Thursday, December 12, 2019

Centralização versus descentralização da web

The Decentralized Web Is Coming, na Reason:

Google handles 88 percent of search traffic in the United States. Facebook has more than 2.4 billion active monthly users worldwide. Half of all U.S. online retail is projected to go through Amazon by 2021. (...)

Berners-Lee and other web pioneers intended for their creation to be decentralized and open-source. "The cyber-utopian view was not merely that seizing the means of information would make you free, but that failing to do so would put you in perpetual chains," says Doctorow.

There are many theories about why the web became centralized. Doctorow largely blames the abuse of intellectual property law to defeat the decentralized "free software" movement championed by the programmer and activist Richard Stallman. Stallman helped create the popular open-source operating system Linux after freely modifying Unix, Bell Labs' proprietary system.
Uma hipótese alternativa é que seja uma situação de grandes economias de escala - afinal, desenvolver um sistema informático para um conjunto de atividades tem quase o mesmo custo, independentemente de ir ser utilizado por 10 mil ou 10 milhões de pessoas (é verdade que esse problema fica um pouco anulado com o recurso a software livre desenvolvido por voluntários, em que várias organizações independentes podem usar o mesmo software - talvez algo como isto? -, havendo assim economias de escala no software sem ser preciso criar organizações à escala).

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Os mitos da frente anti-pornografia

5 Myths That Anti-Porn Crusaders Keep Repeating, por Elizabeth Norman Brown (Reason):

1. Claim: The rise of online pornography and digital marketplaces for sex work has coincided with a rise in violence against women.
In fact, the last several decades have seen decreases in all sorts of violent crime rates, including rates of rape and sexual assault. (...)
People who commit rape appear to consume less porn than the general population. (...)
2. Claim: Teens who watch porn are more likely to engage in sexually risky behaviors.
In fact, the proliferation of online porn and minors' easy access to it has coincided with asignificant drops in just about every negative outcome connected to young people and sex. (...)
Falo em frente anti-pornografia, porque temos de novo do mesmo lado a direita religiosa e parte do feminismo.

Porque é que a Revolução Industrial ocorreu em Inglaterra?

The Crucial Century, por Anton Howes:

If a peaceful extraterrestrial visited the world in 1550, I often wonder where it would see as being the most likely site of the Industrial Revolution – an acceleration in the pace of innovation, resulting in sustained and continuous economic growth. So many theories about why it happened in Britain seem to have a sense of inevitability about them, but our extraterrestrial visitor would have found very few signs that it would soon occur there. There were many better candidates, on a multitude of metrics. (...)

So Britain’s precocity would have seemed unlikely in 1550. But the exercise potentially also gives us a few clues as to what was important for growth. Indeed, 1550-1650 increasingly appears, to me, to be the crucial century. It was by 1650, for example, that a critical mass of influential inventors and scientists in England were already plotting the creation of what would become the Royal Society – one of the most important institutions in Europe for the promotion of useful technical and scientific knowledge. And it was by 1650 that London had become one of Europe’s largest cities, a major trading centre, and a hub of innovation. More on that another time.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A perseguição aos norte-americanos naturalizados

The New War on Naturalized Citizens, por Amanda Frost (The American Prospect):

The Trump administration is seeking to denaturalize and deport longtime U.S. citizens, seizing on tiny mistakes in the process and putting the status of every naturalized citizen at potential risk.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Cogestão ou co-propriedade?

Why Labour should focus on putting workers on boards – not inclusive ownership funds, por Ciaran Driver, acerca das propostas dos Trabalhistas britânicos para transferir gradualmente 10% da propriedade das principais empresas britânicas para fundos controlados pelos trabalhadores.

O Estado nasceu dos cereais?

Book Review: Against the Grain, por Scott Alexander (Slate Star Codex):

Someone on SSC Discord summarized James Scott’s Against The Grain as “basically 300 pages of calling wheat a fascist”. I have only two qualms with this description. First, the book is more like 250 pages; the rest is just endnotes. Second, “fascist” isn’t quite the right aspersion to use here. (...)

Scott argues that intensive grain cultivation was a natural choice not for cultivators, but for the states oppressing them. The shift from complicated and mobile food webs to a perfectly rectangular grid of wheat fields was the same sort of “progress” as scientific forestry and planned cities thousands of years later (...)

Scott’s great advantage over other writers is the care he takes in analyzing the concrete machinery of statehood. Instead of abstractly saying “the state levies a 10% tax”, he realizes that some guy in a palace has resolved to take “ten percent” of the “value” produced in some vast area, with no natural way of knowing who is in that area or how much value they produce. For most of the Stone Age, this problem was insurmountable. You can’t tax hunter-gatherers, because you don’t know how many they are or where they are, and even if you search for them you’ll spend months hunting them down through forests and canyons, and even if you finally find them they’ll just have, like, two elk carcasses and half a herring or something. But you also can’t tax potato farmers, because they can just leave when they hear you coming, and you will never be able to find all of the potatoes and dig them up and tax them. And you can’t even tax lentil farmers, because you’ll go to the lentil plantation and there will be a few lentils on the plants and the farmer will just say “Well, come back next week and there will be a few more”, and you can’t visit every citizen every week.

But you can tax grain farmers! You can assign them some land, and come back around harvest time, and there will be a bunch of grain just standing there for you to take ten percent of. If the grain farmer flees, you can take his grain without him. Then you can grind the grain up and have a nice homogenous, dense, easy-to-transport grain product that you can dole out in measured rations. Grain farming was a giant leap in oppressability.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Efeitos da cogestão

Labor in the Boardroom [pdf], por Simon Jäger, Benjamin Schoefer e Jörg Heining (IZA Institute for Labour Economics Discussion Paper nº 12799):

We estimate the effects of a mandate allocating a third of corporate board seats to workers (shared governance). We study a reform in Germany that abruptly abolished this mandate for certain firms incorporated after August 1994 but locked it in for the older cohorts. In sharp contrast to the canonical hold-up hypothesis – that increasing labor's power reduces owners' capital investment – we find that granting formal control rights to workers raises capital formation. The capital stock, the capital-labor ratio, and the capital share all increase. Shared governance does not raise wage premia or rent sharing. It lowers outsourcing, while moderately shifting employment to skilled labor. Shared governance has no clear effect on profitability, leverage, or costs of debt. Overall, the evidence is consistent with richer models of industrial relations whereby shared governance raises capital by permitting workers to bargain over investment or by institutionalizing communication and repeated interactions between labor and capital.
 Uma thread no Twitter sobre este estudo (que já havia sido falado aqui).

Sunday, December 01, 2019

2020 - um ano ainda mais agitado na América Latina?

Prediction: 2020 will be worse for instability in Latin America, por James Bosworth.

As falsas alegações de anti-semitismo na esquerda britânica

Uma thread no twitter de Noah Smith sobre o assunto.

Alguns dos posts:

Invasão turca dá origem a limpeza étnica no Curdistão sírio

‘When they come, they will kill you’: Ethnic cleansing is already a reality in Turkey’s Syrian safe zone (Independent):

The brutal killings were not hidden, nor were they meant to be. From the very beginning of Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, the fighters it sent across the border to carry out the mission have proudly documented their own war crimes.
Videos posted online by soldiers of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) – showing summary executions, mutilation of corpses, threats against Kurds and widespread looting – have struck terror into the tens of thousands who find themselves in the path of the offensive.

The ethnic dimension to many of the crimes has resulted in a mass exodus of Kurds and religious minorities from these once diverse borderlands.
Já agora, o que o PSD, CDS e CHEGA dizem disto?