Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Merkel, Germany's 'eternal' chancellor, prepares to leave the stage

 I have no reason to suppose that he, who would take away my Liberty, would not when he had me in his Power, take away everything else.

— John Locke, born in 1632

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.”

Angela Merkel is stepping down as German chancellor after 16 years in power, bringing an end to a political career which has spanned more than three decades.

Filament: “We don’t use a lot of PowerPoint here at Filament because there are usually better methods to convey information and engage an audience. However, if you’ve got a presentation to give, keep these Ten Rules in mind. Your audience will thank you.”


Accounting giant PwC has been accused of improperly using lawyers to provide tax advice to multinational clients for the sole purpose of invoking legal privilege to deny authorities access to documents during tax audits.

The Australian Tax Office launched a lawsuit against big four accounting firm PwC last June to challenge the firm’s use of legal privilege to deny access to crucial documents on behalf of its client, international meat processor JBS.

ATO accuses PwC of improper use of lawyers to conceal tax affairs

“Conspicuous corruption”

People can exhibit their status by the consumption of particular goods or experiential purchases; this is known as “conspicuous consumption”; the practice is widespread and explains the market characteristics of a whole class of goods, Veblen goods, demand for which increase in tandem with their price. The value of such positional goods lies in their distribution among the population—the rarer they are, the more desirable they become. At the same time, higher income, often associated with higher status, has been studied in its relation to unethical behavior. Here we present research that shows how a particular Veblen good, illicit behavior, and wealth, combine to produce the display of illegality as a status symbol. We gathered evidence at a large, country-level, scale of a particular form of consumption of an illictly acquired good for status purposes. We show that in Greece, a developed middle-income country, where authorities cannot issue custom vanity license plates, people acquire distinguishing plate numbers that act as vanity plate surrogates. We found that such license plates are more common in cars with bigger engines and in luxury brands, and are therefore associated with higher value vehicles. This cannot be explained under the lawful procedures for allocating license plates and must therefore be the result of illegal activities, such as graft. This suggests a pattern of “conspicuous corruption”, where individuals break the law and use their gains as status symbols, knowing that the symbols hint at rule-breaking, as long as the unlawful practice cannot be incontestably established.

Here is the link by Panos Louridas and Diomidis Spinellis, via the excellent Kevin Lewis.

Camel and Man Under Eclipse by Joshua Cripps

Make Google Pay for Linking to Content? Hmnnn.

You might think this is just a journalism issue, but one can draw parallels of paying to read stories to paying for music streaming, which has not proven to "pay off" for the vast majority of musicians.

Neoliberalism Is Dying – Now We Must Replace It

From taming Big Tech to competing with China, Western governments are retreatig from neoliberalism. But what comes next?

Kids are socially very, very smart. Within a couple days of the first anti-bullying/DEI/Sensitivity programs 5% of kids figured out a new way to dominate other kids *using* that new system.
Quote Tweet
Kat Rosenfield
"some teenagers learn to adopt the language of antiracism and wield it against peers" is one throwaway line from this @powellnyt piece but if someone were to truly kick over that rock they'd find a whole writhing horrible world to explore nytimes.com/2021/08/27/us/
Show this threadm