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Category: Opinion & Ideas

Has the [Australian] Government Given Up on Markets?

“The federal government announced last week that it would be changing the fees charged for different degrees at Australia’s universities. Some degrees will be made cheaper and others more expensive. Which ones? Well, that’s based on the government’s best guess as to which industries will need more workers in the future. Economics — ironically one of the disciplines that will be made more expensive by these changes — would suggest this is unwise. Australian governments have a long and unusually proud history of being terrible at picking winners. The changes to university fees are just the latest example.”

Amazon’s Private Government

” The patent, for a form of blockchain ledgering technology, will allow Amazon to oversee the collection of an unprecedented amount of data about the business operations of its sellers, including their entire supply chain. In essence, the patent fulfills Amazon’s plans to create a private regulatory regime, where it uses proprietary information to create a “certification” bureaucracy: a private, for-profit alternative to the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Trade Commission. Unlike governmental agencies, however, it will have no public oversight, and can use its certifying power to squeeze sellers and consolidate control.”

We’re Entering the Age of Corporate Social Justice

“Research has shown that companies with effective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs are more profitable than those that aren’t. Over the last 50 years, corporations have relied on these programs, which include social issue marketing, philanthropic efforts, employee volunteer initiatives, and diversity and inclusion work, to build their brands and satisfy customers. Now, consumers and employees are raising the bar. […] Consumers and employees are now looking for more than CSR — they’re looking for what I call Corporate Social Justice.”

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