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Privatize the win, Socialize the loss: Elsevier Boycott

A woodcut monk showing a "Boycott Elsevier" banner

Science journals must have the laziest, most rent-seeking business model in the world: Capture the results of publically-funded research from scientists for free, have other scientists review and edit those results for free, then publish those results for an extortionate fee. There’s no doubt that this model is doomed.

Niche journals will feel the pinch first, but publishers of high-impact journals (which are highly valuable to scientist’s careers) may be able to weather economic effects. But now Singularity Hub reports a political boycott of one of those publishers Elsevier has started:

The boycott targets Elsevier, the publisher of popular journals like Cell and The Lancet, for its aggressive business practices, but opposition was electrified by Elsevier’s backing of a Congressional bill titled the Research Works Act (RWA). Though lesser known than the other high-profile, privacy-related bills SOPA and PIPA, the act was slated to reverse the Open Access Policy enacted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2008 that granted the public free access to any article derived from NIH-funded research.

Can you believe these jokers? Join the Elsevier boycott

The constant pressure to privatise the good, and socialize the risk is endemic.

Dicks.

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Dyske Suematsu claims efficiency that is the real reason that jobs are not coming back quickly after the Great Recession. Unfortunately, I think this is more right than we want to believe:

When someone owns a means of production that is more efficient, it can eliminate a large number of jobs, and he stands to profit handsomely from the money he saves. In other words, it’s not so much that American jobs are going overseas; those who own efficient means of production are now pocketing the money that they used to spend on hiring people.

The luddites retaliated when machines took their jobs, but eventually they, or their family members, could move to other occupations and replace lost income. What happens when there is very little work left the machines can’t do? So far it’s not looking like the Jetsons…