Weeknote 3, 2023

§1: Market Research Tools vs. Academic Research Tools

I can’t entirely remember how I stumbled upon it, but this week I discovered the commercial transcription markup tool DoveTail and then Delve and it struck me how much more intuitive and polished these tools appear compared to the older academic standards of NVivo, ATLAS.ti, and MAXQDA.

Speaking of research tools, I was disappointed to learn this week that RStudio has partnered with Palantir.

§2: The Legal Layer that Enables Inequality

I can’t say that I listened to this entire 1.5 hour episode of The Ezra Klein show as I tapped out when the discussion spent too much time on the banking landscape of 2008 for my liking, but I did find the insights of legal scholar Katharina Pister as revelatory.

Book cover: line diagrams of boxes connected by lines

The Code of Capital:  How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequity

“Capitalism, it turns out, is more than just the exchange of goods in a market economy,” Katharina Pistor writes. “It is a market economy in which some assets are placed on legal steroids.”

Pistor is a professor of comparative law at Columbia Law School, the director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation at Columbia University and the author of “The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality.” In the book, Pistor argues that economic value isn’t just captured by markets; it is created by the legal system. An asset like a piece of land or a machine has some intrinsic value. But it is only when you graft legal attributes onto those assets — backed by the coercive power of the state — that they are transformed into wealth-generating capital.

The Code of Capital is available at The University of Windsor.

§3: Simple Opt Out

I love the byline for Simple Opt Out:

Opt out of all the data sharing you wouldn’t opt in to.

Hat-tip to Ann Friedman’s newsletter.