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Training Wheels for Treasury Secretaries - WSJ
By HOLMAN W. JENKINS JR..
Updated Dec. 11, 2002

Public choice holds that politicians and government officials have interests, like anyone else, and understanding these interests is a better guide to their behavior than some disembodied notion of the "public good." In the words of Prof. Buchanan, "If you want to improve politics, improve the rules, improve the structure. Don't expect politicians to behave differently. They behave according to their interests."
public_choice  appointments  Holman_Jenkins  interests  politicians  organizational_structure  public_servants  politics  U.S.Treasury_Department  incentives  self-interest  public_goods  behaviours 
february 2015 by jerryking
Holman Jenkins: Sony Lesson: Don’t Get Hacked - WSJ
By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.
Dec. 19, 2014

What we want to know, the FBI is unlikely to find out: What exactly North Korea’s role was and how it may have stimulated others to act on its behalf. North Korean hackers stand on the shoulders of giants—Russian content thieves, Chinese business-secret spies, the politically minded hacktivsts who’ve been strafing Sony for a decade. Hacking is a swarm effort. Participants often don’t even know each other’s real names and nationalities. Don’t be surprised if hacker networks are also full of U.S. agents working for various government departments. Arrests might not have been made in the PlayStation case if a key participant hadn’t been an FBI informant....How Sony’s data security, given this history, could have been so third-rate is a mystery for a future business-school case study....
Holman_Jenkins  lessons_learned  hackers  cyber_security  North_Korea  cyber_warfare  Sony  vulnerabilities  blackmail  cyberattacks 
december 2014 by jerryking
Holman Jenkins: What the Taxi Wars Teach - WSJ
Aug. 19, 2014 | WSJ | Holman Jenkins.

"wasn't the arrival of ride-sharing apps supposed to obliterate the traditional taxi industry? It turns out the new operators have been expanding the pie more than gobbling it up, creating new rides where taxi service was scarce (such as New York's outer boroughs), luring users out of private cars and off buses, and enabling trips that previously wouldn't have been taken at all.

In Chicago, taxi medallions appear to have stopped trading amid current uncertainty but are likely to end up holding much of their value. The traditional conspicuously yellow taxi (as in New York) that can be summoned with the raise of a hand is likely to find that its highly regulated niche survives even as new options proliferate. Value still adheres to the old medallions not least because of the untapped scope for efficiency improvement, ignored till now.

America is an interesting place, a society ruled by organized interest groups where nonetheless new things can happen. It's true that taxi operators have used regulation and litigation to slow the newcomers and force compromise with regulatory edicts on insurance coverage, vehicle age and driver training.

Laws exist and can't just be ignored. Organized interests like taxicab companies have every incentive to make noise about everything, demanding concessions.

Yet despite certain tropes about our dysfunctional political system, politicians also have every incentive to avoid maximalist positions on behalf of constituents, seeking to expand the groups they can make happy."
Holman_Jenkins  taxis  Uber  Lyft  medallions  mobile_applications  lobbying  ride_sharing  constituencies  interest_groups  upstarts  politicians 
august 2014 by jerryking
Also Stalking the Fund Industry: Obsolescence - WSJ.com
Dec. 10, 2003 | WSJ | Holman W. Jenkins.

Quiz for economists: Suppose you have a competitive, transparent industry that one day begins acting in a more short-sighted, exploitative way towards its customers. What's really going on?

Here's a hint: Think of the gradual slide toward sleazier marketing by the traditional long-distance companies. When your business has a future, you invest in customer relationships. When you see your future going away, you milk them like the wasting assets they are. Big swaths of the fund management business are behaving exactly like an industry in decline...Mutual funds exploded in the 1990s, growing from less than $2 trillion in assets to $7 trillion. A long bull market helped to conceal the fact many of these entrants brought no value to the table. Their managers were, on average, merely as lucky as everyone else to be standing in the right place at the right time.
mutual_funds  Holman_Jenkins  Eliot_Spitzer  industry_analysis  obsolescence  customer_satisfaction  financial_services  luck  short-sightedness  sleaze  customer_relationships  exploitation  bull_markets  imposters  decline  '90s  cash_cows 
december 2013 by jerryking
Should GE Go Into the Hospital Biz?
November 20, 2002 | WSJ.com | By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR

We're talking a $400 billion industry slated to grow inexorably, thanks to aging baby boomers with large resources to spend on their hypochondria and an incentive system that encourages them not to skimp on anything that might make them feel better. Yet hospitals still operate on a piecework, cottage-industry model. Giant strides could be made just by eliminating handwritten clinical data and the bountiful errors flowing therefrom. This ought to be a big opportunity for Jeff Immelt.

GE loves to talk about building up service complements to its manufacturing business....Hospitals are local businesses so the scale required to be dominant in a local market doesn't mean buying a significant position in the whole industry coast to coast.
Holman_Jenkins  GE  hospitals  Jeffrey_Immelt 
march 2013 by jerryking
Jenkins: Apple's New Normal - WSJ.com
February 5, 2013, 7:16 p.m. ET

Apple's New Normal
The smartphone has become too interesting a product for one company to dominate.

By HOLMAN W. JENKINS
Holman_Jenkins  Apple  iPhone  new_normal 
february 2013 by jerryking
Jenkins: The Jury Has Spoken—Think Different - WSJ.com
August 28, 2012, 7:07 p.m. ET

The Jury Has Spoken: Think Different
Samsung's loss is Microsoft's opportunity.

Microsoft is a pygmy in the smartphone business though, unlike Google, Microsoft troubled itself to design a smartphone operating system that does everything a smartphone must without being an iPhone knockoff.

Microsoft may genuinely have believed there's a better way than Apple's of organizing a user's interaction with a mobile device. Microsoft may have concluded there was no future in merely making another Apple knockoff, then trying (thanklessly) to give birth to a third app ecosystem around it.

Maybe Microsoft was just worried about lawsuit vulnerability. Whatever the reason (how's this for irony?), Microsoft was the company to "think different" and create a mobile operating system "for the rest of us"—i.e., an alternative to Apple's vision. The result is Windows Phone 8, the operating system behind the oft-praised but slow-selling Nokia Lumia 900....a too-weak patent system can be as bad for competition as a too-strong one. Until Friday's verdict, it was just too easy for Google-Samsung to gain a dominant share by copying Apple's innovations and giving them away for free. That's especially true of the subtle feedback Apple figured out how to provide users through a touch-screen. Google's business model, Apple could be forgiven for thinking, is more like piracy than competition.

Apple's lawsuits are not without strategic design, of course. The aim is to raise the cost to handset makers of using Google's "free" Android software—one reason Samsung, not Google, was the target of Apple's legal vendetta....But the verdict has an ironic potential. With Android seeming less "free," handset makers now have more incentive to get behind real innovation, such as Microsoft's promising but negligibly patronized operating system. Sooner rather than later, in other words, we might have a choice not just between Apple and fake Apple.

Microsoft and other innovators still face a monumental hurdle, it's true, in a lack of apps. What would really hasten the icejam breakup would be more decisions like one recently from the Financial Times.

The FT has decided to stop making Android or Apple apps or other ecosystem-specific apps in favor of a universal app riding on the mobile browser layer, using the tool set known as HTML5.

By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.
Apple  Samsung  Microsoft  Holman_Jenkins  patents  patent_law  ecosystems  Android  HTML5  knockoffs  think_differently  legal_strategies  lawsuits  litigation 
august 2012 by jerryking
The Inequality Obsession
April 17, 2012 | WSJ | By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.

Jenkins: The Inequality Obsession
Why is it in America's interest to persuade the rich to report less income?
inequality  Holman_Jenkins  income_distribution 
may 2012 by jerryking
Availability Cascade
he idea of an “availability cascade.” It employs economics to explain how people come to hold faddish beliefs, even when those beliefs are at odds with other beliefs they hold or information they possess.
Holman_Jenkins 
may 2012 by jerryking
Jenkins: Wi-Fi and the Mobile Meltdown - WSJ.com
OCTOBER 18, 2011, 7:00 P.M. ET

Wi-Fi and the Mobile Meltdown
Hotspots may be the workaround for the spectrum 'shortage.'

...the biggest deliverer of data to smart phones and related devices isn't any of the wireless carriers. It's Wi-Fi, which accounts for 33% compared to 8% for AT&T and 18% for Verizon.

Hmm.

Look at your AT&T iPhone in Manhattan. You're getting four bars and yet broadband is agonizingly slow because too many users are trying to jam bits through at the same time. Look again. Five, 10, 20 or more Wi-Fi networks are also in range of your device. Altogether, within the radius of a single cell tower might be dozens or hundreds of Wi-Fi transceivers.

Hmm.

Virtually every mobile device today comes with Wi-Fi capability. The first iPad was Wi-Fi only. Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet will, at least in the first installment, be a Wi-Fi-only device.

Hmm.
By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.
Wi-Fi  mobile  wireless_spectrum  scarcity  Holman_Jenkins  hotspots 
october 2011 by jerryking
Jenkins, Jr.: Civilization Vindicated - WSJ.com
MAY 4, 2011 | WSJ | By HOLMAN W. JENKINS. Civilization Vindicated
It took an advanced society to visit vengeance where it belonged.
Holman_Jenkins  OBL 
may 2011 by jerryking
Holman Jenkins: GE's Nuclear Power Business and the Japanese Earthquake - WSJ.com
* MARCH 19, 2011 | | By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR. What GE Was
Thinking in 2011. Into the time machine to see how a major company coped
with its black swans. .
memoranda  satire  GE  Japan  Holman_Jenkins  nuclear  black_swan 
march 2011 by jerryking
Jenkins, Jr.: How Apple Foot-Dragged to Victory - WSJ.com
* JANUARY 26, 2011

How Apple Foot-Dragged to Victory
Steve Jobs's formula for success: Don't Rush.
Holman_Jenkins  Apple  Steve_Jobs  ux 
january 2011 by jerryking
Holman Jenkins, Jr.: The Revolution Still Isn't Televised - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 8, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.. The Revolution Still Isn't Televised
Apple TV will fall short until on-demand and live TV go their separate ways.
Apple  television  web_video  CATV  Holman_Jenkins 
september 2010 by jerryking
Holman Jenkins, Jr.: Zell's Hell - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 1, 2010 | | by HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.
Why he should have seen the Trib debacle coming.
Sam_Zell  Holman_Jenkins 
september 2010 by jerryking
Apple's Second Date with History - WSJ.com
MAY 26, 2010 | WSJ | By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR Whose phone
strategy is smarter in the long run—Apple's or Google's? The dangers of
Google's approach? With so many different Android phones floating around
and with so much openness to the Web, the search giant risks delivering
a crummy, fragmented, even disastrous user experience, with security
leaks, viruses and customer service that fails when needed most. For
Apple, the immediate danger is overreach, undermining its ability to
deliver an ineffably superior user experience that just pleases. Apple
has decided it needs an advertising strategy. It will need a TV
strategy, especially after Google last week announced a version of
Android to bring the cloud cornucopia to the biggest, best screen yet.
Apple may also find it needs a strategy to compete in search. It
certainly will need a strategy to make sure its infotainment offerings
through iTunes don't fall behind in price and variety what Android users
can get through their browsers.
Apple  Steve_Jobs  Google  smartphones  strategy  delighting_customers  strategies  open_source  Holman_Jenkins  overreach 
may 2010 by jerryking
Holman Jenkins: Is Financial Innovation the Enemy? - WSJ.com
APRIL 28, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR. Hedging against risk is hardly evidence of misbehavior.
Holman_Jenkins  Goldman_Sachs  finance  derivatives  financial_innovation 
april 2010 by jerryking
Holman Jenkins: China Convicts Itself - WSJ.com
* MARCH 31, 2010

China Convicts Itself
Beijing needs to commit to the global economy.

*
By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.
Holman_Jenkins  China  global_economy 
april 2010 by jerryking
The Meaning of Nummi - WSJ.com
OCTOBER 6, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by HOLMAN W. JENKINS,
JR. "Toyota is...doing away with [an] auto factory, ...landmark joint
venture (JV) between Toyota and GM until GM bailed this year amid its
bankruptcy ordeal. Nummi, short for New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.
and born in 1984, was heralded as a way to introduce GM to
Japanese-style "lean production" while introducing Toyota to the doughty
U.S. auto worker....Nummi was a political operation from day one.
Toyota at the time had no U.S. production and had just been slammed by a
protectionist "voluntary" quota on cars imported from Japan. The plant
also helped it end-run Washington's 25% duty in imported pickups. In
return, the JV was designed to help GM off the wicket of its unwise
promise to pay wages and benefits to workers even when it had no jobs
for them."
automotive_industry  Holman_Jenkins  Toyota  GM  joint_ventures 
october 2009 by jerryking
China's War for Ore - WSJ.com
JULY 15, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.
business-government_relations  China  iron  Australia  Holman_Jenkins  mining 
july 2009 by jerryking
Business World - WSJ.com
by HOLMAN W. JENKINS JR.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Google  Microsoft  Holman_Jenkins 
may 2009 by jerryking

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