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10/01/2011

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Alvin

Judge Posner,

Thanks for the recent opinion explaining contract and non-contractual indemnification, including the interplay between indemnification and subrogation. I work as an attorney in the GC's Office for a large organization that has a federal side and a private side. Indemnification or Insurance law in general is a big deal for us. I'm going to share your insights at our next attorney's meeting.

You and Judge Easterbrook are the only judges that offer practical guidance and real-world examples to attorneys in your opinions (and during oral arguments). I also love you when you discuss the law and present hypotheticals during oral argument.

On occasion we deal with FOIA requests. You recently sat in on the panel that heard the Chicago Tribune v. Univ of Illinois case. I hope you write that opinion and explain the contours between federal FOIA, privacy and compliance with laws such as FERPA (and regulations from other federal agencies).

Thanks.

ronnie ware

please read bad samaritans and 23 things they don't tell you about capitalism by ha-joon chang who teaches in the faculty of economics at the university of cambridge. also read thinking about capitalism(the great courses, by the teaching company) by professor jerry z. muller. please expound more on "the position one occupies in the distribution of income and health is largely a matter of luck, the luck of the genes, the social and economic", etc. thank you.

GG

Please please please write something on the al-Awlaki killing.

Chuck Matthews, SPHR

Gentlemen,

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Enjoy your well-deserved break!

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It is nice to know this. Thanks for the time and effort. It is well appreciated. More to come.

Jack

This seems a topical article for consideration:

Something’s Happening Here

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
When you see spontaneous social protests erupting from Tunisia to Tel Aviv to Wall Street it’s clear that something is happening globally that needs defining. There are two unified theories out there that intrigue me. One says this is the start of “The Great Disruption.” The other says that this is all part of “The Big Shift.” You decide.

Paul Gilding, the Australian environmentalist and author of the book “The Great Disruption,” argues that these demonstrations are a sign that the current growth-obsessed capitalist system is reaching its financial and ecological limits. “I look at the world as an integrated system, so I don’t see these protests, or the debt crisis, or inequality, or the economy, or the climate going weird, in isolation — I see our system in the painful process of breaking down,” which is what he means by the Great Disruption, said Gilding. “Our system of economic growth, of ineffective democracy, of overloading planet earth — our system — is eating itself alive. Occupy Wall Street is like the kid in the fairy story saying what everyone knows but is afraid to say: the emperor has no clothes. The system is broken. Think about the promise of global market capitalism. If we let the system work, if we let the rich get richer, if we let corporations focus on profit, if we let pollution go unpriced and unchecked, then we will all be better off. It may not be equally distributed, but the poor will get less poor, those who work hard will get jobs, those who study hard will get better jobs and we’ll have enough wealth to fix the environment.

“What we now have — most extremely in the U.S. but pretty much everywhere — is the mother of all broken promises,” Gilding adds. “Yes, the rich are getting richer and the corporations are making profits — with their executives richly rewarded. But, meanwhile, the people are getting worse off — drowning in housing debt and/or tuition debt — many who worked hard are unemployed; many who studied hard are unable to get good work; the environment is getting more and more damaged; and people are realizing their kids will be even worse off than they are. This particular round of protests may build or may not, but what will not go away is the broad coalition of those to whom the system lied and who have now woken up. It’s not just the environmentalists, or the poor, or the unemployed. It’s most people, including the highly educated middle class, who are feeling the results of a system that saw all the growth of the last three decades go to the top 1 percent.”

Not so fast, says John Hagel III, who is the co-chairman of the Center for the Edge at Deloitte, along with John Seely Brown. In their recent book, “The Power of Pull,” they suggest that we’re in the early stages of a “Big Shift,” precipitated by the merging of globalization and the Information Technology Revolution. In the early stages, we experience this Big Shift as mounting pressure, deteriorating performance and growing stress because we continue to operate with institutions and practices that are increasingly dysfunctional — so the eruption of protest movements is no surprise.

Yet, the Big Shift also unleashes a huge global flow of ideas, innovations, new collaborative possibilities and new market opportunities. This flow is constantly getting richer and faster. Today, they argue, tapping the global flow becomes the key to productivity, growth and prosperity. But to tap this flow effectively, every country, company and individual needs to be constantly growing their talents.

“We are living in a world where flow will prevail and topple any obstacles in its way,” says Hagel. “As flow gains momentum, it undermines the precious knowledge stocks that in the past gave us security and wealth. It calls on us to learn faster by working together and to pull out of ourselves more of our true potential, both individually and collectively. It excites us with the possibilities that can only be realized by participating in a broader range of flows. That is the essence of the Big Shift.”

Yes, corporations now have access to more cheap software, robots, automation, labor and genius than ever. So holding a job takes more talent. But the flip side is that individuals — individuals — anywhere can now access the flow to take online courses at Stanford from a village in Africa, to start a new company with customers everywhere or to collaborate with people anywhere. We have more big problems than ever and more problem-solvers than ever.

So there you have it: Two master narratives — one threat-based, one opportunity-based, but both involving seismic changes. Gilding is actually an optimist at heart. He believes that while the Great Disruption is inevitable, humanity is best in a crisis, and, once it all hits, we will rise to the occasion and produce transformational economic and social change (using tools of the Big Shift). Hagel is also an optimist. He knows the Great Disruption may be barreling down on us, but he believes that the Big Shift has also created a world where more people than ever have the tools, talents and potential to head it off. My heart is with Hagel, but my head says that you ignore Gilding at your peril.

You decide.

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I'm looking forward to seeing your updates.

TANSTAAFL

One hopes Becker and Posner resume blogging soon. Maybe some views on the bizarre "Occupy Wall Street" movement?

Jack

Tans, if you need help understand the frustration over our nation, and many others, having been greatly damaged by the WS thieves I may be of more help than they who appear to be having a tough time focusing their well justified wrath.

TANSTAAFL

Jack, thanks but no thanks. In America it is possible to outgrow envy for others.

Jack

Tans? "Envy?" Aren't we talking policy here and how to rescue what remains of our once strong economy replete with, (higher tax rates) and a balanced budget? Even a surplus worrisome to Gspn who wondered how we'd possibly price our T-bonds were there none out there to go by?

I guessing you've not looked over the graphs depicting what happened to the "rising tide" once expected to lift ALL of the boats; perhaps this would be a good time to do so?
http://lanekenworthy.net/2008/03/09/the-best-inequality-graph/

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