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On November 30, 2017, fc commented on Good Tariffs Make Good Neighbors? :

It is saddening to see that despite substantial research on the benefits of free trade (and free markets) [1], perverse incentives still dominate the decisions on protectionism worldwide:

a) corporate leaders who optimize for their own revenue and, as such, welcome higher barriers to entry in their industry and region
b) as a consequence of “a”, politicians who succumb to lobby and the dangerous populist/nationalist discourse of protectionism

This misalignment of incentives unfortunately leads us into a prisoner’s dilemma situation. I honestly hope that we take this opportunity as future leaders to reflect on how will we ensure that we will not repeat the same mistakes – our companies and governments have to lead through differentiation and efficiency (competency) and not laws and regulations (force).

[1] OECD (2010), “Seizing the benefits of trade for employment and growth”. Available at: http://www.oecd.org/tad/benefitlib/46353240.pdf (Accessed 30 November 2017).

On November 30, 2017, fc commented on Fall Without Pumpkin Spice Lattes? It Could Happen :

Thanks for the very interesting article – I believe the most powerful solutions to environmental challenges lie not on changing ingrained customer behavior but rather on leveraging on new technologies to avoid the impact. One promising development in the field has been the industry of vertical farming, where crops are grown under very tightly controlled conditions. Because of that high level of control, it is possible to run a multitude of experiments on optimal soil composition, amount of irrigation and light exposure. [1]

[1] Frazier, I. (2017), “The Vertical Farm: Growing crops in the city, without soil or natural light”. The New Yorker. Available at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/09/the-vertical-farm (Accessed: 30 November 2017).

Thanks for the article Eleonora! It is surprising to see the development of protectionism in the modern world. In many instances, the decision to move in this direction is myopic in the sense that it limits itself to first-order consequences (forcing industries to produce inside the country = more jobs) when in reality the consequences of this measure are heavily dominated by combining effects – the economy will restore its balance through adjustments: local (company will change their production plans to suboptimal), regional (relative prices will accommodate inefficiencies in the supply chain) or global (currencies, inflation and interest rates will be impacted). [1]

[1] Plender, J. (2017), “Trump trade blind to global cost of protectionism”. Financial Times. Available at https://www.ft.com/content/2bee373a-e786-11e6-893c-082c54a7f539 (Accessed: 30 November 2017).

On November 29, 2017, fc commented on It’s time for Red Lobster to be a little less shellfish :

Very interesting article! It is hard to accept that with all the technological developments of mankind we have still not been able to find a better food solution than the subjugation of other species and all the environmental – if not moral – problems that this entails [1] (just to highlight, I am a meat lover and include myself in the group to blame). A few interesting developments are happening on the field [2] but the jury is still out if bioengineering will be able, in the future, to replicate the taste of lobster and fish at an accessible cost: that is the one trillion dollars question.

[1] Harari, Yuval N., et al. Sapiens: a Brief History of Mankind. Vintage Books, 2015.

[2] Strom, S. (2017), “Impossible Burger’s ‘Secret Sauce’ Highlights Challenges of Food Tech”. The New York Times. Available at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/business/impossible-burger-food-meat.html (Accessed: 29 November 2017).

Very interesting topic – although funding for real estate startups has been increasing, most of the attention has been dedicated towards post-construction stage, offering tools for commercializing and managing buildings or apartments [1]. One of the promising avenues for disruption in the sector is the reduction in costs for owning the construction tools – the main consequence of this trend is the potential for democratization of construction through 3D printing and CNC technologies. Those developments have the potential to completely change the power dynamics of the industry [2].

[1] Glasner, J. [2017], “VC doors are wide open for real estate startups”. Techcrunch. Available at https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/26/vc-doors-are-wide-open-for-real-estate-startups/ (Accessed: 29 November 2017).

[2] Parvin, A. (2013). Alastair Parvin: Architecture for the people by the people [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/alastair_parvin_architecture_for_the_people_by_the_people (Accessed: 29 November 2017).

Very interesting topic Paul – I agree that using data analytics to predict future hits will be a key differentiating factor for the entertainment industry going forward. As you highlighted, the immediate concern that arises is whether creativity will lose space in this new world. I believe this will not be the case because of two key mitigating factors:

a) Dissemination of the content creation: with technological developments, producing content is more and more accessible and disseminated, especially through platforms such as Youtube or Patreon offering quick feedback and financial incentives for popular content [1]

b) The power of experimentation: even major content producers such as Netflix still allocate part of their portfolio to testing and expansion of their data universe – some of those bets have potential for huge payoffs, bringing fresh air to content creation [2]

[1] Robertson, Adi. 2017. “Inside Patreon, the economic engine of internet culture”, The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/3/16084248/patreon-profile-jack-conte-crowdfunding-art-politics-culture (Accessed on November 29th 2017).

[2] Persaud, Christine. 2015. “Netflix original series goes international, new show 3% shot entirely in Brazil”, Digital Trends. https://www.digitaltrends.com/movies/netflix-original-series-3-percent-shot-in-brazil (Accessed on November 29th 2017).