Digital content and the new New Economy

The “digital revolution” appeared to have died when the “technology bubble popped,” says Paul Krugman in The New York Times. But it turns out that some of the theories of “the ‘90s technology gurus” just took a little time to reach fruition. One of these, from 1994, is the idea that when creative content—books, music, movies—becomes digital, it is disseminated so easily that businesses will have to sell it “cheaply, or even give it away.” Record labels discovered this, newspapers are struggling to, and book publishers are next. “Bit by bit, everything that can be digitized will be digitized,” and “we’ll have to find business and economic models that take this reality into account.”

The rational gas price point

The market is finding a way to “wean us off oil,” says Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post, and it turns out that “the price point is $4.” When gas is at $3 a gallon, “Americans just grin and bear it, suck it up,” and “keep driving like crazy.” At $4, they “become rational creatures,” driving less, buying smaller cars, and taking the bus. “So now we know.” The change in habits, while stunning, is “utterly predictable.” What happens at $6 gas, as Goldman Sachs predicts we’ll pay next year? Knowing the “utter futility” of the suggestion, if we want to reduce demand, bring down oil prices, and also benefit “the American consumer and the American economy,” let’s hike gas taxes and keep the extra $2 a gallon here.