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Bill Gates writes on Gates Notes: The Blog of Bill Gates that when he entered Harvard in 1973, the drawing below "was basically how the global economy worked."

From Gates Notes: The Blog of Bill Gates

The big picture: "There are two assumptions you can make based on this chart. The first is still more or less true today: as demand for a product goes up, supply increases, and price goes down. If the price gets too high, demand falls. The sweet spot where the two lines intersect is called equilibrium. ... Everyone wins."

  • "The second assumption this chart makes is that the total cost of production increases as supply increases. ... Software doesn’t work like this. Microsoft might spend a lot of money to develop the first unit of a new program, but every unit after that is virtually free to produce."

Why it matters: "The portion of the world's economy that doesn't fit the old model just keeps getting larger."

  • "That has major implications for everything from tax law to economic policy to which cities thrive and which cities fall behind."
  • "[T]he rules that govern the economy haven’t kept up. This is one of the biggest trends in the global economy that isn’t getting enough attention."

"If you want to understand why this matters, the brilliant new book Capitalism Without Capital by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake is about as good an explanation as I’ve seen."

  • "What the book reinforced for me is that lawmakers need to adjust their economic policymaking to reflect these new realities."

Be smart: "Measurement isn’t the only area where we’re falling behind — there are a number of big questions that lots of countries should be debating right now."

  • "Are trademark and patent laws too strict or too generous? Does competition policy need to be updated? How, if at all, should taxation policies change? What is the best way to stimulate an economy in a world where capitalism happens without the capital?"
  • "We need really smart thinkers and brilliant economists digging into all of these questions."

Go deeper

10 mins ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport when the gang abducted them in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro. Security forces placed six U.S. oil executives under house arrest later Saturday, per AP.

Kenosha shooting lawsuit accuses police of coordinating with militia

Police and protesters confront in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse on Aug. 25, 2020. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The only survivor of a fatal shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests last year has accused law enforcement in a lawsuit of conspiring with a "band of white nationalist vigilantes," the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Of note: Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, is due to stand trial on Nov. 1, accused of wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, who filed the suit, and killing two other people protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 25, 2020. He's pleaded not guilty to charges including homicide and attempted homicide and maintains he fired in self-defense.