Linklist: May 30, 2012

Reason: Lessons From the United Fruit Company – discusses the new book by Rich Cohen, The Fish That Ate The Whale: The Life And Times Of America’s Banana King.:

“There is the efficiency. Zemurray got started in the banana business by figuring out how to distribute ‘ripes,’ the freckled bananas that were thrown away as useless discards before Zemurray figured out the logistics of fast-moving rail distribution.”

[United Fruit was also one of the early investors in RCA, as they held key radio patents, which were crucial for banana distribution.]

NY Times: As Apps Move Into Cars, So Do More Distractions

[All the more reason to take the driver out of the loop]

Tim Lee @ Ars: Four signs America’s broadband policy is failing

[He discovers networks with high fixed costs are not inherently competitive]

Bryan Caplan @ Econlog: A Signaling Theory of Suboptimal Telecommuting, :

“A fascinating senior paper by Georgetown undergraduate Alexander Clark suggests that the answer is yes.  Clark’s story: Workers physically commute for signaling reasons.  Employers can monitor your productivity better when you actually come to the office.  Workers who telecommute put themselves on the slow track to success – if they can even get hired in the first place.  To bolster this thesis, Clark analyzes the American Time Use Survey using the employer learning-statistical discrimination (EL-SD) framework.  He finds that the labor market does indeed take longer to reward telecommuters for their hard-to-observe abilities.  “

[Not only does telecommuting signal sloth, there is at least one survey cited which shows telecommuters don’t work as many hours per day.]