small change toward a rich life

Now Read This — clothesline paradox, tragedy of the credit commons, and cheaper smartphone bills

Until now I’ve deliberately limited Pocketmint to original articles and avoided the more traditionally bloggish ‘lists of links’. But I’ve decided to experiment with a new feature which allows me to occasionally add annotated pointers to important content elsewhere.

Tim O’Reilly on the Clothesline Paradox

Tim O’Reilly is a champion of business that focuses on creating value rather than extracting it, and of “working on stuff that matters”. Here’s how he describes the ‘Clothesline Paradox’:

“Our economy measures value captured from the economy rather than value created, and we need to change that. Tim Berners-Lee and the people who created the open source software that powers the internet didn’t capture very much of the enormous value they created for themselves. It was captured elsewhere in the economy. Meanwhile, the titans of Wall Street are very good at capturing value for themselves while actually destroying value for the economy as a whole.”

I liked this (11:24) interview with Tim by The Renegade Economist, in which he discusses the Clothesline Paradox as well as some thoughts on the pursuit of happiness:

More background and details can be seen in O’Reilly’s July 2012 presentation The Clothesline Paradox and the Sharing Economy. “An economy is an ecosystem, and if you take out more than you put in, the ecosystem eventually fails.”

Ron Lieber on the tragedy of the credit card commons

“For several years, I’ve wondered whether my aggressive pursuit of credit card rewards made me a selfish consumer,” wrote Ron Lieber in a 2010 New York Times article The Damage of Card Rewards. He very succinctly explains why credit cards constitute a classic commons dilemma, in which what benefits each individual is bad for society and the economy as a whole.

This is one of the reasons I was so taken by the discovery that there is likely a direct benefit for the individual to giving up credit cards — a benefit that exceeds the financial rewards one forfeits by doing so. The problem, of course, is that the money you save by not using a credit card is much harder to quantify than an annual cash-back check, which means many people will be reluctant to believe in it.

Mr. Money Mustache on engineering cheaper smartphone bills

I had promised an upcoming article on slashing the ongoing cost of your smartphone, but the very like-minded Mr. Money Mustache beat me to it.

This is both more complicated and — at least for anyone who has low usage needs — cheaper than the strategy I had in mind. Some other hacktastic alternatives are comprehensively reviewed in the MMM forum’s ISP, VoIP and Cellphone Superguide.


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