James Pethokoukis

AEIThe growing investment impact of Big Tech on the US economy In my new The Week column, I engage in what I thought was a bit of hyperbole about the largest American technology companies. From that piece: Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple — what Wall Street calls GAFA — are four of America's most valuable and important companies, providing a massive benefit to consumers. Collectively they're the Tony Stark of corporate America: They pay for everything, design everything, and make everyone look cooler. If the U.S. is going to remain the world's technological leader against China's challenge, GAFA will be pivotal. But the [...]
Thu, May 24, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIUS antitrust doctrine is perhaps the greatest conservative philosophical victory. Why are some conservatives so willing to throw it away? There are elements on the left and right that want to break up Big Tech, even if that means changing the accepted American legal doctrine about antitrust. And as University of Michigan law professor Daniel Crane reminds us in his new essay “Antitrust's Unconventional Politics” in the University of Michigan Law Review, “Standing against the anti-incumbent challengers from both political wings is a broad, bi-partisan establishment center seeking to defend the consumer welfare framework.” Of course, the supremacy of the consumer welfare [...]
Thu, May 24, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEICold War II: Should the US embrace high-tech industrial policy to counter China? An AEIdeas online symposium In a long essay in National Review this month, Michael Lind issues a call to arms. We are in a new Cold War with China, and must respond accordingly. Geopolitics and geo-economics must be one; the neoliberal Washington Consensus of the post-Cold War era no longer cuts it. Here's what he says we need in its place: Instead of letting state-capitalist nations such as China or profit-seeking multinationals restructure the U.S. economy to promote their own goals, the American republic needs a national industrial strategy [...]
Thu, May 24, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIData is just like oil, other than these few minor differences You may have heard something about “data being the new oil” or some such. Just as petroleum drove economies in the 20th century, so will digital information in the 21st. I really started hearing about this framing after a May 2017 cover story by The Economist. The piece had a pretty snappy lede: An oil refinery is an industrial cathedral, a place of power, drama and dark recesses: ornate cracking towers its gothic pinnacles, flaring gas its stained glass, the stench of hydrocarbons its heady incense. Data centres, in contrast, offer [...]
Fri, May 18, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIThe $200 billion question: What exactly is the US trying to accomplish with its China trade talks? This isn't a shock: China's Foreign Ministry now says Beijing hasn't offered to cut its nearly $400 billion trade surplus with the US by $200 billion. Well, yeah. This rumor — perhaps just 3-D psychological chess from Team Trump — always appeared dodgy. US Trade Representative and member of US trade delegation Robert Lighthizer leaves a hotel in Beijing, China, May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter Because math. And because reality. Can a US economy with capacity utilization at a three-year high and unemployment at a 17-year [...]
Fri, May 18, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIMore on the pro-growth aspects of networks In my new The Week column, I discuss the idea that economies can be thought of as massive computers whose computational capacity is distributed over networks of humans. (These networks are sometimes called companies.) What determines a nation's computational capacity is the size and depth of its social networks. Societies that are more connected and trusting have more growth potential because they can form larger networks that perform more computation and create more complex products such as iPhones and Dreamliner jets rather than extract ore or stitch tee-shirts. I only wish I had earlier discovered [...]
Thu, May 17, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIHigh-impact startups: America's herd of gazelles seems to be thinning You may have seen some version of this ominous looking chart. America — the original Startup Nation — seems to be in the midst of an entrepreneurial crisis. Since the late 1970s, startups as a share of all firms have fallen by more than half. But not all startups are created equal. For instance, some economists differentiate between “lifestyle” startups — family restaurants, local dry cleaners, mom-and-pop antique stores — and high-impact “transformational” startups — the kind you find in Silicon Valley. Economists also refer to startups generating high job growth [...]
Thu, May 17, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIThe new Battle in Seattle: Don't blame Amazon for the city's housing woes Seattle has decided to be a last-minute entrant into the competition for Amazon's HQ2. But while most cities — such as Boston and Washington — are trying to land the retailing giant's second headquarters, Seattle is doing its best to make Amazon reconsider the importance of its current home base. The company “will continue to evaluate its long-term plans for Seattle after the City Council passed a bill to tax large businesses to fund homelessness services,” according to the Seattle Times. Recall that when a larger tax was [...]
Tue, May 15, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS