Friday Links

  • Is Amazon eroding democracy by ruining the publishing industry? George Packer seems to think so, though his argument is… thin. The publishing model is changing, but a) that doesn’t mean, on net, things are worse (worse for Packer, perhaps); and b) the link between a changing publishing model and the erosion of democracy is awfully hard to find. An interesting, but poorly-argued, article
  • From a delightful profile of Jason Furman, the chairman of the Council on Economic Advisers t0 President Obama, a paragraph that highlights part of what’s wrong with the far left: criticizing pragmatism and ignoring evidence. “The whiplash response came because Furman embraces a brand of Democratic economic thinking that stresses what’s feasible over what’s theoretical — and often involves compromises that frustrate the liberal wing of the party. He has drawn particular criticism for his advocacy of a cut in corporate tax rates and his argument that, by providing low-cost goods, Wal-Mart provides an important benefit for society.”
  • Migration boosts exports from home countries – another reason why the “brain drain” conversation is ill-advised and usually gives off more heat than light
  • This is much too long, but very good: Redemption Songs – what happens after a child soldier is no longer a chid or a soldier?
  • I love studies on memory and reconsolidation. The kicker: “Memory is not intended to allow you to remember what you did last week, or remember your childhood. The point is to help you make good choices right now.” (the usual caveats about research like this apply!)
  • Hospitalists (physicians who either work for a hospital system or have had their practice acquired by a hospital) are everywhere. This is probably a long-term good thing (collaboration, perfect for ACO-like structure, etc. etc.) but in the short term it probably drives prices up (in fee-for-service regime). Sidenote: Elisabeth Rosenthal is killing it on health care
  • Staving off the arabica apocalypse. Prediction: Ethiopia is going to be critically important in this “battle” – far more important than most people realize

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