Tag: money (page 1 of 9)

The corrosive nature of captalism

I used to think there was no chance of the current system of capital-based society ending within my lifetime.

But now? I’m not so sure. I see influential writers I respect like Seth Godin and (in this case) Warren Ellis talk openly about the harms of capitalism.

And given the crypto collapse following the pandemic perhaps people are slowly coming to realise there’s more to life than money…

money

From a certain perspective, capitalism is the environment into which we are born, and conditions within it are corrosive: we either adapt to those conditions in order to survive — people will always have to be taught how to tend the machines, and it has been said, after all, that humans are the reproductive organs of machines — or build a sturdy environment suit, or we are seriously harmed. Which casts many of us as good little prisoners or effective wasteland scavengers.

Source: A Suit Of Capitalism | WARREN ELLIS LTD

Image: Jorge Salvador

Crypto clowns

If you’re at the top of the Ponzi scheme pyramid, you have a vested interest in keeping it going…

Not coincidentally, the companies doing the least reflecting are the ones with their hands deepest in the cookie jar. Part of what spurred on the current crash was a cryptocurrency called TerraUSD, a type of so-called stablecoin designed to more or less equal the value of the U.S. dollar. The whole point of stablecoins is that they’re supposed to be less volatile than other cryptocurrencies, a way of protecting your money while still keeping your chips in the casino. That was the idea, at least: TerraUSD was tied to another cryptocurrency called Luna, and when its value plummeted in early May, investors promptly dumped their TerraUSD. Tokens meant to sell for $1 a pop were suddenly trading for almost nothing, and, according to Bloomberg, $60 billion of investors’ money was zapped away.

[…]

As the wider crypto market has tanked in the weeks since the Terra collapse, other flailing companies have been similarly unwilling to publicly reflect on the damage. The crypto lender Celsius Network made it big by promising yields much higher than those of traditional bank accounts. That approach generated gobs of money when crypto was booming, but apparently it hasn’t fared so well during the downturn. As rumors began to circulate about Celsius’s financial issues, the company’s founder, Alex Mashinsky, dismissed it all as “FUD,” crypto shorthand for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.” “Do you know even one person who has a problem withdrawing from Celsius?” he tweeted. Just over 24 hours later, the company put a freeze on all withdrawals, locking customers out of their accounts. (The freeze remains in place almost two weeks later.)

[…]

Throughout the industry, there’s a sense from the biggest players in crypto that if we all just keep the faith, traders can effectively spend their way out of the crisis. Cameron Winklevoss, the billionaire co-founder of the crypto exchange Gemini, recently tweeted that the bitcoin dip feels “irrational,” because “the underlying fundamentals, adoption, and infrastructure have never been stronger.” It’s not a question of fundamentals, though; asking people to look more closely at the tech will not somehow end the bear market. A few days ago, Michael Saylor, whose software company, MicroStrategy, has spent billions of dollars acquiring bitcoin, called the cryptocurrency “a lifeboat, tossed on a stormy sea, offering hope to anyone in the world that needs to get off their sinking ship.” But right now, bitcoin is the sinking ship.

Source: Crypto Is Crashing. Have the Crypto Bosses Learned Anything At All? | The Atlantic

Billable hours and the psychology of work

I have to say that tracking my time is the worst thing about consulting rather than being employed. I don’t feel the urge to work at all hours of the day, but I resent ‘accounting’ financially for my time.

It is tempting to offer some typology of different professions and their attitudes to time. Yet I suspect the types are beginning to blur. In 1992, the economist Peter Sassone coined the phrase “the law of diminishing specialisation”. Thirty years later, it is astonishing how much knowledge work is handled using the same tools and workflow — a workflow that increasingly involves no fixed hours and no fixed location. We are all, like the lawyers, able to do a little bit of extra work before bedtime, even if not all of us can charge £1,000 an hour for it.

And while the “billable hour” can be a psychological trap, it does teach us one valuable lesson: there is a distinction between working and not working. It’s a distinction worth sustaining.

Source: The billable hour is a trap into which more and more of us are falling | Tim Harford