😎️ Happy Friday! Hope you are ready for a nice weekend! In this edition of S3T:
- Macroeconomics: COP 28 climate summit shows the Big Oil Addiction will be hard to break. The Fed pauses hikes, economists continue to question what the hikes accomplished.
- Emerging Tech: Big Tech companies have learned how to leverage market power to run legal monopolies. Women are becoming more prominent in Angel Investing.
- Nature Notes: Cold weather moths thrive in surprisingly cool conditions.
- Special Change Leadership Feature on Effective Collaboration: simple shifts in our thinking can lead to extraordinary changes in teamwork and innovation
🔊 Listen to this edition on the S3T Podcast (and forward to a friend!)
🛢️COP 28 shows the Big Oil Addiction will be hard to break
COP28 closed this week with a press release claiming "the beginning of the end" of the fossil fuel era.
Negotiations at COP28 - the UN's annual climate summit went into overtime this week as representatives argued about the goal of phasing out fossil fuels. Fossil fuel advocates turned out in force this year, prompting some to ask whether COP is still a climate summit or an oil industry trade show?
Sultan Al Jaber retracted statements he made at the COP 28 meeting after he - as the COP 28 President no less - claimed "there is ‘no science’ behind demands for phase-out of fossil fuels."
COP - or Conference of the Parties - is the UN gathering that established the Paris Agreement and continues to mobilize international action on climate. Some observers worry the oil industry is learning how to influence COP 28 to slow the transition away from fossil fuels.
Still it's amazing to me that the prospect of fossil fuel phase-down and phase-out is being openly discussed in a forum that includes oil executives. Such a thing was not believed possible just a few years back. COP28's claim that this is the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era is not backed by an clear execution plan or timeline. But at the same time, it is driving the conversation, and forcing oil companies to reposition themselves as energy companies. See BP's Reimagining Energy for an example.
How to break the big oil addition:
Strategy for speeding the transition to clean energy is no mystery: Create clean energy jobs that are safer, pay better and have better benefits, and do so in the specific areas where "dirty energy" workers are employed. They'll make the transition themselves. Kentucky has twice as many clean energy workers as coal miners as of 2018. Employees are not likely to stay in poorer paying jobs when better paying jobs are available.
- 2023 US Energy and Employment Report: Clean energy jobs grew at 3.8% - higher than overall economy job growth of 3.1%.
- Considering a clean energy or environmental job? Start exploring clean energy career paths at Terra.do.
📈️ Macro: Inflation Games
This week, on Wednesday, the Fed met for the final time in 2023, on the heels of higher than expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) data, but decided not to raise rates any further, and dropped hints of rate cuts in 2024. The stock market closed above 37k for the first time ever.
Karl Smith questions whether the rate hikes actually contributed at all to the slow down in inflation. This aligns to another set of economists view as noted in a recent edition of S3T: the Fed's rate hikes didn't help - they made things worse.
Background (for paid memberships) Inflation perspectives: Why 2020s inflation is different thanks to 3 drivers.
"Market Power" is one of the sources of inflation we see, as discussed in the next section.
🧐️ Emerging Tech
Big Tech's Market Power
Big Tech companies have learned how to leverage market power to run legal monopolies. This in turn has an inflationary effect on prices.
Mordecai Kurz explores how big tech brands - a category of super-monopolies not envisioned in classic economic frameworks - use market power to overcome the constraints that free market competition should normally impose.
These companies resort to a playbook that allows them to grow and maintain their market power. A few of the proven tactics:
- Frequent technology updates
- Acquisition of competitors
- Creation of inter-dependent ecosystems that force lock-in and additional purchases, or force newcomers into feudal serfdom (Apple store for example?).
Despite a muddled line of reasoning around Apple's dominance, the article above (and the book it summarizes) makes an important contribution to better understanding of our modern economy.
Kurz accurately brings into focus a new kind of power that has emerged: Market Power. By crystallizing this new power and its uses, Kurz delivers insights worth factoring into economic plans and policies going forward. We are no longer in an economic era where simplistic notions like "free market!" offer effective leverage for desired outcomes.
Millennial Women as Angel Investors in Tech Startups
37% of Angel Investors are now women per research from the University of New Hampshire's Center for Venture Research. Women - especially the millennial cohort - are embracing angel investing at higher rates than ever.
❄️ Nature Notes: Cold Weather Moths and Butterflies
We think of Moths and Butterflies as citizens of summer, but did you know that there are hardy cold weather species as well? Here are a couple photos I took recently in November. I was surprised to find these visiting the remnants of a flower bed near the shops at Saxapahaw, NC.
See also: Guide to Winter Moths of the UK - Learn about the December Moth, The Herald Moth and more.
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About the Cover Image
Dalle-3 Image showing the earth being suffocated by a boa constrictor representing the world's fossil fuel companies (whose logos are depicted in its skin patterns.
Prompt: The planet Earth is seen suspended in space. A giant boa constrictor is coiled around the earth, squeezing it. The boa constrictor's skin pattern utilizes the logos of leading oil companies (Dalle3 refused to put recognizable oil company brands in the drawing - let's use our imaginations...).
Opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not reflect the official positions of companies or organizations those individuals may be affiliated with. Not financial advice. Authors or guests may hold assets discussed.
Special Feature for Paying Members
Effective Collaboration: Overcoming Mental Barriers and Embracing Team Success
Discover how simple shifts in our thinking can lead to extraordinary changes in teamwork and innovation. Don't miss this chance to turn thoughts into action for positive change!
Can you think of an example of really effective collaboration?
We talk a lot about collaboration, but effective collaboration doesn’t happen as often as we would like. We often stop collaboration from happening without realizing it.