Networks rock, especially electronic ones. In the history of the world there has been nothing like them — telegraph, telephone, cellular mobile, broadcast radio, cable television, Internet — to democratize the global, political economy, to bring us prosperity and freedom. — Robert M. Metcalfe

Value of Networks

In the early 1980s, Robert Metcalfe at 3Com was trying to sell Ethernet cards to his enterprise customers. At the time, these cards were expensive ~$1000 per card and the cost scaled linearly — to install N cards, the enterprise customer had to spend $1000 x N. This was expensive. However, Metcalfe argued that the value…

Ed Guilbert had a problem. As Army Master Sergeant in 1948, he had been given the problem of ensuring that people in Berlin were fed. The challenge was that the Soviet Union had blocked the Western Allies’ railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control.

In response, the Western Allies organised the Berlin airlift to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin. Ed Guilbert’s problem was that the manifests for different goods arrived in different languages & formats. In response, he created a standard manifest format which enabled the logistics coordination & tracking of…

In the last century, sea freight costs have fallen by 70%, air transport costs by 90% and international calling costs by 99%. (See picture). This is one of the reasons why global trade today is more than 40-times larger than in 1913. The expansion & integration of trade over the last century has been largely possible because of reductions in transaction costs stemming from technological advances.

Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock — Ben Hecth

Image Credits: Wikipedia

Why do we live the way we do?

The defining paradigm for several societies around the world today is based on two philosophies: democracy and capitalism. Together, these paradigms create an implicit social contract between citizens and governments:

  1. Citizens pay taxes to create a public pool of money.
  2. Citizens elect career politicians who represent their preferences.
  3. Elected representatives know the preference of the citizens & use the public money from taxes to provide public services.

In principle…

What does the world wide web look like?

Its a simple question but most of us probably haven’t thought about it. Millions of web pages all connected to each other. Links going back & forth. But what is the big picture? If we could observe this mesh, this network of web pages and links from a distance, what would it look like?

The Structure of the Web

Almost two decades ago, a bunch of computer scientists, asked this question and published their results: The web looks like a bow-tie.

Image Credits:

The world wide web (www) is characterized by four components:

  1. A Strongly Connected Core (SCC): a…

In a previous article, I wrote about the opportunity that Blockchains provide to understand macro-economic effects from first principles of micro-economics & game theory. In this article, I want to explore how Blockchains will transform the tools that enable the emergence of a macro-economy from micro-economy. Here is an outline of the article:

  1. In today’s highly inter-connected world, economic value gets created by firms collaborating with each other. This results in the creation of economic (business) networks.
  2. Real world economic networks are complex. They do not fall cleanly into centralized or decentralized categorization— yet, the centrality of a firm in…

Image Credits: Pexels

For almost a century, the study of economics has been divided into distinct sub-fields. Macroeconomics is concerned with how the overall economy works and studies such things as employment, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and inflation. On the other hand, Microeconomics is concerned with how supply and demand interact in individual markets for goods and services. This macro/micro split is institutionalized in economics.

Attempts to bridge this gap have attracted not only economists & game theorists but also physicists — not surprising once you realize that the fundamental problem here is equivalent to a Grand Unified Theory in physics. Think of…

Today, politics is a dirty word. The perception of political parties being corrupt seems widespread across the world.

Image Credits: Our World In Data

It seems that we live in a world where we do not trust those whom we elect to represent our choices, to make laws that govern us, to shape our society. Take a moment and let this sink in. Doesn’t this seem surreal?

We live in interesting times. On the one hand, trust in social institutions is falling worldwide for e.g. in the United States, public trust in government over the last half a century is at it’s lowest. The situation is similar in Europe with trust in social institutions (specially the political system) abyssmally low.

Praphul Chandra

Founder, Koinearth | Professor, Insofe.

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