Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bankruptcy Looks Likely for Chrysler

Seal of the United States bankruptcy court. Ch...

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Published: April 30, 2009

Chrysler, the third-largest American auto company, will seek bankruptcy protection and enter an alliance with the Italian automaker Fiat, the White House announced Thursday.

The bankruptcy case, which officials envisioned as a swift, “surgical” process, was set to be filed in United States Bankruptcy Court in New York. It marks the first time a major American car company has tried to restructure under bankruptcy protection since Studebaker in 1933.

President Obama announced the plan, including the Fiat alliance, in televised remarks shortly after noon. He said the outcome was a much better outcome than seemed likely only a month ago.

Bankruptcy Looks Likely for Chrysler -

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60% of Twitter Users Quit Within the First Month

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April 28th, 2009 | by Pete Cashmore

We’re hearing some pretty amazing statistics about Twitter these days: growth from February 2008 to February 2009 was reportedly 1382%, with the incline increasing yet further in recent months.

But like many social networks, it seems many people lose steam with the service. Stat tracking firm Nielsen reports today that a full 60% of users who sign up fail to return the following month. And in the 12 months “pre-Oprah”, retention rates were even lower: only 30% returned the next month. That’s good news, to some degree: retention rates have increased over time.

60% of Twitter Users Quit Within the First Month

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25 Social Media Marketing Tips

Posted by Lee Odden on Apr 27th

The benefit from a firm grasp of social media for companies is impossible to ignore. Whether you work in marketing, advertising, public relations or interactive, there are distinct competitive advantages for both individuals and businesses from a better understanding of the social web.

25 Social Media Marketing Tips from Dell, Comcast, HP, Wells Fargo, Best Buy, General Mills, Ford, UPS, Home Depot, Cirque du Soleil | Online Marketing Blog

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China's Gold: World Changing or Unsurprising?

BEIJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 13:  Zhou Xiaochuan,...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

 "For 5,000 YEARS gold was a monetary asset, a financial asset, and a commodity," noted Jeffrey Christian of the CPM metals consultancy (.pdf) in New York last month. "Since the 1960s gold has been removed as a basis of the international monetary system."

But reviewing last week's news that China's Gold Hoard Rose 75% in the five years to end-2008, CPM now thinks it important that the 454-tonne purchase were initially made by the non-central bank State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), and only recently transferred to the People's Bank of China (PBOC).

China's Gold: World Changing or Unsurprising? -- Seeking Alpha

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FACT CHECK: Obama disowns deficit he helped shape

US Senator Barack Obama campaigning in New Ham...

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By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer Calvin Woodward, Associated Press Writer Wed Apr 29

"That wasn't me," President Barack Obama said on his 100th day in office, disclaiming responsibility for the huge budget deficit waiting for him on Day One. It actually was him — and the other Democrats controlling Congress the previous two years — who shaped a budget so out of balance.

And as a presidential candidate and president-elect, he backed the twilight Bush-era stimulus plan that made the deficit deeper, all before he took over and promoted spending plans that have made it much deeper still.

Obama met citizens at an Arnold, Mo., high school Wednesday in advance of his prime-time news conference. Both forums were a platform to review his progress at the 100-day mark and look ahead.

FACT CHECK: Obama disowns deficit he helped shape

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Microsoft Testing Social Networking with Vine Groups

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

By Jennifer LeClaire

April 28, 2009 2:31PM

Microsoft is testing its new Vine service with limited small groups, allowing them to exchange important information quickly. Ultimately, Microsoft wants to let anyone participate in Vine groups through social-networking applications like Twitter or Facebook. Microsoft's Vine will also work through e-mail and mobile phones.

Personal Tech - Microsoft Testing Social Networking with Vine Groups

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Flashes of brilliance, but Barack could do better

  • How should Barack Obama’s early days in the White House be rated? We at the Salzburg Global Seminar asked a panel of experts to grade his fledgling administration’s performance from A+ to F based on eight tests we set in November. Is President Obama an average student or top of the class?

    tags: economics

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Deflation is real and it’s spreading | money blog

So far Spain, Ireland and the UK are already seeing it and Japan is teetering on the brink.

Ireland, struggling with a ballooning budget deficit and record unemployment, has been at the vanguard of Europe’s economic collapse. Now deflation threatens to push the country deeper into its worst recession in eight decades.” (Bloomberg)

Britain’s statistics office says the country’s retail price index is falling for the first time in nearly fifty years.” (FoxNews)

VALENCIA, Spain — Faced with plunging orders, merchants across this recession-wracked country are starting to do something that many of them have never done: cut retail prices.” (NYTimes)

Japan starts with significantly greater deflation risks” than the U.S. or Europe.” (IMF report via Wall Street Journal)

Deflation is real and it’s spreading | money blog

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Foreign Policy: The Next Big Thing: Neomedievalism

Gated community

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By Parag Khanna

Many see the global economic crisis as proof that we live in one world. But as countries stumble to right the wrongs of the corporate masters of the universe, they are driving us right back to a future that looks like nothing more than a new Middle Ages, that centuries-long period of amorphous conflict from the fifth to the 15th century when city-states mattered as much as countries.

The state isn’t a universally representative phenomenon today, if it ever was. Already, billions of people live in imperial conglomerates such as the European Union, the Greater Chinese Co-Prosperity Sphere, and the emerging North American Union, where state capitalism has become the norm. But at least half the United Nations’ membership, about 100 countries, can hardly be considered responsible sovereigns. Billions live unsure of who their true rulers are, whether local feudal lords or distant corporate executives. In Egypt and India, democratic elections have devolved into auctions. Delivering security and providing welfare aren’t just campaign promises; they are the campaign. The fragmentation of societies from within is clear: From Bogotá to Bangalore, gated communities with private security are on the rise.

Foreign Policy: The Next Big Thing: Neomedievalism

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Bair: bailout fund can handle stress test results

WASHINGTON - MARCH 03:  Federal Deposit Insura...

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by j.w. elphinstone and marcy gordon, Associated Press

The head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Monday linked the results of recent "stress tests" on the nation's 19 largest banks to the government's belief that it won't have to ask Congress for additional bailout funds in the immediate future.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said she didn't want to reveal the test results before they are made public but added, "I do believe the current resources of the Treasury will be sufficient. For now, we have the resources that we need.

Bair: bailout fund can handle stress test results

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Gold and China's Global Currency Threat to the U.S. Dollar

By: Julian D W Phillips

For years now we have been warning of the decline of the $ as the globe's reserve currency. The threat is not so much that the monetary policies of the U.S. are cheapening the worth of the $, but that these are pressing so many other nations to search for ways to avoid the US $ in international dealings. China has now taken a momentous, structurally adjusting step to change matters in their favor.

The bulk of international trade transactions have nothing to do with the U.S. except through the use of the $ to denominate their trade. Approximately 75% of global trade is denominated in the U.S. $ in this way. But the volatility of the U.S. $ has distorted and damaged, this aspect of global trade. Thus has been created an ideal environment for gold to rise as its importance in the changing global monetary system grows again.

Gold and China's Global Currency Threat to the U.S. Dollar :: The Market Oracle :: Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting Free Website

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Google Knows the Mobile Web Isn’t Only About Phones

Vint Cerf

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Stacey Higginbotham | Friday, April 24, 2009

The mobile Internet will be responsible for getting more of the world online, according to Internet co-founder Vint Cerf, who now works for Google, speaking at a conference in Madrid today. In an earlier post, Om made a similar point, saying that instead of a one-laptop-per-child initiative, we should be thinking along the lines of one smartphone per child. But Google knows access to the web will be about more than mobile phones.

Google, which employs Cerf as vice president and “chief Internet evangelist,” has a stake in mobile web access becoming ubiquitous, not only because more web access equals more people searching on Google and clicking on ads, but because Google has more flexibility in the ways it can control and monetize the mobile web experience as compared to the wired broadband experience. To that end, it has especially high hopes for its Android mobile operating system, which is being used on smartphones, netbooks and eventually on other devices.

Google Knows the Mobile Web Isn’t Only About Phones

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine Flu Survival: Three Ways to Protect Yourself

Margaret Chan, director-general of the en:Worl...

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by Ben Sherwood

The dreaded swine flu is spreading, infecting Americans in four states and killing at least 80 in Mexico. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns of a "public health emergency."

"This virus has clearly a pandemic potential," says Margaret Chan, director general of WHO.

The disease itself sounds especially ominous, spreading quickly from human to human. It's "a completely novel virus," says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Indeed, the new strain is a mixture of human virus, bird virus, and pig viruses from all over the world. Experts say this new variant of swine flu seems particularly worrisome because people are getting sick without any contact with pigs. Even worse, young, healthy people are dying at a striking rate, a telltale sign of the worst flu epidemics.

Ben Sherwood: Swine Flu Survival: Three Ways to Protect Yourself

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Pixelpipe : Upload & Share Pictures Directly from the Browser to the Social Web

Image representing Pixelpipe as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

I usually had a big problem on handling more social media website account. I think most of the users come across the same problem. Recently i had a chance to hear about Pixelpipe.

On the very first look i really amazed about the features. Initially this site used to post your digital pictures, videos, and audio files to a growing number of different services with only a few clicks. This site seems to be similar as, which allows post to text based messages.

Pixelpipe : Upload & Share Picture Directly from Browser to Social Web | Discover All Thats's New on the Web

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fed says gov't ready to save stress-tested banks


The government signaled Friday that some distressed banks will need to raise more cash to meet stricter standards it has set for the 19 financial firms that took its "stress tests" and suggested it's ready to step in with more federal help.

Federal Reserve officials held top-secret meetings with bank executives to give them preliminary findings of how each bank would fare if the recession got much worse. It reinforced the Fed's view that major financial firms are "too big to fail," and that the government must do whatever is necessary to save them.

"It appears 'too big to fail' is a fundamental philosophy," said Mark Williams, a finance professor at Boston University and former Fed examiner.

Fed says gov't ready to save stress-tested banks -

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Department of Health slams striking doctors

Coat of Arms of the North West

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The Department of Health says striking doctors owe the nation an explanation for their conduct.

Health Department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe told the Mail & Guardian Online on Friday: "The national Department of Health notes the ongoing illegal and unprotected strike action by some doctors with great concern. How do they justify abandoning patients and in the process exposing them to extreme dangers?"

The strike, which started on Thursday last week, has led to the death of a patient in the North West, and patients are currently being redirected to hospitals where doctors are not striking to prevent any further fatalities.

Department of Health slams striking doctors - Mail & Guardian Online: The smart news source

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Friday, April 24, 2009

The Next Big Thing: A New You

First generation Roomba (Roomba is a trademark...

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By Juan Enriquez

As countries and industries grow increasingly overwhelmed by wave after wave of bankruptcies, layoffs, restructurings, botched contracts, and embarrassing bonuses, they might lose sight of a second, much larger set of tsunamis gathering force over the horizon. While the economy is melting down, technology is moving forward at an even faster rate. The ability to adapt to the accelerating pace of change will determine who survives.

To use the current bailout jargon, at least three major technologies are shovel-ready: the programming of tissues, the ability to engineer cells, and robots. As these breakthroughs and others converge, we are going to see a massive restructuring of global economic power.

Foreign Policy: The Next Big Thing: A New You

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Typical lost laptop costs companies nearly $50,000, study finds

by steve johnson, San Jose Mercury News

A typical lost or stolen laptop costs employers $49,246, mostly due to the value of the missing intellectual property or other sensitive data, according to an Intel-commissioned study made public this week.

"It is the information age, and employees are carrying more information on their laptops than ever before," according to an analysis done for Intel by the Michigan-based Ponemon Institute, which studies organizational data-management practices. "With each lost laptop there is the risk that sensitive data about customers, employees and business operations will end up in the wrong hands."

The five-month study examined 138 laptop-loss cases suffered over a recent 12-month period by 29 organizations, mostly businesses but also a few government agencies. It said laptops frequently are lost or stolen at airports, conferences and in taxis, rental cars and hotels.

Typical lost laptop costs companies nearly $50,000, study finds

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Zuma: 'You touch the ANC, you touch a lion'

Mr Jacob Zuma

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Hundreds of African National Congress supporters braved a wintry Johannesburg on Thursday night to celebrate the party's victory.

They roared in agreement with party leader Jacob Zuma who said he "smelt [a] 70%" victory.

"For those who do not know the ANC ... you touch the ANC, you touch a lion. The sangomas said the ANC will achieve a 50% victory in Limpopo. The ANC will never go below 60% ... I smell 70%," Zuma told the crowd.

Women with babies strapped to their backs, young people in ANC T-shirts and bikers on Harley Davidsons blew vuvuzelas, cheered and whistled as Zuma addressed them outside Luthuli House in downtown Johannesburg.

Zuma: 'You touch the ANC, you touch a lion' - Mail & Guardian Online: The smart news source

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dylan Gets Romantic

Portrait of Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan by El...

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By David Gates | NEWSWEEK

Published Apr 18

For more than four decades, Bob Dylan's following has resembled both rapt children behind the Pied Piper and hellhounds on his trail: they can take any new direction in his work as a revelation or a personal affront. During a 1966 concert in Manchester, England, one fan's devotion to the early recordings with acoustic guitar moved him to shout "Judas!" when confronted with Dylan's full-on rock band. And then came the quasi-country albums, the cover albums, the breakup album, the white-jumpsuit period, the Christian period, the '80s rock period, the return to acoustic folk and the so-called comeback album "Time Out of Mind," followed by "Love and Theft" and, most recently, "Modern Times.

Dylan Gets Romantic | Newsweek Entertainment: Music |

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First Google Android Netbooks spotted


Image by nDevilTV via Flickr

Seth H. Weintraub

Certainly this can't be it. The first Google Android netbook should definitely be more monumental than this $100-$200 device from SkyTone. Guangzhou, China-based Skytone is famous for making Skype headsets and ultra low cost children's computers. But, as of today, they have on their website, the Alpha-680 Google Android netbook. In Pink, Yellow, Red, Black and White.

First Google Android Netbooks spotted - Computerworld Blogs

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Google Profiles pave the way for global directory, Facebook killer

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Seth H. Weintraub

Google is publicizing their Google Profiles for the first time this week. If you do a Google search for your name (and who hasn't), you'll now see your Google profile at the bottom of the search results. This is a big deal.

"A Google Profile is simply how you represent yourself on Google products — it lets you tell others a bit more about who you are and what you're all about. You control what goes into your Google Profile, sharing as much (or as little) as you'd like."

Google Profiles have been around for about a year but really didn't do much until now. Google has had other social networking bombs like Orkut (unless you live in Brazil where it is more popular than Facebook).

Now a Google Profile is your virtual business card. Up until now, LinkedIn and to a lesser extent, Facebook have acted as web business cards. LinkedIn will still offer more work related information while Facebook will be a more casual social gathering place.

Google Profiles pave the way for global directory, Facebook killer - Computerworld Blogs

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ANC cruises to victory

ANC logo

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With just under two-million votes counted, the governing African National Congress is cruising to another convincing victory in South Africa’s fourth democratic election.

By 6am on Thursday morning the ANC had received 1,2-million votes, which pushes the party above the 60% margin it was struggling to break through through the early hours of Thursday morning.

If the election was called on Thursday morning, the ANC would receive 62,5% of the vote, the Democratic Alliance 20,3%, the Congress of the People 7,5% and the Inkatha Freedom Party 2,8%.

ANC cruises to victory - Mail & Guardian Online: The smart news source

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Williams and Stone: The Twitter Revolution

Evan Williams of Twitter

Image by Adam Tinworth via Flickr


Twitter is the side project that took," says company co-founder Biz Stone, 35. "Now it's our chance to do something transformative."

When I arrive at Twitter's headquarters on a recent morning, Jerry Brown is waiting in the lobby -- just another day at the world's hottest high-tech company. "It's pretty bizarre," says co-founder Evan Williams, 37. "At least once per day we look at each other and say, 'What the hell?' It's like we're living out the script of the ultimate start-up company story."

But other than the familiar face of California's attorney general standing near the steel front door, you would hardly know that this little company of about 30 employees is the epicenter of the Web, used by an estimated 20 million Americans on a daily -- even minute-by-minute -- basis. Just how fast Twitter is growing is a company secret, but its traffic appears to be more than doubling every month.

Williams and Stone: The Twitter Revolution -

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Ballot boxes 'too full' in Gauteng


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Voter turnout in Gauteng has been so high that ballot boxes were too full, the provincial electoral commission said on Wednesday.

"As early as 5.30am, there were queues forming at some of our voting stations in the province," Gauteng chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo told reporters in Johannesburg.

He estimated that there would be a turnout of more than 80%.

Although voting had gone smoothly in the province, ballot boxes were becoming too full and election officials were in talks with political parties about a safe process to empty the boxes.

Ballot boxes 'too full' in Gauteng - Mail & Guardian Online: The smart news source

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Buy gold … fiat money is crashing

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Fed's Cash Machine - The Atlantic (May 2009)

US Federal Reserve

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by Timothy Lavin

As the housing collapse has turned into a financial crisis, and the financial crisis into an economic calamity, the government has tried furiously to keep the country free of breadlines and trash-can fires. Two of its interventions—the $700 billion bank bailout known as TARP and the $787 billion stimulus package—have inspired levels of partisan acrimony and journalistic scrutiny befitting a war vote. But neither of those initiatives, expensive as they are, approach the civic munificence displayed by the Federal Reserve.

In the past year, the Fed has undertaken interventions in the economy broader and deeper than anything attempted since its founding in 1913. And with the credit system paralyzed, the central bank increasingly looks like the lender of both first and last resort. But the Fed’s actions have stirred nothing like the debate surrounding TARP or the stimulus (pictured in detail below). And the particulars of its schemes remain almost entirely obscure.

Through a dozen programs introduced since the crisis began, the Fed will be on the hook for trillions of dollars in loans, bailouts, and asset purchases. The government expects to be repaid for most of these commitments, of course, with interest. But that’s the tricky part. Largely unencumbered by congressional meddling, the Fed has in most cases refused to reveal the beneficiaries of its largesse—or what assets they’ve used as collateral—lest panicky investors and depositors lose faith. As a result, outside the walls of the Eccles Building, almost no one knows how sound those loans really are.

The Fed's Cash Machine - The Atlantic (May 2009)

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Weimar 1923 may have more lessons than US 1932

Herbert Hoover

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By Martin Hutchinson

Many baffled forecasters are asking just that, and studying what the US did wrong after the stock market crashed in 1929. But the more relevant policy errors might have been those made earlier across the Atlantic - in Weimar Germany from 1919 to 1923.

Policymakers have learned from the US mistakes. This time around, there has been no shrinkage of the money supply and no repetition of President Hoover's increase in tariffs in 1930 and income taxes in 1932. On the contrary, money supply has expanded rapidly while fiscal policies have been expansionary and protectionism limited.

Weimar 1923 may have more lessons than US 1932 - Telegraph

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The future of money: The Return of the Gold Standard

by Julian Dibbell

Sequin (Venetian ducat), 1382

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When a retired Florida oncologist named Douglas Jackson launched the world’s first digital-gold currency in 1996—an online payment system fully backed by precious metal reserves and marketed under the brand name e-gold—he did not appear to be on the winning side of monetary history. Once upon a time, nearly a hundred years before, the gold standard reigned supreme: A dollar bill or a pound note or any other major currency was in those days just a marker for a fixed amount of government gold, redeemable at any time. But by the onset of the Depression, the economist John Maynard Keynes had declared the gold standard a “barbarous relic,” too crudely physical a form of money for the complex demands of modern economies. And by the century’s end, the multitrillion-dollar global money supply had long since shed its ties to gold or any other tangible asset in particular and now resided almost wholly in the digital circuitry of financial networks. Money had gone virtual, and reattaching it to gold made as much historical sense, it seemed, as instant-messaging by pigeon post.

The Return of the Gold Standard - Dual Perspectives -

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The future of money: DIY Currencies

Tencent QQ

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by Annalee Newitz

Futurist Douglas Rushkoff, famous for correctly predicting the rise of social media, is trying to convince Craigslist's Craig Newmark to create “craigbucks.” He thinks it's the obvious next step in the evolution of money. “People could buy and sell things exclusively on Craigslist using craigbucks,” Rushkoff enthuses. “Sure they'll want to keep their Visas and their MasterCards, but they'll want a specialized, alternative form of cash too.”

The idea is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Economists already have a term for this kind of community-specific money; they're called "complimentary currencies" and they naturally take root when conditions are right. For example, in 2006, a Chinese online social network called QQ produced “QQ coins” that became widely traded, used for almost a billion dollars a year in transactions. Even though the currency was designed just to buy things on the QQ network, other websites started accepting QQ coins for payment of even non-virtual goods, and a black market sprung up to convert QQ coins directly to Yuan. The Chinese government cracked down: They feared that QQ could trigger inflation of the Yuan by increasing the total money supply in China.

DIY Currencies - Dual Perspectives -

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