Sunday, February 24, 2013

Just another collection of stuff 2/24/2013

An examination of the state of the Chinese Model of Economic Growth:

 I (M. Pettis the author) I  have often argued that the Chinese development model is an old one, and can trace its roots at least as far back as the “American System” of the 1820s and 1830s. This “system” was itself based primarily on the works of the brilliant first US Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton (see especially his report to the Congress on manufacturing and his two reports on public credit and banks).
There were three key elements of the American System. Historian Michael Lind, in one of his economic histories of the United States, described them as:
·      infant industry tariffs
·      internal improvements, and
·      a sound system of national finance 
These three elements are at the heart, explicitly or implicitly, of every variation of the investment-led development model adopted by number of countries in the last century – including Germany in the 1930s, the USSR in the early Cold War period, Brazil during the Brazilian miracle, South Korea after the Korean War, Japan before 1990, and China today, to name just the most important and obvious cases.
The author of Penny Arcade reviews the Surface Pro

How H1B visas are screwing tech workers -

 if tech workers are in such short supply, why are so many of them unemployed or underpaid? According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), tech employment rates still haven't rebounded to pre-recession levels. And from 2001 to 2011, the mean hourly wage for computer programmers didn't even increase enough to beat inflation.
The ease of hiring H-1B workers certainly hasn't helped. More than 80 percent of H-1B visa holders are approved to be hired at wages below those paid to American-born workers for comparable positions, according to EPI. Experts who track labor conditions in the technology sector say that older, more expensive workers are particularly vulnerable to being undercut by their foreign counterparts. "You can be an exact match and never even get a phone call because you are too expensive," says Norman Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California-Davis. "The minute that they see you've got 10 or 15 years of experience, they don't want you."
Speaking from my experience I can say that is true.  I have worked with a number of H1B visa holders and they anecdoataly I can say they were hired at below standard wages.  This is supposed to be illegal but I suspect what the companies do in order to get away with it is decrease salaries for everyone then list that new salary for the immigration authorities.  In the end it has the same effect in the tech industry as hiring illegals has had in the hospitality and food service industries.

Why fighting cyber-attacks is so hard - Basically it comes down to the sheer volume and unrelenting nature of the attacks coupled with increasing sophistication on the part of the attackers.  In addition the tools being used to defend against these attacks may not be effective.  One other issue according to the FBI is a lack of data sharing that hinders in developing effective countermeasures.

It's an uphill battle.   A good book on the subject is Fatal System Error.  It isn't a technical book by any means but it shows in part why it can be so hard to deal with these attacks:

OK I guess that's it for this episode of "Pigs in Space"

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