publishedmedium:financial times

  • Marx still haunts capitalism two hundred years on | The Charnel-House


    “The bourgeoisie will remember my carbuncles until their dying day.”*

    — Marx to Engels, 1867

    Indeed, it would seem they haven’t forgotten him. Over the last few weeks, major bourgeois news outlets have congratulated Marx for “being right” about capitalism: New York Times, Guardian, Financial Times, Independent, and even Vice. Little consolation, all this posthumous praise, for while capitalism remains unstable as ever, the prospect of proletarian revolution feels far away. Perhaps it is less embarrassing than Jonathan Spargo, Marx’s first American biographer, taking to the pages of the New York Times a hundred years ago to enlist Marx to the side of the Entente: “Today Is the 100th anniversary of Marx’s birth: Bitterly opposed to Prussia and an ardent admirer of America, his record shows where he would have stood in the present war.”


  • #Elite gathering reveals anxiety over ‘class war’ and ‘#revolution’
    Financial Times 2 mai 2019

    The Milken Institute’s annual gathering of the investment, business and political elites this week featured big names from US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin to David Solomon, chief executive of Goldman Sachs.


    Despite widespread optimism about the outlook for the US economy and financial markets, some of the biggest names on Wall Street and in corporate America revealed their anxiety about the health of the economic model that made them millionaires and billionaires.

    Mr Milken himself, whose conference was known as the predators’ ball when he ruled over the booming junk bond market of the 1980s, was among those fretfully revisiting a debate that has not loomed so large since before the fall of the Berlin Wall: whether capitalism’s supremacy is threatened by creeping socialism.

    Mr Milken played a video of Thatcher from two years before she became UK prime minister. “Capitalism has a moral basis,” she declared, and “to be free, you have to be capitalist”. Applause rippled through the ballroom.

    In the run-up to the conference, essays by Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase about the case for reforming capitalism to sustain it have been widely shared. Executives are paying close attention to what one investment company CEO called “the shift left of the Democratic party”, personified by 2020 presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and the social media success of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the democratic socialist elected to Congress last year.

    Former Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt issued his own rallying cry as he sat beside Ivanka Trump to discuss the conference theme of “driving shared prosperity”.

    “I’m concerned with this notion that somehow socialism’s going to creep back in, because capitalism is the source of our collective wealth as a country,” Mr Schmidt said, urging his fellow capitalists to get the message out that “it’s working”.

    Mr Milken asked Ken Griffin, the billionaire founder of the hedge fund Citadel, why young Americans seemed to have lost faith in the free market, flashing up a poll on the screen behind them which showed 44 per cent of millennials saying they would prefer to live in a socialist country.

    “You and I grew up in a different era, where the cold war was waking up and there was a great debate in America about the strengths and weaknesses of socialism as compared to the economic freedom that we enjoy in our country,” Mr Griffin replied, saying that they had “seen that question answered” with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    The younger generation that support socialism are “people who don’t know history”, he said.

    Guggenheim Partners’ Alan Schwartz put the risks of rising income inequality more starkly. “You take the average person . . . they’re just basically saying something that used to be 50:50 is now 60:40; it’s not working for me,” he told another conference session, pointing to the gap between wage growth and the growth of corporate profits.

    “If you look at the rightwing and the leftwing, what’s really coming is class warfare,” he warned. “Throughout centuries what we’ve seen when the masses think the elites have too much, one of two things happens: legislation to redistribute the wealth . . . or revolution to redistribute poverty. Those are the two choices historically and debating it back and forth, saying ‘no, it’s capitalism; no, it’s socialism’ is what creates revolution.”

    There was less discussion of the prospect of higher taxes on America’s wealthiest, which some Democrats have proposed to finance an agenda many executives support, such as investing in education, infrastructure and retraining a workforce threatened by technological disruption and globalisation.

    One top investment company executive echoed the common view among the conference’s wealthy speakers: “ Punitive #redistribution won’t work.”

    But another financial services executive, who donated to Hillary Clinton’s US presidential campaign in 2016, told the Financial Times: “ I’d pay 5 per cent more in tax to make the world a slightly less scary place .”

    #capitalisme #anxiété #capitalistes

  • Is France truly a unique nation among nations ? | Financial Times

    Nations are addicted to narratives. They all have them, yet each thinks theirs is the only one that counts. The British used to read Our Island Story — the hoary best-seller whose chronicling of stirring events and great men and women from Albion to Queen Victoria introduced generations of British schoolchildren to history. (David Cameron once claimed it was his favourite childhood reading.) Across the Channel, books like the so-called petit Lavisse did much the same thing, recounting the whole great sweep of what the French term the roman national from the days of the Gaulish general Vercingetorix to the French Revolution and its aftermath.

    These days a pretty good litmus test for where people stand on the cultural divide in France is whether they regard the roman national as something to be revived or dismantled.

    #gj #gilets_jaunes

  • Lawsuits Lay Bare Sackler Family’s Role in Opioid Crisis - The New York Times

    The Sacklers had a new plan.

    It was 2014, and the company the family had controlled for two generations, Purdue Pharma, had been hit with years of investigations and lawsuits over its marketing of the highly addictive opioid painkiller OxyContin, at one point pleading guilty to a federal felony and paying more than $600 million in criminal and civil penalties.

    But as the country’s addiction crisis worsened, the Sacklers spied another business opportunity. They could increase their profits by selling treatments for the very problem their company had helped to create: addiction to opioids.

    The filings cite numerous records, emails and other documents showing that members of the family continued to push aggressively to expand the market for OxyContin and other opioids for years after the company admitted in a 2007 plea deal that it had misrepresented the drug’s addictive qualities and potential for abuse.

    In addition to New York and Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Utah have filed suit against members of the family. Last month, a coalition of more than 500 counties, cities and Native American tribes named the Sacklers in a case in the Southern District of New York, bringing the family into a bundle of 1,600 opioids cases being overseen by a federal court judge in Cleveland.

    In 2009, two years after the federal guilty plea, Mortimer D.A. Sackler, a board member, demanded to know why the company wasn’t selling more opioids, email traffic cited by Massachusetts prosecutors showed.

    In 2011, as states looked for ways to curb opioid prescriptions, family members peppered the sales staff with questions about how to expand the market for the drugs. Mortimer asked if they could sell a generic version of OxyContin in order to “capture more cost sensitive patients,” according to one email. Kathe, his half sister, suggested studying patients who had switched to OxyContin to see if they could find patterns that could help them win new customers, according to court filings in Massachusetts.

    The lawsuits brought by the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts, Letitia James and Maura Healey, named eight Sackler family members: Kathe, Mortimer, Richard, Jonathan and Ilene Sackler Lefcourt — children of either Mortimer or Raymond Sackler — along with Theresa Sackler, the elder Mortimer’s widow; Beverly Sackler, Raymond’s widow; and David Sackler, a grandson of Raymond.

    Purdue’s business was fundamentally changed after the F.D.A. approved OxyContin in 1995. The company marketed the drug as a long-acting painkiller that was less addictive than shorter-acting rivals like Percocet and Vicodin, a strategy aimed at reducing the stigma attached to opioids among doctors.

    While the Sacklers “have reduced Purdue’s operations and size, Rhodes continues to grow and sell opioids for the benefit of the Sackler families,” the New York suit contends.

    By 2016, Rhodes, though little known to the public, had a greater share of the American prescription opioid market than Purdue, according to a Financial Times analysis. Together, the companies ranked seventh in terms of the market share of opioids.

    Purdue temporarily abandoned plans to pursue Project Tango in 2014, but revived the idea two years later, this time pursuing a plan to sell naloxone, an overdose-reversing drug, according to the Massachusetts filing. A few months later, in December 2016, Richard, Jonathan and Mortimer Sackler discussed buying a company that used implantable drug pumps to treat opioid addiction.

    In recent years, the Sacklers and their companies have been developing products for opioid and overdose treatment on various tracks. Last year, Richard Sackler was awarded a patent for a version of buprenorphine, a drug that blocks opioid receptors, administered by mouth in a thin film. In March, the F.D.A. fast tracked the company’s application for an injectable drug for emergency treatment of overdoses.

    Fait très rare, cet article comporte de nombreuses photos des membres de la famille Sackler

    #Opioides #Sackler #Procès

  • Saudis hacked Amazon chief’s phone, says security consultant | Financial Times

    Mr de Becker claimed the Saudi government “has been very intent on harming Jeff Bezos since last October”, due to the Post’s “relentless coverage” of the death of Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom.

    #arabie_saoudite #hack #vengeance

  • Flux financiers illicites: L’#UE envisage d’inclure Riyad sur sa liste noire | TRT Français

    Selon le Financial Times, la décision fait face à la résistance de l’Allemagne, de la France et du Royaume-Uni

    London pushes to take Saudis off EU dirty money blacklist: sources | Reuters

    The list needs the endorsement of a majority of the 28 EU nations but Britain and other heavyweights of the bloc, including Germany, France, Italy and Spain, are raising concerns, three EU officials told Reuters.

    #arabie_saoudite #blanchiment

  • Il n’y a pas beaucoup d’articles en anglais sur les #Gilets_Jaunes, et celui ci tombe dans certains pièges, mais il est plutôt meilleur que la moyenne :

    Popular Uprising in Paris and Left’s Fear of Populism
    Ranabir Samaddar, Alternatives international, le 14 décembre 2018

    Ca, par exemple, c’est trop précis pour être vrai :

    The Yellow Vests call for : (a) No one be left homeless ; (b) end of the austerity policy ; cancellation of interest on illegitimate debt ; end of taxing the poor to pay back the debt ; recovery of the 85 billion Euros of fiscal fraud ; (c) creation of a true integration policy, with French language, history and civics courses for immigrants ; (d) minimum salary €1500 per month ; (e) giving privilege to city and village centres by stopping building of huge shopping malls and arcades ; (f) more progressive income tax rates ; and finally (g) more taxes on big companies like Mac Donald’s, Google, Amazon and Carrefour, and low taxes on little artisans.

    Mais ça c’est pas mal :

    The rebels donning yellow breakdown-safety vests required to keep in their cars by the government have spurned political parties. They got organized on social media, and began acting locally. The movement spread in this way on successive Saturdays. Saturdays, because on working days women raising kids with their precarious jobs cannot strike. Thus, women receptionists, hostesses, nurses, teachers have come out in unusually large numbers. It is not the banal strike that the Left engages in, but something more. The Left in France as elsewhere has surrendered before the neo-liberal, pro-business counter-reforms. The union leaders are eager to keep their place at the table. They only go through the motions of carrying out strikes. Workers were fatigued.

    #Yellow_Vests #France

  • These Apps Send #Data To Facebook Without You Knowing It

    Privacy International disclosed in its study shared via a paywalled Financial Times article that at least 20 out of 34 popular Android apps are sending personal data to Mark Zuckerberg’s social network without asking permission from users. Some of the apps that were identified in the report were TripAdvisor, MyFitnessPal, Skyscanner and Kayak.

    #applications #facebook

  • Could we save the world if we all went vegan? | Financial Times

    Vegan oui, mais agroindustriel

    Coca-Cola-owned Innocent Drinks has introduced dairy-free milks, while French dairy company Danone acquired Belgian soya-milk upstart Alpro last year; Tyson Foods, an American meat group, has a stake in veggie-burger maker Beyond Meat, and Unilever owns soya-ice-cream maker Swedish Glace.

  • Opioid billionaire granted patent for addiction treatment | Financial Times

    Purdue owner Richard Sackler listed as inventor of drug to wean addicts off painkillers
    Richard Sackler’s family owns Purdue Pharma, the company behind the opioid painkiller OxyContin © Reuters

    David Crow in New York

    A billionaire pharmaceuticals executive who has been blamed for spurring the US opioid crisis stands to profit from the epidemic after he patented a new treatment for drug addicts.

    Richard Sackler, whose family owns Purdue Pharma, the company behind the notorious painkiller OxyContin, was granted a patent earlier this year for a reformulation of a drug used to wean addicts off opioids.

    The invention is a novel form of buprenorphine, a mild opiate that controls drug cravings, which is often given as a substitute to people hooked on heroin or opioid painkillers such as OxyContin.

    The new formulation as described in Dr Sackler’s patent could end up proving lucrative thanks to a steady increase in the number of addicts being treated with buprenorphine, which is seen as a better alternative to other opioid substitutes such as methadone.

    Last year, the leading version of buprenorphine, which is sold under the brand name Suboxone, generated $877m in US sales for Indivior, the British pharmaceuticals group that makes it.

    Before the opioid crisis, the Sackler family was primarily known for its philanthropy, emerging as one of the largest donors to arts institutions in the US and UK. But the rising number of addictions and deaths has highlighted the family’s ownership of Purdue, which some members have tried to shy away from.

    It’s reprehensible what Purdue Pharma has done to our public health
    Luke Nasta, director of Camelot

    Dr Sackler’s patent, which was granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office in January, acknowledges the threat posed by the opioid crisis, which claimed more than 42,000 lives in 2016.

    “While opioids have always been known to be useful in pain treatment, they also display an addictive potential,” the patent states. “Thus, if opioids are taken by healthy human subjects with a drug-seeking behaviour they may lead to psychological as well as physical dependence.”

    It adds: “The constant pressures upon addicts to procure money for buying drugs and the concomitant criminal activities have been increasingly recognised as a major factor that counteracts efficient and long-lasting withdrawal and abstinence from drugs.”

    However, the patent makes no mention of the fact that Purdue Pharma has been hit with more than a thousand lawsuits for allegedly fuelling the epidemic — allegations the company and the Sackler family deny.

    “It’s reprehensible what Purdue Pharma has done to our public health,” said Luke Nasta, director of Camelot, an addiction treatment centre in Staten Island, New York. He said the Sackler family “shouldn’t be allowed to peddle any more synthetic opiates — and that includes opioid substitutes”.

    Buprenorphine is prescribed to opioid addicts in tablets or thin film strips that dissolve under the tongue in less than seven minutes. These “sublingual” formulations are used to stop drug abusers from hoarding a stockpile of pills they can sell or use to get high at a later date.

    The patent describes a new, improved form of buprenorphine that would come in a wafer that disintegrated more quickly than existing versions — perhaps in just a few seconds.

    The original application was made by Purdue Pharma and Dr Sackler is listed as one of the inventors alongside five others, some of whom work or have worked for the Sackler’s group of drug companies.

    “Drug addicts sometimes still try to divert these sublingual buprenorphine tablets by removing them from the mouth,” the patent application stated. “There remains a need for other . . . abuse-resistant dosage forms.”
    US opioid epidemic
    What next for the Sacklers? A pharma dynasty under siege

    In June, the Massachusetts attorney-general filed a lawsuit against Dr Sackler and seven other members of the Sackler family, which accused them of engaging in a “deadly, deceptive scheme to sell opioids”.

    Purdue and the family deny the allegations and Purdue said it intends to file a motion to dismiss. The company points out that OxyContin was, and still is, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

    “We believe it is inappropriate for [Massachusetts] to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the regulatory, scientific and medical experts at FDA,” it said in a recent statement to the Financial Times.

    Andrew Kolodny, a professor from Brandeis University who has been a vocal advocate for greater use of buprenorphine to battle the opioid crisis, said the idea Dr Sackler “could get richer” from the patent was “very disturbing”. He added: “Perhaps the profits off this patent should be used to pay any judgment or settlement down the line.”

    Earlier this week, Purdue donated $3.4m to boost access to naloxone, an antidote given to people who have just overdosed on opioids.

    #Opioides #Cynisme #Capitalisme_sauvage #Brevets #Sackler

  • Land reform in South Africa is crucial for inclusive growth, by Cyril Ramaphosa | Financial Times

    several suggestions on when expropriation without compensation may be justified. These include, for instance, unused land, derelict buildings, purely speculative land holdings, or circumstances where occupiers have strong historical rights and title holders do not occupy or use their land, such as labour tenancy, informal settlements and abandoned inner-city buildings.

    #afrique_du_sud #terres #réforme_agraire

  • Marx still haunts capitalism two hundred years on | The Charnel-House

    Indeed, it would seem they haven’t forgotten him. Over the last few weeks, major bourgeois news outlets have congratulated Marx for “being right” about capitalism: New York Times, Guardian, Financial Times, Independent, and even Vice. Little consolation, all this posthumous praise, for while capitalism remains unstable as ever, the prospect of proletarian revolution feels far away. Perhaps it is less embarrassing than Jonathan Spargo, Marx’s first American biographer, taking to the pages of the New York Times a hundred years ago to enlist Marx to the side of the Entente: “Today Is the 100th anniversary of Marx’s birth: Bitterly opposed to Prussia and an ardent admirer of America, his record shows where he would have stood in the present war.”

    #karl_marx #capitalisme #histoire

  • Financial Times increases engagement with personalisation, speed

    “Through a rough a series of A/B tests, we slowed the site down to see how site speed correlates to loss of engagement and revenue. Test results showed that for every one second increase in speed, our engagement score increased by 5%. In subscription and ads inventory, this translates into millions in revenue. Speed therefore became a principal element of the site.”


  • The Butcher Builders : How Western Journalists Helped Create a Monster in Russia

    Nonobstant le terme de « monstre » pour désigner Poutine,

    While all of this was going on, western journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, and other publications, were enamoured with the narrative of capitalism overcoming Communism. The economic reformers—Yeltsin and his administration—were “good,” as Financial Times reporter John Lloyd put it in a retrospective blog post, and their efforts generally successful. This lasted right up until Russia’s ‘98 economic collapse, when their reporting would undergo a major shift in tone.

    #MSM #Etats-Unis #Eltsine #Russie

  • World Bank Unfairly Influenced Its Own Competitiveness Rankings - WSJ

    The World Bank repeatedly changed the methodology of one of its flagship economic reports over several years in ways it now says were unfair and misleading.

    The World Bank’s chief economist, Paul Romer, told The Wall Street Journal on Friday he would correct and recalculate national rankings of business competitiveness in the report called “#Doing_Business” going back at least four years.

    The revisions could be particularly relevant to Chile, whose standings have been volatile in recent years—and potentially tainted by political motivations of World Bank staff, Mr. Romer said.

    The report is one of the most visible World Bank initiatives, ranking countries around the world by the competitiveness of their business environment. Countries compete against each other to improve their standings, and the report draws extensive international media coverage.
    I want to make a personal apology to Chile, and to any other country where we conveyed the wrong impression,” Mr. Romer said. The problems with the report, he said, were “my fault because we did not make things clear enough.” Mr. Romer said the World Bank is beginning the process of correcting the past reports and republishing what the rankings would have been without the methodology changes. He said he couldn’t defend “the integrity” of the process that led to the methodology changes.

    Chile’s overall ranking has fluctuated between 25th and 57th since 2006. During that period, the presidency of Chile has alternated between Ms. Bachelet, of Chile’s socialist party, and Sebastián Piñera, a conservative. Under Ms. Bachelet, Chile’s ranking consistently deteriorated, while it consistently climbed under Mr. Piñera.

    Recalculating the numbers could show significant changes to other countries as well.

    • Info arrivée via Sergio Coronado, député des Français d’Amérique latine dans la législature précédente qui possède également la nationalité chilienne…

      Je n’ai plus accès au WSJ (paywall) mais toujours au journal chilien qui reprenait l’info (et qui m’y avait conduit). Mais on a déjà trouvé le lampiste à qui imputer ces magouilles. Parce que les changements de méthodologie, hein, ça reste quand même super-sérieux.

      El Banco Mundial perjudicó los números de Chile durante el Gobierno de Bachelet -

      El Wall Street Journal apuntó a la figura del economista boliviano Augusto López-Claros.

      Augusto López-Claros, de nacionalidad boliviana (La Paz, 1955), es director de Indicadores Globales y Análisis del Banco Mundial, el departamento responsable del informe «Doing Business» y otros estudios internacionales de evaluación comparativa.

      De acuerdo a la biografía de su página web, anteriormente fue economista jefe y director del Programa de Competitividad Global en el Foro Económico Mundial (FMI) en Ginebra (desde el año 2003), donde también fue editor del Global Competitiveness Report (Reporte de Competitivad Global), la publicación principal del fórum, así como otros estudios económicos regionales.

      Como precisa la plataforma Thinking Heads, antes de unirse al Foro, López-Claro trabajó durante varios años en el sector financiero, ejerciendo durante cinco años como director ejecutivo y economista internacional superior en Londres en la firma Lehman Brothers International, cuya quiebra en 2008 incendió los mercados y aceleró la crisis mundial.

      De acuerdo a su página web, López-Claros se desempeñó como profesor de Economía en la Universidad de Chile y recibió un diploma en Estadística Matemática de la Universidad de Cambridge, Reino Unido, y un Doctorado en Economía de la Universidad de Duke, Estados Unidos

  • Facebook faces the tragedy of the commons – Financial Times – Medium

    Même si l’article se méprend sur ce que sont les communs (il y a une co-gouvernance par les acteurs), il pointe du doigt un problème sur la tragédie du domaine public.

    Et si la réelle solution venait de la construction d’un commun des médias sociaux, dans lequel les usagers seraient responsabilisés sur leurs propres usages ? Mais cela voudrait dire aussi en finir avec la pub qui ne profite qu’à la plateforme. Nouvelle quadrature à résoudre... par la socialisation des plateformes, en créant un « index indépendant du web » comme le demande Olivier Ertzscheid.

    Ou d’autres solutions de contrôle collectif à imaginer.

    Au fait, a-t-on besoin d’une plateforme de 2 milliards d’utilisateurs pour simplement connecter quelques centaines d’ami·e·s ?

    Each scandal produces fresh calls for networks to be treated like publishers of news, who are responsible for everything that appears under their names. Each one forces them further to tighten their “community standards” and hire more content checkers. By next year, Facebook intends to employ 20,000 people in “community operations”, its censorship division.

    A better way to think of Russian political ads, extremist videos, fake news and all the rest is as the polluters of common resources, albeit ones that are privately owned. The term for this is the tragedy of the commons. Open ecosystems that are openly shared by entire communities tend to get despoiled.

    Every time a scandal occurs, they have to reinforce their editorial defences and come closer to the kind of content monitoring that would change their nature

    Here lies the threat to social networks. They set themselves up as commons, offering open access to hundreds of millions to publish “user-generated content” and share photos with others. That in turn produced a network effect: people needed to use Facebook or others to communicate.

    But they attract bad actors as well — people and organisations who exploit free resources for money or perverted motives. These are polluters of the digital commons and with them come over-grazers: people guilty of lesser sins such as shouting loudly to gain attention or attacking others.

    As Hardin noted, this is inevitable. The digital commons fosters great communal benefits that go beyond being a publisher in the traditional sense. The fact that YouTube is open and free allows all kinds of creativity to flourish in ways that are not enabled by the entertainment industry. The tragedy is that it also empowers pornographers and propagandists for terror.

    Hardin was a pessimist about commons, arguing that there was no technical solution and that the only remedy was “mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon by the majority”. The equivalent for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube would be to become much more like publishers, imposing tight rules about entry and behaviour rather than their current openness.

    They resist this partly because it would bring stricter legal liability and partly because they want to remain as commons. But every time a scandal occurs, they have to reinforce their editorial defences and come closer to the kind of content monitoring that would change their nature.

    It would cross the dividing line if they reviewed everything before allowing it to be published, rather than removing offensive material when alerted.

    More than 75 per cent of extremist videos taken down by YouTube are identified by algorithms, while Facebook now finds automatically 99 per cent of the Isis and al-Qaeda material it removes. It is like having an automated fence around a territory to sort exploiters from legitimate entrants.

    #Facebook #Communs #Tragedie_des_communs

  • Is the staggeringly profitable #business of scientific publishing bad for #science? | Science | The Guardian

    The core of Elsevier’s operation is in scientific journals, the weekly or monthly publications in which scientists share their results. Despite the narrow audience, scientific publishing is a remarkably big business. With total global revenues of more than £19bn, it weighs in somewhere between the recording and the film industries in size, but it is far more profitable. In 2010, Elsevier’s scientific publishing arm reported profits of £724m on just over £2bn in revenue. It was a 36% margin – higher than Apple, Google, or Amazon posted that year.


    It is difficult to overstate how much power a journal editor now had to shape a scientist’s career and the direction of science itself. “Young people tell me all the time, ‘If I don’t publish in CNS [a common acronym for Cell/Nature/Science, the most prestigious journals in biology], I won’t get a job,” says Schekman. He compared the pursuit of high-impact #publications to an incentive system as rotten as banking bonuses. “They have a very big #influence on where science goes,” he said.

    And so science became a strange co-production between scientists and journal editors, with the former increasingly pursuing discoveries that would impress the latter. These days, given a choice of projects, a scientist will almost always reject both the prosaic work of confirming or disproving past studies, and the decades-long pursuit of a risky “moonshot”, in favour of a middle ground: a topic that is popular with editors and likely to yield regular publications. “Academics are incentivised to produce research that caters to these demands,” said the biologist and Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner in a 2014 interview, calling the system “corrupt.”

    • #Robert_Maxwell #Reed-Elsevier #Elsevier #multinationales #business #Pergamon

      With total global revenues of more than £19bn, it weighs in somewhere between the recording and the film industries in size, but it is far more profitable. In 2010, Elsevier’s scientific publishing arm reported profits of £724m on just over £2bn in revenue. It was a 36% margin – higher than Apple, Google, or Amazon posted that year.


      In order to make money, a traditional publisher – say, a magazine – first has to cover a multitude of costs: it pays writers for the articles; it employs editors to commission, shape and check the articles; and it pays to distribute the finished product to subscribers and retailers. All of this is expensive, and successful magazines typically make profits of around 12-15%.

      The way to make money from a scientific article looks very similar, except that scientific publishers manage to duck most of the actual costs. Scientists create work under their own direction – funded largely by governments – and give it to publishers for free; the publisher pays scientific editors who judge whether the work is worth publishing and check its grammar, but the bulk of the editorial burden – checking the scientific validity and evaluating the experiments, a process known as peer review – is done by working scientists on a volunteer basis. The publishers then sell the product back to government-funded institutional and university libraries, to be read by scientists – who, in a collective sense, created the product in the first place.

      A 2005 Deutsche Bank report referred to it as a “bizarre” “triple-pay” system, in which “the state funds most research, pays the salaries of most of those checking the quality of research, and then buys most of the published product”.

      Many scientists also believe that the publishing industry exerts too much influence over what scientists choose to study, which is ultimately bad for science itself. Journals prize new and spectacular results – after all, they are in the business of selling subscriptions – and scientists, knowing exactly what kind of work gets published, align their submissions accordingly. This produces a steady stream of papers, the importance of which is immediately apparent. But it also means that scientists do not have an accurate map of their field of inquiry. Researchers may end up inadvertently exploring dead ends that their fellow scientists have already run up against, solely because the information about previous failures has never been given space in the pages of the relevant scientific publications

      It is hard to believe that what is essentially a for-profit oligopoly functioning within an otherwise heavily regulated, government-funded enterprise can avoid extinction in the long run. But publishing has been deeply enmeshed in the science profession for decades. Today, every scientist knows that their career depends on being published, and professional success is especially determined by getting work into the most prestigious journals. The long, slow, nearly directionless work pursued by some of the most influential scientists of the 20th century is no longer a viable career option. Under today’s system, the father of genetic sequencing, Fred Sanger, who published very little in the two decades between his 1958 and 1980 Nobel prizes, may well have found himself out of a job.

      Improbable as it might sound, few people in the last century have done more to shape the way science is conducted today than Maxwell.

      Scientific articles are about unique discoveries: one article cannot substitute for another. If a serious new journal appeared, scientists would simply request that their university library subscribe to that one as well. If Maxwell was creating three times as many journals as his competition, he would make three times more money.

      “At the start of my career, nobody took much notice of where you published, and then everything changed in 1974 with Cell,” Randy Schekman, the Berkeley molecular biologist and Nobel prize winner, told me. #Cell (now owned by Elsevier) was a journal started by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to showcase the newly ascendant field of molecular biology. It was edited by a young biologist named #Ben_Lewin, who approached his work with an intense, almost literary bent. Lewin prized long, rigorous papers that answered big questions – often representing years of research that would have yielded multiple papers in other venues – and, breaking with the idea that journals were passive instruments to communicate science, he rejected far more papers than he published.

      Suddenly, where you published became immensely important. Other editors took a similarly activist approach in the hopes of replicating Cell’s success. Publishers also adopted a metric called “#impact_factor,” invented in the 1960s by #Eugene_Garfield, a librarian and linguist, as a rough calculation of how often papers in a given journal are cited in other papers. For publishers, it became a way to rank and advertise the scientific reach of their products. The new-look journals, with their emphasis on big results, shot to the top of these new rankings, and scientists who published in “high-impact” journals were rewarded with jobs and funding. Almost overnight, a new currency of prestige had been created in the scientific world. (Garfield later referred to his creation as “like nuclear energy … a mixed blessing”.)

      And so science became a strange co-production between scientists and journal editors, with the former increasingly pursuing discoveries that would impress the latter. These days, given a choice of projects, a scientist will almost always reject both the prosaic work of confirming or disproving past studies, and the decades-long pursuit of a risky “moonshot”, in favour of a middle ground: a topic that is popular with editors and likely to yield regular publications. “Academics are incentivised to produce research that caters to these demands,” said the biologist and Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner in a 2014 interview, calling the system “corrupt.”

      As Maxwell had predicted, competition didn’t drive down prices. Between 1975 and 1985, the average price of a journal doubled. The New York Times reported that in 1984 it cost $2,500 to subscribe to the journal Brain Research; in 1988, it cost more than $5,000. That same year, Harvard Library overran its research journal budget by half a million dollars.

      Scientists occasionally questioned the fairness of this hugely profitable business to which they supplied their work for free, but it was university librarians who first realised the trap in the market Maxwell had created. The librarians used university funds to buy journals on behalf of scientists. Maxwell was well aware of this. “Scientists are not as price-conscious as other professionals, mainly because they are not spending their own money,” he told his publication Global Business in a 1988 interview. And since there was no way to swap one journal for another, cheaper one, the result was, Maxwell continued, “a perpetual financing machine”. Librarians were locked into a series of thousands of tiny monopolies. There were now more than a million scientific articles being published a year, and they had to buy all of them at whatever price the publishers wanted.

      With the purchase of Pergamon’s 400-strong catalogue, Elsevier now controlled more than 1,000 scientific journals, making it by far the largest scientific publisher in the world.

      At the time of the merger, Charkin, the former Macmillan CEO, recalls advising Pierre Vinken, the CEO of Elsevier, that Pergamon was a mature business, and that Elsevier had overpaid for it. But Vinken had no doubts, Charkin recalled: “He said, ‘You have no idea how profitable these journals are once you stop doing anything. When you’re building a journal, you spend time getting good editorial boards, you treat them well, you give them dinners. Then you market the thing and your salespeople go out there to sell subscriptions, which is slow and tough, and you try to make the journal as good as possible. That’s what happened at Pergamon. And then we buy it and we stop doing all that stuff and then the cash just pours out and you wouldn’t believe how wonderful it is.’ He was right and I was wrong.”

      By 1994, three years after acquiring Pergamon, Elsevier had raised its prices by 50%. Universities complained that their budgets were stretched to breaking point – the US-based Publishers Weekly reported librarians referring to a “doomsday machine” in their industry – and, for the first time, they began cancelling subscriptions to less popular journals.

      In 1998, Elsevier rolled out its plan for the internet age, which would come to be called “The Big Deal”. It offered electronic access to bundles of hundreds of journals at a time: a university would pay a set fee each year – according to a report based on freedom of information requests, Cornell University’s 2009 tab was just short of $2m – and any student or professor could download any journal they wanted through Elsevier’s website. Universities signed up en masse.

      Those predicting Elsevier’s downfall had assumed scientists experimenting with sharing their work for free online could slowly outcompete Elsevier’s titles by replacing them one at a time. In response, Elsevier created a switch that fused Maxwell’s thousands of tiny monopolies into one so large that, like a basic resource – say water, or power – it was impossible for universities to do without. Pay, and the scientific lights stayed on, but refuse, and up to a quarter of the scientific literature would go dark at any one institution. It concentrated immense power in the hands of the largest publishers, and Elsevier’s profits began another steep rise that would lead them into the billions by the 2010s. In 2015, a Financial Times article anointed Elsevier “the business the internet could not kill”.

      Publishers are now wound so tightly around the various organs of the scientific body that no single effort has been able to dislodge them. In a 2015 report, an information scientist from the University of Montreal, Vincent Larivière, showed that Elsevier owned 24% of the scientific journal market, while Maxwell’s old partners Springer, and his crosstown rivals Wiley-Blackwell, controlled about another 12% each. These three companies accounted for half the market. (An Elsevier representative familiar with the report told me that by their own estimate they publish only 16% of the scientific literature.)

      Elsevier says its primary goal is to facilitate the work of scientists and other researchers. An Elsevier rep noted that the company received 1.5m article submissions last year, and published 420,000; 14 million scientists entrust Elsevier to publish their results, and 800,000 scientists donate their time to help them with editing and peer-review.

      In a sense, it is not any one publisher’s fault that the scientific world seems to bend to the industry’s gravitational pull. When governments including those of China and Mexico offer financial bonuses for publishing in high-impact journals, they are not responding to a demand by any specific publisher, but following the rewards of an enormously complex system that has to accommodate the utopian ideals of science with the commercial goals of the publishers that dominate it. (“We scientists have not given a lot of thought to the water we’re swimming in,” Neal Young told me.)

      Since the early 2000s, scientists have championed an alternative to subscription publishing called “open access”. This solves the difficulty of balancing scientific and commercial imperatives by simply removing the commercial element. In practice, this usually takes the form of online journals, to which scientists pay an upfront free to cover editing costs, which then ensure the work is available free to access for anyone in perpetuity. But despite the backing of some of the biggest funding agencies in the world, including the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, only about a quarter of scientific papers are made freely available at the time of their publication.

      The idea that scientific research should be freely available for anyone to use is a sharp departure, even a threat, to the current system – which relies on publishers’ ability to restrict access to the scientific literature in order to maintain its immense profitability. In recent years, the most radical opposition to the status quo has coalesced around a controversial website called Sci-Hub – a sort of Napster for science that allows anyone to download scientific papers for free. Its creator, Alexandra Elbakyan, a Kazhakstani, is in hiding, facing charges of hacking and copyright infringement in the US. Elsevier recently obtained a $15m injunction (the maximum allowable amount) against her.

      Elbakyan is an unabashed utopian. “Science should belong to scientists and not the publishers,” she told me in an email. In a letter to the court, she cited Article 27 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, asserting the right “to share in scientific advancement and its benefits”.

      Whatever the fate of Sci-Hub, it seems that frustration with the current system is growing. But history shows that betting against science publishers is a risky move. After all, back in 1988, Maxwell predicted that in the future there would only be a handful of immensely powerful publishing companies left, and that they would ply their trade in an electronic age with no printing costs, leading to almost “pure profit”. That sounds a lot like the world we live in now.
      #Butterworths #Springer #Paul_Rosbaud #histoire #Genève #Pergamon #Oxford_United #Derby_County_FC #monopole #open_access #Sci-Hub #Alexandra_Elbakyan

    • Publish and be praised (article de 2003)

      It should be a public scandal that the results of publicly-funded scientific research are not available to members of the public who are interested in, or could benefit from, such access. Furthermore, many commercial publishers have exploited the effective monopoly they are given on the distribution rights to individual works and charge absurdly high rates for some of their titles, forcing libraries with limited budgets to cancel journal subscriptions and deny their researchers access to potentially critical information. The system is obsolete and broken and needs to change.

  • Selon le Financial Times, le raison de la colère des séoudiens, c’est une rançon de 500 millions à 1 milliard de dollars payée par le Qatar à des gens à qui il ne faudrait pas donner d’argent, ce qui revenait ainsi à les « financer » : The $1bn hostage deal that enraged Qatar’s Gulf rivals :

    Qatar paid up to $1bn to release members of its royal family who were kidnapped in Iraq while on a hunting trip, according to people involved in the hostage deal — one of the triggers behind Arab states’ dramatic decision to cut ties with the government in Doha. 

    Commanders of militant groups and government officials in the region told the Financial Times that Doha spent the money in a transaction that secured the release of 26 members of a Qatari falconry party in southern Iraq and about 50 militants captured by jihadis in Syria. 

    By their telling, Qatar paid off two of the most frequently blacklisted forces of the Middle East in one fell swoop: an al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria and Iranian security officials. The deal, which was concluded in April, heightened concerns among Qatar’s neighbours about the small gas-rich state’s role in a region plagued by conflict and bitter rivalries.

    Ça fait tout de même des années que les Syriens accusent le Qatar de subventionner leurs clients jihadistes sous le couvert de ces réglements de « rançons ». Se demander (ou pas) pourquoi cette fois-ci ce serait insupportable pour les séoudiens.

    Intéressant : par contrecoup (et sans doute de manière bien involontaire), l’accusation séoudienne du moment valide rétrospectivement tout un pan des critiques des pratiques du Qatar en Syrie.

  • Le guide de Deliveroo pour déjouer les accusations de salariat déguisé

    Les coursiers à vélo ne travaillent pas « pour » Deliveroo, mais « avec » Deliveroo. Au sein de la société anglaise de livraisons de repas, l’expression « bulletin de paie » est bannie au profit des « factures » à destination des livreurs ayant le statut auto-entrepreneur. Si le port d’une tenue à l’effigie de Deliveroo est obligatoire, l’entreprise parle « de kit » ou « d’équipement » mais surtout pas « d’uniforme ». Et la liste est longue.

    Deliveroo distribue en interne un document de six pages alignant les éléments de langage très précis de l’entreprise pour contourner les accusations de salariat déguisé, d’après une enquête du Guardian et du Financial Times. Le document est séparé en deux parties, avec les expressions utilisables et les tournures de phrases interdites.

    • Deliveroo accused of ’creating vocabulary’ to avoid calling couriers employees | Business | The Guardian

      Do say: Supply centre
      Don’t say: Hiring office/hiring centre

      Do say: Supplier agreement, eg: “Your supplier agreement may be terminated if you continue to fail to meet the service delivery standards.
      Don’t say: Employment contract, eg: “_You are obliged by your employment contract to hit certain performance targets.

      *Do say: Working with Deliveroo, eg: “While you are working with Deliveroo as an independent supplier, we would typically expect you to accept 95% of orders you are available to perform when logged in.
      Don’t say: Working for Deliveroo, eg: “Our drivers work for Deliveroo.

      Do say: Riders choosing an area of work, eg: “Riders choose to work with us in localised areas to enable them to complete orders safely within time estimate.
      Don’t say: Assigning riders to a zone, eg: “_Drivers are assigned to their zone based on where we need them most.

      *Do say: Kit/equipment/branded clothing, eg: “If you purchased an equipment pack when you started working with Deliveroo, please bring it back to the supply centre, where we will repurchase it from you.
      Don’t say: Uniform, eg “Please return the uniform you were issued with to the hiring office and we will refund your deposit.

      Do say: Availability, eg “Please indicate your availability via Staffomatic.
      Don’t say: Shifts/sessions/hours, eg “We schedule riders’ shifts in Staffomatic.

      Do say: Unavailability notification, eg “If you are unavailable for work for a prolonged period of time/at a previously agreed time, please let us know.
      Don’t say: Absence request/booking a holiday/asking for time off, eg “If you want time off, you must book a holiday.

      Do say: Inactivity, eg “According to the system, your rider app has been inactive since ...
      Don’t say: Awol/unexplained absence, eg “According to the system you have been absent for ...

  • Nowhere to Go: Automation, Then and Now Part Two | The Brooklyn Rail

    Arithmetically, the problem is a combination of collapsing productivity and insufficient capital investment.

    — Financial Times

    On February 19, 2017, the New York Times ran a feature story on recent changes in the United States oil industry.2 The focus was on the recent “embrace” of technological innovation in the industry after the 2014 plunge in the global oil market. This was just one of a rash of such pieces in the popular press, relying, as is typical of such writing, on a smattering of skewed, decontextualized data, a healthy serving of the anecdotal, and a host of the worst tech journalism clichés (“a few icons on a computer screen,” “a click of the mouse,” video game marathons as job training, a compulsory reference to drones).

    #automatisation #capitalisme #industrie #robots #otto_neurath

  • Design for Interactive Data Vis (Lyon 2016) by Lynn Cherny

    #visualisation #d3.js @arnicas

    J’en profite pour coller en vrac quelques liens qui traînent dans mes onglets

    Formation #d3.js par Martin Daniel

    Visualisations responsive (lien mort hahhaaha)

    d3 et #react

    barcharts et transitions avec un menu dropdown

    la galerie d3 de Chris Viau

    Une échelle de couleurs basée sur #CKmeans

    Stats, Maps n Pix : D3 Charts in QGIS Print Composer

    This post is about how to make charts created in d3.js appear in QGIS and how to make them work in the Print Composer so that you can export them with your maps.

    How the Financial Times uses d3.js for interactive and animated data visualisations

  • Links 1/28/17 | naked capitalism

    The huge disparities in US life expectancy in five charts Financial Times. Today’s must read. Clear cookies and Google the headline if you must. Not only has life expectancy fallen for the poor, notice no life expectancy gains for women, even upper middle class women, only for the richest. And in a huge reversal of historical patterns, middle and upper middle class men have longer life expectancies than women.

    #espérance_de_vie #Etats-Unis #infographie