mr. Bezos’ most attractive quality, as a businessman, is his capacity for patience and surprise. “This is guy who was willing to buck what everyone else thought for so long,” Mr. Giridharadas said. “If he brings that same irreverence to the question of how to give, he has the potential to interrogate himself about why it is that we need so many billionaires to save us in the first place
Amazon  Anand_Giridharadas  books  economic_policy  economies_of_scale  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Farhad_Manjoo  Jeff_Bezos  third-party  high_net_worth  moguls  network_effects  philanthropy  superstars  virtuous_cycles  winner-take-all 
september 2018 by jerryking
The dawn of the superstar lawyer
April 9, 2018 | Financial TImes | James Fontanella-Khan, Sujeet Indap in New York and Barney Thompson in London YESTERDAY Print this page140
law_firms  Big_Law  law  lawyers  compensation  winner-take-all  superstars  eat_what_you_kill  organizational_culture 
april 2018 by jerryking
China Started the Trade War, Not Trump
March 23, 2018 | WSJ | By Greg Ip.

Even free traders and internationalists agree China’s predatory trade practices—which include forcing U.S. business to transfer valuable technology to Chinese firms and restricting access to Chinese markets—are undermining both its partners and the trading system....starting in the 1980s, economists recognized that comparative advantage couldn’t explain success in many industries such as commercial jetliners, microprocessors and software. These industries are difficult for competitors to enter because of steep costs for research and development, previously established technical standards, increasing returns to scale (costs drop the more you sell), and network effects (the more customers use the product, the more valuable it becomes).......In such industries, a handful of firms may reap the lion’s share of the wages and profits (what economists call rents), at the expense of others. China’s efforts are aimed at achieving such dominance in many of these industries by 2025.
trade_wars  Greg_Ip  Donald_Trump  China  China_rising  U.S.-China_relations  tariffs  comparative_advantage  predatory_practices  network_effects  increasing_returns_to_scale  winner-take-all  WTO  protectionism  myths 
march 2018 by jerryking
Start Spreading the News: Digital Fuels Superstar Cities - CIO Journal. WSJ
Dec 29, 2017 | WSJ | By Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

Superstar companies are primarily driven by economies of scale, generally achieved through platforms and network effects. Whenever a product, service or process is captured in software and digitized, it becomes digital capital and the economics of abundance take over. The more products or services a platform offers, the more users it will attract, helping it then attract more offerings from ecosystem partners, which in turn brings in more users.....The result is that a small number of companies become category kings dominating the rest of their competitors in their particular market – the Facebooks, Googles, Twitters, Ubers and AirBnbs. Category kings generally take over 70 percent of the total market value in their category, leaving everyone else to split the remaining 30 percent.

“Cities have been caught up in this winner-take-all phenomenon, too,” noted Mr. Florida. “Just as the economy confers disproportionate rewards to superstar talent, superstar cities… similarly tower above the rest. They generate the greatest levels of innovation, control and attract the largest shares of global capital and investment.”

Network dynamics apply to cities just as they do for companies and talent. “They have unique kinds of economies that are based around the most innovative and highest value-added industries, particularly finance, media, entertainment and tech; businesses in superstar cities are formed and scaled up more quickly. All of this attracts still more industries and more talent. It’s a powerful, ongoing feedback loop that compounds the advantages of these cities over time.”

But, such a concentration of talent, wealth and economic activity in fewer and fewer places has led to what a recent Economist issue called the changing economies of geography, the rising inequalities between a relatively small number of superstar cities and the many towns and regions that have been left behind by technology and globalization.
Irving_Wladawsky-Berger  cities  winner-take-all  platforms  superstars  network_effects  disproportionality  geographic_concentration  geographic_inequality  feedback_loops  compounded  increasing_returns_to_scale  digitalization 
january 2018 by jerryking
In a Superstar Economy, a Bull Market in Superstar Harassers
OCT. 31, 2017 | The New York Times | By NOAM SCHEIBER.

In the recent wave of reports of workplace sexual harassment, a recurring theme stands out: the willingness of companies’ supposed overseers to ignore credible allegations in order to retain a perceived star.....in a report on sexual harassment last year, gave those who benefit from it a name: “superstar” harassers. “When the superstar misbehaves, employers may perceive themselves in a quandary,” the report said. “They may be tempted to ignore the misconduct because, the thinking goes, losing the superstar would be too costly.”

Superstar harassers account for a fraction of the harassment allegations in the workplace, but these individuals can have considerable impact. Superstars are able to evade the consequences of their actions for years, and they exert outsize influence over their organizations.........The growth of a superstar economy is reflected in a greater concentration of money and power among those at the top. A generation or two ago, a top worker who was slightly better than his or her peers tended to receive a moderate premium in earnings. Today, with companies operating on a more sweeping scale, that premium is much higher. Top performers only slightly better than their peers tend to make vastly more money.

“It’s really taken off in the last two decades,” Professor Katz of Harvard said. “You see it in broad measures of income, and even in the raw data — the hedge fund manager, finance people, C.E.O. data, top academics, top lawyers.”

In effect, the rest of the economy is becoming more like Hollywood, where a small group of stars have long reaped a huge portion of the rewards. That means more bosses and boards may soon face decisions about whether to stand up to harassers or to overlook their behavior.
sexual_harassment  winner-take-all  superstars  overachievers  workplaces  Hollywood  high-achieving 
october 2017 by jerryking
Is the U.S. Aggregate Production Function Cobb-Douglas? New Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution∗
world-wide: http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~duffy/papers/jeg2.pdf
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/is-the-us-labour-share-as-constant-as-we-thought
https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2015/paper_844.pdf
We find that IPP capital entirely explains the observed decline of the US labor share, which otherwise is secularly constant over the past 65 years for structures and equipment capital. The labor share decline simply reflects the fact that the US economy is undergoing a transition toward a larger IPP sector.
https://ideas.repec.org/p/red/sed015/844.html
http://www.robertdkirkby.com/blog/2015/summary-of-piketty-i/
https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles/deciphering-the-fall-and-rise-in-the-net-capital-share/
The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23396
The Decline of the U.S. Labor Share: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2013b_elsby_labor_share.pdf
Table 2 has industry disaggregation
Estimating the U.S. labor share: https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2017/article/estimating-the-us-labor-share.htm

Why Workers Are Losing to Capitalists: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-09-20/why-workers-are-losing-to-capitalists
Automation and offshoring may be conspiring to reduce labor's share of income.
pdf  study  economics  growth-econ  econometrics  usa  data  empirical  analysis  labor  capital  econ-productivity  manifolds  magnitude  multi  world  🎩  piketty  econotariat  compensation  inequality  winner-take-all  org:ngo  org:davos  flexibility  distribution  stylized-facts  regularizer  hmm  history  mostly-modern  property-rights  arrows  invariance  industrial-org  trends  wonkish  roots  synthesis  market-power  efficiency  variance-components  business  database  org:gov  article  model-class  models  automation  nationalism-globalism  trade  news  org:mag  org:biz  org:bv  noahpinion  explanation  summary  methodology  density  polarization  map-territory  input-output 
july 2017 by nhaliday
The Amazon-Walmart Showdown That Explains the Modern Economy - The New York Times
Neil Irwin @Neil_Irwin JUNE 16, 2017

The decision by Amazon and Walmart to compete for my grocery business — as well as for space in my closet — is a tiny battle in a war to dominate a changing global economy.

And for companies that can’t compete on price and technology, it could cost them the shirt off their backs.....[Amazon's purchase of high-end grocery chain Whole Foods places it] on a collision course with Walmart to try to be the predominant seller of pretty much everything you buy.

Each one is trying to become more like the other — Walmart by investing heavily in its technology, Amazon by opening physical bookstores and now buying physical supermarkets. But this is more than a battle between two business titans. Their rivalry sheds light on the shifting economics of nearly every major industry, replete with winner-take-all effects and huge advantages that accrue to the biggest and best-run organizations, to the detriment of upstarts and second-fiddle players.....in turn...this has more worrying implications for jobs, wages and inequality.

Amazon vs. Walmart

Both want to sell everything!!!!

Walmart is buying Bonobos, an omnichannel innovator. Its website and online customer service are excellent, and it operates stores in major cities where you can try on garments and order items to be shipped directly. Because all the actual inventory is centralized, the stores themselves can occupy minimal square footage. The acquisition helps Walmart build expertise in the very areas where it is trying to gain on Amazon.

Walmart and Amazon have had their sights on each other for years, each aiming to be the dominant seller of goods via omnichannel.

Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods helps it to understand the grocery business which has a whole different set of challenges from the types of goods that Amazon has specialized in heretofore.

A Positive Returns-to-Scale World
The apparel business has long been a highly competitive industry in which countless players could find a niche.....any shirt-maker that tried to get too big rapidly faced diminishing returns.It would have to pay more and more to lease the real estate for far-flung stores, and would have to outbid competitors to hire all the experienced shirt-makers. The expansion wouldn’t offer any meaningful cost savings and would entail a lot more headaches trying to manage it all....in the digital economy, rather than reflecting those diminishing returns to scale, show positive returns to scale: The biggest companies have a huge advantage over smaller players. That tends to tilt markets toward a handful of players or even a monopoly....The apparel industry...is moving in the direction of being like the software business (high fixed costs, zero variable costs, enormous returns to scale)..... the reason why Walmart and Amazon are so eager get into the shirt business is because retailers know that they need to figure out how to manage sophisticated supply chains connecting Southeast Asia with stores in big American cities so that they rarely run out of product. They need mobile apps and websites that offer a seamless user experience so that nothing stands between a would-be purchaser and an order....Larger companies that are good at supply chain management and technology can spread those more-or-less fixed costs around more total sales, enabling them to keep prices lower than a niche player and entrench their advantage....large companies will invest in automation/robotics...the future of clothing/apparel might be a handful of companies with the very expensive shirt-making robots---and everyone else shut out in the cold.

What It Means for the Economy

A relative few winners are taking a disproportionate share of business in a wide range of industries....in turn may help explain why the income gap has widened in recent years. How much on income inequality is driven by shifting technology — as opposed to changing corporate behavior, or loose antitrust policy — is an open debate.
increasing_returns_to_scale  winner-take-all  fixed_costs  variable_costs  Amazon  Wal-Mart  Whole_Foods  retailers  economics  Bonobos  shirts  mens'_clothing  omnichannel  apparel  digital_economy  automation  robotics  competitive_landscape  market_concentration  barbell_effect  income_inequality  antitrust  market_power  corporate_concentration  grocery  fresh_produce  supermarkets  large_companies  UX  inventory-free  global_economy 
june 2017 by jerryking
Yale Law Journal - Amazon's Antitrust Paradox
This Note argues that the current framework in antitrust—specifically its pegging competition to “consumer welfare,” defined as short-term price effects—is unequipped to capture the architecture of market power in the modern economy. We cannot cognize the potential harms to competition posed by Amazon’s dominance if we measure competition primarily through price and output. Specifically, current doctrine underappreciates the risk of predatory pricing and how integration across distinct business lines may prove anticompetitive. These concerns are heightened in the context of online platforms for two reasons. First, the economics of platform markets create incentives for a company to pursue growth over profits, a strategy that investors have rewarded. Under these conditions, predatory pricing becomes highly rational—even as existing doctrine treats it as irrational and therefore implausible. Second, because online platforms serve as critical intermediaries, integrating across business lines positions these platforms to control the essential infrastructure on which their rivals depend. This dual role also enables a platform to exploit information collected on companies using its services to undermine them as competitors.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/06/why-amazon-bought-whole-foods/530652/
https://gnxp.nofe.me/2017/06/17/the-distribution-channel-comes-to-you/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2017/06/18/amazon-whole-foods-deal-is-bad-news-for-store-cashiers-and-the-fight-for-15-minimum-wage/
Amazon Must Be Stopped: https://newrepublic.com/article/119769/amazons-monopoly-must-be-broken-radical-plan-tech-giant

Amazon Will Go To Denver: https://gnxp.nofe.me/2017/09/10/amazon-will-go-to-denver/
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/09/upshot/where-should-amazon-new-headquarters-be.html
http://www.paddypower.com/bet?action=go_event&category=SPECIALS&ev_class_id=45&ev_type_id=22711&ev_id=13023353&force_racing_css=&ev_desc=Where%20will%20Amazon%20build%20their%20Second%20Headquarters?
https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/this-city-hall-brought-to-you-by-amazon/
Real things cities are offering to get Amazon HQ2
*Chicago: Let Amazon keep employees' income tax
*SoCal: Give away $100M in land
*Boston: City employees working just for Amazon
*Fresno: Let Amazon decide how to spend tax dollars

https://www.wsj.com/articles/rules-of-engagement-how-cities-are-courting-amazons-new-headquarters-1522661401
Washington, D.C., might have a leg up, having already hosted Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos for visits when he considered acquiring the Washington Post, which he now owns. Mr. Bezos also purchased the former Textile Museum in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood for $23 million in 2016 and is currently turning it into a private residence.

28-year-old makes millions buying from Walmart, selling on Amazon: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/28-year-old-makes-millions-buying-from-walmart-selling-on-amazon/ar-AAupB8i

https://twitter.com/DKThomp/status/954028684788273153
https://twitter.com/hyperplanes/status/954020562262781952
https://archive.is/uNk1p
https://archive.is/phiTA
Thread: Why Amazon’s HQ2 is going to Fairfax County

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-01-19/amazon-is-sure-acting-like-it-s-going-to-pick-the-d-c-area

https://twitter.com/NeonPeonage/status/955436146183561216
https://archive.is/lJeaz
walmart is the only entity that has even a slim chance at preventing jeff bezos from intermediating every commodity exchange in the world, u must respect

https://twitter.com/holerepairer/status/955469951833436160
https://archive.is/ig58T
"I tried to save you, but you didn't listen. Now you'll have to face Him alone..."

What Amazon does to wages: https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21735020-worlds-largest-retailer-underpaying-its-employees-what-amazon-does-wages
Is the world’s largest retailer underpaying its employees?

Flat or falling industry wages are common in the cities and towns where Amazon opens distribution centres, according to an analysis by The Economist. Government figures show that after Amazon opens a storage depot, local wages for warehouse workers fall by an average of 3%. In places where Amazon operates, such workers earn about 10% less than similar workers employed elsewhere.

What Amazon Does to Poor Cities: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/02/amazon-warehouses-poor-cities/552020/
The debate over Amazon’s HQ2 obscures the company’s rapid expansion of warehouses in low-income areas.

The Facts Behind Trump’s Tweets on Amazon, Taxes and the Postal Service: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/29/us/politics/trump-amazon-post-office-fact-check.html

If Workers Slack Off, the Wristband Will Know. (And Amazon Has a Patent for It.): https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/01/technology/amazon-wristband-tracking-privacy.html
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/01/582370715/wrist-watching-amazon-patents-system-to-track-guide-employees-hands
https://boingboing.net/2018/02/02/amazon-patent-could-lead-to-do.html
https://www.jwz.org/blog/2018/02/amazon-patents-wristbands-shock-collars-designed-to-steer-employees-movements/

auto-management -> automation dystopia: http://marshallbrain.com/manna.htm

Amazon’s vision for the future: delivery drone beehives in every city: https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/23/15860668/amazon-drone-delivery-patent-city-centers
article  essay  study  law  business  industrial-org  market-power  rent-seeking  amazon  sv  tech  markets  capitalism  winner-take-all  multi  news  org:mag  org:biz  gnxp  scitariat  commentary  current-events  org:lite  right-wing  corporation  trends  zeitgeist  rhetoric  barons  management  org:rec  usa  the-west  video  profile  arbitrage  entrepreneurialism  microbiz  feudal  prediction  prediction-markets  power  org:local  twitter  social  discussion  speculation  backup  the-south  virginia-DC  planning  career  org:bv  econotariat  marginal-rev  inequality  gnon  🐸  memes(ew)  data  econ-metrics  marginal  malaise  supply-demand  labor  coming-apart  compensation  intervention  branches  org:anglo  automation  techtariat  ai  scifi-fantasy  pessimism  optimism  orwellian  vampire-squid  left-wing  trump  media  propaganda  taxes  government  capital 
june 2017 by nhaliday
Is America Encouraging the Wrong Kind of Entrepreneurship?
Of Baumol’s many contributions to economics, the most famous is cost disease, which explains why high-productivity industries raise costs and therefore prices in low-productivity industries. The insight is particularly relevant now, as economic activity has shifted into low-productivity services like health care and education, where price increases are devouring public and household budgets, and whose continued low productivity has weighed down U.S. productivity growth overall.

But there’s a lesser-known idea of Baumol’s that is equally relevant today and that may help explain America’s productivity slump. Baumol’s writing raises the possibility that U.S. productivity is low because would-be entrepreneurs are focused on the wrong kind of work.
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june 2017 by nhaliday

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