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Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Links is your utility's worst nightmare

+Optimizing resources makes sense from just about every angle. Technology Review agrees.

+While the subject of this article is actually the apex of neoliberal shock doctrine politics (i.e. manufacturing a crisis in order to make money off the this case the West producing the lion's share of carbon that causes Climate Change, and then making money off the mitigation in poor countries), I think at its heart there is truth here. Some of the purest entrepreneurial opportunities available right now are finding innovative ways to distribute resources more efficiently and help people deal with the consequences of centuries of environmental neglect. I gravitate toward housing concerns, personally, but water, food, and safety are three important areas of opportunity.

+Speaking of neoliberalism: As Harvey writes, neoliberalism is “a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade.” What makes this “liberation” class war? Because the state that produces it enshrines a view of freedom that prioritizes “the interests of private property owners, businesses, multinational corporations, and financial capital.” Mike Konczal chats about the history of neoliberalism and how it's at the root of our current crises.

+It would appear the new pope has actually read the New Testament.

+14 (well, really 13) good ideas from the Huffington Post.

+One of my good friends and I got in a Twitter battle about the relative merits of the Music City Convention Center in downtown Nashville, and while we didn't come to any real consensus, he did call my attention to the AMP, a rapid bus line connecting Nashville's busiest population centers. Brilliant!

+Greenfield has paid nothing for power from his local utility since the system was installed by SolarCity a year ago. At parties and family gatherings he proudly shares his savings data with anyone who's interested. He's your utility's worst nightmare, and there are now hundreds of thousands of homeowners and small businesses like him as Silicon Valley entrepreneurs transform monthly ratepayers into smart consumers.

+Our current predicament in two paragraphs: When Abbot John de Sais laid the first stone of a church in a tiny central England town in 1118, he set in motion a construction project that would culminate in 1237 with the completion of Peterborough Cathedral -- the grandest structure in England at the time and a harbinger of the Gothic style that came to define British architecture for the next 500 years. De Sais was long dead before the project was complete, but that didn't stop him. Fast-forward to the US housing bubble of 2008. Developers built McMansions for speculation. Brokers bundled house values into mortgage-backed securities that they could trade in a nanosecond. Sprawl ensued and build quality was poor. Eventually the bubble burst, prices declined, and now we are left with foreclosed homes that nobody wants. So what changed in western culture between 1118 and 2008? How did we go from building grand cathedrals to McMansions? Forget short-termism: it's time to think longpath.