10 Sunday Reads

Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:

The Modern Curse of Overoptimization: My current working definition of overoptimization goes like this: overoptimization has occurred when the introduction of immense amounts of information into a human system produces conditions that allow for some players within that system to maximize their comparative advantage, without overtly breaking the rules, in a way that (intentional or not) creates meaningful negative social consequences. I want to argue that many human systems in the 2020s have become overoptimized in this way, and that the social ramifications are often bad.(Freddie deBoer)

An Oil Price-Fixing Conspiracy Caused 27% of All Inflation Increases in 2021. The FTC just found evidence that American oil companies colluded with the Saudi government to hike gas prices, costing the average family $3,000 last year. The question is, what can we do about it? (BIG by Matt Stoller)

The Life and Death of Hollywood: Film and television writers face an existential threat. (Harper’s)

The New Propaganda War: Autocrats in China, Russia, and elsewhere are now making common cause with MAGA Republicans to discredit liberalism and freedom around the world. (The Atlantic) see also Extremist Militias Are Coordinating in More Than 100 Facebook Groups: After lying low for years in the aftermath of January 6, exclusive reporting shows, militia extremist groups and profiles have been quietly reorganizing and ramping up recruitment and rhetoric on Facebook. (Wired)

No One Knows What Universities Are For. “From the early 1990s to 2009, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew 10 times faster than tenured-faculty positions, according to Department of Education data.” (The Atlantic)

Florida’s Abortion Ban Will Reach Well Beyond Florida: As of Wednesday, Florida has banned abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. It will have far-reaching effects. (New York Times)

Meet AdVon, the AI-Powered Content Monster Infecting the Media Industry: Remember that AI company behind Sports Illustrated’s fake writers? We did some digging — and it’s got tendrils into other surprisingly prominent publications. (Futurism)

It’s Time to Tax the Billionaires: In the 1960s, the 400 richest Americans paid more than half of their income in taxes. Higher tax rates for the wealthy kept inequality in check and helped fund the creation of social safety nets like Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps. Today, the superrich control a greater share of America’s wealth than during the Gilded Age of Carnegies and Rockefellers. That’s partly because taxes on the wealthy have cratered. In 2018, America’s top billionaires paid just 23 percent of their income in taxes. For the first time in the history of the United States, billionaires had a lower effective tax rate than working-class Americans. (New York Times)

The Science Behind Why the World Is Getting Wetter: From East Africa to southeastern Australia, large parts of the planet are underwater after unusually heavy rains in unexpected areas. (Wall Street Journal) see also What Trump promised oil CEOs as he asked them to steer $1 billion to his campaign: Donald Trump has pledged to scrap President Biden’s policies on electric vehicles and wind energy, as well as other initiatives opposed by the fossil fuel industry. (Washington Post)

When a Bunch of Bloody Yanks Came for English Soccer: American investors are gobbling up the storied teams of the English Premier League — and changing the stadium experience in ways that soccer fans resent. (New York Times)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business this week with with Jim O’Shaughnessy, founder and CEO of O’Shaughnessy Ventures. He is also chairman of the board at Stability AI. He is the host of the Infinite Loops podcast and the author of How to Retire RichInvest Like the Best, and Predicting the Markets of Tomorrow


Behind the Curtain: 6% of six states

Source: Axios


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