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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb 26, 2014 / 26 Adar I, 5774

Being a successful entrepreneur and making your employees fabulously wealthy doesn't fulfill social contract

By Robert B. Reich


Little guy with big ideas?



This is NOT satire


JewishWorldReview.com | If you ever wonder what's fueling America's staggering inequality, ponder Facebook's acquisition of the mobile messaging company WhatsApp.

Facebook is buying WhatsApp for $19 billion. That's the highest price paid for a startup in history. It's $3 billion more than Facebook raised when it was first listed, and more than twice what Microsoft paid for Skype.

(To be precise, $12 billion of the $19 billion will be in the form of shares in Facebook, $4 billion will be in cash, and $3 billion in restricted stock to WhatsApp staff, which will vest in four years.)

Given that gargantuan amount, you might think WhatsApp is a big company. You'd be wrong. It has 55 employees, including its two founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton.

WhatsApp's value doesn't come from making anything. It doesn't need a large organization to distribute its services or implement its strategy. It doesn't require lots of people to assemble anything or sell anything or transport anything.

Its value comes instead from two other things that need only a handful of people. First is its technology -- a simple but powerful app that allows users to send and receive text, image, audio and video messages through the Internet. Second is its network effect: The more that people use it, the more other people want and need to use it in order to be connected. To that extent, it's like Facebook -- driven by connectivity.

WhatsApp's worldwide usage has more than doubled in the past nine months, to 450 million people -- and it's growing by around a million users every day. On December 31, 2013, it handled 54 billion messages (making its service more popular than Twitter, now valued at about $30 billion.)

How does it make money? The first year of usage is free. After that, customers pay a small fee. At the scale it's already achieved, even a small fee generates big bucks. And if it gets into advertising, it could reach more eyeballs than any other medium in history. It already has a database that could be mined in ways that reveal huge amounts of information about a significant percentage of the world's population.

The winners here are truly big winners. WhatsApp's 55 employees are now enormously rich. Its two founders are now billionaires. And the partners of the venture capital firm that financed it have also reaped a fortune.

And the rest of us? We're winners in the sense that we have an even more efficient way to connect with each other.

But we're not getting more jobs, and our wages are stuck.


In the emerging economy, there's no longer any correlation between the size of a customer base and the number of employees necessary to serve them.

In fact, the combination of digital technologies with huge network effects is pushing the ratio of employees to customers to new lows. (WhatsApp's 55 employees are all its 450 million customers need.)

Meanwhile, the ranks of postal workers, call-center operators, telephone installers, the people who lay and service miles of cable, and the millions of other communication workers are dwindling.

You find the same pattern elsewhere in the new economy. Retail workers are succumbing to Amazon, office clerks and secretaries to Microsoft, and librarians and encyclopedia editors to Google.

Productivity keeps growing, as do corporate profits. And as consumers we're getting great deals. This is all good.

But jobs and wages are not growing. In fact, despite the U.S. being in a recovery, the share of working-age Americans now in jobs is smaller than it's been in 35 years. And corporate profits now comprise the largest percent of the total economy, and wages the smallest, on record.

What's the answer? Not to become neo-Luddites and reject the mind-blowing new technologies that are transforming our lives.

Instead, we need to figure out how to bring productivity and profits back into line with jobs and wages -- or to spread the gains more widely. Otherwise, our economy cannot generate enough demand to sustain itself, and our society cannot maintain enough cohesion to keep us together.

Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies.


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© 2014, Robert Reich; distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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