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Lou Arruda
Lived in Waltham, MA
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Lou Arruda

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Interessante: trata-se de uma categorização sociológica, e como tal diferente da escala de Dawkins que é a sistematização dos graus de descrença na tese da existência de Deus.
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Lou Arruda

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I love the idea here that there are three capitalisms, "Yeoman Capitalism", "Corporate Capitalism", and "Supercapitalism," but I'm not sure I agree entirely with Michael O. Church's description of each of them.  

His description of Yeoman Capitalism is pretty good - this is the capitalism that Adam Smith wrote about, and it is indeed governed by an invisible hand. When companies are engaged in providing real goods and services to each other, and make money by satisfying the needs of others, capitalism works really well.

I like to think that O'Reilly is a great example of Yeoman Capitalism. We make our money by providing things that people pay us for, and I like to think we've created more value for society than we've captured for ourselves, which is how I think it ought to be.  (There is many a multi-billion dollar company whose founders told me they started with a couple of O'Reilly books.)

But it's not just small companies that can practice this kind of capitalism. The corporate structure and the "joint stock company" was a great invention:  a way to allocate resources for larger scale initiatives.  And there are still companies that use capital markets this way.  Amazon is a great example:  they have raised huge amounts of capital from financial markets and have used it to transform industries, providing huge amounts of consumer value in the process. Unlike, say Google, which was profitable without needing huge amounts of outside capital, Amazon has only been able to accomplish what is has with the aid of capital markets.

I think many big companies start out this way, and only go wrong later in their lifecycle, when they are established, and their focus changes from innovation to preservation.  And that's where we get to Church's "Corporate Capitalism."

Church describes Corporate Capitalism as a kind of Feudalism, one in which the corporation is primarily concerned with self preservation and the perquisites of its executives, and co-opts government to give it unfair advantage.  That is entirely true, but he doesn't explain how it came to be so.  

Where this went off the rails was with the increased financialization of corporations.  There are at least three problems with this:

1. Companies are often prevented from the market from taking risks and trying new things.  (Amazon is a stellar exception.)  I remember one entrepreneur telling me:  "I can't do what I need to do to save my company. We're sitting on too much cash. If I invest in the future as I need to, it will depress the stock price, and we'll get acquired for our cash."  That was exactly what happened.  The company is no more.

2. Things that serve real human needs but take too long to show financial results are abandoned. We see diseases that could be cured, but aren't, because there isn't enough money in it.  We see workers squeezed out to plump up profits, or not paid a living wage. (See http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2013/07/18/why-mcdonalds-employee-budget-has-everyone-up-in-arms/

3.  Rather than being paid out of the actual earnings of the corporation, executives are largely rewarded based on the stock price. This leads both to outsized gains to executives, but also to a culture of manipulation of those prices, whether or not they are justified by the creation of real marketplace value.  And that, of course, is the basis for "supercapitalism."

Supercapitalism is the capitalism that brought us the mortgage crisis of 2009, the result of banks creating and selling financial instruments that were designed to fail.  It also brings news of recent shenanigans like Goldman Sachs' manipulation of commodities markets. (See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/business/a-shuffle-of-aluminum-but-to-banks-pure-gold.html?pagewanted=all)

There's a better term for this:  Looting, as described in a 1996 paper by George Akerlof and Paul Romer:

"…the normal economics of maximizing economic value is replaced by the topsy-turvy economics of maximizing current extractable value, which tends to drive the firm's economic net worth deeply negative. Once owners have decided they can extract more from a firm by maximizing their present take, any action that allows them to extract more currently will be attractive--even if it causes a large reduction in the true economic net worth of the firm.  A dollar in increased dividends today is worth a dollar to owners, but a dollar in increased future earnings is worth nothing because future payments accrue to the creditors who will be left holding the bag." http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract-id=227162

That's supercapitalism in a nutshell. 
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Lou Arruda

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Available for a limited time only! 

>I< #twt
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Have him in circles
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Lou Arruda

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Lou Arruda

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Lou Arruda

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Because he voted against the Amash amendment, Rep. Joe Kennedy has permanently lost my vote.
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Lou Arruda

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So apparently TiddlyWiki and Firefox 15 don't agree with each other anymore (supposedly there's a Firefox extension that addresses this, but its github site is down). Swell. I loved using this to create various hyperlinked notes files for various things I work on. Anyone else got any other suggestions that are cross-platform, install without too much hassle, and stores its data in files that I can easily stash in a git repo?
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+Dave III Programmer speak. :) A "git repo" (short for "repository") is more or less a folder on your system that maintains a history of all the changes you've made to your files in that folder. Programmers do this sort of thing all the time with their programs so that they can in effect go back in time to a prior version to see how they screwed things up in the newest version. :) I kind of like doing the same thing with my notes files for whatever crazy reason -- possibly due in part to being a programmer at my day job. "Git" is the name of a program used to set up/manage these repositories. There are many other programs you can use to do this, but git happens to be my favorite.

TiddlyWiki itself is basically like having a mini-Wikipedia that you can fill up with all your notes and have it contained within a single HTML file that you modify in your browser without having to know HTML, JavaScript, web programming, etc. You can have links to web sites in it, of course, but you can also have links to other little notes and sections within your TiddlyWiki file. However, and not surprisingly, browsers don't like webpages that modify themselves on disk, so it has to jump through a few (legitimate and documented -- they aren't hacking the browsers or anything) hoops to save itself out. Apparently, the latest crop of browsers are tightening their security and removing the tricks TiddlyWiki used to use to accomplish its goals.
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Lou Arruda

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Gotta give my wife a bit of a thumbs up. Courtesy of a group called #WebStartWomen  she's started taking a JavaScript/JQuery class. As a programmer myself (systems, not web, but who's counting), it warms my heard to see her joining the club.
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Lou Arruda

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Looks like my issues with Google Chrome on certain sites are related to my ad blocker and not Chrome itself. Interesting, though I still wish they'd hurry up and fix MathML support.
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Have him in circles
406 people
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Luis Arruda
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Software engineer and general geek into anime, video games, computers, science, general technology, aviation, and various other geekeries.
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Waltham, MA - New Bedford, MA - Providence, RI - North Providence, RI - Pawtucket, RI - Dartmouth, MA - Wrentham, MA
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