back to article 'Theoretical' Nobel economics explain WHY the tech industry's such a damned mess

Jean Tirole was this year's Nobel Laureate in Economics* and what the prize was awarded (in part) for should interest people around here. Tirole's work has often been about how this tech industry of ours works and what the hell anyone should be doing to try and regulate it – if, indeed, it should be regulated at all. This is …

  1. Jim 59

    Say no to eccentric headline capitalization. It blights the Reg front page and makes our RSS feeds ugly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      1. Jim 59

        Becuase capitalization MAKES TEXT harder to read, something EVERY El REG HACK learned in THEIR first week ON THE job. It ALSO "sounds" like THE AUTHOR shouting RANDOMLY. And IT makes me WANT to SURF AWAY to the ENQUIRER, Slashdot, Reddit or ANOTHER news site that FOLLOWS a less annoying STYLE guide.

        And! compare! the! way! The! Register! actually! takes! the! mickey! out! of! Yahoo! LIKE! this! just! for! having! an! exclamation! point! At! least! Yahoo! can! write! a! sane! headline!

        And stop trolling Steven Fry FFS.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Becuase capitalization MAKES TEXT harder to read, something EVERY El REG HACK learned in THEIR first week ON THE job. It ALSO "sounds" like THE AUTHOR shouting RANDOMLY. And IT makes me WANT to SURF AWAY to the ENQUIRER, Slashdot, Reddit or ANOTHER news site that FOLLOWS a less annoying STYLE guide.

          And! compare! the! way! The! Register! actually! takes! the! mickey! out! of! Yahoo! LIKE! this! just! for! having! an! exclamation! point! At! least! Yahoo! can! write! a! sane! headline!

          And stop trolling Steven Fry FFS."

          There, there.

          Feel better now? :)

    2. Raumkraut

      Sometimes I can't tell whether something in a headline is about "US" the country, or "US" the emphasised collective of El Reg readership.

      "GIANT FLAMING BADGERS are out to get US!"

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        "Sometimes I can't tell whether something in a headline is about "US" the country, or "US" the emphasised collective of El Reg readership."

        Bloody Yanks eh? If they'd give their country a proper name, rather than a vague and arguably inaccurate description we wouldn't have this problem.

        Suggestions on a postcard please.

        1. Obitim

          Integrated States?

          1. Ledswinger Silver badge

            "Integrated States"

            Nope, still descriptive (and the abbreviation might get a bit difficult as to who's fighting whom in the Middle East).

            I demand a simple proper name. Mercania would do.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Merkinland?

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                The kingdom of Merkia ?

                1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                  Unhappy

                  "The kingdom of Merkia ?"

                  Bad choice.

                  From there tis but a short step to Merkin Supremacy

                2. tony2heads

                  Fredonia!!

                  It was originally on the list of possible names

                  Later popularized by the Marx Brothers

            2. Captain DaFt

              "I demand a simple proper name." (for the US)

              Hmm, In my opinion, 'Arrogant' would fit properly these days.

              1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

                Hey! I resemble that remark!

            3. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

              Hawtony - Hawaii to New York.

              Or Mintex - Minnesota to Texas.

              Or hyphenate those two into a distinguished double-barrelled name.

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Looking back

    > This year the prize goes to something useful in the real world,

    Well, useful in that it explains some of our past and current tech-company phenomena. But since it's scope does not include a model or any predictive powers, it is not very helpful in charting the future. Regulating past excesses and abuses is still a wise move, but the technology world is (in)famous for coming up with workarounds for inconvenient consumer protections.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The biggest case for not regulating

    Is not necessarily that regulation is bad, but that regulators invariably end up doing in badly. Take the regulation of pay, for example. The British governmen's procliviy to subsidising bad businesses*, is a long standing case in point.

    * By subsidising pay, through working tax credits, for example.

  4. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    I don't care what he says...

    All regulation is bad. I know because I read it some novel written by some chick called Ann Randy or something

    <Insert Icon for extreme sarcasm here>

  5. jake Silver badge

    The tech industry is in a mess for one simple reason:

    It is run by marketards with absolutely zero tech savvy.

    Regulation, when it comes to technology, is meaningless.

    1. CCCP

      Re: The tech industry is in a mess for one simple reason:

      Jake, when it comes to technology, is meaningless.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @ CCCP (was: Re: The tech industry is in a mess for one simple reason:)

        You are probably right. "Jake" hasn't posted since 7 Nov 2008.

        c.f. http://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/26670/

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Jake, when it comes to technology, is meaningless.

        Amusing, but not terribly creative.

        Needs work.

  6. Steve Knox Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    And yes, the answer is always informed by our interest in consumers: to go back to the Google example, whatever we do about that search dominance is going to depend on how well consumers do out of it. What the people at Foundem think about it all is irrelevant.

    It's amazing how few of your fellow Reg journalists appear to get that last point.

  7. The last doughnut
    Windows

    Economists

    Has anyone ever heard of a case where an economist has admitted making a mistake? Even a really trivial one that didn't have negative consequences for millions of ordinary working people??

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Economists

      Na - it was always a bull or bear moving the goalposts.

    2. A Twig

      Re: Economists

      The IMF has apologised over the last couple of years...

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/03/an-amazing-mea-culpa-from-the-imfs-chief-economist-on-austerity/

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-08/lagarde-says-imf-got-it-wrong-on-rallying-u-k-economy.html

      Sorry, not allowed HTML it seems :(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Economist stupidity and ingrown "development"

        "The IMF has apologised over the last couple of years..."

        Amazing. Simply...amazing.

        The IMF and World Bank have, what are considered, complete and utter failures in regards to Argentina and most of South America, plus Africa, to the point that countries are refusing IMF assistance, and NOW they apologize...for the SAME policy stupidity that Naomi Klein called them out for in The Shock Doctrine all the way back in 2007??

        "Give a business person a college degree, remove their brain for a lifetime" may be the new truism for economists and MBA's in the new millennium.

        1. ElectricRook
          WTF?

          Re: Economist stupidity and ingrown "development"

          "The IMF and World Bank have, what are considered, complete and utter failures in regards to . . . "

          In regards to whom? The poor of those irresponsible countries, or a handful of wealthy people who have profited from irresponsible economic behavior of the people/leaders.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Economist stupidity and ingrown "development"

            "In regards to whom?"

            Do you know ANYTHING of what you talk about?

            How about the IMF ITSELF

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3566699.stm

            as well as scholarly economist analysis

            https://www.google.com/search?q=argentina+imf+failure

            Please read up more on economic policy and IMF actions prior to commenting, especially when said commenting is an attempt to sound knowledgeable yet lay blame on the victims of poor policy.

            Thank you.

    3. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Economists

      Yes, quite often but usually in the graduate context, not in public. It is happening more often these days with the rapid dissemination of damaging information. Much harder to keep it swept under the rug now. About time.

      On a personal note, I've found it requires a Hell of a lot more effort than to simply admit a mistake early on, correct course, and move on. In either engineering and economics, it keeps the body count lower. (I've seen enough of those having done both.)

  8. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

    Hedging with words

    This article, and some others from Worstall, remind me of the legendary Professor Iffsen Butz, head of multidisciplinary studies at Vaguest County State College.

  9. bep

    Unfortunately

    "Tirole's biggest finding is that the correct answer is, as the correct answer so often is in economics, “it depends”. We need to look at the details of that specific market and see how changing regulation and oversight would actually impact upon current behaviour, before we can decide what, if anything, should be done."

    Since economics isn't a real empirical science no one can do that. You can estimate, predict or just guess, but you won't know until you try. You might then adjust the regulations if they aren't working as expected, but again you won't know the actual result of doing that until you actually do it. I'm not suggesting that all regulation is pointless, just that the basic premise of this particular argument is faulty.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    IT Angle

    so he's actually built a model you can make predictions on?

    Which raises the question if one wanted to compete with Google or Facebook what would work?

    Sounds quite intriguing actually as I've often wondered if there was theory behind these 2 sided markets (I didn't even know what they were called).

    Keep in mind any software IDE is also one of these. Delphi, Eclipse, MS Developer Studio (in alphabetical order) etc.

    So yes, quite clever stuff.

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