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Stranded costs of the wetware infrastructure: Part 2, the imploding business model

7 June, 2011 (12:09) | Economics, Global news, Infrastructure, Innovations, Markets, Networks, Post office, Speculation, Utilities |

[Continued from yesterday’s Part 1.]   By: David A. Smith   Yesterday’s post on the collapse of physical mail as a critical utility used as its source an empathetic and intriguing London Review of Books article by James Meek [hat tip: Matthew Healy] on the infeasibility of the current European mail delivery system because its […]

Stranded costs of the wetware infrastructure: Part 1, from market-fast to way-too-slow

6 June, 2011 (18:12) | Economics, Global news, Infrastructure, Innovations, Markets, Networks, Post office, Speculation, Utilities |

By: David A. Smith   Because infrastructure is a network, adding any one new node is so much cheaper than building a parallel system, so its economic end state must be either a natural monopoly (where the network power is used to exclude competition, think Microsoft Windows or railroad robber barons) or a public utility […]

The beautiful and the damned

3 June, 2011 (15:55) | Cities, Development, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby, Historic preservation, Housing, Land use, New York, Zoning |

By:David A. Smith   Let me tell you about the very rich.  They are different from you and me.  They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult […]

Time for a systemic redesign: Part 2, after the system’s redesign

2 June, 2011 (14:13) | Innovations, Local issues, Municipal finance, Networks, Real estate taxes, Speculation, Theory, US News |

[Continued from yesterday’s Part 1.]   By: David A. Smith   Yesterday’s post uncovered the fact – unsurprising when you reflect upon it – that the municipal-assessment system for residential property is in many places antiquated, having fallen behind the rate of private information freely available on the internet where homeowners can discover the relative […]

Time for a systemic redesign: Part 1, the skyrocketing error rate

1 June, 2011 (18:36) | Innovations, Local issues, Municipal finance, Networks, Real estate taxes, Speculation, Theory, US News | 1 comment

By: David A. Smith    All network systems are designed for a band of load: a peak load (the maximum the system can absorb) and a minimum load (the maximum required to keep the system relevant).  This is true whether they be physical systems – such as toll highways, city streets, water and sewer utilities, […]