Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: business

Fight Climate Change with Tax Cuts

A few days ago, I wrote a rather depressing post about climate change. There was, I concluded, very little that can be done to reduce emissions short of a comprehensive international treaty (which the signatories actually abide by) or the creation of a superstate to enforce strict emission regulations. Then yesterday, I had this idea. We can actually help business and fight climate change simultaneously. Here’s how.

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Why Money Sucks

One of the basic underpinnings of our society is the notion that people like money and are good with money. They like making money, they like deciding what to do with their money, the whole business of business is an endless fascination for them. On top of that, we’re good at using our money to get what we want.  But what if it’s not true? What if, in reality, we hate making financial and business decisions and would rather have it all taken care of by other people? What if we’re actually not very good at spending our money wisely, if, in reality, our tendency is to be irrational and flippant with our funds? There is reason to believe the latter, according to a recent study by Daniel McFadden comparing on an interdisciplinary level what we know about human psychology, neurology, biology, and anthropology with what we think we know about economics (the full study is here, go here for an interview with McFadden).

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Rise of the Machines: The Robot Economy of the Future

My attention has been drawn to a rather interesting phenomenon by Paul Krugman–that of a gradual shift in the distribution of wealth from labour to capital. As a percentage of the economic total, workers are earning less and less over time, and more and more of our output is landing in the hands of people who own capital–the land, the buildings, the tools, the machines that make things tick. This has interesting implications, and, if I might be permitted to speculate today, those implications may demand changes in how we view what we produce.

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How to Stop Tax Avoidance

Recently, as countries have sought to shrink deficits, the question of tax avoidance has come up, and how to put a stop to it. In Britain, Google, Amazon, and Starbucks are being questioned by parliament as to why they pay such small amounts of tax on their UK incomes. Much of the public is in uproar over the fact that Google, Amazon, and Starbucks paid effective tax rates of 0.4%, 2.5%, and 0% on their respective 2011 earnings. All of this begs one very important question, one that no one seems to be attempting to answer seriously–what do we do about this? How do we stop it?

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The State’s Role in Investment and Innovation

It is often said that the state spends money inefficiently–or at least, less efficiently than the private sector spends it. The old Hamiltonian argument, in favour of the state as an investor, an engine of growth, technological development, and innovation, often falls on deaf ears as the opposition points to Solyndra, the “crony capitalism” of investment centred states like France or Japan, and so on down the line. Today, I would like to challenge this dismissal for being much too flippant and much too anti-historical.

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