With midterm elections drawing near, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to convince Congress that more government money is needed to pull the United States out of its economic slump. Instead, lawmakers seem to be banking on expansion and investment from private businesses.
Hopefully they were paying attention to Tuesday’s stock plunge — attributed to news of slowing economies from the U.S. to China — which, in the view of David Leonhardt of the New York Times, suggested that “pessimism seemed the better bet.”
One day of trading isn’t necessarily a referendum on economic policy, of course. Leonhardt equivocates on the question of longer-term spending versus austerity, writing, “You can find good evidence to support either one.” But investors remain consistently reluctant to let their money ride, consumer confidence is in the gutter, and the U.S. Census Bureau hired more than ten times as many Americans in May as the entire private sector put together.
As the Los Angeles Times outlines, state and local governments are still heavily dependent on soon-to-expire federal stimulus funding to avoid making painful cuts to social services that benefit millions of desperate Americans. The U.S. government isn’t alone in its hesitation to keep spending, but the devastating effects of austerity measures in Ireland offer a bleak picture of what may come if Congress continues on a similar path.
via Risky Business: With Stimulus Funds Running Dry, Government Betting On Private Sector.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about social payments, and have reached two conclusions. The first is that a payment facilitated by a social network is not a social payment—it’s just a normal customer-not-present payment. The second is that social payments are, by definition, social in nature and involve multiple parties. Hear me out on these two thoughts.
What if I used my Visa card to buy a cat flap being sold by a cat flap merchant on a social network? How is that really any different than buying a toaster from a merchant with a Yahoo store? It’s not. One merchant, one buyer, one transaction.
What if the merchant had a Facebook storefront and I was using my card on file in a Facebook wallet? I still say no difference. What if the merchant was enabled by Facebook to accept Facebook credits as a form of payment, and the merchant was subsequently funded by Facebook, minus normal Facebook payments acceptance fees? I’m still not biting. This would be intriguing in a Facebook-centric world, but still not a social payment in my mind. Still one merchant, one buyer, one transaction.
I’ve concluded that for something to be a social payment, it’s got to be social. It’s got to involve multiple parties paying at once. Or multiple parties being paid at once. Or one party buying and another party paying. On and on.
via Glenbrook’s Model for Social Payments (A Work in Progress) — Payments Views from Glenbrook Partners.
Quote from Jeff Skolls Commencement Speech at Stanford Business School. “But while you’re thinking about making money, make sure you’re also thinking about making meaning. Money without meaning can be an unfulfilling life.
via Jeff Skoll Speech 2010.
Know that joy is rarer, more difficult, and more beautiful than sadness. Once you make this all important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation. – Andre Gide