Intelligence

Student data as a commodity

Student data as a commodity: College Board, the New York-based non-profit that owns the SATs, is under fire for helping universities solicit applications to boost their statistics, reports The Wall Street Journal. College Board sells high school students’ data, including SAT scores, to universities, which in turn encourage students–many of whom don’t fit their criteria–to apply.

More from the WSJ: “That has helped schools inflate their applicant pools and rejection rates. Those rejection rates have amplified the perception of exclusivity that colleges are eager to reinforce, pushing students to invest more time and money in preparing for and retaking exams College Board sells.”

The SoftBank washout: SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund was part of a flood of money that washed over small businesses over the past decade. Contract workers were hired at rapid rates to compensate for anticipated growth, but have since been left hanging out to dry when many of these start-ups failed to make a profit, reports The New York Times

The issue of laying off contract workers who have little legal or financial recourse is not limited to SoftBank, but rather, representative of a phenomenon called “overcapitalization.”

Pondering the future of capitalism: In Branko Milanovic’s new book “Capitalism Alone,” the author outlines a taxonomy of capitalisms and traces their evolution from classical capitalism through the social-democratic capitalism of the mid-20th century, to “liberal meritocratic capitalism.” The Economist looks at the contrast he makes with the “political capitalism” found in many emerging countries.

Celebs on Wall Street?: A new law out of the SEC would let financial advisors use testimony from clients–including celebrity endorsements– publicly, according to The New York Times. The law hasn’t been changed since 1961; so why do the regulations suddenly need an overhaul?

“Besides being antiquated, they were clunky and nitpicky. For example, advisers have been reluctant to highlight specific past recommendations; that can be construed as forbidden under the existing rule,” writes the Times.

Economics and English: World-renown economist Robert Shiller is making the case for more English majors — a degree that many have regarded as antiquated or even useless. Why? Because the world needs more financial storytellers, he says. Check out our Account Manager Kerry Mullen’s take on the blog.