The New Digital Order: Five Megatrends

Mary Meeker, long a mainstay at Morgan Stanley, now a partner at the venture-capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is one of the most important Internet analysts in America today. Which is to say, she’s one of the most important social analysts, because not much is happening these days that doesn’t have a digital component.

Here are five megatrends from her latest presentation, delivered on May 28 at the Code Conference in Palos Verdes, California.

First: In the future, you will be hacked.

As life is lived online, as most of us give ourselves over to the “Internet of Things,” we will just have to deal with the fact that some of the innermost detail of our lives will be shared with others. Ninety-five percent of all the networks in the world will be hacked in some way [slide 18]. Hacked by whom? Hackers? Criminals? Our government? Other governments?

The answer to all these questions, of course, is “Yes.”

Second: People will seek to find new ways to escape the all-seeing eye.

Experimentation with Bitcoin and other kinds of encrypted virtual currencies is accelerating–up 800 percent in the last year [slide 53]. Will people use these crypto currencies to find a way to evade taxes? To beat prohibitions? To evade embargoes? And more broadly, in a world of big data and drones, will people ever be able to truly go off the grid?

It’s probably fair to say that the future of freedom, as we have understood it, hangs in the balance.

Third, innovation has a global propulsion that transcends countries and systems.

The march of Moore’s Law continues: The cost of computers has dropped from $527 per million transistors in 1990 to five cents per million transistors today [slide 70]. And storage costs have fallen from $569 per gigabyte to two cents today [slide 71].

Do pro-tech policies help speed progress? Of course. Do bad policies hurt? Obviously, yes. But global competition is so intense that countries with counter-productive policies are soon forced to get back into the tech herd. A case in point is France: The country’s experiment with high taxes and reactionary socialism lasted only a year or so; faster economic feedback loops brought the lefty vision to a screeching halt as capital flight damaged business confidence. Today, France is scrambling to get back into the competitive capitalist swing of things. France may never again be a tech leader, but it will always be a fast follower, and a good customer.

Worldwide, it remains to be seen which country will take the lead in innovation, but we know that all countries will follow–they have no choice. The United States, we might add, is no exception to these rules.  Stay tuned for a sharp pro-competitive political correction in the 2014 midterm elections.

Fourth, the vision of innovation trumps the vision of deficit reduction.

Innovation in education, for example, is going strong–but it is still just beginning.

The inexorable Rise of the Screen–smartphones and tablets, worldwide, having increased 500 percent in the last five years–is going to make the “education anywhere” dream a reality for anyone interested in learning, at any age [slide 95].

And speaking of a learning, the tech elite has also gained knowledge about what really matters in the economics of growth. In the words of The Business Insider‘s Joseph Weisenthal, Meeker’s presentation “represents a turning point in the thinking of the elites.” Downplaying the importance of straight-line static analysis, long popular in Washington, Weisenthal explains: “Stressing about the debt is tired. Talking about how we’re actually solving our big problems is hot.”

Fifth, healthcare is a matter of science, not finance.

For more than two decades, American politics has been transfixed by debates over healthcare finance.   Should we have Clintoncare–or not? Should we have Obamacare–or not? These were lively and important debates, to be sure, but they will be mooted, ultimately, by two realities: First, one way or another, everyone in the US is going to wind up getting at least some minimal level of healthcare; it might be Department of Veterans Affairs level, but it will be something. And second, what matters most in medicine is science, not finance. Do we have a cure for MERS, or not? Do we have a cure for cancer, or not? Do we have a cure for Alzheimer’s, or not? If we do, then healthcare will be cheap, at least relative to the alternatives, which are early death or costly long-term decline.

A key to medical success–most obvious, so far, in cancer treatment–is personalized medicine: that is, the development of treatments attuned to each individual’s unique genetic code. And so it’s heartening to see that the cost of sequencing the human genome is falling faster than the cost of computing. Yes, there’s something pushing down prices faster, even, than Moore’s Law [slide 89].

Indeed, the world that Meeker paints is challenging. It’s scary–and exciting–at the same time.

So the political system will have to react. If you click through Meeker’s whole presentation, you might ask yourself: Are the politicians keeping up with this level of insight and sophistication? Are they able to keep faith with basic American principles and values, even as they adapt to new possibilities and prospects? And if not, what are you, the voter, going to do about it?

Source: Breitbart Feed

Fox News Books 30-Minute Interview with Hillary Clinton

Fox News Channel has scheduled an extensive interview with former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after the June 10th release of her book Hard Choices.

According to an announcement by the cable news network picked up by Deadline, anchors Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren will conduct a joint 30-minute discussion with Clinton which will air through on their programs Special Report and On The Record on June 17th.

The interviews will focus on Clinton’s new book, a memoir of her time serving in the Obama administration; her prospects in the 2016 presidential election; and her handling of 2012’s terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya which claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Michelle Obama Teams Up with Richard Sherman for New ‘Let’s Move’ Video

While the Seattle Seahawks joined President Obama at the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama teamed up with the outspoken cornerback Richard Sherman for a video to promote her “Let’s Move” campaign.

In the video, Sherman is shown preparing a “healthy school lunch” in the White House kitchen of salmon and succotash.

First Lady Michelle Obama plays the role of a sideline reporter as she interviews Sherman in the kitchen.

“Let me tell you, we the best chefs in the game!” Sherman says, reminding kids to “eat right” and “put the right fuel in your body.”

“I couldn’t agree more Richard,” the First Lady replies.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Miliband’s Favourite News Source is Owned by a U.S. Republican

Labour leader Ed Miliband has gone to further lengths to prove how out of touch he is with the British voting public – this time by declaring that he doesn’t read much British news.

In a bizarre statement reported by Buzzfeed UK, Mr Miliband claimed: “I don’t read much British news. You get a lot of advice in the newspapers about what you should do. It’s much more important to follow your own path and stick to your own path. I’ve made that a rule in the last three and a half years.”

He’s trying to sound like a leader, but Miliband is putting more distance between himself and ordinary Britons, 82 percent of which claim to read a newspaper. 

Instead, Mr Miliband said he favourite news website was RealClearPolitics, a Chicago-based U.S. news aggregator which is 51 percent owned by Forbes, whose owner and CEO is Steve Forbes. 

Forbes, a former Republican Party Presidential candidate, is said to support smaller government and the death penalty. He, like UKIP leader Nigel Farage, opposes gun control and environmental regulation. Wikipedia notes that he opposes as well as drug legalisation and same-sex marriage.

An interesting choice for Miliband then, though it should be said that RealClearPolitics does not adopt a partisan position in its aggregation. It is also not a very popular website in Britain, with ranking it as the 15,681st most popular website in the UK.

By contrast, the Guardian is the 14th highest rated, the Guido Fawkes political blog is 829th, the Spectator 1083rd, and is 1138th. Party-affiliated site LabourList is ranked around 20,000, while ConservativeHome is around 5000th.

All in all a pretty strange comment for the leader of a major political party to make. He’s either admitting to be drastically out of touch with what is going on in Britain… or he knows something the rest of us don’t. I’m willing to hazard a guess it is not the latter.

Source: Breitbart Feed

The Real Problem with Liberals: They’re Lower down the Evolutionary Scale

On this week’s Radio Free Delingpole podcast I discuss with Peter Foster of Canada’s Financial Post an issue which has long puzzled me: the liberal-left’s extraordinary capacity for cognitive dissonance. Or, if you want to put it more bluntly, for epic self-delusion.

I’m thinking, for example, of Ed Miliband’s proposals to introduce rent controls, despite copious historical evidence that this measure always and inevitably has exactly the opposite effect of the one intended: creating more housing scarcity; hurting the poor.

I would include in the same category several of the measures introduced by the Cameron administration: the 0.7 per cent of GDP ring-fenced for foreign aid, despite all the evidence that the billions of dollars bombarded on Africa have had the unintended consequence of leaving some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as poor (sometimes poorer) than they were 50 years ago; the minimum wage which – as any sane economist can tell you – is a tax on jobs and therefore a disincentive to employers to hire labour; the “green jobs” the Coalition’s drive for renewables has allegedly created, even though they are in fact nothing more than Potemkin jobs, entirely dependent on taxpayer subsidy, and therefore a grotesque misallocation of scare resources which would otherwise by directed towards real, lasting jobs in areas of the economy which create genuine value.

All this, as Thomas Sowell would put it, is Basic Economics. So why do so many politicians – from the Obama left to the Cameron faux-right – not get it? And why, for that matter, do all those voters who applaud their statist measures and urge still more government intervention not get it either?

This is the question asked by Foster in his superb new book Why We Bite The Invisible Hand: The Psychology of Anti-Capitalism (Pleasaunce Press). And he comes up with some fascinating answers.

My favourite is his suggestion – though he puts more politely than I do – that people on the liberal-left are insufficiently evolved; they are too much in thrall to their “monkey brains” – monkey brains which of course those of us on the right possess too but with one crucial difference: we’re clever enough and advanced enough to allow the logical part of our brains override them.

Yes, I know. It sounds like a glib reversal of the kind of theory you see advanced at places like the HuffPo and Slate and the Guardian’s Komment Macht Frei. You know the sort of thing: “scientists” have shown that conservatives behave the way they do because their brains are wired to be more selfish/greedy/fearful/aggressive/insert appropriate pejorative here.

But Foster’s theory makes a lot of sense to me. (And if you want to pick holes in it, fine: another of the key differences between conservatives and liberal-lefties is that we on the right aren’t scared of debate).

It’s rooted in the fact that most of our mental evolution – perhaps as much as 99 per cent of it – took place in the long period when we were hunter-gatherers. This began in the Pleistocene era 1.6 million years ago and ended roughly 10,000 years ago when we made the leap from living in small, closely related tribal groups (“whose existence revolved around hunting, food gathering, sex, fighting and “local politics”‘) to the larger settlements which marked the birth of civilisation.

How does this bear on the left-liberal “mind”?

Let me give an example. One of the fundamental misconceptions of the liberal-left is that you can’t get richer without others getting poorer. This is the root cause of the widespread belief that capitalism is unfair and that government intervention is essential in order to create “social justice.” But it’s a fallacy, based on the delusion that the economy is like a pizza pie where the more one person has the less there is available for everyone else. What this popular leftist delusion ignores is that – at least in advanced capitalist nations – economies tend towards growth, which means the pizza pie gets bigger and bigger, meaning everyone (not just the One Per Cent) gets better and better off. There are mountains of evidence to show that this is so (read eg Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist). Why, then do even quite educated people on the liberal-left choose to ignore it?

Because mentally they’re still stuck in the Pleistocene era, is why. Subconsciously they’re living in the days when the hunting party has come back with, say, a scrawny warthog, or a large rat, and that’s all there is to go round their community. The economic world has grown a great deal more sophisticated since then, but the left-liberal brain – or at least the most dominant part of it – hasn’t. In the left’s head, the size of the economy is as fixed as the amount of meat on that large rat is fixed: that’s why, for them, fairness is such a life and death issue. Because in the prehistoric era their brains inhabit, it really was.

Source: Breitbart Feed