The Baffler,  May 17, 2016

Daily Bafflements

Power, rents, profit



• Matthew Sweet traces the history of research into whether power corrupts, starting in 1870. It’s fascinating, running the gamut from Piritim Sorokin’s view that “the ruling groups are more talented intellectually and more deranged mentally than the ruled population,” to Sweet’s own contention that “It may be that rich people are better at disguising their true nature than poor people.”

• Who’s looking out for the landlords? That was, we presume, the burning question that prompted new app Rentberry. Surprisingly, Rentberry is not a platform that enables you to mash up fruit in your mouth and spit it out for the next idiot—instead it asks San Francisco homeseekers to bid on properties, eBay-style: 

Tenants would be able to see how many people are competing for the property and what the highest offer currently is. They can make multiple offers before the bidding ends, but landlords would not be compelled to accept the highest bid. For example, they might consider a higher-quality bidder with a lower offer more suitable.

 Sound ominous? Not to landlords. According to CEO Alex Lubinsky: “Property managers, who naturally are looking to expand their cut while enhancing rents for their owners, have been especially receptive to Rentberry.” 

• “Stuff For-Profit College Executives Say.”

You Might Also Enjoy

Conflict Irresolution

Tom Carson

The Battle of Algiers tells us something this world’s Glenn Greenwalds don’t want to hear: torture works.

word factory

Baffler Newsletter

new email subscribers receive a digital copy of our current issue.

Further Reading

 April 18

The truth is that while tech giants act with an authoritarian indifference toward their citizen-consumers, it’s increasingly important they are seen as liberal.

 April 17

Once it became clear that his congressional interrogation would have all the intensity of a flogging with wet lettuce, Facebook founder. . .