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How Harvard and Other Colleges Manage Their Endowments - YouTube
"College is expensive, but there is one place in higher education where there's no shortage of money – endowments. There's more than $616 billion worth of endowments assets in the U.S. Lawmakers are starting to questions why tuition is still rising if some schools have billions of dollars."
colleges  universities  ivyleague  endowments  2019  money  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  inequality  finance  highereducation  highered  power  wealth  universityoftexas  hedgefunds  yale  charity  hoarding  taxes  investment  stanford  divestment  economics  policy  politics  princeton 
april 2019 by robertogreco
The Making of a Democratic Economy | Ted Howard | RSA Replay - YouTube
"While not often reported on in the press, there is a growing movement – a Community Wealth Building movement – that is taking hold, from the ground up, in towns and cities in the United States and in the United Kingdom, in particular.

Ted Howard, co-founder and president of the Democracy Collaborative, voted one of ‘25 visionaries who are changing your world’, visits the RSA to share the story of the growth of this movement, and the principles underlying it. Join us to explore innovative models of a new economy being built in cities from Cleveland, Ohio to Preston, Lancashire, and to discuss how we might dramatically expand the vision and reality of a democratic economy."
economics  tedhoward  inequality  democracy  extraction  extractiveeconomy  us  uk  2018  capitalism  privatization  finance  wealth  power  elitism  trickledowneconomics  labor  work  universalbasicincome  ubi  austerity  democraticeconomy  precarity  poverty  change  sustainability  empowerment  socialism  socialchange  regulations  socialsafetynet  collectivism  banking  employment  commongood  unemployment  grassroots  organization  greatdepression  greatrecession  alaska  california  socialsecurity  government  governance  nhs  communities  communitywealthbuilding  community  mutualaid  laborovercapital  local  absenteeownership  localownership  consumerism  activism  participation  participatory  investment  cleveland  systemicchange  policy  credit  communityfinance  development  cooperatives  creditunions  employeeownership  richmond  virginia  nyc  rochester  broadband  publicutilities  nebraska  energy  utilities  hospitals  universities  theprestonmodel  preston  lancashire 
november 2018 by robertogreco
How 50 reporters exposed the World Bank’s broken promises | International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
"At a military camp in a violence-stained region of Central America, a Honduran Army officer informed Sasha Chavkin that he knew the reporter’s itinerary – where Chavkin was going and the people he planned to interview. When Chavkin asked how he had acquired this information, the colonel said simply: “Yo soy un militar.” (“I am a military man.”)

In Kenya’s western highlands, rifle-toting officers from the Kenya Forest Service confronted Anthony Langat and Jacob Kushner as the Nairobi-based reporters tried to interview indigenous peoples who claimed forest rangers had burned them out of their homes. The officers questioned the reporters for nearly an hour, refusing to say whether they were under arrest.

Along the Gulf of Kutch, a manager for one of India’s largest coal-powered plants, flanked by security guards, confronted Barry Yeoman, a freelance magazine journalist: Who was he and what was he doing at the fishing settlement near the plant? When Yeoman tried to sidestep the questions, one of the guards said they already knew who he was: “Aren’t you with ICIJ?”

These kinds of encounters aren’t unusual when it comes to boots-in-the-mud foreign reporting. What’s different is that all these journalists were working together, on the same story, as a part of a reporting partnership involving more than 50 journalists led by ICIJ, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Their subject: How power plants, dams and other big projects bankrolled by the World Bank can harm people and the environment.

Over the course of a decade, the reporting team found, projects financed by the World Bank physically or economically displaced an estimated 3.4 million people. These vulnerable people, often among the poorest in their societies, were forced from their homes, lost land or other assets or saw their livelihoods damaged. During this period, the investigation found, the bank regularly failed to follow its own rules for protecting the people living in the path of development.

To show the human consequences of the bank’s investments, reporters from ICIJ, The Huffington Post and more than 20 other ICIJ media partners reported on the ground in 14 countries. They traveled to isolated villages and urban slums in the Balkans, Asia, Africa and Latin America. They entered areas bloodied by civil conflicts. And they asked tough questions in places where journalists are often watched, questioned and, in some instances, targeted for violence or arrest.

“What connects a lot of the work on the investigation is that people were reporting in places where the local authorities are heavily invested in controversial projects,” says Ben Hallman, an editor and reporter for HuffPost who traveled to the mountains of Peru as a part of the investigation. “These places tend to have weak rule of law, and essentially the system that exists is opposed to you getting out the story. There’s definitely a chilling effect.”

ICIJ is a non-profit news organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. We have a full-time staff of 11 in the U.S., Europe and Latin America and 190 member journalists in 65 countries who team with us on cross-border reporting collaborations.

At ICIJ, we operate on the principle that many stories are too big, too complicated and too global for a lone-wolf muckraker – or even a single news organization – to tackle.

That’s certainly the case with the reporting team’s World Bank Group investigation, which focuses on a sprawling organization with more than 10,000 employees and a PR operation that works hard to deflect negative coverage.

The World Bank Group is owned by 188 member countries, with the U.S. and a few other Western nations holding much of the voting power. It funnels money to governments and corporations with the goal, it says, of ending extreme poverty.

Its push to end poverty is complicated by the reality that dams and other game-changing projects can make things worse rather than better for people nearby. People forced to resettle because of big projects often end up poorer than before. Some face hunger and disease. Even when people aren’t evicted from their homes, projects can destroy or damage their livelihoods. A dam that changes a river flow, for example, can drastically reduce catches for fishing communities.

The World Bank’s “safeguard” rules are supposed to protect people whose lives are disrupted by its investments. Families pushed from their homes must be provided new homes. People whose ability to earn a living has been damaged must get help to restore or replace their livelihoods.

The bank often fails to enforce these rules. In some cases, the World Bank and its private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corp., have financed governments or companies accused of human rights violations such as rape, murder and torture.

In Kenya, for example, indigenous people claim they have been burned out of their homes and evicted from ancestral forests by a World Bank-funded forest conservation program.

“I don’t understand why they chase us like this,” Selly Rotich, a mother of five, told Langat and Kushner in September as she sat outside her scorched home in Kenya’s Embobut Forest."
worldbank  development  kenya  india  honduras  sashachavkin  anthonylangat  jacobkushner  barryyeoman  journalism  balkans  latinamerica  asia  africa  investment  economics  policy  politics  finance 
july 2015 by robertogreco
"Bonded Life: Technologies of Racial Finance from Slavery to Philanthrocapitalism" | Zenia Kish and Justin Leroy - Academia.edu
"Amid public critiques of Wall Street’s amorality and protests against sharpening inequality since the financial crisis of 2008, the emergent discourse of philanthrocapitalism – philanthropic capitalism – has sought to recuperate amoral centre for finance capitalism. Philanthrocapitalism seeks to marry financecapital with a moral commitment to do good. These strategies require new financial instruments to make poverty reduction and other forms of social welfare profitable business ventures. Social impact bonds (SIBs) – which offer private investors competitive returns on public sector investments – and related instruments have galvanized the financialization of both public services and the life possibilities of poor communities in the USA and the Global South. This article maps new intrusions of credit and debt into previously unmarketable spheres of life, such as prison recidivism outcomes, and argues that contemporary social finance practices such as SIBs are inextricable from histories of race – that financialization has been and continues to be a deeply racialized process. Intervening in debatesabout the social life of financial practices and the coercive creation of new debtor publics, we chart technologies meant to transform subjects considered valueless intoappropriate, even laudable, objects of financial investment. Because their proponents frame SIBs as philanthropic endeavours, the violence required to financialize human life becomes obfuscated. We aim to historicize the violence of financialization by drawing out links between financial capitalism as it developed during the height of the Atlantic slave trade and the more subtle violence of philanthropic financial capitalism. Though the notion that slaves could be a good investment – both in the profitable and moral sense of the word – seems far removed from our contemporary sensibilities, the shadow of slavery haunts SIBs; despite their many differences, both required black bodies to be made available for investment. Both also represent an expansion to the limits of financialization."
charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  slavery  capitalism  philanthrocapitalism  zeniakish  justinleroy  slaveinsurance  insurance  finance  banking  inequality  race  racism  financialization  neoliberalism  via:javierarbona  socialfinance  poverty  socialimpactbonds  investment  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  power  control 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Art World’s Patron Satan - NYTimes.com
"More than supportive, Simchowitz had stepped out of a fairy tale — a godfather whose emissary swooped down from the heavens to rescue Ulman from catastrophe. Ulman had not yet heard all the stories about Simchowitz’s generosity and its fatal attraction for young, penniless artists whom he lured into Faustian bargains. He would provide them with “all those adult things” they needed and so often lacked: room, board, materials. In exchange for extraordinary support, Simchowitz asked not for his artists’ souls but for their art, a deal that many of his protégés lived to regret. In any event, lying alone in a hospital bed, broken and delirious, Ulman did not have the luxury of worrying about a far-off day of reckoning.

Ulman met Simchowitz earlier that year after an email introduction from the editor of Sex Magazine, an online arts publication, and was unaware of his reputation for aggressive accumulation. She agreed to sell him two giant paintings covered in blue eyes, but she was surprised by his brutal plans for them. Like a land developer subdividing a great estate, Simchowitz planned to chop up Ulman’s paintings into roughly a dozen smaller units. “He wanted me to cut the eyes into pieces so he could sell more paintings!” she said. Ulman, who put herself through art school by working as a librarian, was taken aback by the proposed dismemberment, but she wasn’t in a strong position to negotiate. “I was very desperate,” she said. “I didn’t have anything to eat.” She ended up selling Simchowitz the smaller units for less than $150 apiece, adding that he could “wipe his ass with them” if he really wanted to.

“He paid me nothing, basically, but at the moment it seemed like a lot,” she said. “And it was great. It allowed me to go to Berlin. I think I lived three months out of that.”

Since 2007, Simchowitz has sponsored and promoted roughly two dozen young artists. In addition to arranging sales for their work, Simchowitz often provides them with a studio, purchases their materials, covers their rent and subsidizes their living expenses. Perhaps most consequentially, he also posts photos of them and their work on his influential Instagram account, thereby creating what he calls “heat” and “velocity” for the artists he supports, who have included market darlings like the Colombian Oscar Murillo, the Japanese-American Parker Ito and the Brazilian Christian Rosa, all under the age of 35. But Simchowitz’s methods call down the opprobrium of art-world stalwarts, who are contemptuous of his taste, suspicious of his motives and fearful of his network’s potential to subvert the intricate hierarchies that have regulated art for centuries.

Reputations in the art world are forged over many years across countless fairs, openings, reviews and dinners. Although laypeople may look at a $30 million Richter and compare it to splatters from a second grader, Richter’s prices are determined not by chance but by the elaborate academic, journalistic and institutional infrastructure the art world has built to mete out prizes and anoint the next generation of cultural torchbearers. The collector class has traditionally come from the very top of the wealth spectrum and has included people looking to trade money for social prestige by participating in the art world’s stately rituals. Over the last few years, though, a new class of speculators has emerged with crasser objectives: They are less interested in flying to Basel to attend a dinner than in riding the economic wave that has caused the market for emerging contemporary art to surge in the past decade.

Critics charge that Simchowitz often preys on vulnerable young artists without gallery representation — some say without talent — and buys up huge quantities of their work, then flips the pieces back and forth at escalating prices among a cultivated group of buyers: a network of movie stars, professional poker players, orthodontists, nightclub promoters, financiers, football players and corned-beef magnates, many of whom hold Simchowitz in such high esteem that they’re willing to purchase the pieces he acquires for them sight unseen, artist unnamed. In March, in an online screed for New York magazine, the art critic Jerry Saltz tore into Simchowitz with unusual ferocity, dubbing him a “Sith Lord” and the Pied Piper of the “New Cynicism.” Simchowitz’s artists may enjoy a temporary surge in prices, his critics argue, but they typically see little of the upside; in any case, or so the story goes, once their bubbles pop, they’re left for dead.

Many important galleries have blacklisted Simchowitz as a buyer, forcing him to take extreme measures to secure desired work, including using consultants as undercover mules. Simchowitz told me about a recent scheme in which he had a consultant buy three pieces from Essex Street, a Lower East Side gallery. The purchase was nominally on behalf of another client, but the ultimate recipient was Simchowitz; by the time the gallery suspected the ruse, money had already changed hands, but the pieces had not been delivered. The gallery requested that Simchowitz not only cancel the purchase but also return another piece by the same artist that was already in his possession, which he did. Moreover, the gallerist, furious over what happened, called the other client to inform him that he was colluding in fraud, an accusation that heartily amused Simchowitz. (Asked for comment, the gallery responded, “Essex Street has never done business with Stefan Simchowitz.”)

To his detractors, Simchowitz is the Michael Milken of the art world — someone who has created, through his extensive network and force of personality, a market for high-risk, high-yield investments that have little to do with the fundamentals of talent and critical acclaim. By contrast, Simchowitz sees himself as something akin to the art world’s Mark Zuckerberg, a 21st-century player using technology to disrupt the institutional establishment. Despite his reputation for transaction-driven opportunism, Simchowitz insists he is playing the long game. “I’m looking for the big fish,” he told me, predicting that in 30 years his investments in the next generation of art stars could yield him a fortune worth a hundred million dollars. “The downside is that it’s worth only $50 million,” he allowed. “But I want the big kahuna.”"
art  artworld  capitalism  2014  christopherglazek  stefansimchowitz  money  power  exploitation  business  investment  finance  via:caseygollan 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Hullabaloo: Rewarding failure by design?
"For the investor class, it is a tragedy of the commons when they don't get a cut from it. That's why, for example, they are so hot to see a middle man in every middle school."



"David Dayen wrote yesterday at Salon about Sen. Elizabeth Warren's opposition to investment banker, Antonio Weiss, President Obama's nominee for Treasury Department undersecretary for domestic finance. One of Weiss' biggest clients is Brazilian private equity fund 3G. Dayen describes deals that would make Paul Singer blush. (Okay, maybe not.) They seem almost designed to reward failure:
The deals also exhibit the modern hallmark of corporate America: financial engineering. Decisions are made to satisfy shareholder clamoring for short-term profits rather than any long-term vision about building a quality business. The manager class extracts value for their own ends, and the rotted husk of the company either sinks or swims. It doesn’t matter to those who have already completed the looting.
"
capitalism  investment  investors  middlemen  privatization  2014  failure  tomsullivan  us  policy  politics  education  schools  forprofit  infrastructure  commons  bankruptcy  finance  banking  bankers  barrysummers  looting  corporatism  financialengineering  management  roads  tollroads 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Young Minds in Critical Condition - NYTimes.com
"It happens every semester. A student triumphantly points out that Jean-Jacques Rousseau is undermining himself when he claims “the man who reflects is a depraved animal,” or that Ralph Waldo Emerson’s call for self-reliance is in effect a call for reliance on Emerson himself. Trying not to sound too weary, I ask the student to imagine that the authors had already considered these issues.

Instead of trying to find mistakes in the texts, I suggest we take the point of view that our authors created these apparent “contradictions” in order to get readers like us to ponder more interesting questions. How do we think about inequality and learning, for example, or how can we stand on our own feet while being open to inspiration from the world around us? Yes, there’s a certain satisfaction in being critical of our authors, but isn’t it more interesting to put ourselves in a frame of mind to find inspiration in them?

Our best college students are very good at being critical. In fact being smart, for many, means being critical. Having strong critical skills shows that you will not be easily fooled. It is a sign of sophistication, especially when coupled with an acknowledgment of one’s own “privilege.”

The combination of resistance to influence and deflection of responsibility by confessing to one’s advantages is a sure sign of one’s ability to negotiate the politics of learning on campus. But this ability will not take you very far beyond the university. Taking things apart, or taking people down, can provide the satisfactions of cynicism. But this is thin gruel.

The skill at unmasking error, or simple intellectual one-upmanship, is not totally without value, but we should be wary of creating a class of self-satisfied debunkers — or, to use a currently fashionable word on campus, people who like to “trouble” ideas. In overdeveloping the capacity to show how texts, institutions or people fail to accomplish what they set out to do, we may be depriving students of the chance to learn as much as possible from what they study.

In campus cultures where being smart means being a critical unmasker, students may become too good at showing how things can’t possibly make sense. They may close themselves off from their potential to find or create meaning and direction from the books, music and experiments they encounter in the classroom.

Once outside the university, these students may try to score points by displaying the critical prowess for which they were rewarded in school, but those points often come at their own expense. As debunkers, they contribute to a cultural climate that has little tolerance for finding or making meaning — a culture whose intellectuals and cultural commentators get “liked” by showing that somebody else just can’t be believed. But this cynicism is no achievement.

Liberal education in America has long been characterized by the intertwining of two traditions: of critical inquiry in pursuit of truth and exuberant performance in pursuit of excellence. In the last half-century, though, emphasis on inquiry has become dominant, and it has often been reduced to the ability to expose error and undermine belief. The inquirer has taken the guise of the sophisticated (often ironic) spectator, rather than the messy participant in continuing experiments or even the reverent beholder of great cultural achievements.

Of course critical reflection is fundamental to teaching and scholarship, but fetishizing disbelief as a sign of intelligence has contributed to depleting our cultural resources. Creative work, in whatever field, depends upon commitment, the energy of participation and the ability to become absorbed in works of literature, art and science. That type of absorption is becoming an endangered species of cultural life, as our nonstop, increasingly fractured technological existence wears down our receptive capacities.

In my film and philosophy class, for example, I have to insist that students put their devices away while watching movies that don’t immediately engage their senses with explosions, sex or gag lines. At first they see this as some old guy’s failure to grasp their skill at multitasking, but eventually most relearn how to give themselves to an emotional and intellectual experience, one that is deeply engaging partly because it does not pander to their most superficial habits of attention. I usually watch the movies with them (though I’ve seen them more than a dozen times), and together we share an experience that becomes the subject of reflection, interpretation and analysis. We even forget our phones and tablets when we encounter these unexpected sources of inspiration.

Liberal learning depends on absorption in compelling work. It is a way to open ourselves to the various forms of life in which we might actively participate. When we learn to read or look or listen intensively, we are, at least temporarily, overcoming our own blindness by trying to understand an experience from another’s point of view. We are not just developing techniques of problem solving; we are learning to activate potential, and often to instigate new possibilities.

Yes, hard-nosed critical thinking is a useful tool, but it also may become a defense against the risky insight that absorption can offer. As students and as teachers we sometimes crave that protection; without it we risk changing who we are. We risk seeing a different way of living not as something alien, but as a possibility we might be able to explore, and even embrace.

Liberal education must not limit itself to critical thinking and problem solving; it must also foster openness, participation and opportunity. It should be designed to take us beyond the campus to a life of ongoing, pragmatic learning that finds inspiration in unexpected sources, and increases our capacity to understand and contribute to the world — and reshape it, and ourselves, in the "
criticalthinking  criticism  cynicism  2014  intellect  debate  skepticism  creativity  immersion  attention  inquiry  education  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  engagement  investment  michaleroth  philosophy  participatory  irony  spectators  sophistication 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Tomgram: Todd Gitlin, Climate Change as a Business Model | TomDispatch
"Transforming the world is something like winning a war. If the objective is to eliminate a condition like hunger, mass violence, or racial domination, then the institutions and systems of power that produce, defend, and sustain this condition have to be dislodged and defeated. For that, most people have to stop experiencing the condition -- and the enemy that makes it possible -- as abstractions “out there.”

A movement isn’t called that for nothing. It has to move people. It needs lovers, and friends, and allies. It has to generate a cascade of feeling -- moral feeling. The movement’s passion has to become a general passion. And that passion must be focused: the concern that people feel about some large condition “out there” has to find traction closer to home.

Vis-à-vis the slow-motion apocalypse of climate change, there’s plenty of bad news daily and it’s hitting ever closer home, even if you live in the parching Southwest or the burning West, not the Philippines or the Maldive Islands. Until recently, however, it sometimes felt as if the climate movement was spinning its wheels, gaining no traction. But the extraordinary work of Bill McKibben and his collaborators at 350.org, and the movements against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and its Canadian equivalent, the Northern Gateway pipeline, have changed the climate-change climate.

Now, the divestment movement, too, becomes a junction point where action in the here-and-now, on local ground, gains momentum toward a grander transformation. These movements are the hinges on which the door to a livable future swings."
toddgitlin  sustainability  2013  climatechange  divestment  investment  harvard  movements  energy  fossilfuels  bigenergy  change  revolution  history  transformation 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Neoliberalism has hijacked our vocabulary | Doreen Massey | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
"Instead of an unrelenting quest for growth, might we not ask the question, in the end: "What is an economy for?", "What do we want it to provide?"

Our current imaginings endow the market and its associated forms with a special status. We think of "the economy" in terms of natural forces, into which we occasionally intervene, rather than in terms of a whole variety of social relations that need some kind of co-ordination.

Thus "work", for example, is understood in a very narrow and instrumental way. Where only transactions for money are recognised as belonging to "the economy", the vast amount of unpaid labour – as conducted for instance in families and local areas – goes uncounted and unvalued. We need to question that familiar categorisation of the economy as a space into which people enter in order to reluctantly undertake unwelcome and unpleasing "work", in return for material rewards which they can use for consuming.

This is a view that misunderstands where pleasure and fulfilment in human lives are found. Work is usually – and certainly should be – a central source of meaning and fulfilment in human lives. And it has – or could have – moral and creative (or aesthetic) values at its core. A rethinking of work could lead us to address more creatively both the social relations of work and the division of labour within society (including a better sharing of the tedious work, and of the skills)."
neoliberalism  language  words  work  labor  leisurearts  artleisure  growth  sustainability  pleasure  doreenmassey  customers  inequality  investment  expenditure  2013 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention (Full text)
"And if our parents and grandparents could toil and struggle for us…if they could raise beams of steel to the sky, send a man to the moon, and connect the world with the touch of a button…then surely we can keep on sacrificing and building for our own kids and grandkids."
us  obama  simplicity  complexity  climatechange  moonlanding  skyscrapers  internet  michelleobama  2012  future  investment  sacrifice  improvement  infrastructure  legacy  via:robinsonmeyer 
november 2012 by robertogreco
The Real Estate Deal That Could Change the Future of Everything - Neighborhoods - The Atlantic Cities
"Why can’t you be an investor in one of our deals? You live nearby, you’re young, you get it. Why is it that you don’t have this option? That’s unnatural, almost."

"Most American cities as we know them today weren't built this way. Historically, hotels and restaurants and shops were built by local people investing in their own neighborhoods."

"The history of modern financial investment has been the story of people and their money moving farther apart into abstraction, to the point where most of us don't know where our investments (if we have any) have gone. But shorten the distance between those two points, and things start to change. Put your money into a building you can see in your neighborhood, and suddenly you might care more about the quality of the tenant, or the energy efficiency of the design, or the aesthetics of the architecture. This proposition is like "Broken Windows on steroids," Ben says."
local  benmiller  danmiller  westmillcapital  chrisleinberger  regulation  kickstarter  danielgorfine  realestatedevelopment  community  communities  investment  sec  willsharpe  erikbruner-yang  tokiunderground  maketto  washingtondc  hstreetcommunitydevelopment  crowdinvesting  crowdfunding  ericgarcetti  neighborhoods  cities  development  economics  economy  finance  realestate  dc 
november 2012 by robertogreco
The Philanthropic Complex
"The truth is that organizations whose missions foreground the “sociological and spiritual” go mostly without funding. Take for instance the sad tale of the Center for the New American Dream (NAD), created in 1997 by Betsy Taylor (herself a funder with the Merck Family Fund). NAD’s original mission statement gave a priority to “quality of life” issues.

We envision a society that values more of what matters—not just more…a new emphasis on non-material values like financial security, fairness, community, health, time, nature, and fun.

This is exactly the sort of “big picture” that philanthropy has been mostly unwilling to fund because, it argues, it is so difficult to provide “accountability” data for issues like “work and time” and “fun” (!). (To which one might reasonably reply, “Why do you fund only those things that are driven by data?”)…

One of the most maddening experiences for those who seek the support of private philanthropy is the lack of transparency…"
nonprofits  halclifford  orion  markets  publicadvocacy  nad  newamericandream  95-5  corruption  investment  conflictsofinterest  gatesfoundation  transparency  anonymity  self-preservation  wealth  thephilanthropiccomplex  privilege  mediocrity  influence  wallstreet  2012  riskmanagement  ngo  biggreen  environmentalism  change  government  policy  environment  restrictedgifts  control  fear  foundations  jacobinmag  progressivism  power  money  capitalism  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  nonprofit 
june 2012 by robertogreco
GDC 2012: Designing For Friendship - Chris Bell
And then there’s the relationship between us, the communication barrier that separates us, and the empathy that allows us to understand each other in spite of that.…

Both games I’ve helped design, "Journey" and "WAY", attempt to herd two strangers toward friendship. And both do it in similar and different ways.

But how do we do that? How do we design so friendship will emerge? And what is friendship really?…

What I’m interested in, is that spontaneous bond between strangers. I want to focus on online multiplayer that emphasizes shared goals, freedom of choice, anonymity, vulnerability, and communication.…

What were the seeds of my connections?…investment & responsibility…high stakes & real consequences…empathy…vulnerability…free choice…teaching…communication…

If the world isn’t valuing what we consider significant, we have the responsibility to create worlds that do.…

It’s what you choose to make that reveals who you are..."
worldbuilding  vulnerability  consequences  responsibility  investment  cv  tcsnmy  unschooling  freechoice  communication  empathy  japan  gamedesign  society  humanity  humanism  learning  teaching  2012  play  videogames  journey  gaming  games  design  via:kissane  chrisbell  friendship  way  waygame 
june 2012 by robertogreco
DEAR AMERICA: It's Time To Say A Big 'Thank You' To Amazon
"Amazon is investing (and hiring) while many other American corporations are milking incumbent businesses, under-investing in research and development, and hoarding cash. To the chagrin of some traders, Amazon is distinctly NOT "maximizing near-term profits" — it is sacrificing near-term profits. It is making less money now in the hopes of making more money and creating more value later. And it is ignoring the howls and screams of short-term traders who couldn't care less about Amazon's long-term prognosis, add nothing to the economy, and just want to make money now.

If more American companies started to do what Amazon does — ignore short-term pressures, sacrifice near-term profits, and invest for the long-term — the American economy would start to heal itself quickly."

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/12030550839/amazon-is-investing-and-hiring-while-many-other ]
amazon  shortterm  longterm  investment  2011  self-interest  capitalism  business  economics  wallstreet  occupywallstreet  ows  greed  finance  self-interestproperlyunderstood 
october 2011 by robertogreco
EconoMonitor : Nouriel Roubini's Global EconoMonitor » Is Capitalism Doomed?
"The right balance today requires creating jobs partly through additional fiscal stimulus aimed at productive infrastructure investment. It also requires more progressive taxation; more short-term fiscal stimulus with medium- and long-term fiscal discipline; lender-of-last-resort support by monetary authorities to prevent ruinous runs on banks; reduction of the debt burden for insolvent households and other distressed economic agents; and stricter supervision and regulation of a financial system run amok; breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and oligopolistic trusts.<br />
<br />
Over time, advanced economies will need to invest in human capital, skills and social safety nets to increase productivity and enable workers to compete, be flexible and thrive in a globalized economy. The alternative is – like in the 1930s – unending stagnation, depression, currency and trade wars, capital controls, financial crisis, sovereign insolvencies, and massive social and political instability."
2011  nourielroubini  recession  greatdepression  greatrecession  politics  policy  economics  investment  infrastructure  stimulus  socialsafetynet  toobigtofail  globalization  stagnation 
august 2011 by robertogreco
How Finland emerged from recession with the best education system in Europe - The Irish Times - Tue, Mar 01, 2011
"FOLLOWING THE break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Finland experienced a severe recession, not dissimilar to current difficulties in Ireland.<br />
<br />
Unemployment climbed from 3 per cent to 18 per cent in two years. GDP dropped 13 per cent at the same time and Finnish public spending reached close to 70 per cent of the overall state budget.<br />
<br />
The Finnish Government of the day bravely decided that increased investment in education was the roadmap to recovery.<br />
<br />
Result? Finland emerged quickly from recession, built a highly-skilled workforce, and today boasts one of the finest education systems in the world.<br />
<br />
Interestingly, Finland has not employed any of the market-based educational reform ideas in the ways that they have been accepted within education policies of many other nations, United States and England among them.<br />
<br />
By contrast, a typical feature of teaching and learning in Finland is high confidence in teachers and principals as respected professionals…"
finland  recession  education  economics  poilicy  us  investment  history  learning  schools  publicschools 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Wall Street, investment bankers, and social good : The New Yorker
"What Good Is Wall Street? Much of what investment bankers do is socially worthless."<br />
<br />
"Since the early nineteen-eighties, by contrast, financial blowups have proliferated and living standards have stagnated. Is this coincidence? For a long time, economists and policymakers have accepted the financial industry’s appraisal of its own worth, ignoring the market failures and other pathologies that plague it. Even after all that has happened, there is a tendency in Congress and the White House to defer to Wall Street because what happens there, befuddling as it may be to outsiders, is essential to the country’s prosperity. Finally, dissidents like Paul Woolley are questioning this narrative. “There was a presumption that financial innovation is socially valuable,” Woolley said to me. “The first thing I discovered was that it wasn’t backed by any empirical evidence. There’s almost none.”"
wallstreet  finance  economics  investment  meltdown  investing  politics  social  policy  society  value  banking  money 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Infrastructural Ecologies: Principles for Post-Industrial Public Works : Places: Design Observer
"In prioritizing private over public transportation and short-changing cleaner energy projects, ARRA has undercut the Obama administration's claim to support a green economy. Still more worrisome, unbalanced investments that favor the old over the new position us unfavorably in comparison to other industrialized nations, which are investing heavily in public transit and renewable energy. [4] Worse yet, they perpetuate America’s disproportionately high per-capita carbon dioxide emissions: approximately 20 metric tons to Europe’s 9 and India’s 1.07. [5] Ultimately, of course, ARRA was more stop-gap compromise than comprehensive vision — and no doubt the hard-fought result of tense partisan politics. Still, ARRA 2009 will be remembered as a tragically missed opportunity at a pivotal moment in national history."
hillarybrown  architecture  infrastructure  investment  urbanism  post-industrial  landscape  ecology  future  planning  barckobama  2009  arra  economics  policy  publicworks  construction  design  transportation  us  comparison  europe  missedopportunities  public  publictransit  emissions  sustainability 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Housing in Ten Words « The Baseline Scenario
"Housing is generally a worse investment than either stocks or simple U.S. Treasury bonds. Then why do so many people think it’s such a great investment?" [via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/1003282676]
economy  economics  finance  housing  investment  us  markets 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Throwing Money Away (Buying vs Renting) | Messy Matters [To save myself the time when this topic comes up again]
"I’m tired of hearing people explain that paying rent is throwing money away. Of course, they don’t mean that literally. You’re getting something for that money (a place to live). But with a mortgage you’re building equity, right? Doesn’t that fundamentally make more sense than renting? No. “Building equity” just means turning some of your money into a house. That’s one of many ways you could invest your money.

Practically speaking, there are some reasons why buying instead of renting really is a good idea for a lot of people..."
bubble  economics  finance  housing  investing  realestate  rent  renting  rentersrights  money  nyc  investments  investment  homebuying  via:robinsloan 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Tom Vander Ark: The Role of the Private Sector in Education
"We send our kids to privately run hospitals, we travel over privately constructed roads, and we buy power from private companies. Private sector investment and innovation should play a more important role in American education. Private companies have built-in incentives for speed, quality and scale. Visit Atlanta Prep or an NHA school if you want to see private capital providing a great service for less." [Mentioning private hospitals & power companies won't convince me. How many privately run roads are there? And who do they serve?]
tomvanderark  money  schools  education  policy  privatization  forprofit  investment  privatesector  us  reform  socalledreform  charterschools 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The LION's Share: Don't Just Buy Local, Invest - The Neighborhoods Issue - GOOD
"We’ve all been told to buy locally, but...investing, we give our money to same old faceless Fortune 500 companies. If we could invest in the neighborhood bar or bike shop instead, that capital would stay in community. Unfortunately, securities law makes it practically impossible for small businesses to issue stock & accept investment.
porttownsend  washingtonstate  local  localcurrency  investment 
april 2010 by robertogreco
BrightScope | 401k Plan Ratings
"BrightScope quantitatively rates 401k plans and gives plan sponsors, advisors, and participants tools to make their plans better.
401k  investment  evaluation  ratings  analytics  comparison  finance  statistics  money  savings  personalfinance 
september 2009 by robertogreco
They're On Their Own. Why I'm not paying for college. By Meagan Francis for Babble.com's "Bad Parent" column.
"Do I want my kids to have a better life than me? Depends what you mean by "better." I want them to learn how to be self-sufficient and responsible. I want them to find a career that both puts food on the table and feeds their souls. I want them to be loving, kind, generous, compassionate, and down-to-earth. I believe they can get there whether they have a Ph.D or a GED; whether they have student loan or zero debt; whether they work with their hands or pursue academia. How they get there is up to them, and I believe they're bright, creative, and resourceful enough to figure it out. In their adult lives, my kids will struggle. They will fail. They will also succeed. I will love them and encourage them when they do either."
parenting  money  colleges  universities  careers  investment  self-sufficiency  education 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Don't try to dodge the recession with grad school | Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist
"1. Grad school pointlessly delays adulthood. 2. PhD programs are pyramid schemes 3. Business school is not going to help 90% of the people who go. 4. Law school is a factory for depressives. 5. The medical school model assumes that health care spending is not a mess. 6. Going to grad school is like going into the military. 7. Most jobs are better than they seem: You can learn from any job. 8. Graduate school forces you to overinvest: It’s too high risk."

[via: http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2009/03/was-recent-productivity-growth-an-illusion.html ]
gradschool  education  investment  money  finance  learning  economics  management  advice  medicine  mba  recession  crisis  2009  risk  penelopetrunk 
march 2009 by robertogreco
FT.com | Willem Buiter's Maverecon | Home loans in the US: the biggest racket since Al Capone?
"The extreme fiscal largesse bestowed on residential housing, directly and indirectly through mortgage interest deductibility, has led to a massive misallocation of investment in the US. There has been overinvestment in the private residential housing stock and underinvestment in just about every other form of fixed capital: infrastructure, public amenities of all kinds (sports facilities, public recreational facilities, parks etc.), commercial structures, plant and equipment. It is time to correct the distorted incentives that are at the root of this misallocation. The easiest way to do this, in the current tax system, is to end the deductibility of mortgage interest in the personal income tax, close down Fannie and Freddie and end the role of the US government in the provision of residential mortgages."
economics  housing  realestate  meltdown  crisis  finance  policy  mortgages  taxes  mortgagededuction  investment  stimulus  willembuiter  housingbubble 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Don’t Trust Anyone In A Tie | Print Article | Newsweek.com
"High-frequency data is the problem, because we can't interpret it correctly. Our environment is increasingly complicated, and the data that we choose to single out and interpret isn't always relevant [to the problem we are trying to understand]. You can always find correlations if you look. I could find a correlation between your father's blood pressure & some aspect of the market. Any number that you hear can act as an anchor for your beliefs. If I ask you your Social Security number, then ask you how you think the market will perform, the numbers will be correlated. So you have the idea that you are charting the world of randomness, but you aren't. This goes for funds as well—a lot of the metrics they use are ridiculous." "Take risks away from bankers. Let hedge funds—and the high-net-worth people—take it. At least they aren't threatening society. Also, don't use an economist as Treasury secretary. The world needs fewer economists in general. I believe in psychology, not economics."
nassimtaleb  data  flow  context  bigpicture  relevance  miopia  correlationcausation  randomness  blackswans  finance  analysis  crisis  2008  banking  investment 
december 2008 by robertogreco
The Financialization of Capital and the Crisis - Monthly Review [see also: http://links.org.au/node/794]
"radically different economic view...suggests normal path of mature capitalist economies...US, major Western European countries & Japan, is one of stagnation rather than rapid growth. In this perspective, today’s periodic crises...point to serious & growing long-term constraints on capital accumulation." ... "The hard truth of the matter is that the regime of monopoly-finance capital is designed to benefit a tiny group of oligopolists who dominate both production and finance. A relatively small number of individuals and corporations control huge pools of capital and find no other way to continue to make money on the required scale than through a heavy reliance on finance and speculation. This is a deep-seated contradiction intrinsic to the development of capitalism itself. If the goal is to advance the needs of humanity as a whole, the world will sooner or later have to embrace an alternative system. There is no other way."
via:javierarbona  capitalism  corporations  investment  financialization  johnbellamyfoster  banking  finance  crisis  economics  collapse  debt  leverage  capital  class  us  bubbles  greatdepression 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Blaine Lourd Profile - Executive Articles - Portfolio.com
"The problem was the entire edifice of modern Wall Street, in which some people —- brokers, analysts, mutual fund managers, hedge fund managers -— presented themselves as experts and were paid fantastic sums of money for their expertise. But essentially, Ellis argued, there was no such thing as financial expertise. "I read this book," Blaine says, "and I thought, My whole life is a lie, and everyone around me is facilitating this lie.""
economics  business  money  wallstreet  trading  investing  michaellewis  finance  banking  investment 
november 2008 by robertogreco
The Crisis & What to Do About It - The New York Review of Books
"The salient feature of the current financial crisis is that it was not caused by some external shock like OPEC raising the price of oil or a particular country or financial institution defaulting. The crisis was generated by the financial system itself...Excessive reliance on those mathematical models did untold harm....The new paradigm has far-reaching implications for the regulation of financial markets. Since they are prone to create asset bubbles, regulators such as the Fed, the Treasury, and the SEC must accept responsibility for preventing bubbles from growing too big. Until now financial authorities have explicitly rejected that responsibility."
georgesoros  finance  markets  2008  greatdepression  recession  corruption  creditcrunch  risk  investment  bubble  regulation  economics  capitalism  crisis  money 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Achievement First [via: http://www.tuttlesvc.org/2008/11/this-is-not-our-emergency.html see also: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/50802877/branding-and-authenticity-and-schools]
"This debilitating pattern of the "doom loop" is felt acutely in urban schools. School districts replace superintendents with alarming frequency, hailing each as the savior leader. Curricula lurch from progressive to traditional and back again, and each year a new professional development guru rolls out the program du jour. Initiatives and teams are developed without enough planning and training, and no program or leader is given enough time to produce great results. By the time any traction is made, a new program, fad, or leader is in place. Nobody is truly accountable, and no momentum toward excellent results is built up. Teachers are frustrated, and students fail to learn."
schools  fads  trends  time  investment  management  public  private  leadership  administration  policy  curriculum  progressive  traditional  learning  longevity  teaching  children  fail  failure  doomloop  professionaldevelopment 
november 2008 by robertogreco
BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » What $700 billion could buy
"$700 billion to bail out the idiots who got us into this mess...end up with nothing to show for it...[what else could we get]...national wi-max buildout would cost between $5 billion and $14.5 billion...we could give every American free broadband access for 20 years...3.5 billion One Laptop Per Child machines...4.4 million free college educations at private institutions...triple total annual R&D spending in the U.S...."
finance  crisis  economics  future  investment  wallstreet  banking  via:preoccupations 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Nassim Nicholas Taleb top life tips
"1. Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.

I think scepticism is one of driving motivations behind many entrepreneurs: a healthy scepticism for existing products and people’s predictions invokes the ‘challenger’ mindset. I have honed my scepticism on the small & aesthetic for long enough now…

2. Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.

HOW can you possibly fault a man who holds amongst his top 10 tips: ‘GO TO PARTIES’

3. It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.

There is ONE exception to this rule. Never tease a Venture Capitalist. Regardless of the size of his tie. Buy him a drink, complement his colour-co-ordinated cufflinks, but never tease him.

4. Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.

Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn) once said: ‘If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” And so it is with Snagsta. When the time comes we’ll be wearing our best but at first ‘site’ it may appear as if we got dressed in a bit of a hurry… tucking in our shirt on the way out the door. Kind of my ‘style’ I suppose, given I was once described as looking like an ‘unmade bed’…

5. Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.

I didn’t understand that but I am sure it’s deep.

6. Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error — by mastering the error part.

There is an interesting debate on the correlation between success and past failure. In my industry the US is very pro-failure, whereas Europe is far more risk-adverse. Statistics suggest there is no correlation but I have hedged my bets by establishing a long track record of failure…

7. Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).

Bit late for this advice given I am now inextricably linked to Alex M… he’s not really a loser but has exceptionally dodgy taste in music.

8. Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants… or (again) parties.

I’ve talked about this before. Ironically this list came from the business section of The Times… a Black Swan perhaps?

9. Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.

The central theme in Taleb’s book (Black Swan): success has a lot to do with luck. Do whatever you can to put yourself in its way. Luck is less likely to visit you in your bedroom while you’re watching dvds…

10. Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

Given his instantaneous reply to my mail I know exactly how junior Taleb thinks I am. To those of you that I haven’t written back to recently… it’s because you’re so important."

[from the video seen here: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article4022091.ece?print=yes&randnum=1214904808363 another version here: http://blog.snagsta.com/2008/06/13/time-to-party/ ]
nassimtaleb  blackswans  life  skepticism  news  reading  information  risk  investment  luck  failure  success  money  systems  environment  complexity  communication  email 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Southern Cone Travel: Bachelet Plays Berkeley
"Given these geographical parallels and historical heritage, it's not surprising that Chilean President Michelle Bachelet would give an address at the University of California, Berkeley, last Thursday."
chile  california  history  comments  education  sustainability  future  michellebachelet  economics  trade  government  energy  technology  agriculture  investment 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Calif.: Chilean leader says invest in education - Forbes.com
"Bachelet is visiting California for a trade mission on energy, education and innovation....Her goal is to transform Chile's economy from one that is commodity-based to one that is more specialized, focusing on services and high-tech products."
chile  education  trade  markets  future  investment  economics  agriculture  energy  green  sustainability  technology 
june 2008 by robertogreco
California, Chile to expand ties - Los Angeles Times
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet preside over the signing of scientific, agricultural and educational agreements."
chile  california  government  agriculture  education  science  markets  investment 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Chinese firms bargain hunting in U.S. - Los Angeles Times
"Liu is part of a growing wave of Chinese entrepreneurs expanding into the U.S. From Spartanburg to Los Angeles they are building factories, buying companies and investing in business and real estate."
china  us  markets  economics  returnsourcing  investment  globalization  money  international 
may 2008 by robertogreco
An Open Challenge to Silicon Valley - Harvard Business Online's Umair Haque
"Today's crop of investors and startups...willfully blind to today's deepest and most essential strategic truth: that the path to radical value creation isn't cutting more deals, but in rebuilding a flawed, false global economy"
gamechanging  entrepreneurship  technology  economics  business  strategy  innovation  problemsolving  global  investment  investing  solutions 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Bubblegeneration Strategy Lab - A Wake Up Call For The Venturescape - "Help fix things, and get rich, or just get blown up along with everyone else."
"DNA of industrial era firm is sucking life out of economy. Once [they] were engines of value creation. Today, they're prisons, where trauma is institutionalized into everyone who comes into contact w/ them...power of 2.0...is new DNA it brings to table"
via:migurski  business  economics  entrepreneurship  futurism  organizations  gamechanging  change  administration  management  productivity  value  leadership  collaboration  web2.0  strategy  investment  vc  trends  startup 
march 2008 by robertogreco
:: Douglas Rushkoff - Weblog :: Why Not to Buy Gold
"If you want to invest your money in something real, improve the quality & maintenance of your property & equipment, support local businesses & agriculture, put some people through school, clean up some toxic waste, develop a natural fishery."
douglasrushkoff  money  value  investment  society  community  gold  commodities  hedgefunds 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Tech.view | Bringing the poor online | Economist.com
"private sector alone unlikely to provide poor countries access to global backbone at reasonable bandwidth & cost. State-funded programmes may be needed—precisely sorts of inefficient ventures, ironically, that mobile-phone revolution overturned."
via:cityofsound  internet  poverty  development  mobile  phones  business  infrastructure  investment 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Bloomberg.com: Opinion: What Does Goldman Know That We Don't?: Michael Lewis (Update1) - Michael Lewis
"The only difference between Goldman and everyone else was that Goldman had, in effect, an entirely separate enterprise, sitting on top of the firm, with the power to reverse the judgment of its own supposed experts in various markets."
michaellewis  economics  goldmanSachs  finance  business  management  markets  money  risk  strategy  housing  housingbubble  subprime  organization  trading  investment  intelligence 
january 2008 by robertogreco
FT.com / Comment & analysis / Comment - The pseudo-science hurting markets
"Academic economists are no more self-serving than other professions. You should blame those in the real world who give them the means to be taken seriously: those awarding that “Nobel” prize."
finance  investment  markets  trading  influence  economics  nobelprizes  nassimtaleb  blackswans 
october 2007 by robertogreco
George Lucas Shares His Dream for Education at Dreamforce | Edutopia
"The educational visionary speaks about innovation in education and the critical need for businesses to better support educational programs."
georgelucas  edutopia  education  learning  school  schooldesign  future  business  investment  children  leadership  curriculum 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Chefs Topped With Debt - New York Times
"educators, lenders and the government regulators that are supposed to be watching them have to stop thinking of students as revenue streams and start thinking of them as students again"
education  colleges  universities  debt  economics  reform  alternative  money  regulation  food  culinaryarts  culinary  investment 
may 2007 by robertogreco
The culinary school financial trap -- megnut.com
"I know the culinary schools aren't going to like to hear this, but I think you're better off learning on the job." - another example of an education system pricing itself out of existence?
education  economics  food  culinaryarts  culinary  colleges  universities  investment  alternative 
may 2007 by robertogreco

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