Nice – a writable world by Terry Jones is a new database where anyone can add data – hence “a writable world”. Think of data being the underlying data and the meta data – in Terry’s world the two are dealt with the same way – an article and a rating, a film and a comment. Anyone can write to the database and if that data is public then anyone can search on it.

The big difference here is that the database does not have complex tables and schemas – any filds can be added and then searched upon. In a typical database the  developers have to design the schema to be able to anticipate what you will be adding or searching for.

Show me all the web articles that I have liked that my Facebook friends like? Facebook would need to update their database, expose this information through their custom API and then another developer would need to create a database of information ralating to your favourite articles  so that the search query could combine and search across the two sets of data. Data would sit in proprietary silos and our freedom to connect information would be limited to what was exposed via the applications various customer APIs.

Terry’s approach allows all applications to use the same API (Fluidinfo’s) and for us to search across this data in ways that don’t have to be anticipated in advance!

Sounds great – watch the video –

Quantitative easing – easy solutions won’t work!

Sorry to say but this one won’t work either. If the Government is a net purchaser of Government bonds (what they sell less what they buy is negative) then they are indeed increasing the cash available for purchasing other assets. Let us assume that the £75bn of Government purchases over the next few months does indeed result in a net inflow, what will happen to this cash? Will it indeed result in greater lending to consumers and corporates?

The problem is that there are too many ways that this cash can be employed without lending to consumers and corporates increasing. Government bonds are liquid – selling them is quick and easy. If the problem facing banks was that they needed to realise cash from liquid investments and couldn’t then this form of quantitative easing would solve the issue. Unfortunately the issue for banks is the extent of their non-liquid investments, so called level 2 and level 3 assets. Level 1 assets can always be sold and turned into cash.