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Showing posts from October, 2014

The dark ages are over

The 50-year historical blip in which a tiny percentage of artists were able to get rich off of prerecorded music is blessedly over. With the plummeting cost of recording and mastering songs has come a great democratization in music creation, in which anyone, not just those backed by labels, can create great music. Back in the day, the labels were the investors: recording good music was expensive and difficult, and getting it promoted required paying off the gatekeepers of terrestrial radio, and so labels ponied up the startup capital and therefore got the lion's share of the profits. Today, the startup capital required is several orders of magnitude lower, and the promotion channels are infinite and free or nearly free to access. Yes, it's much less likely for an artist to get filthy stinking rich off recorded music today, but you know what? I'm okay with that. We have an embarrassment of riches in terms of great new music today, being created by tons of people who are

I hate when a good comment gets buried

I hate when I post a good comment to reddit and it gets buried because either no one noticed it or it was a tangent to the OP. Here's one such case: One of the consequences of MMT is that the national debt is meaningless: it's an accounting fiction. One of the interesting properties of fiat (government-issued paper) currency is that the government must run a net deficit or there can be no money in circulation: if government doesn't spend the money first (i.e., before collecting taxes), how can there be any in circulation for private payments or tax payments? Note that MMT isn't prescriptive, just descriptive. It's critical for people to understand how our monetary system actually works in order for sane policy to be created. Of course what I said above isn't true on a gold standard, for instance; but we aren't on a gold standard, so unless we go

The Second Monday of October?

"It's not garbage night. Tomorrow's a holiday." That was me yelling to my downstairs neighbor out the window after I heard the rattle of trash bins being pulled down the driveway. Of course, I've done similar things before, and it's perfectly understandable: I mean, really, who actually celebrates Columbus Day? Its main use seems to be as "fall break" for college kids: I've never even had a job that recognized it as a company holiday. So, while I appreciate the movement toward Indigenous Peoples Day as perhaps a more "just" variant on the same holiday... really, no one celebrates that either. ("No one" in this instance is intentionally hyperbolic, for effect; but it's basically a fact that very few people care beyond the philosophical.) So this brings up the question of what holidays are actually used for, which should motivate a redistribution of them to more meaningful or useful times. Is it celebration? There