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MDZX42 karma

I really hope that this likely second (or third, or...) leaker takes a fairly radical, Wikileaks-style approach. That way, all the idiots yelling about how Snowden and Greenwald are endangering national security will look stupid because their approach will widely appear to be the moderate (it's actually relatively conservative!) way to go and some real changes will be made.

It's like when the IWW (Wobblies) with other anarchists and communists started agitating during the 1930s, and the ruling elite were essentially forced to make serious, lasting reforms in the shape of the New Deal. FDR appeared to be extremely moderate and the business elite, totally loony tunes. Which they were.

I mean, I'd prefer a radical solution but if people can be brought onboard the "lasting, serious reform" train I'm down with that.

MDZX29 karma

EDIT: Typical corporate AMA where the tough questions are avoided. No surprises here! Why don't you just buy a nice 9th edition textbook for $300 (now with 12 extra practice questions!) to keep your mind off things...

EDIT2: Just because I am not a fan of astroturfing I might point out to the innocent reader that many of the comments in this thread have been made by brand new accounts that have only posted in this particular AMA (just click on the accounts of the people asking questions, it's pretty funny). A little suspicious when brand new posters are lobbing softballs, eh?

Apologies in advance for this is going to seem necessarily hostile.

We're in a digital age. The marginal cost of production of the sort of education you provide (unlike universities which have lecturers, experimental labs, etc) is very close to zero. Books, apps, anything that's not a physical product. We can literally copy anything you produce a million times over for a few dollars in electricity, bandwidth and hard drive space.

With that in mind, just why exactly aren't you a useless middleman, an inefficiency that needlessly takes up resources that could go fully into producing the educational material instead of being skimmed into corporate profits? The alternative is simply paying educators to create these resources and release them into the public domain, or something similar (lots of very practical theoretical schemes have been created and the open-source community as well as places like Khan Academy have proven it works).

It's not quite as bad as Elsevier charging $20 per scientific paper online while they let everyone else do the hard work (as a published author I can speak to that), but it's certainly suboptimal from my perspective. The ridiculously high prices McGraw-Hill and other publishers charge for education is why piracy is such a problem. Content creators absolutely need to be paid, which means piracy is not a solution, but why should we also give the publisher a very large cut (judging by profits these last few years) in the age of the Internet?

MDZX8 karma

MDZX4 karma

How do you feel about Matt Taibbi and his new gig at First Look (I heard they just hired Alex Pareene too)? His writing seems to be the standard for popular financial writing.

Other than that, with the state of regulation and cronyism in the US being what it is (i.e awful), how likely do you think another financial crisis is in the coming years?

MDZX4 karma

Yeah, the government could have intervened by calling out the bubble and sensibly regulated the industry before things got too crazy.

Those government lenders? Their standards were low, but they were so high compared to the private banks that they were losing market share by the day.

See http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/washington-post-helps-senator-corker-spread-the-big-lie-on-fannie-and-freddie