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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

June 2, 2009 at 10:30 AM

Google aims to short-circuit Seattle’s economic reset

Top of the News: Major downturns bring tectonic shifts in business (just ask General Motors). Or ask Seattle, which has a big red target painted on it by Google.

Google is poised to go after Amazon.com, with a program that would allow publishers to sell digital versions of books on the Web (Disclosure: I may, or may not, be a tiny part of the settlement Google made with authors over copyright violations). From the initial reports, the Google project doesn’t seem as elegant and user friendly as Amazon’s Kindle — but Google’s dominance of the Web is an awesome advantage.

There’s also news that Taiwan’s Acer will bring out a low-cost mini-laptop using Google’s Android operating system, in a rebuke of our friends in Redmond. Acer is likely not the last company to try out Android. The anti-complacency alert level should definitely be on high.

The Back Story: Brink Lindsey, writing in Reason magazine, takes on Paul Krugman (and sometimes me) for pining for a lost age of America’s rising middle class. In “Nostalgonmics,” Lindsey concedes that rising income inequality is a cause for concern. However, the good old days had considerable downsides, too.

The system that emerged from World War II, was “built on extensive cartelization of markets, limiting competition to favor producers over consumers. The restrictions on competition were buttressed by racial prejudice, sexual discrimination, and postwar conformism, which combined to limit the choices available to workers and potential workers alike…”

You can check out the article here.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Those clever bankers

Don’t need no stinkin’ new rules

New fees will do fine

Comments | More in Amazon.com, Microsoft

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