Dear Brad,

Forgive the informality, but the medium seems to require it. I am very struck by your emphasis on the importance of the "Corporate Research Laboratory". My cursory understanding is that the great god 'Shareholder Returns' had pretty much killed these off by the 1990's. Some would argue that they were replaced by venture capital. It strikes me however, that this is not a one for one replacement, even if it is dollar for dollar. A corporate research laboratory has institutional memory. It looks for things that might be useful and develops those that appear promising. Venture capital by contrast invests in silos. This idea. This company. Make or break. It may well be more "efficient" from a financial perspective. I wonder however, if it is not much less likely to promote the broad productivity improvements that you write of.

Best regards,


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P.S. This is still topical (long read):


AI and such. Missed it at the time.

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I am, in a certain sense, glad to see the Fallows article, since it's a good one and says some things that need to be said (again), given the fact that Pro Publica is still stuck in damage control and not interested in addressing whatever structural problem is responsible for this situation. It has been a valuable resource, and I hope it can continue to be one.

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You and Quiggin puzzle me. Social Democrats are not socialists or communists. That's why it's called Social Democracy. Social Democracy is a capitalist system, having private property and limited government control of the economy. It's a mixed economy and welfare state system. That's what we have. What neoliberalism can only mean in the real world is the group of people who developed a totally bullshit agenda to influence the government and a lot of the public to help them advance their special interests. All the talk about libertarianism and classical liberalism from these people was kabuki on steroids. It sounded good by seeming to advocate more choice, etc. These people are the people who were buying insurance from the government to protect them in a major economic crisis. All of this was clear in the Savings and Loan debacle. They did not care about moral hazard at all. They did talk about it all the time to fool people, which they did. This group of people are not Cato scholars, but they will tell you they are. Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. At least now, with Trump, this should be obvious even to the visually impaired. The morality talk and values talk was total bs. But you two are doing the same thing, trying to sound like real radicals when you aren't. But if you don't drop the real leftist face, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow.

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