Billionaire warlords: Why the future is medieval

The world's next superpower might just resurrect the Middle Ages.

  • Russia? China? No. The rising world superpower is the billionaire class. Our problem, says Sean McFate, is that we're still thinking in nation states.
  • Nation states have only existed for the last 300-400 years. Before that, wealthy groups – tribes, empires, aristocracies, etc – employed mercenaries to wage private wars.
  • As wealth inequality reaches combustion point, we could land back in the status quo ante of the Middle Ages. Who will our overlords be? Any or all of the 26 ultra-rich billionaires who own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest. What about Fortune 500, which is more powerful than most of the states in the world? Random billionaires, multinational corporations, and the extractive industry may buy armies and wage war on their own terms.
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Who is getting rich off you? The insidious big data economy.

Where is your data now? Follow the money.

  • Your day to day actions on the Internet give businesses personal data that turns you into an ad target – or the opposite.
  • Facebook, for example, allowed landlords to block demographic groups such as African Americans, LGBTQ, or disabled people from seeing housing ads – a violation of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.
  • Data brokers have crossed a line, but the laws that should regulate them are outdated; just look at the billion-dollar data deal between 23andMe and Big Pharma. Is it ethical?
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China's double boom: From ‘Made in China’ to ‘Sell to China'

China's export growth model hit a wall. So it reinvented itself.

  • China is no longer an impoverished manufacturer of the world's products; it is a major consumer market of 1.4 billion people.
  • When its manufacturing boom hit a wall, China changed tactics and invested heavily in consumerism at home – a second boom that will make China king.
  • Global brands are desperate for a piece of China's $5 trillion private consumer market.
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How to handle the stress when you see your 401k savings dip

Thoughtful advice on how to manage a volatile market.

I check my finances, including my 401K, every single day. Every. Single. Day. My financial fixation stems from my mother's obsessive preoccupation with prioritizing saving over spending. She had several economic edicts on repeat throughout my childhood: Earn a dollar. Spend 50 cents. Save 50 cents; It's not how much you make, it's how much you keep.

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Women won’t ask a man for more pay – but they will ask a woman

Gender differences arise only in negotiations between a man and a woman where the woman is in the weak position, but not when the woman is the empowered party.

The figure of 78 cents to a man's dollar is familiar to many of us. It's how the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has quantified the gender gap among full-time workers: for each dollar that men earn, women earn 78 cents.

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