Internet freedom may not be the safest future: Instead, nations could consider “the splinternet” to protect their digital borders — Quartz

The solution to a safer internet—and world—might be more digital borders, not less.

The internet freedom agenda presumed the benefits of the free flow of information only cut one way: in favor of open societies, values, and ideals. But we’re now seeing that its destabilizing effects cut both ways. And that doesn’t bode well for the borderless internet we enjoy today.

The open internet provides a vast canvas for states to undertake information warfare, manipulate each other’s citizens, and project their interests past national borders

China’s internet policy may be a forerunner of a federated, loosely connected set of national internets called “the splinternet.” This future potential state of affairs would be characterized by digital borders that are meant to protect both real and cognitive sovereignty while keeping out unwanted foreign competition or influence.

This system would not likely appear suddenly or dramatically: It would emerge over decades as a sea change of small technical and legal changes slowly add up.

the underlying values of the internet freedom agenda are still the right ones: freedom of expression, freedom of exchange, and a more open world. Will we still cherish these values, even as we learn of new threats to sovereignty and security?

Source: Internet freedom may not be the safest future: Instead, nations could consider “the splinternet” to protect their digital borders — Quartz

Student Debt Giant Navient to Borrowers: You’re on Your Own – Bloomberg

The servicer says publicly it wants to help you pay debt. In a government lawsuit, it has a different message.

“There is no expectation that the servicer will act in the interest of the consumer,” Navient said in response to the litigation filed Jan. 18 by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

in court, Navient made clear that the company’s main job isn’t helping debtors; it’s getting them to cough up cash for creditors like its biggest client, the U.S. Department of Education. The department, Navient explained, didn’t agree to pay for the level of customer service the CFPB wants Navient to give.

“It’s rare for a company to be this bold,” said Jenny Lee, a former CFPB attorney now with the law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP in Washington. “It’s a sound legal argument, but it may not be the best public relations argument.”

Source: Student Debt Giant Navient to Borrowers: You’re on Your Own – Bloomberg

Men Without Work | Thoughts from the Frontline Investment Newsletter | Mauldin Economics

I’ve made this point over the years but it is worth repeating again. There are only two ways for an economy to grow. … One way is that the workforce increases, and the other is that you increase productivity. … Further, it is really hard to increase productivity in much of the service sector. How much more productive can a bartender or a cashier be? Or a taxi driver? Yes, we can eliminate their jobs with technology, but that just reduces the workforce side of the equation. … I don’t see us turning the workforce situation around unless we somehow manage to transform our negative imagery about immigrants and start to aggressively seek out productive young, educated immigrants from around the world.

Source: Men Without Work | Thoughts from the Frontline Investment Newsletter | Mauldin Economics


I have been promising a review of Nicholas Eberstadt’s very important book, Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis.

At its heart, the book is about the fact that there are some 10 million American men of prime working age (25 to 54) who have simply dropped out of the workforce, and the great majority of them have not only dropped out of the workforce, they have also dropped out from any commitments or responsibilities to society. It is not just the labor force they are not participating in; they are not participating in the normal ebb and flow of community life.

This is not a recent phenomenon. … Male participation in the civilian labor force has been steadily dropping for 60 years, through boom and bust years, periods of inflation and deflation, Republican and Democratic administrations and congressional control; the trend seems to be relentless – except that it has been accelerating since 2009.

Source: Men Without Work | Thoughts from the Frontline Investment Newsletter | Mauldin Economics


AMERICAN workers without college degrees have suffered financially for decades – as has been known for decades. More recent is the discovery that their woes might be deadly. In 2015 Anne Case and Angus Deaton, two (married) scholars, reported that in the 20 years to 1998, the mortality rate of middle-aged white Americans fell by about 2% a year. But between 1999 and 2013, deaths rose. The reversal was all the more striking because, in Europe, overall middle-age mortality continued to fall at the same 2% pace. By 2013 middle-aged white Americans were dying at twice the rate of similarly aged Swedes of all races (see chart). Suicide, drug overdoses and alcohol abuse were to blame.

Source: Free exchange: Economic shocks are more likely to be lethal in America | The Economist


Job destruction caused by technology is not a futuristic concern. It is something we have been living with for two generations. A simple linear trend suggests that by mid century about ¼ of men in the US aged between 25 and 54 will not be working at any moment. I think this is likely to be a substantial underestimate unless something is done for a number of reasons.

I think this is likely to be a substantial underestimate unless something is done for a number of reasons. First, everything we hear and see regarding technology suggests the rate of destruction will pick up. Think of the elimination of drivers, and those who work behind cash registers. Second, the gains in average education and health of the workforce over the last 50 years are unlikely to be repeated. Third, to the extent that non-work is contagious, it is likely to grow exponentially rather than at a linear rate. Fourth, declining marriage rates are likely to raise rates of labor force withdrawal given that non-work is much more common for unmarried than married men.

On the basis of these factors I would expect that more than one third of all men in the US between 25 and 54 will be out of work at mid-century. Very likely more than half of men will experience at least a year of non-work out of every five. This would be in the range of the rate of non-work from high school dropouts and exceed the rate of non-work for African-Americans today.

Source: Men without work | Larry Summers blog
Source: Men not at work: Lawrence Summers on America’s hidden unemployment | Financial Times


the progressive detachment of so many adult American men from the reality and routines of regular paid labor poses a threat to our nation’s future prosperity. It can only result in lower living standards, greater economic disparities, and slower economic growth than we might otherwise expect.

Between 1948 and 2015, the work rate for U.S. men twenty and older fell from 85.8 percent to 68.2 percent.

It is not just that LFPRs (Labor Force Participation Rate) have deteriorated for certain age groups or specific periods. Rather, the process has progressively depressed every successive rising cohort’s LFPRs over the course of the prime working ages….

In sum, an American man ages twenty-five-to-fifty-four was more likely to be an un-worker in 2015 if he (1) had no more than a high school diploma; (2) was not married and had no children or children who lived elsewhere; (3) was not an immigrant; or (4) was African American….

a single variable – having a criminal record – is a key missing piece in explaining why work rates and LFPRs have collapsed much more dramatically in America than other affluent Western societies over the past two generations. This single variable also helps explain why the collapse has been so much greater for American men than women and why it has been so much more dramatic for African American men and men with low educational attainment than for other prime-age men in the United States.

Source: Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis by Nicholas Eberstadt

No-one knew the world’s worst problem, so we spent 8 years trying to find it – 80,000 Hours

We’ve spent the last eight years trying to answer a simple question: what are the world’s biggest and most urgent problems?

Results: List of the most urgent global issues

over the second half of the 20th century, progress on treatments for diarrhea did as much to save lives as achieving world peace over the same period would have done … The number of deaths each year due to diarrhea have fallen by 3 million over the last four decades due to advances like oral rehydration therapy. Meanwhile, all wars and political famines killed about 2 million people per year over the second half of the 20th century.

If it’s possible to have 10 or 100 times more impact with just a little research, maybe there are even better areas to discover?

probably the most powerful way we can help future generations is ensuring they exist at all. If civilization survives, we’ll have a chance to later solve problems like poverty and disease

Source: No-one knew the world’s worst problem, so we spent 8 years trying to find it – 80,000 Hours

80,000 Hours

80,000 Hours .org

We started 80,000 Hours because we couldn’t find any sources of advice on how to do good with our own working lives. Since then, we’ve been on a mission to figure out how best to choose a career with high social impact.

You have about 80,000 working hours in your career. That means your choice of the career is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make, so it’s really worth figuring out how to use that time for good.

Existing career advice either doesn’t address the question of how to have a social impact, isn’t based on much research, or doesn’t have much in the way of concrete, comprehensive advice.

We do in-depth research alongside academics at Oxford into how graduates can make the biggest difference possible with their careers, both through overall career choice and within a given field.

We’ve developed a four step process for working out which social problems are most urgent – where an extra year of work will have the greatest impact.

The most pressing problems are likely to have a good combination of the following qualities:

  1. Big in scale: What’s the magnitude of this problem? How much does it affect people’s lives today? How much effect will solving it have in the long-run?
  2. Neglected: How many people and resources are already dedicated to tackling this problem? How well allocated are the resources that are currently being dedicated to the problem? Are there good reasons why markets or governments aren’t already making progress this problem?
  3. Solvable: How easy would it be to make progress on this problem? Do interventions already exist to solve this problem effectively, and how strong is the evidence behind them?

Source: Career guide > Part 2b: Want to do good? Here’s how to choose an area to focus on