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What We Read Today 22 June 2014

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

  • The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% - ex CIA spy (Nafeez Ahmed, The Guardian) Ahmed reports on Robert David Steele who advocates open source everything and reversing 5,000 years of continuous centralization. He says we should return to long forgotten indigenous wisdom councils and communal decision-making to correct the corruption of over-centralzation.


Today there are 10 articles discussed 'behind the wall'.

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  • What Piketty Forgot (Noel Ortega, Foreign Policy in Focus) Hat tip to Rob Carter. Ortega seems to be lamenting that Piketty didn't write a different book. But the history that Piketty reviewed and the analysis he attempted was that of physical capital measured in metrics of financial capital. He did not attempt a review of human capital, cultural capital, social capital or what Ortega wishes was included, natural capital. See also the following two articles.
The crisis of capitalism isn't just about the gap between rich and poor. It's about the gap between what's demanded by our planet and what's demanded by our economy.
  • Inequality and the Nature of Capital: A Reminder (Chandran Nair, Epoch Times) Nair might be said to accuse Piketty of spending all his time on discussion of effect and none of the consideration of cause. Two statements bring that perspective into focus. The first excerpt below addresses that concern peripherally while the second confronts it directly. See also the preceding article and the following article.
Piketty's analysis is framed exclusively by Western historical experience and thus unfortunately ignores the context in which Western wealth creation occurred, despite the fact that many seek to perpetuate and emulate it today.

Piketty, like every other economist, seeks to explain the world with reference to economic capital alone while ignoring the mother of all capitals-natural capital. This is a rejection of the scientific evidence on the state of the world.
  • What is Natural Capital? (World Forum on Natural Capital) Natural capital might be called the "ecosystem of human existence". This article gives as definition that natural capital is the source of "ecosystem services which make human life possible".
Natural Capital can be defined as the world's stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things.


  • China Property Failures Seen as $33 Billion in Trusts Due (Judy Chen and Tanya Angerer, Bloomberg) We hate to be repetitious but you have keep an eye on this. How China deals with the defaults coming will influence both the current economy and the ultimate path to rebalancing for the future.
Extending two theories of "excessive" government expansion, the authors argue that public officials' corruption should cause state spending to be artificially elevated. Corruption increased state spending over the period 1997-2008. During that time, the 10 most corrupt states could have reduced their total annual expenditure by an average of $1,308 per capita-5.2 percent of the mean per capita state expenditure-if corruption had been at the average level of the states. Moreover, at the expense of social sectors, corruption is likely to distort states' public resource allocations in favor of higher-potential "bribe-generating" spending and items directly beneficial to public officials, such as capital, construction, highways, borrowing, and total salaries and wages. The authors use an objective, concrete, and consistent measurement of corruption, the number of convictions.
  • Inequality in the long run (Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, Science) A reduction to a single reading session of the major points of Piketty's book, Capital in the . Go to article to get active links for urls displayed in the following graphics.


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