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Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson
Ice wrought its greatest nineteenth-century transformations, however, not in private homes but in the commercial food supply. A combination of vast cold-storage warehouses and refrigerated railroad cars opened up entirely new food markets. The meat, dairy, and fresh produce industries were the biggest winners. By the time of World War II, Americans were known around the world for their seemingly inordinate appetite for meat and milk (supplemented with glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice and green salads). This appetite—and the means of satisfying it—was largely a creation of nineteenth-century refrigeration. In 1851, butter was first transported in refrigerated railroad cars from New York City to Boston. Fish, too, began to travel the country, and in 1857, fresh meat went from New York to the western states. Refrigerated “beef cars” created a new meatpacking industry, centered in Chicago. This was a very American phenomenon: by 1910, there were 85,000 refrigerated cars in the United States, compared to just 1,085 in Europe (mostly in Russia).
This was a very American phenomenon: by 1910, there were 85,000 refrigerated cars in the United States, compared to just 1,085 in Europe (mostly in Russia). Fresh meat no longer had to be slaughtered and used immediately. “Dressed beef” could be cooled, stored, and shipped anywhere. The new refrigerated cars had fierce critics, as do all new food technologies. Local butchers and slaughterhouses objected to the loss of business and lamented Chicago’s growing monopoly on meat (and judging from the horrific conditions in Chicago meatpacking factories described in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, they may have had a point). More generally, the population at large was scared of the very thing that made refrigeration so useful: its ability to extend the storage time of food. Alongside the growth in refrigerated cars was a huge growth in cold-storage warehouses.
3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism, yield management
Steady supply by railroads reduced the volatility of prices previously caused by frozen rivers and slow horse transportation, and this in turn reduced the cost of goods and increased their variety. The quality and variety of food began to improve with the invention, in the 1880s, of the refrigerated railroad car. These early cars were not cooled mechanically but had slots for blocks of ice, which made possible the widespread distribution of fresh fruit and vegetables from California and refrigerated fresh-cut meat from the Midwest. The refrigerated car made the beef industry much more efficient and eliminated the death marches in which herds of cattle had been driven on the hoof to large cities. Food quality and variety improved decade by decade, and contamination declined in tandem. As the produce and meat flowed from the agricultural regions and stockyards, the abundance of modern manufactured goods traveled by rail freight cars from the industrial cities to the small towns and farms.
Among these externalities were the provision of fresh vegetables from California, freshly packed meat from the Chicago stockyards sent in refrigerated cars to the east, and a variety of materials sent from Chicago to the western plains. As chronicled by William Cronon, Chicago provided the raw materials of the westward expansion as entrepreneurs floated trees down Lake Michigan from Wisconsin and Michigan to Chicago, where they were sawed into lumber and transported west to provide the wood for houses and barns on the prairie. In return, the cattle herds of the western plains were transported by rail to the Chicago stockyards, which in turn supplied the eastern United States with its supply of beef that arrived in refrigerated rail cars. The Morrill Act of 1862 was one of the most fundamental interventions by the federal government in the process of economic growth.
Preserved pickles were used for flavoring. A common complaint was “spring sickness” resulting from a lack of green vegetables over the winter. Vegetable gardens were almost universal in this medium-sized city, in which almost everyone, even the working class, lived in single-family structures. A major change between the 1890s and 1920s was the increasing availability of fresh vegetables in the winter as a result of refrigerated railroad cars and in-home iceboxes. Just as in Muncie, in most medium-sized cities and towns, the population lived in single-family dwellings and usually had access to garden plots to grow their own vegetables. It is possible that the USDA data displayed in table 3–2 misses a substantial portion of the increase in urban consumption of vegetables made possible by these garden plots. There was a stark difference between food consumption on the farm and among the poorer classes in the growing cities.
Albert Einstein, British Empire, business intelligence, centralized clearinghouse, City Beautiful movement, estate planning, glass ceiling, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, indoor plumbing, Livingstone, I presume, new economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, refrigerator car, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, young professional
There was a moment of silence—and then Red John told his men to stand down. “Fred Harvey is a gentleman, boys,” he declared, brushing himself off. “I say, let’s have those drinks.” When the drinks were done, they were served a midnight breakfast as well—the breakfast for which Fred Harvey was becoming famous. The freshest eggs and steak available in the country, shipped directly from farms in refrigerated train cars. Pan-size wheat cakes stacked six high. Quartered wedges of hot apple pie. And cup after cup of the best damn coffee these cowboys had ever tasted in their lives. Red John and his men never made trouble at the Montezuma again. But they still wanted to know, as did more and more people across the country: Who the hell is Fred Harvey? MORE THAN A CENTURY LATER, I am peering over the lip of the Grand Canyon in my pajamas at five o’clock in the morning.
Local residents had a love/hate relationship with the railroads, and Fred’s restaurants, so visible a symbol of what the trains brought to town, were often the targets of local frustrations. Competing restaurant owners resented Fred because they knew he got better, fresher ingredients than they did—and paid less for them, because the railroad waived his freight charges. There were often break-ins at the eating houses or the parked refrigerator cars: not for cash, but to steal those gorgeous aged steaks. Some customers also resented the dress code Fred was instituting in his eating houses: While almost any outfit was allowed in the lunchrooms, men had to wear jackets (which were provided if they didn’t have one) in order to eat in the main dining rooms. In dress-casual New Mexico, this rule was particularly rankling. More than ever before, Fred was finding out he had his share of enemies—who were all too happy to run to their friends at the local newspapers whenever they heard about difficulties at his restaurants.
Yet Fred did not want this centralized system to quash creativity and ambition, so he encouraged the chefs and managers at the eating houses to be innovative as well as entrepreneurial. If they heard about a good deal on local fruit, vegetables, meat, or fowl, they were encouraged to buy not only for their eating house but for all the others. The fresh ingredients would be loaded into the next Santa Fe refrigerator car—in a compartment that only fellow Harvey chefs could open with a special key—and were sent on down the line. Besides keeping the menus lively, this also led to some of the first wide-scale migration of regional American ingredients and preparations, for which the eating houses became known along with more traditional Continental and British fare. Fred also created exacting systems for serving, the best known of which was the “cup code.”
Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places by Bill Streever
Louis. And by 1902, the New York Stock Exchange was air-conditioned. By 1880, refrigeration was cheaper than natural ice. With efficient refrigeration, food could be shipped to markets. Hog production grew. Over a few years, beef exports from the United States to the British Isles grew from a hundred thousand pounds a year to seventy-two million pounds a year. More than a hundred thousand refrigerated railroad cars appeared almost overnight. Suddenly, midwestern farmers could undercut New England farmers on dairy products. Refrigeration increased the profitability of ranching, and ranches expanded, implicating refrigeration in the last phase of the eviction of Native Americans from their ancestral lands and the near extinction of the buffalo. Clarence Birdseye, inspired by the quality of fish frozen at forty below after ice fishing, developed techniques for flash freezing food in 1923.
The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution by Charles R. Morris
air freight, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, clean water, colonial exploitation, computer age, Dava Sobel, en.wikipedia.org, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, if you build it, they will come, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, lone genius, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, refrigerator car, Robert Gordon, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman
The XIT ranch, organized in the mid-1870s with 3 million acres and 6,000 miles of barbed wire, was the largest in American history. At first, the cattle had to be driven to train connections in Abilene for delivery eastward to local slaughterers. Within about twenty years, thickening train connections in cattle country consigned the romance of the cattle drive to the pages of dime novels. Shipping dressed meat was obviously cheaper than shipping steers, but the distances required refrigerated railroad cars. Various experiments with ice-packed cars were unsatisfactory until Gustavus Swift, a Massachusetts butcher, added a forced-air circulatory system. But he was stonewalled by the railroads, which had invested heavily in new fleets of cattle cars and expensive stockyards and watering sites. Swift scraped up enough money to finance ten cars for a Canadian railroad line and started delivering fresh beef to Boston.
air freight, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, British Empire, call centre, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, global supply chain, intermodal, Isaac Newton, job automation, knowledge economy, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, oil shock, Panamax, Port of Oakland, post-Panamax, Productivity paradox, refrigerator car, South China Sea, trade route, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
Albert Fishlow also rejects Rostow’s claim that railroad construction was essential in stimulating American manufacturing, but contends that cheaper freight transportation had important effects on agriculture and led to a reorientation of regional economic relationships; see American Railroads and the Transformation of the Ante-Bellum Economy (Cambridge, MA, 1965) as well as “Antebellum Regional Trade Reconsidered,” American Economic Review (1965 supplement): 352–364. On the role of railroads in Chicago’s rise, see William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York, 1991), and Mary Yeager Kujovich, “The Refrigerator Car and the Growth of the American Dressed Beef Industry,” Business History Review 44 (1970): 460–482. For an example from Britain, see Wray Vamplew, “Railways and the Transformation of the Scottish Economy,” Economic History Review 24 (1971): 54. On transportation and urban development, see James Heilbrun, Urban Economics and Public Policy (New York, 1974), p. 32, and Edwin S. Mills and Luan Sendé, “Inner Cities,” Journal of Economic Literature 35 (1997): 731.
Journal of Political Economy 99, no. 3 (1991): 483–499. Krugman, Paul, and Anthony J. Venables. “Globalization and the Inequality of Nations.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 110, no. 4 (1995): 857–880. Kuby, Michael, and Neil Reid, “Technological Change and the Concentration of the U.S. General Cargo Port System: 1970–88.” Economic Geography 68, no. 3 (1993). Kujovich, Mary Yeager. “The Refrigerator Car and the Growth of the American Dressed Beef Industry.” Business History Review 44 (1970): 460–482. Lamoreaux, Naomi R., Daniel M. G. Raff, and Peter Temin. “Beyond Markets and Hierarchies: Toward a New Synthesis of American Business History.” American Historical Review 108 (2003). Larson, Paul D., and H. Barry Spraggins. “The American Railroad Industry: Twenty Years after Staggers.” Transportation Quarterly 52, no. 2 (2000): 5–9.
Propeller Club Prudential Lines Prussia public loaders Puerto Rico: containership service to; disappearance of containers in; and economic development; military shipments to; and shipping costs Pullman Company Qingdao, China Queen Mary Qui Nhon, Vietnam railroads: attitude of toward containerization; before containers; boxcars; and container standardization; and container traffic prior to 1932; deregulation of in United States; and double-stack service; and early containers; flatcars; and New York City; on-dock; and piggyback service; and ports; and rate structures; refrigerated cars; and ship lines; and track standardization Ramage, Lawson rebates retailers revenue bonds Reynolds (R. J.) Industries Ricardo, David Richardson, Paul Richmond, CA Rockefeller, David Roger, Sidney roll on-roll off ships Rosenberg, Nathan Rostow, W. W. Rotterdam: as European container center; labor arrangements in; among largest ports; services to Ryan, Joseph Sager, Karl Heinz Saigon, Vietnam St.
The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby
1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Firefox, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Parag Khanna, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War
With the Civil War behind it, the United States could turn toward developing the vast tracks of unoccupied land acquired in 1803 in the Louisiana Purchase and through the treaty that ended the Mexican-American War in 1848. Meanwhile its urban population had been exploding. Total population grew twelvefold between 1800 and 1890 while those living in cities increased an astonishing eighty-seven times. Gustavus Franklin Swift helped forge economic ties across the continent with his invention of refrigerated railroad cars. Now the cattle ranging over the grazing lands west of the Mississippi River could be driven to Omaha, Kansas City, and Chicago to be slaughtered and their dressed meat shipped to the densely populated, urbanized East. In a society where almost everyone could afford to eat meat, refrigeration furnished the missing link between supply and demand. Prosperity in the second half of the century, if not steady, still brought positive improvements in wages, public health, and food costs.
A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William J. Bernstein
Admiral Zheng, asset allocation, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, British Empire, call centre, clean water, Columbian Exchange, Corn Laws, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, domestication of the camel, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, ice-free Arctic, imperial preference, income inequality, intermodal, James Hargreaves, John Harrison: Longitude, Khyber Pass, low skilled workers, non-tariff barriers, Paul Samuelson, placebo effect, Port of Oakland, refrigerator car, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, working poor, zero-sum game
Finding the railroad companies both unwilling and unable to provide ice-chilled cars, he began to experiment with various railcar designs. He settled on one invented by Andrew Chase that featured easily loaded twin overhead ice tanks at either end, a configuration later improved on by another meat packer, Philip Armour, who added an effective cooling mixture of crushed ice and salt.38 By 1880, the railroads and private shippers owned more than 1,300 ice-cooled refrigerated cars; by 1900, that number swelled to 87,000. The number finally peaked in 1930 at 181,000 cars.39 In 1875, the American beef distributor Timothy Eastman shipped the first chilled meat from New York to England. He packed about onefourth of the volume of the hold with ice and cooled the adjacent cargo with ventilation fans. Queen Victoria deemed the beef "very good," continuing the centuries-old tradition of royal endorsement of novel consumer goods and bringing chilled American meat to English tables.
Tudor's Calcutta trade, which grew steadily more profitable for nearly half a century following his initial delivery in 1833, came to an abrupt end a few years after the opening of the city's first artificial ice plant in 1878.40 Figure 12-3. Schematic of Early Mechanical Refrigeration Unit Artificial and natural production complemented each other nicely; ice made in plants in New Orleans or California filled the cooling tanks of northbound and eastbound refrigerator cars; blocks harvested from midwestern rivers and New England ponds cooled south- and westbound freights. Timothy Eastman's partner, Henry Bell, suspected that the new artificial refrigeration machines might prove more economical than ice for marine shipping. In 1877 he approached the famous physicist Sir William Thompson (later Lord Kelvin) about the feasibility of transporting artificially chilled and frozen beef.
An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies by Tyler Cowen
agricultural Revolution, big-box store, business climate, carbon footprint, cognitive bias, creative destruction, cross-subsidies, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, food miles, guest worker program, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, informal economy, iterative process, mass immigration, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, price discrimination, refrigerator car, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Upton Sinclair, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce
A lot of countries make a transition from pork to beef as they become wealthier and this is true for the United States as well. In the nineteenth century, Americans ate more pork than beef. Pork was easier to salt, preserve, and store. Salted and preserved hams remain prominent in the South, but most customers prefer their meat fresh, which favors beef more than many forms of pork. U.S. beef gained significant ground only with the advent of refrigerated train cars, as discussed in chapter 2, which allowed entrepreneurs to ship Midwest beef around the country without much risk of spoilage. In the United States beef consumption equaled pork consumption by the time of World War I. By the 1950s, beef had become decisively more important. Parts of northern Mexico, including near Juárez, are an exception. There, unlike in most of Mexico, beef is a more important meat than pork.
The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us by Diane Ackerman
23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, Internet of things, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microbiome, nuclear winter, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, skunkworks, Skype, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the High Line, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog
214“when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light”: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, chapter 5. 230On September 14, 2013, the annual Loebner Prize for robots that can pass for human went to a chatbot named Mitsuku. However, it ultimately gave itself away in December with this exchange. Q: “Why am I tired after a long sleep?” A: “The reason is due to my mental model of you as a client.” 231“Can we live inside a house”: Technological inventions, such as refrigerators and refrigerated train cars, made frozen food possible, including nutritious out-of-season foods, such as frozen fruits and vegetables. As canning opened up the frontiers and women’s home lives, food production became more and more industrialized. With these and other innovations, between WWI and WWII, a massive change in domesticity took place. And after WWII many changes to the domestic kitchen environment (see Dolores Hayden’s books). 239complexity is free: Explained especially well in Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman, Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing (Indianapolis, IN: Wiley, 2013).
23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day
That means every time you go to your refrigerator to get ice, you will be presented with ads for products based on the food your refrigerator knows you’re most likely to buy. Screens too will be ubiquitous, and marketers are already planning for the bounty of advertising opportunities. In late 2013, Google sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission noting, “we and other companies could [soon] be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities.” Knowing that Google already reads your Gmail, records your every Web search, and tracks your physical location on your Android mobile phone, what new powerful insights into your personal life will the company develop when its entertainment system is in your car, its thermostat regulates the temperature in your home, and its smart watch monitors your physical activity?
LORD KELVIN One of the greatest challenges we face with our current technological insecurity is that there are often few if any telltale signs of hacker intrusions into our networks and devices. The obvious problem is that you have unwanted guests (whether or not you realize it). The greater conundrum is that you can’t fight what you can’t see. Across our smart phones, laptops, tablets, bank accounts, refrigerators, cars, corporate networks, and electrical grids, there are ghosts in our machines. Keeping out all intruders at all times was a worthy if quaint goal. But in case you hadn’t noted, the proverbial technological republic has fallen. Our technology is riddled with bugs, flaws, and invaders. Today, regretfully, our goal can no longer be purely prevention. We must chase the ghosts from our machines by proactively searching them out and hunting them down.
Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol by Iain Gately
barriers to entry, British Empire, California gold rush, corporate raider, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haight Ashbury, Hernando de Soto, imperial preference, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Louis Pasteur, megacity, music of the spheres, Norman Mailer, Peace of Westphalia, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, strikebreaker, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, working poor
We knew that the Constitutional Amendment would be submitted to the states by the Congress just elected.” When, in 1917, the issue of Prohibition had been threatened to be overshadowed by the entry of the United States into World War I, the ASL had turned the conflict to its advantage. The drain on resources created by alcoholic beverages was exaggerated in the most lurid language by ASL propagandists: “Brewery products fill refrigerator cars, while potatoes rot for lack of transportation, bankrupting families and starving cities. The coal that they consume would keep the railways open and the factories running.” Abstinence, meanwhile, was promoted as the key to victory over the beer-swilling Germans: “Prohibition is the infallible submarine chaser we must launch by thousands. The water-wagon is the tank that can level every Prussian trench. . . .
Demand for grapes was driven by the “nonintoxicating cider and fruit juices” exemption to the Volstead Act, which allowed the manufacture of such drinks for use in the home. The principal out-of-state destination for California “juice” grapes was New York, followed by Chicago. These places were supplied via a market at the Pennsylvania Railroad yard, to which growers shipped their products in refrigerated cars. The scale of business was titanic: “In 1928 one buyer bought 225 carloads (3,100 tons) of grapes in a single purchase.” As Business Week observed, “The only inference is that these grapes went to someone who is manufacturing wine in vast quantities.” The periodical labeled the Penn yard “the Wall Street of the grape auction business” and described the procedure by which grapes were sold on to the public: “The ordinary speculator buys two or three cars and has them shipped to a siding in his own neighborhood.
Culture works: the political economy of culture by Richard Maxwell
1960s counterculture, AltaVista, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, business process, commoditize, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, intermodal, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, Network effects, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, structural adjustment programs, talking drums, telemarketer, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban renewal, Victor Gruen, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce
In the ﬁrst quarter of 1999, Anheuser-Busch experienced a record 22 percent increase in earnings per share, even as its domestic market share rose to 48.1 percent.2 The company’s success results in no small part from the degree of vertical integration it enjoys in the brewing process, allowing it to self-monitor operations from start to ﬁnish. A typical 62 Beer brew actually starts with raw materials produced through Busch Agricultural Resources. It is then canned, bottled, packaged, and labeled by AnheuserBusch divisions that handle metal containers, packaging, printing, and labeling. Transportation to and from the brewery is handled by Manufacturers Railway Corporation and the St. Louis Refrigerator Car Company, both owned and operated by Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser-Busch’s recycling subsidiary even handles the product after consumption. The brewery’s control does not stop at the doors of its impressive array of subsidiary companies. It also exercises a sustained pressure on the wholesalers that distribute its product to retailers. The company itself owns thirteen wholesale operations and works with approximately seven hundred others.
The Docks by Bill Sharpsteen
affirmative action, anti-communist, big-box store, collective bargaining, Google Earth, intermodal, inventory management, jitney, Just-in-time delivery, new economy, Panamax, place-making, Port of Oakland, post-Panamax, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, strikebreaker, women in the workforce
Stories in the San Francisco Daily News depicted a morality play of sorts in which the longshoremen—most often referred to as rioters—received a suitable punishment for their attacks on the port and the police protecting it. More sympathetic, prolabor accounts characterized the strikers’ actions as purely defensive, even heroic, and described the cops as overly aggressive tools of the employers. The battle began early, at 8:00 a.m., after a Belt Line locomotive driven by strikebreakers shunted two refrigerator cars into the Matson docks at piers 30 and 32. According to the Daily News, the pickets—a crowd of about two thousand—protested this by setting two boxcars on fire. The police reacted with tear gas, vomiting gas, and gunfire. At one point, so much ammunition was released that workers on the construction site of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge had to run for cover lest they stop a stray bullet.
The Locavore's Dilemma by Pierre Desrochers, Hiroko Shimizu
air freight, back-to-the-land, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, Community Supported Agriculture, creative destruction, edge city, Edward Glaeser, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, intermodal, invention of agriculture, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, labour mobility, land tenure, megacity, moral hazard, mortgage debt, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, planetary scale, profit motive, refrigerator car, Steven Pinker, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl
As the environmental historian William Cronon pointed out in 1991, however, while the stated goal of the movement was to “secure the highest sanitary condition” for consumers, public health was in fact “a convenient way of putting the best face on a deeper and more self-interested economic issue.”33 In fact, health complaints about smaller slaughterhouses and urban dairy operations long predated the rise of the Chicago packers and were common in other countries.34 According to economists Donald Boudreaux and Thomas DiLorenzo, the most plausible explanation for the adoption of the first antitrust legislation in Missouri in 1889 is to view it as an attempt by politically powerful local producer groups, mostly independent retail butchers, to shield themselves from the lower prices and intense competitive pressures of Chicago packers.35 In the meantime, other small-scale attempts to circumvent the packers were set up in locations closer to production sites. One such initiative was spearheaded by a Frenchman, the Marquis de Mores, who not only built a number of slaughterhouses and cold storage houses in Montana and in what is now North Dakota, but also procured refrigerator cars. The venture, however, failed miserably. As the economic historian Fred A. Shannon observes: “Because the supply of matured beef was not year-round, slaughtering on the Plains proved impractical except for taking care of the local market . . . Furthermore, only medium-grade cattle were offered, and the small slaughterhouses were not equipped to make use of the by-products that furnished so much of the profits for the greater packers.”36 Despite small-scale butchers and some cattlemen’s recriminations,37 consumers ultimately voted with their wallets and purchased the offerings of the more efficient large-scale operations.
assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, Branko Milanovic, call centre, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, low skilled workers, lump of labour, manufacturing employment, moral hazard, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, positional goods, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Powell Memorandum, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, upwardly mobile, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War
The houses of the great majority were still lighted by gas (in the cities and towns) or oil lamps (in the country). Millions of Americans of the older generation still remember what it was like to go upstairs of an evening and then be consumed with worry as to whether they had really turned off completely the downstairs gas jets. A regular chore for the rural housewife was filling the lamps … For a good many years there had been refrigerator cars on the railroads, but the great national long-distance traffic in fresh fruits and vegetables was still in its infancy … In most parts of the United States people were virtually without fresh fruit and green vegetables from late autumn to late spring. During this time they consumed quantities of starches, in the form of pies, doughnuts, potatoes, and hot bread, which few would venture to absorb today.
Thanks to the influx of the five million migrants in the twenty years running up to the war, the area of land under cultivation more than doubled, the number of livestock more than tripled to reach thirty-eight million, and both wheat and rye production were booming. The amount of butter produced in the region increased fivefold in the ten years to 1904, reaching two million puds (the Russian unit which weighs just over 36 lb), which created a profitable export market to Britain, Denmark and Germany. Butter trains became one of the regular features of the line. The butter was transported in refrigerator cars, distinctive because they were painted white, and whole trains could be seen running up and down the line. The trade was huge: ‘In the early summer peak period about a dozen trains, each of 25 cars, were despatched each week.’17 This vast agricultural produce of Siberia was not only for export. Soon, the whole of Russia was enjoying the fruits of Siberia’s greater productivity. By 1911 half the meat eaten in the two biggest cities, Moscow and St Petersburg, was delivered by rail from Siberia.
Behind the Berlin Wall: East Germany and the Frontiers of Power by Patrick Major
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, centre right, falling living standards, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, open borders, Post-materialism, post-materialism, refrigerator car, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Sinatra Doctrine
‘The presence in Berlin of an open and essentially uncon- trolled border between the socialist and capitalist worlds’, complained Soviet ambassador Pervukhin in 1959, ‘unwittingly prompts the population to make a comparison between both parts of the city, which, unfortunately, does not always turn out in favour of Democratic [East] Berlin.’¹⁵⁸ In one Leipzig office conversations revolve exclusively around the satisfaction of personal needs. For instance on the supply of televisions, refrigerators, cars etc., and on the price differences of consumer goods ¹⁵¹ MfS-BV Potsdam, ‘Einschätzung der Lage im Grenzgebiet am Ring um Westberlin’, 13 May 1960, BStU-ZA, Allg. S 204/62, viii, fos. 105–9. ¹⁵² SED-BPO Carl Zeiß Jena, ‘Informationsbericht’, 19 Oct. 1960, SAPMO-BArch, DY30/IV2/ 5/843, fos. 155–61. ¹⁵³ Tausend kleine Dinge: Reparaturen und Dienstleistungen (1960), SAPMO-BArch, DY30/ IV2/6.08/10, fos. 1–17. ¹⁵⁴ SED-KL Leuna to SED-BL Halle, 23 Nov. 1960, LAM, BPA SED Halle, IV2/5/663, fos. 118–21. ¹⁵⁵ ‘Bericht über die Lage im Wohnraum in Jena’, 23 Sept. 1960, SAPMO-BArch, DY30/IV2/5/ 843, fos. 162–7. ¹⁵⁶ Taken from BA, DA-5/5999. ¹⁵⁷ MfS-ZAIG, ‘Bericht über die Entwicklung der Republikflucht im Zeitraum Oktober-Dezember 1960 . . . ’, 3 Feb. 1961, BStU-ZA, ZAIG 412, fo. 14. ¹⁵⁸ Harrison, Driving, 99. 52 Behind the Berlin Wall compared with the western zone, such as nylon stockings and the fact that personal freedom is restricted because the GDR did not have enough holiday resorts.¹⁵⁹ By mid-1961 the SED leadership was acknowledging that it was in an economic crisis.
agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mass immigration, megacity, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize
(For example, today’s high school students have a hard time understanding why Columbus risked life and limb to find a shorter trade route to the spices of the East. Why couldn’t he simply go to the supermarket, they ask, and get some oregano? But in the days of Columbus, spices and herbs were extremely expensive. They were prized because they could mask the taste of rotting food, since there were no refrigerators in those days. At times, even kings and emperors had to eat rotten food at dinner. There were no refrigerated cars, containers, or ships to carry spices across the oceans.) That is why these commodities were so valuable that Columbus gambled his life to get them, although today they are sold for pennies. What is replacing commodity capitalism is intellectual capitalism. Intellectual capital involves precisely what robots and AI cannot yet provide, pattern recognition and common sense. As MIT economist Lester Thurow has said, “Today, knowledge and skills now stand alone as the only source of comparative advantage ….
What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly
Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K
The first prototype turbo jet had several hundred parts, while a modern turbo jet has over 22,000 parts. The space shuttle has tens of millions of physical parts, yet it contains most of its complexity in its software, which is not included in this assessment. Complexity of Manufactured Machines. The number of parts (shown as powers of 10) used in the most complicated machines of each era over two centuries. Our refrigerators, cars, and even doors and windows are more complex than two decades ago. The strong trend for complexification in the technium provokes the question, how complex can it get? Where does the long arc of complexity take us? The thrust of 14 billion years of increasing complexity cannot stop today. But when we try to imagine a technium with another million years of complexity accruing at the current rate, we shudder.
Blood, Iron, and Gold: How the Railways Transformed the World by Christian Wolmar
banking crisis, Beeching cuts, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, invention of the wheel, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Mahatma Gandhi, railway mania, refrigerator car, side project, South China Sea, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, urban sprawl
Starting in the 1860s, ice, mostly from a particularly suitable pond in New England, 26 was transported in huge quantities to warmer climes on the eastern seaboard and later, with the completion of the transcontinental, even further afield. It was a massive business which at its height provided two thirds of a ton for every person living in a major city. The trade declined in the 1890s with the development of cooling equipment but that, in turn, spawned another commercial opportunity for the railroads, the transport of perishables such as fruit and fish in refrigerated cars, such as the already quoted example of Argentinian beef. The list, therefore, is endless. The railways carried everything, from newspapers to nuts, minerals to mail, at a cost that was invariably cheaper than the alternative, even when monopolistic railways exploited their position. The Railway News in 1864 mentioned trains arriving at a London goods yard every ten minutes in the morning laden with ‘Manchester packs and bales, Liverpool cotton, American provisions, Worcester gloves, Kidderminster carpets, Birmingham and Staffordshire hardware, crates of pottery from North Staffordshire and cloth from Huddersfield, Leeds, Bradford and other Yorkshire towns…’ 27 Think of the most obscure industry and then discover how the railways changed it.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
He and I and Ed Dunkel ran across the tracks and hopped a freight at three individual points; Marylou and Galatea were waiting in the car. We rode the train a half-mile into the piers, waving at switchmen and flagmen. They showed me the proper way to get off a moving car; the back foot first and let the train go away from you and come around and place the other foot down. They showed me the refrigerator cars, the ice compartments, good for a ride on any winter night in a string of empties. “Remember what I told you about New Mexico to LA?” cried Dean. “This was the way I hung on ...” We got back to the girls an hour late and of course they were mad. Ed and Galatea had decided to get a room in New Orleans and stay there and work. This was okay with Bull, who was getting sick and tired of the whole mob.
The Great Railroad Revolution by Christian Wolmar
1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, accounting loophole / creative accounting, banking crisis, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, collective bargaining, cross-subsidies, intermodal, James Watt: steam engine, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban sprawl
At various times, fierce rate wars broke out between competing railroads, and the large number of bankruptcies following the panic of 1893 suggested that this was not an industry where monopolists were constantly exploiting their customers. And the railroads could not be accused of a lack of innovation. One key development in the 1880s was the widespread introduction of the refrigerated boxcar. Although there had been earlier attempts to use refrigeration to keep cars cool, it was only in the 1880s that satisfactory methods were developed. The new refrigerated cars revolutionized the transportation of beef, since the animals could now be slaughtered locally before being transported to the Chicago stockyards; as a result, these yards grew to enormous proportions, eventually employing forty thousand people in the 1920s and processing nearly all of America’s meat. The expansion of the Chicago yards, which also continued to deal with live meat, was another indirect consequence of the network of railroads that had concentrated in and around Chicago.
An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy by Marc Levinson
affirmative action, airline deregulation, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, car-free, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, clean water, deindustrialization, endogenous growth, falling living standards, financial deregulation, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, intermodal, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, late capitalism, linear programming, lump of labour, manufacturing employment, new economy, Nixon shock, North Sea oil, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, price stability, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, statistical model, strikebreaker, structural adjustment programs, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, unorthodox policies, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working-age population, yield curve, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
At its start, more Japanese had worked on farms (12.8 million) than in factories (9.4 million), and many of the latter had earned their living hunched over sewing machines or mindlessly watching molding machines spit out cheap plastic dolls. Over the ensuing ten years, manufacturers had invested massively in the latest Western machinery, raising output per work hour more than 10 percent per year, compounded, even as they added millions of jobs. After adjusting for inflation, Japan’s income per person had more than doubled, enabling millions of consumers to buy refrigerators, cars, and color televisions. Work was to be had for the asking. Companies were so desperate to hold on to labor that they promised restive workers jobs for life, a new practice that was soon deemed a venerable tradition.2 By 1970, though, the elite bureaucrats responsible for planning Japan’s future at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, known as MITI, began to worry that the economy would soon fall to earth.
Meat: A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, call centre, carbon footprint, Community Supported Agriculture, deindustrialization, en.wikipedia.org, food miles, Food sovereignty, Haber-Bosch Process, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Just-in-time delivery, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, megacity, Northern Rock, Panamax, peak oil, refrigerator car, scientific mainstream, sexual politics, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
Centralized processing units also generate a form of cross-haulage: It has always seemed absurd to me that Kansas farmers should ship wheat to Minneapolis and then have flour shipped all the way back from Minneapolis to Kansas … . In the milling of flour – which lends itself so admirably to local production – we have drifted into a state of affairs where ten of the national mills are able to supply 50 per cent of the consumption of the country. The same applies to meat: The development of the refrigerator car made it possible to ship fresh meats great distances … As a result we now have the absurd system whereby the raw products of an industry, in this case the livestock, are shipped great distances to the meat packing centres and then, after being slaughtered, shipped equally great distances back to the point of origin.61 Borsodi wrote several other books, including one called Flight from the City, which was a practical guide to rural self-reliance.
The Cold War by Robert Cowley
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doomsday Clock, friendly fire, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Stanislav Petrov, transcontinental railway
The air base, located 690 miles north of the Arctic Circle on North Star Bay, is thirty-nine miles north of the nearest human habitation, the Eskimo village of Thule. The aircrews typically deplaned in temperatures of 35 degrees below zero (in an era when windchill factors were unheard of), in a region devoid of vegetation and covered in snow, at a time of year when darkness ruled nearly twenty-four hours a day. Maintenance crews and flight crews alike were quartered in what looked like railroad refrigerator cars, down to the levered door handles. Toilets operated via the “armstrong” flush system—hand-pumped. After receiving Arctic clothing, including fur-lined parkas and mukluks, the crews spent the first week in Arctic survival training and practicing Arctic flight operations: takeoffs and landings on ice-covered runways, navigating over the Pole, and air refueling in radio silence. Planners had divided the Soviet Arctic into three basic sectors, spanning a total of 3,500 miles.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty
accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, central bank independence, centre right, circulation of elites, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, high net worth, Honoré de Balzac, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, index card, inflation targeting, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, market bubble, means of production, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, open economy, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, refrigerator car, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, We are the 99%, zero-sum game
This is of limited importance for my purposes, however, because durable goods have always represented a relatively small proportion of total wealth, which has not varied much over time: in all rich countries, available estimates indicate that the total value of durable household goods is generally between 30 and 50 percent of national income throughout the period 1970–2010, with no apparent trend. In other words, everyone owns on average between a third and half a year’s income worth of furniture, refrigerators, cars, and so on, or 10,000–15,000 euros per capita for a national income on the order of 30,000 euros per capita in the early 2010s. This is not a negligible amount and accounts for most of the wealth owned by a large segment of the population. Compared, however, with overall private wealth of five to six years of national income, or 150,000–200,000 euros per person (excluding durable goods), about half of which is in the form of real estate and half in net financial assets (bank deposits, stocks, bonds, and other investments, net of debt) and business capital, this is only a small supplementary amount.
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow
California gold rush, collective bargaining, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, double entry bookkeeping, endowment effect, family office, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Santayana, God and Mammon, income inequality, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, New Journalism, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, passive investing, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, The Chicago School, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, white picket fence, yellow journalism
The package often cost more than the contents, and the forests of the country were not sufficient to supply the necessary material for an extended length of time.”36 Once again, the railroads balked at investing in rolling stock that couldn’t also transport general freight, so Rockefeller stepped boldly into the breach. In 1874, Standard Oil—with that kindly solicitude for the railroads’ welfare that artfully tied them up with myriad strings—began to raise tens of thousands of dollars to build oil-tank cars, which they would then lease to the roads for a special mileage allowance. Decades later, Armour and Company, the Chicago butcher, mimicked the same strategy by buying up refrigerator cars. As the owner of almost all the Erie and New York Central tank cars, Standard Oil’s position grew unassailable: At a moment’s notice, it could crush either railroad by threatening to withdraw its tank cars. It also prodded the railroads into granting favors for tank cars not enjoyed by the small refiners who shipped by barrel. For instance, railroads levied a charge for the return of empty barrels, while tank cars traveled free on the return route from the East Coast to the Midwest refineries.