Influences on my economics

There are three books which have changed my thinking about economics over the last few years. I originally questioned whether these books are revolutionary but they have added to my thinking in very basic ways. These books all look to address the economics of information, or the wealth unleashed by I.T. and the internet. My thinking about this started in the early 1990’s, Dan Remenyi at Henley Management School introduced me to the ideas that Information was the 4th Factor of Production, that Industrial Age economics was insufficient as it was unable to explain why companies that invested in negative or zero profit IT projects, as measured by ROI, outperformed those that didn’t, and that an industrial age balance sheet was incapable of evaluating an information system asset.

The three books all relate to the evolution of society and its economics, the empowering of knowledge workers and their relationships with Capital, and hence capitalists. …

Let’s take back the Internet

Rebecca Mackinnon previews the arguments for digital liberty, exploring the contention points between people and power. I suspect it needs to be informed by Kondratiev cycles, , she takes her start point as the historical achievement of political liberty but we shouldn’t be looking back 300 years.

The steel, oil,  & silicon technology revolutions have spawned social democracy, enviromentalism and the digital liberty movement respectively. Each of these reactions have spawned political movements to achieve their goals. …

New-ish corporate stakeholders

Peter Drucker & Will Hutton developed and articulated theories of stakeholder constraints on corporate behaviour. Of course, as far as Marx was concerned the only moderator of corporate behaviour was the proletariat, the organised working class; but these later theorists argue that suppliers, consumers and neighbours/regulators are also now inhibiting factors on the company with in my version of the model, neighbours and their law enforcement entities should be having a final word. Law enforcement should be interpreted broadly to include the HSE, HMRC (for low wages and tax compliance), the Equal Opportunities Commission and now the Information Commissioner’s Office. Much of consumer and environmental protection is enforced by local authorities.

The development of feminism, and latterly green (consumerist) responses to companies, including now, campaigns against climate change are new factors in the neighbourly and employee stakeholder constraints upon the company.

Hutton has expressed his views more recently in Hutton 1999,The Stakeholding Society: Writings on Politics and Economics, ISBN: 978-0-745-62078-7 January 1999 Polity.

Drucker’s most famous work might be, Drucker, P.F. (1955) The Practice of Management. Heinemann, London.



Three weeks ago, London followed by most of the rest of urban Britain kicked off, and a series of riots occurred across the country.

It’s taken me this time  to gather my thoughts and to see if expressing them helps or hinders any healing process. I know that people died, and it’s not acceptable; my sympathies lie with the families of these victims. Secondly  the outcomes of the arson included gutted small business in communities, some people lost their livelyhood, others lost their homes. Again my sympathies lie with the victims of these crimes, because these are the victims and aggrieved.

The speed with the Tories came out with “It’s criminality. Pure and Simple” is not really surprising. But it wrong! It’s the only story that leaves them blame free and makes no requirement on them to change their minds about anything.

This is a cabinet of millionaires, they have no idea about the life of the young and dispossessed. Governments make decisions, the decisions have consequences. I think the Gary Younge article is the closest to my thoughts.


They won’t snoop, if you’ve nothing to hide (1985 style).

A night at the ORG London meetups, talking to Jim Killock he asks why the Labour Party and Trade Unions aren’t opposing the Communications Data Bill; he forecasts a time when these new laws will be used against the Unions. He’s too young to remember the last time this was an issue,

Bugging Harriet Harman and the NCCL, and leading Trade Unionists in the NUM, AEUW and CPSA.They probably wouldn’t be breaking the law today, and the CDP will make it easier. Massiter was a warrior for the truth, a brave women;  I am grateful for her courage and Nick Davies is still fighting the fight.

The Denning quote in the last five minutes is quite fun.

“…the Security Services …are to be used for one purpose and one purpose only, the defence of the Realm.

Most people in this country would, I am sure wholeheartedly support this principle for it would be intolerable to us to have anything in the nature of a Gestapo or Secret Police to snoop into all that we do…even at the behest of a Minister or a Government department…”

This isn’t the article I expected to write when I set out to attend, perhaps I’ll post my notes tomorrow. …

Legal Tourism

Recent press reporting about the number of rich people coming to London in order to pursue libel claims because of the plaintiff friendly laws in the UK has led to London being described as the libel capital of the world. In fact the UK’s laws are so plaintiff friendly that some US jurisdictions are considering ways of restricting the UK court’s dispositions against US citizens and companies, particularly the press, due to the UK libel law’s conflict with the US Constitutional “Right to Free Speech”. They might spend their time better in fixing their broken patent and copyright system, as the US is earning a reciprocal reputation as a haven for copyright trolls. Here’s a clue, “PROTECT IP” doesn’t do it. My thinking, reading and writing about intellectual property law has led me to coming to believe that the UK Libel vs US Patent Laws are both dysfunctional. …

The Coalition’s EU time-bomb

Thinking about de Grucht’s prospects of retaining his position on the Commission, led me to think what’ll happen to Cathy Ashton’s position. The Commissioners are appointed by each of the National Governments, and their term expires in 2014. I can’t see the coalition agreeing without splitting the Tory Party in Parliament. It might make this week’s House of Lords spat between the Tories and Lib-Dems look like hand bags at dawn.

Can this be brought to Parliament? …

De Grucht, EU Trade Commissioner is on borrowed time

The EU Parliament voted not to ratify ACTA last week. In the immediate aftermath of the debate, the EU Commission member responsible for International Trade, Karel De Grucht stated that it wasn’t over and the Commission would look to ways to re-introduce it, possibly after the ECJ rules on if it amends or contradicts EU law; but seemingly not. Several of the Parliamentarians, such the UK’s David Martin and Eire’s Paul Flynn stated that this would be illegal, and a contempt of the European Parliament.

De Grucht was nominated to the Commission by a Belgian Government that has since been replaced by a Socialist led coalition. I can’t see them renominating him and the Commission’s term ends in 2014. It would be a close run thing as to whether the ECJ will rule in the life time of this Parliament and Commission. Wish I’d though of that in the letters I wrote to MEPs. If you, i.e. the European Parliament don’t decide now, you probably won’t decide at all. …