I’ve taken off and on to writing about devolution, which is when the application of new technology winds up not producing net gains, but at best, questionable tradeoffs, and at worst, net negatives. Consider how cheap carbohydrates like high fructose corn syrup lower the cost of food but almost certainly have contributed to the increase in the incidence of diabetes.
While the shale boom in the US has lowered electricity bills for consumers, Europeans are struggling to keep up with rising energy costs, in large part due to ambitious emissions targets set by the EU. In Germany, known for both its aggressive push towards renewables and the storied competitiveness of its exporters, companies may soon lose an exemption that dispenses them from paying expensive renewable energy surcharges. Business leaders worry this will "destroy Germany's industrial core".
Citing concerns about linking to classified material, Johns Hopkins University asked a professor this morning to remove a blog post discussing last week’s revelations about the NSA’s efforts to break encryption.
Joseph Baines’s new article, “Food Price Inflation as Redistribution: Towards a New Analysis of Corporate Power in the World Food System” is a must read if you care to understand how major corporations exercise hidden influence on our daily lives. The paper is so chock full of information and history that a summary does not do justice to its arguments, so I hope you’ll read it in full.