Two Interesting Articles
Or to be specific, links to articles that have interested me in the past week.
Separate and Unequal, A Review of “The Price of Inequality” by Joseph E Stiglitz
The first one is a book review that appeared in the New York Times last week: “Separate and Unequal: ‘The Price of Inequality’ by Joseph E Stiglitz. Stiglitz is a is a Nobel laureate and a professor of economics at Columbia University. The review is by Thomas B. Edsall, the Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore professor at the Columbia School of Journalism. The review is definitely worth a read and possibly the book even more so. The thrust of the book, as set out in the review, is:
“… our bleak [economic] present [is not] the result of seemingly unstoppable developments — globalization and automation, a self-replicating establishment built on “meritocratic” competition, the debt-driven collapse of 2008 … that has produced a two-tier society, Stiglitz argues, but the exercise of political power by moneyed interests over legislative and regulatory processes. “While there may be underlying economic forces at play,” he writes, “politics have shaped the market, and shaped it in ways that advantage the top at the expense of the rest.”
Further interesting quotes include: “It is not just democratic politics that is threatened by huge disparities in wealth and income. Much of Stiglitz’s book is devoted to demonstrating that excessive inequality amounts to sand in the gears of capitalism, creating volatility, fueling crises, undermining productivity and retarding growth.”
And: “The news media and the Congress are ill-equipped to address the role of economic power in shaping policy. Both institutions are, in fact, unaware of the extent to which they themselves are subject to the influence of money.” (I personally find this latter assertion very difficult to believe—and if members of the institutions named are not aware of it, they should be, because everyone else is. Just sayin’)
Given international economic events of the past four years though, I believe the review is definitely interesting and worth a read. Again, the link to it is here.
“Why Social Media Isn’t the Magic Bullet for Self-Published E-Authors” by Ewan Morrison
The second article appeared on The Guardian and is titled ‘Why Social Media Isn’t The Magic Bullet for Self Published E-Authors.’ The article is by Ewan Morrison, a novelist who has also worked as a writer-director in television and film for ten years. The article is rather long (although interesting!) but the overall thrust is probably best summed up by the following:
“The bad news for social media companies is that after all the hype and the projections, there are stats … In publishing terms it has recently been revealed that 10% of all self-epublishers make £75% of all the money; that 50% of self-published ebooks make less than $500 a year (£320, or 87p a day); and that 25% doesn’t cover the costs of production. Broadly, what this means is that if you went out on the street with a book in your hand and tried to sell it to a stranger for 88p, or 99p, and you did this every day, you would still be making more money than 50% of all self-published authors on Amazon and all the other new epub platforms.
It also turns out that the ebook market now looks a lot like the old mainstream model. A small number of writers make a lot and everyone else wallows in the doldrums of minuscule sales. The only difference is that those at the top are selling 100,000 copies at 99p, not at £4.99, or £8.99 – which in real terms represents a massive shrinkage of the market. Furthermore, it signifies the passage of the publishing industry into the hands of the internet companies that can capitalise on a million small sales by a million small authors.”
Interesting, huh? I certainly think he makes some intriguing points and that the article is well worth a read and some serious cogitation by all of those involved in the writing game in these changing times.
Again, the link is here.
So what do you think?
So there you go, two articles I found interesting. Do have a read if you have the time—and if so inclined, share your thoughts here.