When Capitalism Fails
When you think of unfettered, destructive capitalism and the developing world, you might think of Dow Chemical and Bhopal, or Shell Oil and Nigeria. But as this devastating Foreign Policy report from Zimbabwe details, the worst characteristics of unabated profit extraction are on full display by largely unregulated companies operating out of China, Russia, and other emerging market economies, including in Africa. The abuses and corruption echo the worst practices of early western capitalism, and the research left us wondering: What can be done about it? Because these companies answer to no one, the truth is: Not much.
Maybe We Should Call It The Internet of Everything
Interested in what the future looks like? Our editor in chief John Battelle seesan “Actuated Internet” on the horizon that goes far beyond current depictions of an Internet of Things. Battelle travels to the Valley and goes deep with Android founder Andy Rubin’s new project to create the next biggest thing.
When Capitalism Fails (Part Deux)
A column in Bloomberg, of all places, is arguing a global renaissance in what is typically understood as the far left, from Europe to the United States. Noting that the release of trillions in central bank monies has mostly benefitted the wealthy, author Leonid Bershidsky ladders the rise of Bernie Sanders to a “revolution in traditional political parties.”
How to Disrupt a Critic
After you’re done reading our review of Dan Lyons’s Disrupted, the tech journalist’s memoir of his brief career at HubSpot, read HubSpot founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah’s measured response. HubSpot is just as focused on its public presentation as Lyons is (listen carefully while you read and you can hear Shah gritting his teeth), but even with that in mind his response is far more measured and humble than you’d think Lyons’s book would inspire.
Coal: Down But Not Out
Peabody Energy, the largest coal company in the U.S., just filed for bankruptcy. Peabody is using Chapter 11 protection to shed debt and restructure operations, but analysts don’t expect any asset sales. The world of coal companies is changing: natural gas prices remain low, the economy of big coal customer China is slowing down, and the industry’s aging workforce means increasing retirement obligations. But, even with regulation around new coal plants tightening, coal is still expected to provide as much as 20 percent of American energy as far out as 2040. The bankruptcy is an important data point, but it’s far from The End of Coal.
Giving the Rich a Break
What they imagined was a rent-by-the-minute hotel for Uber or Lyft drivers in need of a break (no, not that kind of break). What they ended up creating was a luxury service hardly any on-demand driver could afford. Quartz explores how innovations for the many turn into innovations for the few.