It’s becoming easy; we’re on the cusp. Soon, you will be able to assemble or buy a private drone that can go anywhere, record video, deliver a payload, retrieve a thing, whatever. Land, sea, and sky. Automated surveillance systems can be easy to control. Can you click on a spot on a map? That’s pretty much all you need.
How do we respond as a society when anyone can spy or kill as easily as clicking an app? How do you trace an attack that is delivered from the sky from anyone anywhere? How do you handle alibis when you can schedule a crime with cron?
I don’t know the answer, but it’s a continuation of a long trend toward putting more lethal power into more hands. I hope some smart people are thinking well about this.
Somehow, I don’t think a drone shield is going to be enough.
Posted in Just for fun, Law, Public Policy, Rights, Tech, The Future
Tagged Drones, future, hardware, justice, Military, privacy, Raspberry Pi, software, technology
You drank my milkshake!
Independent globalists optimize after-tax returns, labor, and supply chains into the tax and regulatory regimes that are most favorable.
It’s an optimization exercise and a chess game. This seems to be the dominant strategy:
1) After-Tax Returns
The equation: taxes + regulation. Taxes are simple; they reduce your profits by their rate. Regulation is more complicated because it costs money to comply, but there are also opportunity costs from business activities that are no longer available.
The game: reduce and eliminate taxes and regulation. Express the stresses of international competition to pressure national politics using one issue at a time in the countries where you do business.
The equation: salary + benefits, including long term commitments. Retirement, health care, and other benefits have costs, but also may reduce employee turnover.
The game: reduce and eliminate costs within each role. Divide operational units and move them to locations with optimal rules and costs. Use the placement of these units to pressure politics to reduce labor’s collective bargaining rights.
3) Supply Chains
The equation: price. Commodities and other non-labor costs are priced on global markets, and are mostly fungible.
The game: reduce and eliminate regulations that internalize costs of production for your suppliers.
Posted in Freakonomics, Law, Public Policy, Rights, Taxes
Tagged capitalism, corruption, Democracy, globalization, human rights, incentives, international trade, justice, labor, macroeconomics, politics, society, tax, USA
Americans are mad at Pakistan. Last night, Jon Stewart showed a clip of Fareed Zakaria asking if Pakistan is complicit in hiding Osama Bin Laden – or just incompetent.
Do you blame Pakistan for bin Laden living there? Do you think our relationship with their government should be strained by this? Should we reduce support? Sanction trade?
No. That’s wrong. Here’s why:
Pakistan is not one thing and their government is not monolithic. There are many power structures in Pakistan. You shouldn’t blame “the government” for sectarian separatists, terrorists, or others who secretly hide within their borders. Thinking that way is like blaming a person when their body grows a cancer.
Did we blame the American Government when Timmothy Mcveigh was a terrorist in Oklahoma City? No. America was a victim. And Pakistan is the victim now. Pakistan has been in a complex civil war with multiple armies of radical extremists for many years. Some of them are politicians trying to consolidate power with secret affiliations, others attack India trying to incite a broader war, others hide like rats. Pakistan is suffering from these cancers.
We should be offering tax incentives to increase trade with Pakistan, increase aid, and increase support for democratic stability, secular and academic institutions, and human rights. Economic sanctions and saber-rattling are counterproductive because they attack the commercial economy. It would be better to empower the population through the commercial economy – enable them to overtake and stamp out radical separatists and would-be religious fascists. Help them get on a path to become a productive and educated economy that has the power and will to suppress it’s own cancers. Use economic levers to achieve better outcomes.
Posted in Economics, Freakonomics, Public Policy
Tagged capitalism, Democracy, human rights, incentives, international trade, justice, Military, politics, society, USA
To begin talking about Net Neutrality, it helps to clarify what the internet is. It’s simply data sent via TCP/IP (the protocol for sending data through routers). Some people host web sites, others connect to their company e-mail, others do other things – it’s all the internet.
Understanding that the internet is just a connection using TCP/IP, then Net Neutrality is simple, too. Net Neutrality simply means that your ISP may not interfere with the internet. They may not censor your packets (the data that is sent via TCP/IP). This means they can’t censor your news, keep you off of Skype, restrict your sending and receiving, or otherwise interfere with your communications.
Any compromise on this is wrong for two reasons: 1) Your ISP should not have the right to interfere with your free speech, and 2) ISPs should not be able to tax the value creation of the media industry.
ISPs should not be able to interfere with consumer access to media companies, nor tax those companies for access to consumers. ISPs should not be able to interfere with our speech or block our access to the speech of others.
ISPs are in the business of providing internet access, but they don’t own the internet; any attempts to eliminate net neutrality would violate our consumer rights and hurt the economy.
Posted in Economics, Law, Media, Public Policy, Rights, Tech, The Future
Tagged human rights, intellectual property, justice, media, net neutrality, politics, privacy, society, software, technology, telecom, USA