Blockchain ICOs Revisited

A couple of weeks ago, Coindesk launched an ICO tracker which seems quite comprehensive and includes data starting in 2014. It has information on 164 ICOs1 I downloaded the data on 18 August but was unable to replicate some of the charts Coindesk has on its web site. The data I downloaded ends on 27 July of this year whereas the  Coindesk site includes data until 31 July. and the data is expected to be updated every week or so.

In a recent post,  I shared some insights on the nature of ICOs. In a nutshell, ICOs should not be equated with crowdfunding nor are they comparable to the more traditional IPOs. What has really changed since my initial posting is the fact that SEC is now planning to get involved in the process and will soon start to regulate how ICOs are run and managed. In the

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Endnotes   [ + ]

1. I downloaded the data on 18 August but was unable to replicate some of the charts Coindesk has on its web site. The data I downloaded ends on 27 July of this year whereas the  Coindesk site includes data until 31 July.

Tax Season 2017

Spring finally arrived but today feels more like summer. Not sure it will last but in I know New York Springs usually tend to be relatively short. Summer seems to always be extremely eager to enter the scene.

In any event, the arrival of Spring is always associated with the US deadlines for submitting taxes, the so-called Tax Day. The usual date is 15 April which works as long as it does not fall on a Friday or over the weekend. This time around it falls on a Saturday so the official deadline for filing 2016 income is Tuesday 18 April.

Filing taxes have also benefited from the rapid development of new technologies, the Internet included. Now it is possible to use one of the many online tax platforms to file one’s taxes. Some of them are free but most will charge between 30 and 50 USD

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More on Measuring Human Development

In a previous blog we examined the relation between GDP and the Human Development Index (HDI) which has been published annually for the last 25 years by the UN Development Programme (UNDP). In this post, I want to dive a bit deeper into the latter and explore some of its potential policy implications.

HDI components and calculation

The HDI has three main components or subindexes: Income, health and education (or knowledge). Statistical indicators used to estimate the first two components are: Gross national Income per capita (GNI) and life expectancy. The education subindex comprises two indicators: literacy and quality of education. One can thus think of the HDI as a 3D index where each of the subindexes constitutes one of its three orthogonal axis. And the HDI is the point in that 3D space

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Is Postcapitalism on its way?

For most people, including many well-known economists, the 2007 global economic crisis was a rude awakening: It seemed to have come out of nowhere, but it certainly managed to capitalism-crashbring deep pain to billions of people – and pockets. Soon thereafter, calls to revisit Marx’s theory of capitalism became frequent from both left and right. After all, it seemed he had a plausible explanation for what had just happened.

Nine years later we all can easily agree that capitalism has not collapsed – at least not yet. But has it reach its limits?  The latest book by Paul Mason tries to answer this question. And in simple terms his answer is yes. Indeed, he argues that capitalism unique adaptation skills to almost any situation have now stalled. And the rapid development of new technologies have opened the

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Saving Capitalism – or Democracy?

Few will doubt both globalization and technology are putting many people under economic stress. Symptoms of this in the US and other industrialized countries include raising inequality, stagnant wages, less opportunities and decreased social mobility, and little to no improvement in living standards for most.  Together, they have created an environment characterized by widespread distrust of the current economic system and its regular functioning. Nowadays, such distrust – not communism or fascism – is the main threat to modern capitalism. This is the starting point of Robert Reich’s latest book on how to save capitalism – and democracy too!

But how did we get to this point?

Reich first pinpoints that the ongoing and now repetitive debate on the “free market” vs. government alleged rivalry

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Measuring Well-Being and Human Development

GDP: Thanks, but no thanks

A recent issue of The Economist had a couple of articles (plus the issue’s cover) on measuring prosperity, defined as the advance in living standards overtime. Nowadays, gross domestic product, GDP,1 We can also include here GDP’s sibling, Gross National Income or GNI. is king for measuring such progress.  However, The Economist argues, GDP is not the best indicator to accomplish this. Unlike the 20th century, the issue today is that while GDP is still growing at a regular pace, albeit not as fast as in the past, living standards seem to be stagnant, thanks in part to rising global inequality.

This unintended divorce between GDP and living standards highlights the quality  of goods and services that people consume and use over time. GDP assumes their quality

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Endnotes   [ + ]

1. We can also include here GDP’s sibling, Gross National Income or GNI.

Economics Rules or Economics Rule?

After the 2008 crisis, many observers expected changes of some sort in current economic thinking and academic teaching. After all, most mainstream economists never saw the crisis coming  – with some even claiming the era of crises was over. For economicsrulesmany non-economists, the crisis demonstrated once again the perils of economics, the “dismal science”. Eight years later we can say little has changed in economics since. Some will even argue that the current economic paradigms have in fact come back with a vengeance. The debates around austerity policies is but one example of this.

The new book by Rodrick can be described as an honest attempt to rescue economics from the bad place it seems to be today, especially in the eyes of non-economists. In his view for example the oversight of the 2008 crisis

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Economics and Long Term Ideas

No doubt economics has come a long way since the times of Adam Smith almost 250 years ago. It we were to summarize its dynamics of change, we could say that economics has moved from a broad political economy approach to a more narrow and now mainstream focus where mathematics seems to play a vital role. While the former also addressed social and political issues, the latter is much more constraint and centers on the economic sphere per se. This does not however mean that there are no other theories and schools of thought in between. On the contrary. But nowadays mainstream economics gets most of the coverage and, more importantly, provides the framework and concepts for implementing economic policies at the national and global levels.

economicsThat being the case, the evolution of economics has generated

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The future of automation and the automation of the future

Chaplin’s 1936 Modern Times, by now a classic of silent cinema, offers an inside glimpse of the automation of industrial production in the first part of the 20th Century. Our little tramp has some how found a job in a factory, which is in the middle of an unspecified city, and spends his time doing the same minute but mechanical task over and over.  As he is part of a much larger assemble line, there is no room for error – which, needless to say, is bound to   happen, this being a Chaplin film after all.  In any event, we can see the wonders of electro-mechanical automation accompanied by the dramatic reduction in skills workers needed to have back then to get a job in a factory.

32 years later, Kubrick’s futuristic 2001: A Space Odyssey depicted a very different kind of automation. Our

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ICTs and Inequality: An Overview

economicinequalityNot without reason, Inequality seems to have taken command of most development, socio-economic and even political discussions. The fact that a supposedly “technical” and long (and very good too!) book such as Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century became a best seller of sorts last year is a good indicator of the relevance of this topic in our current historical juncture.

The focus of Piketty’s book  is inequality in terms of income and wealth. But it says little to nothing on the role new technologies can play in this evolution. The key questions here are: is there a connection between the rapid growth of new ICTs and inequality?  And if so, what is the role of ICTs in fostering or taming income and wealth inequality?

ICTs are certainly no strangers to inequality. Here, we can

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