Archive for the ‘economics’ Category
Beth Chalecki asked me to give a talk on cyber security for her course at Boston College. While I won’t post the slide deck here, I will compile a reading list on the blog. I’d like to note that the blogroll at right includes several of the big names in the field: Bruce Schneier, C. Warren Axelrod, Ross Anderson, David Rice, Alessandro Acquisti, and others.
- National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace (US-CERT)
- Cyberspace Policy Review (White House Office of Cybersecurity)
- Presidential Decision Directive 63 (Clinton via FAS)
- US Cyber Command fact sheet and website
- Rod Beckstrom
- Howard Schmidt
- William Lynn discusses the cyber domain in Foreign Affairs
- Technology, Policy, Law and Ethics Regarding US Acquisition of Cyberattack Capabilities (Owens, Dam and Lin, eds.), full text at Macarthur Foundation
- Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring Cyber Attacks (National Research Council Committee on Deterring Cyberattacks, Steinbruner, chair) *
- Building Security In (Gary McGraw and US-CERT)
- Cyber Warfare and Cyber Terrorism (Janczewski and Colarik, eds.)
- Cyberpower and National Security (Kramer, Starr and Wentz, eds.)
- Cyberpower (Nye)
- Cybersecurity Agenda (EastWest Institute)
- Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency and their final report
- International Guide to Cyber Security (Westby)
* Beth: if you’d like to tackle cyber deterrence, Lukasik’s conference paper in these Proceedings (eds. Steinbruner et al., 2010, pp 99-111) is an interesting departure point for debate.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Paul Bradshaw is wrong. The argument goes like this: drive up the supply of journalists, drive down the unit price of a story. Sounds fine, until you think through the argument more carefully. It only matters that hacks bloggers are giving away drivel content for free if their competition drives wages down.
What reduces the value of something economically? Increased supply or reduced demand are two key factors. And indeed, journalism as a profession has been consistently devalued economically as a result of one of those factors: increasing numbers of people who want to be journalists and who will work for free, or for low wages. The result is that the wages of journalists are very low – a pattern which predates the internet and the rise of blogging, etc.
This is rife with the same fallacies that convinced Lou Dobbs that unskilled immigrant labor drives down middle class American wages. Bradshaw’s pseudo-economic analysis treats journalists like fungible, undifferentiated commodities, just about the same as feed corn.
There are lots of markets where giving some stuff away doesn’t make the other stuff worthless. In fact, free-beer software creates entire business ecosystems for software, hardware, and services. Strategic giveaways are good business strategy. For more on that, read Tapscott and Williams or Chris Anderson.
Then there’s the question of whether blogs and papers are in the same market. They’re not. Newspapers do the hard job of editing: screening, curating, and fact-checking stories. The whole reason that you’ll pay to read the Financial Times but not my blog is because of their hard-won reputation for excellence.
If your newspaper is printing roundups of the “Here’s what the blogs are saying about…” variety, it’s time to switch your subscription.
I gave a talk at the Fletcher School today on my work on dyadic trade flows (slides).
In a nutshell, the talk argues that cartograms and dendrograms can give students and practitioners a better understanding of the patterns of trade among partner contries, both for teaching and for research. We have thousands of observations of dyadic relationships in panel datasets. Most often these datasets are presented as aggregates: total annual world trade, top exporters in world trade, top exporters, top exporters in an industry sector, top exporters to a political union (such as the EU), top exporters within a geographic area, etc. What these statistics ignore is the information in the dyadic trade flows: who trades with whom?
What I offer is a way to crunch down the total number of country dyads into manageable graphics that can appear on a single slide. We can look directly at the dyadic patterns of trade using hierarchic clustering (dendrograms). We can compare partner trade flows across countries and time periods using cartograms. The techniques are not new; what is new is the presentation of rich international trade datasets in relatively complete format that can be digested by inspection, rather than with complex and poorly understood statistical techniques. Complete annual sets of cartograms and dendrograms give scholars the power to explore the distribution of dyadic trade and discover hypotheses that are worth testing more carefully, either with quantitative or qualitative methods.
One of the reasons trade courses have focused so much on models, theorems, and policy of international trade is that it is hard to describe trade patterns in any meaningful and comparable terms. My slides suggest how to do exactly that: present changes to global trade patterns in a succinct, visual format that enables rich comparisons across time and space.