Weekend Reads

For the profit and pleasure of subscribers, here's a few longer reads on economic, social and political matters from around the Internet.

This New York Times Magazine piece on the recent acceleration of Artificial Intelligence progress is fascinating and chilling in equal measure.

While Trump ploughs ahead with blaming China and Germany (and everyone else) over the demise of US manufacturing jobs, this NY Times Upshot piece explains how automation is the long term killer of these jobs, rather than China.

Hugh Rennie's analysis here at NBR of the broken business model for the two big newspaper groups, NZME and Fairfax NZ, is spot on.

"They’re now busy basically tearing their print media apart by putting the content on the internet immediately, so you read it on one or other of their websites and you open up the paper the next day and there’s the article you’ve already read. It’s a business model that makes no sense at all – I mean, it’d be like a baker giving away free bread today so you can buy stale bread tomorrow," Rennie said.

Vox does a good job here of explaining how Republicans want to do mercantilism with their 'border adjustment levy'.

Wilbur Ross is one of the biggest billionaires in Donald Trump's cabinet, and there are a few. This Bloomberg profile of Ross is useful in explaining how he used his connections with Governments to engineer restructurings of pension liabilities at steel mills to make them profitable (and him very rich). It's hardly a portrait of a jobs-building entrepreneur.

Speaking of mercantilism, this WSJ piece on China's strategy is an eye-opener too. China is just as nationalist (if not more) than Trump.

This Vice piece on Cambridge Analytica, the digital data shop behind Trump's election, is an equally useful look at the changing face of politics, elections and how to slice and dice consumers and voters.

Finally, this David Frum piece in The Atlantic on how to build an autocracy is looking increasingly relevant (but hopefully not prescent).

Have a great weekend.