Thinks 626

Raghuram Rajan: “While trade in goods seems to have reached its limits before the pandemic, trade in services still has not. If countries can agree to remove various unnecessary barriers, new communications technologies would allow many services to be offered at a distance. If a consultant working from home in Chicago can cater to a client in Austin, Texas, so can a consultant from Bangkok, Thailand. Yes, consultants in other countries might need to have front offices in the US to assure quality or redress complaints. But the overall volume of work that could be undertaken by global consulting companies would grow substantially, and at a significantly lower cost, if their services could be offered across borders. Similarly, telemedicine has become increasingly feasible not just in psychotherapy and radiology but also in routine medical diagnoses. Again, global organizations could help reduce informational and reputational barriers, allowing for a general practitioner in India to conduct routine medical exams for patients in Detroit—referring them out to specialists there when needed.”

George Will: “Mir believes that all this has produced “post-journalism,” by which the mainstream media supply not news but “news validation,” the validation of news that is disturbing “within certain value systems.” This business model — media as “agents of polarization” — results in the stratification of newspapers because, Mir says, it produces large rewards for only a few nationally significant newspapers: “People want to have disturbing news validated by an authoritative notary with a greater followership. Audiences want to pay only for flagship media, such as the New York Times or the Washington Post. … Most subscription money flows to a few behemoths. The new subscription model has led not only to media polarization but also to media concentration.” Mir says that whereas journalism used to want its picture of the world to fit the world, “post-journalism wants the world to fit its picture.” This, he says, “is a definition of propaganda. Post-journalism has turned the media into the crowdfunded Ministries of Truth.””

Amir Bolous: ” I’ve noticed a large disconnect between the narrative for what crypto enables and what that practically looks like today/may look like in the future. And at some point, we can’t keep writing this off to the space still being early. It’s been nearly 14 years since the Bitcoin paper galvanized the crypto space, although smart contract chains to be fair have been around for 7 years. Don’t get me wrong, I can see practical use cases for crypto, the main one being trustless, censorship-resistant money, an easy way to transact (i.e. wire transfers) and store money (i.e. using Ethereum as a simple bank account). So it’s natural to see things naturally emerge from this (a bright financial ecosystem that builds on top of this, new coordination mechanisms, games that take advantage of blockchains as a new computing paradigm etc.) but I do feel like a lot of products in crypto do not solve enough of a (high frequency or severity) problem for the average person. All that said, I’m cautiously optimistic for the future. There are and I hope there will continue to be novel applications enabled by all of the cool properties of blockchains that we care about.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.