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Let’s talk about what the British bike bubble of more than a century ago has in common with the current craze for non-corrosive tokens, tech startups and electric vehicle companies .
We have been in the gold rush for more than 10 years which in some ways completely makes no sense. If and when the passion fades, people can lose a fortune. But all in all, tech freaks do some good. As my colleague Erin Griffith said: “Bubble, while mess, lead to progress. “
I recently spoke with William Quinn, a lecturer at Queen’s Belfast University and co-author of the book “Boom and Bust”, a history of the financial bubble that includes the stock market crash of the year. 1929 in the United States and the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
The book identifies three root conditions that exist in a bubble: Get a cheap loan or people save a lot of money. Buying and selling assets just got simpler, just like what’s happening now with stock trading apps including Robinhood. And there is the mentality that asset prices can only go up.
All of those conditions, as Griffith recently wrote in a fun and helpful article, are present. That’s part of the reason why we’re seeing the constant spikes in meme stocks like GameStop, the NFT hype and exciting IPOs including the one at Airbnb’s CEO. speechless.
But Quinn also told me that tech-related bubbles differ in aspects that are critical to other boom and bust cycles. For one, they don’t tend to ruin the world. “I’m not worried about the NFT causing the next financial crisis or anything like that,” he said.
Unlike the real estate market bubble, technology bubbles are not usually inflated by borrowed money, which can have a stratification effect. Speculative technologies are also often disconnected from the rest of the economy.
And, Quinn said, when the tech bubble bursts, they can leave something positive behind. Into the bike bubble.
The invention of the “safe” bicycle in the late 1800s was a revelation, and the basic design still exists today. We may not consider bicycles a technology, but it’s a significant innovation for relatively reliable and affordable transportation.
It also started the craze for British bike makers to list shares, their stock prices skyrocketing and then crash. What is left behind, Quinn says, are people and companies that, in some cases, have helped usher in new innovations in cars, motorcycles and road tires. Some cycling pioneers are still around.
Like the bike bubble, good things happened after the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s in the United States. Companies including Amazon are still alive and kicking. The bankrupt telecom companies left the useful and cheap internet pipes behind that made the online boom.
More recently, a crypto crash a few years ago made many more curious about the benefits of the promising underlying technology, such as blockchain.
“Bubble mania can be distracting,” says Griffith, but she added: ‘The point of many people in the tech and finance sectors is that frenzy or frenzy drives attention. encouragement, enthusiasm and talent to something new. “
I don’t want to overlook the harm of selling technology. When the bubble burst, people lost their jobs and, in some cases, all their savings. Quinn said that he believes regulators should do more to stop scammers from cheating people and leaving millions of dollars. Griffith says she worries that those who break the technology fads might become discouraged.
Quinn said he believes that bubbles, which were relatively rare between the 1920s and 1980s, are happening more often. Money and information travel quickly around the world, helping to save fuel. Bubbles can be a fixture of modern life – with all the potential harms and benefits that go with them.
Tips of the week
How to get cheap flight tickets
When many of us prepare for When will it be safe to fly, the New York Times consumer technology columnist Brian X. Chen Tell us how to save money on airline tickets with his favorite fare prediction app.
If you are like me and want to go some where, might be a great time to start hunting for travel deals – even if you don’t plan on traveling until winter because of the… pandemic.
There are nifty applications that use algorithms to predict when airfare will drop. I recorded some remarkable deals, saving hundreds of dollars on flights to Hawaii, New York and Taiwan. These algorithms may be a little less reliable in such an unpredictable year, but are still worth checking out.
My favorite app for saving on flights is Hopper. The free app on iOS and Android allows people to subscribe to price alerts, suggest whether to buy an airline ticket now, or wait for a discount for your destination. (Hopper also tracks hotel and car rental prices, though I haven’t used those features yet.)
Here’s how to use the Hopper app:
Choose your favorite travel date. Hopper will show you a color-coded calendar, with green dates showing the least expensive flight dates and red for the highest prices. You can only choose to see fares for direct flights.
Sit back and wait for advice: After you choose the travel date, Hopper will send a notice suggesting to buy tickets now or wait for the discount. I tend to see Hopper’s flight announcements and then buy tickets directly through the airline.
(Be aware that when a large number of flights were canceled during the pandemic, Hopper was overwhelmed with complaints from people who booked tickets through the app and had trouble getting help.)
Before we go …
Response against Amazon’s controlling zeal: Companies need to reduce labor costs and increase productivity, which is why Amazon measures every living moment of workers, wrote my colleague David Streitfeld. Opposition against Amazon’s desire to control is showing in warehouse workers, congressional oversight, the attention of the labor regulator, and tweets about bathroom breaks.
The app filter could be a real social experiment on girls: The MIT Technology Review looks at the risks of app features that “beautify” people’s looks by removing dark spots, changing eye color, and recoloring faces and bodies. Some of these filters can be playful and helpful, but some researchers and teenagers worry that it distorts the self-image of women and girls.
When Facebook is the local news channel: A Facebook group dedicated to local information in and around Beaver County, Pa., Helps spread news about potholes, business closures and theft. But NBC News wrote that the police had to intervene to dispel the group’s exaggerations and falsehoods, including false rumors of an unnecessary killer that scared residents and tied up criminals. officer.
La Verne Ford Wimberly, an 82-year-old woman in Tulsa, Okla., Dressed her best on her Sunday every week to go to virtual church service. Her Facebook selfies of colorful outfits (including hat!) Made her a star.
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