Things I read in September.

Forgetting My First Language

Jenny Liao in The New Yorker.

I’m a Lyft Driver. My Passengers Act Like I’m Part of the App

Peter Jakubowicz in Wired. The bit that stayed with me from this article was this:

However, many passengers seem to lump the app, my car, and me into one mega-app. It’s as if initiating the ride through an app turns the experience of my driving them in my car into a different experience from what in reality is a guy driving them somewhere in his car… “The abstract hypothesis isn’t crazy,” says Robin Hanson, associate professor of economics at George Mason University. He drew an analogy to the way servants have been treated throughout history. There are servants you need to talk to if you need to get something done, and there are servants you don’t need to talk to. “I would think the app would be moving people from the first to the second category.”

Assetocracy: the inversion of the welfare state

Fraser Nelson in the Spectator talks about funding Social Care.

‘My job is to protect you or your parents or grandparents from having to sell your home to pay for the costs of care,’ said Boris Johnson after becoming prime minister two years ago. This was quite a statement. But to do it would cost billions and the Prime Minister had also promised, in his manifesto, not to raise taxes. So what to do? Should he keep his promise to the voters, or create a safety net for the asset-rich? It’s telling that he chose to protect the assetocracy.

The housing theory of everything

Sam Bowman & John Myers & Ben Southwood in Works in Progress argues that lot of urban issues can be traced back to house prices. This is becoming a bit of a theme, also see the link above in the Spectator.