What We're Reading 3/23/15

After a dearth of worthwhile links to share, I’m making up for it with quite a few and nearly all are intertwined.

Is the Web Destroying the Cultural Economy?

A fascinating perspective on the effect of the Internet on the “Cultural Economy– the relatively small but important slice of the economy that pays creators and artists to make culture: music, literature, art and serious journalism.” The article definitely challenges the way I view technology, art, and commercial success.  To me, the Web makes it easier for artists of any stripe to share their work – which has to be a good thing – but what about getting paid? Oh yeah, there is that. In the end, I guess I’m unconvinced, there’s no accounting for taste so I’d rather have a buffet full of “delicious”, “mediocre”, and “terrible” than have someone only serve me what they think is delicious.


From a related post on the same topic: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-22/web-destroyer-or-savior-culture-pay-and-employment

“There are several key dynamics at work. One is the democratization of expression and journalism unleashed by the Web has eroded the industrial meritocracy of gatekeepers and vertically integrated content-media corporations: music labels, publishers, newspapers, etc.

The web has enabled virtually anyone with Internet access to create a nearly-free global distribution network…

Critics of this democratization feel that this has unleashed an avalanche of mediocrity that is judged on “likes” and pages views–a process in which talent is “lost in a sea of garbage.”

The other side of the debate sees the demise of the gatekeepers, who could enforce their own view of what was valuable culturally and economically, as freeing all those who could never get past the gatekeepers. This explosion of creativity and expression is an unalloyed good thing.”


Here’s What’s Really Ruining Austin (and It’s Not SXSW)

It’s not the tourists; it’s the locals. There are just too many now—and no plan for handling them all.

With SXSW still being hosed off 6th Street as I type, here’s an article describing the problem with Austin. I agree with some of the issues raised – transportation planning – but if not for SXSW or other high profile events and the general culture of Austin, why would people find out about and move to Austin? I guess if I were the editor, I’d send the tagline back for a rewrite and think about effect and cause.

Interesting facts: “According to a March report on population trends from the Census, the Lone Star State’s capital city saw the highest growth of any major U.S. city, bar none. Between 2010 and 2013, the population of Austin grew 12.0 percent—a surge that outstrips the growth of cities anywhere else in the country. Among the top 25 most populous U.S. cities, Charlotte came in after Austin with 8.4 percent growth, a distant second place.”

“Over the course of the 2000s, the city’s population increased a staggering 37 percent; as of 2013, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, 7.5 percent of the city’s residents lived somewhere else just one year earlier. The population stands to reach 1 million by 2025.”



Wages Haven’t Been This Crucial to U.S. Economy in Half Century

“Wages have become even more critical as households, still shaken after being caught with too much debt when the recession hit, remain unwilling or unable to tap home equity or let credit-card balances balloon to buy that new television or dishwasher. By not overextending themselves again, Americans are only spending as much as their incomes will allow, meaning that 70 percent of the economy is riding on how fast pay rises.”



Housing Waits—and Waits—on Millennials

While you wait on those wages to come back, so too will you wait on housing, construction, and jobs. Median income for 25-34 year olds has fallen since 2007. The housing market is waiting on wages to recover but in the mean time “the growth in households since the financial crisis has been almost entirely from renters”. And “[t]he problem for the economy is that multiunit construction doesn’t have as much bang for the buck as single homes do. “Each multifamily housing start creates one job for every three jobs created by a single-family housing start,” Mr. Cudzil wrote.”



Think Millennials Prefer The City? Think Again.

Well this is awkward…someone in the industrial meritocracy of gatekeepers needs to get the millennial’s narrative straight. 🙂



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