A Modest Proposal for Saving San Francisco’s Bohemian Neighborhoods

I read with some interest this longform piece on how the desire of the wealthy to live in cities is effectively exiling the bohemians who made those communities attractive to gentrifiers: The essence of the argument is this: “American bohemians are in a state of slow-motion flight, perpetually facing the threat of exile at the … Continue reading A Modest Proposal for Saving San Francisco’s Bohemian Neighborhoods

People Don’t Really Believe in Equality of Opportunity

Provocative assertion of the day: People don’t really believe in equality of opportunity. In order for there to be true equality of opportunity, every child has to have the same opportunities to succeed. Yet what parent among us has ever resisted the urge to give our child an advantage? Move to a better neighborhood for … Continue reading People Don’t Really Believe in Equality of Opportunity

Economic Growth and the Rise of Religion

An intriguing thought, trigger by this Atlantic article, “A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Being Jewish“: What is religion is now a luxury good? Consider the following: Marx called religion the opiate of the masses.  During an era in which life was brutish, nasty, and short, focusing one’s attention on a glorious afterlife made a lot of … Continue reading Economic Growth and the Rise of Religion

Monopolies Are A Consequence, Not A Benefit

My friend Peter Sims recently wrote about how he disagrees with Peter Thiel’s “Competition is for Losers” editorial.  Thiel argues that monopolies are good for society, and Peter respectfully disagrees. My own take is fairly nuanced–monopolies are a sign of a healthy market, because they tend to result from innovation in “winner-take-most” markets, but they … Continue reading Monopolies Are A Consequence, Not A Benefit

Wealth and Entrepreneurship (why the rich get richer and why we should help the poor)

The popular belief is that entrepreneurs are “hungry” because they come from modest backgrounds. Here in America, we love a great “rags to riches” story.  Of course, it should be noted that America’s two richest men, Bill Gates (son of a wealthy attorney) and Warren Buffett (son of a stockbroker/Congressman) don’t exactly provide validation for … Continue reading Wealth and Entrepreneurship (why the rich get richer and why we should help the poor)

Why The Fall of Silk Road and Bitcoin Is Inevitable

As the saga of Silk Road plays out, a lot of attention has been focused on the mistakes that Dread Pirate Roberts made that helped the Feds catch up with him.  The Verge has a good longform piece on this topic: http://bit.ly/1aQExxL It appears that the current Dread Pirate Roberts (for we all know that … Continue reading Why The Fall of Silk Road and Bitcoin Is Inevitable

“The Blip”, False Patterns, And How Startups Are The Future of Work

I spend a lot of time thinking about the future–both mine, and that of the world as a whole–and one of the things that has been on my mind is the need for us to do things differently. A recent longform piece in New York focused on the theory that the seeming inexorable economic progress … Continue reading “The Blip”, False Patterns, And How Startups Are The Future of Work

Why The Minimum Wage Doesn’t Help The Poor

Let me emphasize that I am neither an economist or politician.  Yet when I read articles like this recent New Yorker piece on the minimum wage, I feel compelled to share my take. In his piece, James Surowiecki does a good job of teasing out some of the main issues around low-wage work these days.  … Continue reading Why The Minimum Wage Doesn’t Help The Poor

Self-control is irrelevant to success in the game if you believe the game is rigged

If you’re a psychology junkie like me, you’ve probably heard about the Stanford marshmallow experiment: http://bit.ly/Wga2Ne In this experiment, 5 year olds were offered a choice: Eat a marshmallow now, or be left alone in a room with a marshmallow.  If they went 15 minutes without eating the marshmallow, the researcher would give the child … Continue reading Self-control is irrelevant to success in the game if you believe the game is rigged

Searching for Equality in a Winner-take-Most World

I preface this post with the admission that I have always been a child of privilege.  I come from a family of well-educated Chinese immigrants; my mother is the only member of her generation on either her or my father’s side of the family that didn’t earn a Ph.D. (she only has a measly Masters, … Continue reading Searching for Equality in a Winner-take-Most World