Things I read in January.

Economists Pin More Blame on Tech for Rising Inequality - The New York Times

Mr. Acemoglu’s estimate that half or more of the increasing gap in wages in recent decades stemmed from technology… So-so technologies replace workers but do not yield big gains in productivity. As examples, Mr. Acemoglu cites self-checkout kiosks in grocery stores and automated customer service over the phone… Today, he sees too much investment in such so-so technologies, which helps explain the sluggish productivity growth in the economy. By contrast, truly significant technologies create new jobs elsewhere, lifting employment and wages.

Why bitcoin is worse than a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme

More and more people are comparing Bitcoin to a Ponzi scheme.

Linked from the article in the FT, Jorge Stolfi - Bitcoin is a Ponzi:

  1. Investors buy in the expectation of profits.
  2. That expectation is sustained by the profits of those that cash out.
  3. But there is no external source for those profits; they come entirely from new investments.
  4. And the operators take away a large portion of the money.

Hamilton Nolan writes in In These Times that the fall out from a crash could be dangerous:

Crypto, like meme stocks, is a poor replacement for the American dream. A functional nation would end gerrymandering, pass campaign finance reform, end the filibuster, abolish the undemocratic U.S. Senate, tax great wealth, institute public healthcare and build a social safety net to ensure that no one in our very wealthy country slipped all the way through the financial cracks of life and was ruined. But that’s not the American way. The American way is to cheer on the few lucky ultra-rich people, and fete them as heroes, and look for a way to emulate them, although such a thing is mathematically impossible. Instead of socialism, we have given people crypto. They buy crypto, for the most part, not because of lofty beliefs in techno-futurism, but because they think it is a way to get rich quick for a low entry price. Crypto is just a modern lottery ticket. But whereas lottery tickets only cost you a little at a time, crypto will inflate to the moon and then crash into the gutter in a far more devastating way. The bitterest irony, perhaps, is that while the regular folks flock to crypto because they think it’s a utopian land of opportunity for the little guy to make a buck, it is, in fact, largely controlled by a small cartel of rich investors. Just like everything else

Div divisiveness

When is it okay to use a div vs semantic HTML when thinking about accessibility?