What is the value of time? This question was once a matter for philosophers such as Plato or Aristotle. Today economists claim to know the answer. The future, they say, is “discounted” because the value of having something or some amount of cash is greater than the value of having that same thing or amount of money a year from now.
The futurist Ray Kurzweil has famously predicted that humanity is approaching a “singularity,” a fateful moment when our technology becomes smarter than us and able to learn faster than we can, when it becomes the principal creator of new technologies and machines race far ahead of us. Humans may effectively fall out of the loop -- a species demoted, if not eliminated.
We know that inequality is on the rise around the world: The richest 1 percent command almost half the planet’s household wealth, while the poorest half have less than 1 percent. We know a lot less about why this is happening, and where it might lead.
Financial stocks subject to rules restricting short sales in France, Italy, Belgium and Spain have behaved about the same as banks in European countries with no such prohibitions, according to Instinet Inc.
Judging from the preponderance of his utterances, presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a classic Republican approach to financial regulation: Get government out of the way, because markets are inherently wise.