scratch-sniff-stamps

With Scratch-and-Sniff Stamps, the Post Office Updates Itself to the 1970s

– May 24, 2018

The post offices of the world are like the last of the dinosaurs roaming the earth long after evolution selected against their existence.

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birdspin

The Solution to City Transit Is Decentralized

– May 11, 2018

The rise of the city scooter as part of the app economy is a fantastic example of how markets generate solutions in the face of intractable problems. The more people tool around on these wonderful scooters, the lighter the traffic, the cleaner the city, and the happier people are. Note that no central planner came up with the idea. It has emerged out of discreet forms of market-based innovation using the best of modern technology combined with a perceived solution of a genuine use case.

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flyingcar

Five Reasons the Future Isn’t Here Yet

– May 8, 2018

The interactions and feedback loops between invention, implementation, and full-on adoption is a fascinating process to watch. It can’t be gamed. It relies on something no one can control: the price system, human choice, resource tradeoffs, and case-by-case circumstances of time and place.

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MG_0423

Overcoming a Catch-22 on the Path to Greater Liberty

– April 23, 2018

As our society grows ever more complex and technologically advanced, controlling it from the top down is increasingly like herding cats. Attempts at more top-down control, though well-intentioned, won’t work. Rethinking governance itself is an even more challenging path, but offers a multitude of reasons for hope.

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hainan

China’s Communism That Is Not

– April 18, 2018

Even as the US is pulling inward, demonizing foreign nations, calling everyone in the world a cheater, China is aggressively opening to the world, negotiating bilateral trade pacts with every nation it can and another 14 multilateral trade pacts. More goods and investment coming and going – this seems to be the Chinese credo. It is winning them wealth, prosperity, and good will the world over.

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zuckerberg

Facebook Hearings Reveal How Government Regulations Work

– April 11, 2018

Right now, Facebook faces massive competition from other platforms in social media, copycats, and alternative uses of people’s time. In some ways, it’s the best possible moment to call on government to institutionalize Facebook as a form of public utility. That might actually be the end game that Zuckerberg has in mind. Then the politicians can update their timeline status: today we passed regulations that brought this wayward company to heel.

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cash

The Cash Register: In Memoriam

– April 5, 2018

There is real inspiration to be had by looking at the iterative process of innovation, how that funny little machine from 1883 gradually evolved into the tiny payment processing units we use routinely today, an epic story of improvement in machinery in which the current stage is knitted to all previous stages through an invisible thread of passion for solving problems and serving others.

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MPESAPhone copy

Highlights from the GSMA’s 2017 Mobile Money Report

– March 16, 2018

The continued growth of mobile money should excite anyone who believes private sector innovations are the best means of achieving sustainable economic and financial development across the developing world.

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oscars

Economics Gave Unified Culture a Mercy Killing

– March 6, 2018

The fall of the Oscars is only one sign of a larger trend. Technology fueled by economic considerations has given people more options than ever. We are curating culture according not to some mythical “national” sense of things but rather in accord with our individual preferences. This is happening now simply because we can. The economic trajectory of technology has made it possible. Any institution that strives to embody some mythical ideal of a unitary culture will fail.

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python-plunger-2

This Toilet Plunger Reveals the Secret of Civilization

– March 1, 2018

There are many wonderful things in the world, but right now I want to talk about a product of the human mind that is a material celebration of the potential for creativity to overcome and rise above the state of nature. To put it briefly and simply, I’ve found a toilet plunger that embodies the essence of the human drama and reveals why humanity, despite every strong-armed attempt to stamp out progress and subvert the good life, somehow manages not only to survive but thrive through the ages, including even our own.

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earthquake

Earthquake Economics

– February 21, 2018

Let us not forget the contribution of free economies to making life safer. It wasn’t the regulations that made the difference. It was the innovations in the context of free enterprise.

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914_smithsonian

If You Love Progress, Embrace Markets

– February 1, 2018

People talk often of how technology is disruptive. That’s only part of the story. Technology also serves the oldest values and the most ancient aspirations of the human experience, and does so in a way that is organically peaceful with how we live. It’s the much-maligned market economy that makes it all possible, and does so without elections, speeches, legislation, and scary leaders we don’t like. We should love markets more than we do. Their proven benevolence forms a beautiful narrative history of our lives, connects the generations, and points to a bright future.

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