How Germany Became Europe’s Richest Country [economics]


India’s Boom Creates Openings for Untouchables –

Mr. Khade probably would not be in business with a prince had he not attended a networking cocktail reception hosted by the Dalit Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the five-star Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai this year. There he met the Indian businessman who introduced him to the Arab sheik, who helped him to globalize his company.

These kinds of connections are crucial to the nascent Dalit business community. Because Dalit businessmen often lack the social connections that lead to business ideas, loans and other support, a group of Dalit entrepreneurs created the chamber in 2005. It aims to build those networks so Dalit business leaders can help one another grow. The group has about 1,000 members, all of whom run companies with an annual turnover of at least $20,000.

It recently organized a meeting where Dalit businessmen pitched ideas to Tata Motors, one of India’s biggest car companies. Mr. Kamble, the Dalit contractor, said that of the 10 companies that attended, 4 had signed deals and 4 more were in negotiations. “There was a time when people like us could not even approach a company like Tata Motors,” he said. “Now we go meet them with dignity, not like beggars. We are job givers, not job seekers.”


Documentary: Design the new Business


System D: the shadow economy

In 2009, the OECD concluded that half the world’s workers (almost 1.8 billion people) were employed in the shadow economy. By 2020, the OECD predicts the shadow economy will employ two-thirds of the world’s workers.

This new economy even has a name: “System D.”

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Contently: Platform For Publishers And Freelance Writers

Contently‘s founders, Joe Coleman, Shane Snow and David Goldberg, launched the site in open beta in April 2011. The New York City-based start-up is a platform for journalists and bloggers to manage their freelance careers and publishers to source professional writers. The “anti-content-farm” is optimized for brands and forward-thinking agencies who want to commission magazine-quality writing.

Stephanie Coontz: “women’s issues” vs labor rights

I think that at this point it’s extremely important for us to start talking more about how to answer this campaign, and not to divide things into a “woman’s issue” over here and a “unions issue” over there. It’s a full-scale attack on all the progress we made right after the Depression and then built upon in the ’60s, toward actually creating a social safety net and improving the security of all Americans. I get upset when I hear women’s groups taking about women’s poverty without linking that issue to the problem of declining real wages and increasing economic insecurity for less-educated men. And I also think liberals have to stop talking so much about “compassion” for blacks or women and should pay equal attention to the crisis of working people who do have jobs. It’s a sad day when the main people talking about defending the working class are right-wing ideologues whose social programs are destroying the security of working Americans and fostering the concentration of wealth among the richest 10 percent of the population.

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Jeff Jarvis: A Hippocratic oath for the internet

I write from the city where Gutenberg’s erstwhile partner and funder, Johann Fust, was nearly arrested because he came here to sell printed Bibles. The booksellers in Paris called the policy on him, declaring there was no way he could have so many Bibles except from the work of black magic. Well, today, the internet is still black magic. We don’t know what it is yet. To define it, restrict it, regulate it, limit it before we even know what it is, there is danger there.

Yes, President Sarkozy, you can do harm.

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Simple diagram explaining how to do what you love & get paid for it. Easy, right?

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Google street art view: great idea, not quite there yet (mostly because Street View pics are so out-of-date)

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ZLDA’s landscape rings were so awesome H&M made a set of their very own… #IP #theft


Trion Aims to Revolutionize Online Gaming with TV connections and more

Trion’s third scheduled game release, currently going by the titleSyfy Action MMO will have a television component produced by the SyFy Channel. The show will tell a character story within the game’s world. If something happens in the show, it will be reflected within the game world. Likewise, if a player does something heroic during the game, they might find their feat being discussed on the show.


This makes me miss making magazines (a lot).

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NIME 2011 | New Interfaces for Musical Expression | 30 May – 1 June, Oslo, Norway


Will ISPs help bring value back to content?

iiNet Managing Director Michael Malone was emphatic that ISPs needed to be working with content companies to provide easily accessible legal content. In addition to the Fetch TV deal (see above), we have it on good authority that more content deals are on the horizon for iiNet.
- from Maddocks

CSIRO CEO: we need science hubs

AUSTRALIA needs to develop at least five national scientific hubs, each with more than 10,000 researchers, says the CEO of the CSIRO, Megan Clark.

”Major shifts in how we do science and how we invest nationally are required if we are to remain globally relevant and attract the best and brightest to Australia,” said Dr Clark, giving the 2010 Lowy lecture in Sydney in November.

Sydney had an opportunity to develop a national precinct in ICT, and Melbourne could have a precinct in human life sciences and material sciences.

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LED + quantum light optics = better lighting

Yves Béhar: “Advertising is the price companies pay for being unoriginal.”

NYT interview with the designer (famous for: One Laptop Per Child design) and founder of Fuseproject.

On social activism + design:

What we found is that by bringing together the notions of sustainability and doing good — every six weeks, we do a new collection with a nonprofit and give back 10 percent of our sales to that nonprofit — we created a whole different reason for people to be purchasing and wearing a product, rather than hollow advertising messages. Advertising is the price companies pay for being unoriginal.

On design in 2011:

I truly believe that we’re about to enter a second golden age of design. The first one was in the ’50s and ’60s, when designers like Raymond LoewyCharles Eames, George Nelson and Dieter Rams were shepherds of the brands they were working with. They had influence over the products and how companies communicated and promoted themselves.

To me, this year is the promised year. We spent 40 or 50 years subservient to marketing and advertising, but I think the Internet and social network revolution have really brought a much more direct level of communication. Rather than succumbing to the brand message, people are very centered on the product and their expectations of what the product should deliver as far as relevance, technology, simplicity, sustainability and health.


However, this control comes at a cost. Centralized systems are
far less efficient at managing online communications than decentralized
systems. The corporate, web-based communication-platforms that emerged
under the “Web 2.0″ monicker are hungry for more than just
Capital, the huge datacenters required to run them also consume
massive natural resources and energy, and cause massive amounts
of pollution. And yet desipite all, these platforms still
commonly experience scaling issues and frequent outages, straining
under the profit-imposed need to centralize control. And this is so,
in a world where the majority of the global population does in
practical terms not have access to the internet. Of course,
environmental concerns are not the only issue with overly
centralized systems, perhaps even of greater concern are the
implications for privacy and freedom of speech and association
when control of our social technology is held by only a few
private corporations.


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The creative China plan six years on | Australian Policy Online

The third level in the Chinese creative innovation system is probably the most important – informal grassroots culture. It is typified by creative activity in non-commercial spheres. Much of the activity currently occurring in online communities is not aimed directly at profiteering, but rather functions as informal and amateur incubation. In other words it is both re-creation and recreation. The productiveness of this layer is not measured by economic success but by impact. China has more than 420 million netizens and over 600 million registered mobile phone users. The capacity to contribute spontaneously to online communities, whether in banal chat room conversations or in the viewing of satirical spoofs of Chinese celebrities highlights the potency of user-generated content.

Whereas levels one (official) and two (popular culture) require navigation of censors, the third level is conspicuous by its risk culture. One particularly interesting example of spoofing culture is a short video made by a team at CCTV headed up by Cui Yongyuan, the host of a serious mainstream current affairs talk show called Oriental Horizon. Obviously limited by the constraints of CCTV, in 2001 Cui and his colleagues released a video called Splitting Up in October, parodying the internal power struggles in CCTV. It soon went viral, with the effect of enhancing Cui’s reputation with the ‘masses’ as more than just an anchor man for the regime.

The three levels I have mentioned comprise an innovation system with limitations. The layers are enfolded. However, the tendency to date has been for commentators to see these as separate domains. The top level is concerned with creativity but doesn’t really understand it; it seeks out sounding boards and tests out its ideas cautiously. The book Creativity is Changing China by Li Wuwei is an example of how this level promotes its ideas. Conversely, the realm of commercial popular culture is struggling to understand the market in a restricted content environment; it has one eye on the regulators and one eye on social network markets. It is in the third level, the sphere of recreation, that we find the most innovative work and prospects for further social liberalisation.    


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Deadbeat Client Bill Introduced in NY

The New York State Senate just introduced S8084, a bill that would at long last grant freelancers the same protections that traditional employees currently enjoy. This remarkable piece of legislation:

* Grants freelancers the same wage protection as traditional employees.
* Requires the Department of Labor to pursue freelancers’ unpaid wages.
* Holds deadbeat executives personally liable for up to $20,000 and jail time.



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CHOICE guide to ethical investing

  • Most ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ funds in Australia invest in big uranium mining companies such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. Funds justify this on the basis that the uranium is used for nuclear energy, not weapons, or that the companies chosen get a limited proportion of their overall revenue from uranium, or that they have good environmental, social or corporate governance performance.
  • A number of sustainable funds invest in companies that have direct involvement in gambling. For example, some funds invest in Macquarie Bank, which has gaming joint ventures with Tattersalls in the UK and Publishing and Broadcasting (PBL).
  • Until recently, BT Financial Group’s Australian Sustainability Share Fund invested in PBL and poker machine producer Aristocrat Leisure. (The fund doesn’t currently hold those stocks, and BT also offers an ‘ethical’ fund that avoids investing in gambling, tobacco and companies that mine uranium for weapons manufacture. See Table 1 in Funds compared).
  • Sustainable Asset Management invests in Tabcorp and cigarette giant British American Tobacco, and its investment approach means that no legal industry (including, for example, armaments) is off limits.
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    Creative Class: Where the Creative Class Jobs Will Be

    More than 35 million people are currently employed in creative class work in fields like science, technology, and engineering; business, finance, and management; law, health care, and education; and arts, culture, media, and entertainment. The creative class makes up roughly a third of total employment and accounts for more than half of all wages and salaries in America. Creative class employment has seen relatively low rates of unemployment during the course of the economic crisis. Creative class jobs will make up roughly half of all projected U.S. employment growth – adding 6.8 million new jobs by 2018

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    SOYA entries closing

    Entries close this Wednesday in SOYA for 2010. I’ve already spotted some amazing entries this year, so I’m excited to spend some time working through them with our producers.

    How to Apply 2 – Design Symposium 2010

    On Friday, I’ll be speaking at
    “>“How to Apply 2 – Design Symposium 2010″

    Design (Thinking) And Business
    A Sydney Design 2010 Event

    It’s a great initiative from Billy Blue, an annual opportunity to discuss the future of design, what we should be teaching tomorrow’s designers, and how we can bring art to business and business to art… I’m excited, but also a little terrified, as I am the last speaker of the day and it’s a 25 minute talk.