On the Theory of the Firm and the Economics of Bullshit Jobs

Brent Barron If you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you have a bullshit job. Bullshit jobs–as defined by a recent article in Strike! Magazine–are jobs that seem an awful lot like they might have been created just to keep people busy now that we’ve automated the ability to actually make things: “We have seen…

Gamification and Public Policy

Brent Barron Policy professionals had better start getting used to playing games. Not because we’re dour individuals in need of some fun (although maybe we are a bit dour: federal layoff fears led to less Christmas spending spirit in Ottawa), but because games and friendly competition have the power to seriously change how people behave….

Tubes and Television: The Usage-Based Billing Debate

For those that missed the usage-based billing (UBB) controversy, here’s the thirty second rundown: Because of the natural monopoly nature of telecommunications service, Bell is required to sell use of its internet services to small Internet service providers (ISPs) who then resell the service to consumers A few years ago, Bell and Rogers began introducing…

Upcoming Submission Deadlines

Submissions for the PPGR are due February 15, 2011. The PPGR is currently accepting: Academic articles Reports from the field (conferences and policy events) Reviews of books, documentaries, or films with policy implications Policy recommendations, opinions, and arguments Entries for the $1000 Ostry Prize are due March 1, 2011. This year’s essay topic is “Opening…

Data and Visualization: Ontario Salary Disclosure

(Disclaimer: The “Sector” and “Organization type” categories are not part of the original Government of Ontario dataset, I added them. There might be errors, and if there are, it’s my fault and not that of the Ontario Public Service. Use at your own risk.) I’ve written before about how important I think visual presentations of information…

The Academy and the Training Centre

The nice thing about having done an undergraduate degree in a media/cultural studies department is that alumni on Facebook ensure that you will never be uninformed about labour conflicts. For the past few weeks I’ve been receiving almost minute-by-minute updates regarding the dispute between the University of Western Ontario’s faculty and its administration. This was quite a…