Financial governance debate caught in old-school economic dichotomy

Category: Business & Economics
Published on Sep 09, 2010

Watching the lingering debate about how best to avoid a repeat of the global financial crisis has been fairly depressing for someone who saw the events of 2008 as an opportunity to inject some truly creative thinking into our outmoded institutions for financial governance. This FT article by Sebastian Mallaby (author of More Money Than God) is fairly typical in that it reinforces rather than challenges the prevailing economic assumptions and offers little in the […]

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Wikinomics and the Era of Openness: European Innovation at the Crossroads

Category: Business & Economics | Environment & Sustainability | Health, Science & Education | NGOs & Government
Published on Mar 10, 2010

For the past couple of months I have been working with the wonderful folks at the Lisbon Council in Brussels to prepare a report that examines the economic challenges facing Europe — and the innovative solutions that many entrepreneurs, businesses, governments and citizens are devising to succeed in networked world. The report was launched last week in Brussels at an event that also featured Europe’s new innovation commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. You can see video highlights […]

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Sarkozy to Davos: This is a crisis of globalization

Category: Business & Economics | NGOs & Government
Published on Jan 28, 2010

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, gave the opening address to Davos yesterday. His message: this is not just a global financial crisis; it is a crisis of globalization. My overall assessment of his talk: A good job diagnosing the problems with today’s economy, but Sarkozy offers little in the way of novel or innovative solutions. Not surprisingly, he was very critical of bankers and financial power brokers who have rigged the system to extract maximum profits for […]

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GSK puts anti-malarial compounds in the public domain

Category: Business & Economics
Published on Jan 19, 2010

Nearly a year ago I blogged about GlaxoSmithKlein’s plans to create a patent pool for neglected diseases. In a speech tomorrow, CEO Andrew Witty will announce that the company is ready to publish details of 13,500 chemical compounds with the potential to cure malaria, an affliction that kills at least one million children every year in sub-Saharan Africa. The Guardian has an exclusive interview with Witty. Here’s a clip. “I think it’s a significant contribution […]

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Rebooting Iceland with Wikinomics

Category: Business & Economics | NGOs & Government
Published on Jan 18, 2010

Less than four weeks after Lehman Brothers collapsed on September 15, 2008, Iceland became one of the first and most dramatic national casualties of the global financial crisis. Its three largest banks had all been nationalized. Its government was driven from office. The national debt skyrocketed and the value of its currency plummeted as mass unemployment and inflation brought the whole economy to a virtual standstill. It appeared that Iceland, once considered a rising star, was […]

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Google has thrown down the gauntlet — now’s the time for collective action

Category: Business & Economics | Media & Technology
Published on Jan 14, 2010

I was delighted to hear that Google has finally thrown down the gauntlet in China. No longer will it be complicit in denying freedom of information and expression to Chinese citizens. Google is now on the right side of the moral equation. But will it change anything? Like Iran and Burma, China has modernized and adapted its authoritarianism for the 21st Century. Rather than simply suppress news and information, it tries to influence online debate […]

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Reflecting on “Free Culture” and Lanier’s Digital Peasantry, part II

Category: Business & Economics | Media & Technology
Published on Jan 14, 2010

After criticizing Lanier on his arguments about the problems with “digital collectivism” I am finding some of his other arguments more compelling. He gets closer to hitting the mark, for example, when he talks about the detrimental impact of the “free culture” movement on knowledge producers who increasingly rely on indirect methods like advertising to reap economic rewards for their efforts. Now, if you’ve read Wikinomics, you’ll know I’m a supporter of the idea that […]

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Reflecting on “Free Culture” and Lanier’s Digital Peasantry, part I

Category: Business & Economics | Media & Technology
Published on Jan 14, 2010

I’ve not had an opportunity to read Jaron Lanier’s new book, You’re Not A Gadget, but it’s virtually impossible to avoid the debate raging (see here and here, for example) around its core premises. Let me say upfront, Lanier raises some very poignant issues that will shape the way our knowledge economy evolves in the decades to come. But I’m not sure he’s drawn all of the right conclusions. Lanier dislikes mass collaboration, arguing that “We […]

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History repeated? Combining the efficiency of markets with the values of community

Category: Business & Economics | NGOs & Government
Published on Apr 06, 2009

My quote of the day comes straight out of a political science textbook, but it rings so true today: “The lesson that capitalist countries needed to combine the efficiency of markets with the broader values of community … did not come to them easily. It took the calamitous collapse of the Victorian era of globalization — into worldwide war, followed by extreme left wing revolution in Russia, extreme right wing revolution in Italy and Germany, […]

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GlaxoSmithKlein pledges patent pool for neglected diseases

Category: Business & Economics | Health, Science & Education
Published on Feb 16, 2009

Some time ago, I reported that Novartis had adopted a wikinomics approach to its diabetes research. After investing millions of dollars trying to unlock the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes, the company released all of its raw data on the Internet, for free. Hardly typical behavior for a pharmaceutical company. After all, pinpointing their precise genetic origins of diabetes could unlock a treasure trove of new medicines and result in a major windfall for […]

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