the visible hand

it is the theory which decides what can be observed – einstein

Archive for April, 2010

The economist manifesto

Posted by ecoshift on April 24, 2010

A few words on Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments from Amartya Sen…

New Statesman – The economist manifesto
Amartya Sen
Published 23 April 2010

“Smith was convinced of the necessity of a well-functioning market economy, but not of its sufficiency. He argued powerfully against many false diagnoses of the terrible “commissions” of the market economy, and yet nowhere did he deny that the market economy yields important “omissions”. He rejected market-excluding interventions, but not market-including interventions aimed at doing those important things that the market may leave undone.”

read the whole thing…


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The Promise of Short-Sea Shipping

Posted by ecoshift on April 21, 2010

An interesting assessment and proposal from the Siskiyou Land Conservancy. I don’t know if all the particulars hang together, but kudos for taking a shot at problem solving on a systemic level… we need more of this.

All Aboard! The Promise of Short-Sea Shipping
Posted on April 22, 2010 by siskiyouland

Siskiyou Land Conservancy Endorses Short-Sea Shipping for Humboldt Bay and the North Coast
A major local initiative — a short-sea shipping “Manhattan Project” — is needed now to ensure that Humboldt and the North Coast take advantage of this new “wave” of commerce and protect our environment.

read the whole post…

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JP Morgan on the sanctity of contracts…

Posted by ecoshift on April 12, 2010

JPMorgan Chase Argues Against Mortgage Modifications, Citing Sanctity Of Contracts
From the Huffington Post

With millions of homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure during this recession, megabank JPMorgan Chase plans to argue against the Obama administration’s latest weapon in its fight to stem the problem — principal cuts for struggling borrowers — by citing the sanctity of contracts and the borrower’s “promise to repay.”

In testimony to be delivered Tuesday afternoon, David Lowman, chief executive officer for home lending at the “Too Big To Fail” behemoth, will fight back against the program which calls for lenders and investors to decrease the outstanding debt owed on a home mortgage. While his competitors at Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup plan to dance around the issue — judging from their prepared remarks — Lowman cut right to it: borrowers don’t deserve it.

“Like all loans, mortgage contracts are based on a promise to repay money borrowed,” Lowman’s prepared remarks read. “Importantly, there is no provision in the mortgage contract, express or implied, that the lender will restore equity or reduce the repayment amount if the value of the collateral — be it a home, a car or a stock market investment — depreciates.

“If we re-write the mortgage contract retroactively to restore equity to any mortgage borrower because the value of his or her home declined, what responsible lender will take the equity risk of financing mortgages in the future? What responsible regulator would want lenders to take such risk?”

read more…

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New Zealand patent reform bill says no to software patents

Posted by ecoshift on April 1, 2010


New Zealand patent reform bill says no to software patents
By Ryan Paul |

New Zealand’s parliament is preparing to vote on a major patent reform bill that will tighten the country’s standards of patentability. One of the most significant changes in the proposed bill is a specific patentability exclusion for software. If the bill receives parliamentary approval in its current form, it will broadly eliminate conventional software patents in New Zealand.

The bill was drafted by the Select Commerce Committee, which decided to include the exclusion after reviewing feedback from the software industry. The bill’s official summary acknowledges that software patents are detrimental to the open source software development model and have the potential to seriously stifle innovation.

“Protecting software by patenting is inconsistent with the open source model, and its proponents oppose it. A number of submitters argued that there is no ‘inventive step’ in software development, as ‘new’ software invariably builds on existing software,” the bill summary says. “They felt that computer software should be excluded from patent protection as software patents can stifle innovation and competition, and can be granted for trivial or existing techniques. In general we accept this position.”

The Commerce Committee says that the ban on software patents will not block companies from patenting hardware inventions that encompass embedded software. It will be up to the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand to craft the specific rules for determining what kind of embedded software is patentable.

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