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The Phillip Medhurst Picture Torah 397. The Israelites collect manna. Exodus cap 16 v 14. Luyken and son.

This week on my podcast, I read my latest Locus column, “Social Quitting, about the enshittification lifecycle of social media platforms.


But as Facebook and Twitter cemented their dominance, they steadily changed their services to capture more and more of the value that their users generated for them. At first, the companies shifted value from users to advertisers: engaging in more surveillance to enable finer-grained targeting and offering more intrusive forms of advertising that would fetch high prices from advertisers.

This enshittification was made possible by high switch­ing costs. The vast communities who’d been brought in by network effects were so valuable that users couldn’t afford to quit, because that would mean giving up on important personal, professional, commercial, and romantic ties. And just to make sure that users didn’t sneak away, Facebook aggressively litigated against upstarts that made it possible to stay in touch with your friends without using its services. Twitter consistently whittled away at its API support, neuter­ing it in ways that made it harder and harder to leave Twitter without giving up the value it gave you.

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Regulatory Capture: Beyond Revolving Doors and Against Regulatory Nihilism.

A Soviet editorial cartoon featuring an ogrish capitalist in top hat and tails yanking a dollar-sign-shaped lever that ejects a tiny bureaucrat from a seat; ranks of bureaucrats behind him wait their turns, grinning idiot grins.

This week on my podcast, I read a recent Medium column, Regulatory Capture: Beyond Revolving Doors and Against Regulatory Nihilism., about the origins of the theory of regulatory capture, and the all-important, but rarely discussed difference between right and left theories of regulatory capture.

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A lush lawn and garden hedge wall; through the gate and over the hedge, we see a smouldering, apocalyptic landscape. Desperate hands reach over the wall. In the foreground is a No Trespassing sign.

This week on my podcast, I read a recent Medium column, Against Cozy Catastrophies, about the how the changeover from universal, state- or employer-provided pensions to market-based pensions like the 401(k) have created an inescapable, slow motion catastrophe, where the only thing worse than being one of the lucky few with retirement savings is being part of the vast majority who do not.

(Image: Djuradj Vujcic, CC BY 2.0; Gerald England, CC BY-SA 2.0; modified)

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