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June Link Roundup

Posted on June 30, 2014
Tags: software_industry, gentrification, race, cities

Michael J. Glennon responds to the claim that Snowden is morally obliged to return to the U.S. to face justice.

Carlos Bueno writes about Silicon Valley’s “mirrortocracy”:

You have to wonder why intelligent people would devise an interview process so strange & oblique that the candidate doesn’t even know it’s happening.

Peter Frase writes about gentrification and racial arbitrage:

The anti-racism of the early arrivals, then, is what helps start the whole process of revaluation and displacement. There’s an almost absurd quality to it: white supremacy is so pervasive, and its structural mechanisms so powerful, that even white anti-racist consciousness can be a mechanism for reinforcing white supremacy. It’s an important lesson that shows why anti-racism isn’t just about purifying what’s in our hearts or our heads. It’s about transforming the economic systems and property relations that continue to reproduce racist practices and ideas.

Jill Lepore (or “Jill” as she is known to her friends and also, apparently, to Clayton M. Christensen) takes apart Clayton M. Christensen’s theories of disruptive innovation.

Via Steve Laniel, a great post, What Elites Do Instead of Providing Services:

The problem with making even the merit-based argument is that public monuments are never truly merit-based projects. The decision-making process goes in the other direction: first the city elites . . . decide on something they want to see built, usually with the adjective world-class thrown in: a world-class university, a world-class airport, a world-class train station, a world-class office tower. The image of a world-class monument is more important than whether it works at its stated goal, such as improving education or transportation or fulfilling a need for class A office space.

. . .

As with most bad things in politics, it’s a result of weak democratic institutions on the local level. American mayors tend to be elected dictators, and the opposition to them tends to be based on personality rather than ideology. In this non-ideological framework, the role of government is not to balance market and state solutions based on the voters’ preferences, but to aggrandize the leaders. Signature initiatives must appeal to the broad spectrum of non-ideological voters, so they can’t involve merely increasing spending on a chosen priority like education or transportation. Doing nothing is not an option – something has to be passed to remind people that the government still exists and has a purpose. The political incentives are against any incremental improvements that lead to tangible results, and for white elephants.

Click through for some great examples. I’ve added this blog to my RSS feeds.

Finally, I hope this is the way I go.

By the way, if you like link round ups check out Gerry Canavan’s blog, which is the source of some of the links that make it into my own link round ups (I can’t remember which).