You have put me in here a cub, but I will come out roaring like a lion, and I will make all hell howl! - Carry A. Nation
For the good of the nation, you won't be able to drink your favoured beer. At least, if the collection of middlemen monopolies called America's Beer Distributors and their lobby have much to say about it. [more inside]
Why Not a Negative Income Tax? "What kind of program could help protect every citizen from destitution without granting excessive power to bureaucrats, creating disincentives to work, and clogging up the free-market economy, as the modern welfare state has done? [Nobel-prize winning economist Milton] Friedman’s answer was the negative income tax, or NIT."
Via the Economist: the top twenty papers from 100 years of the American Economic Review. (This post is mostly pdfs.) [more inside]
We've had 2 economic super-cycles before. One from 1870 to 1913. Another from the end of World War II until 1973. Now we may be in the midst of another, this time the cycle is all about the emerging consumer class in Asia. [more inside]
"Towards a Sustainable Global Golden Age" (four youtube links) is a talk by Carlota Perez comparing the current revolution in information and communications technologies (ICT) to four prior technological revolutions. She argues that each revolution has started with a long phase of experimentation driven by finance, which leads to a financial bubble and subsequent crash. The short phase of recovery from the crash is followed by a long phase of consolidation driven by concrete productivity gains and government policy. She believes that NASDAQ was the crash in the ICT revolution, and that we are still in the recovery phase, partly because cheap oil and manufacturing labor facilitated a reemphasis on unskilled-labor- and energy-intensive means of production. She speculates on what may come out of the consolidation phase she hopes we're now entering. [more inside]
"Adbusters invites economics students around the world... to join the fight to revamp Econ 101 curriculums and challenge the endemic myopia of their tenured neoclassical profs." The gist of the Kick It Over Manifesto is largely environmental.
Trust, Coordination Technology* & The Experience Economy - "It could be that the nature of technological change isn't causing the slowdown** but a shift in values.*** It could be that in an industrial economy people develop a materialist mind-set and believe that improving their income is the same thing as improving their quality of life. But in an affluent information-driven world, people embrace the postmaterialist mind-set. They realize they can improve their quality of life without actually producing more wealth." (via mr) [more inside]
The Australian Government has committed to a price on carbon from 1 July 2012, prior to a likely full emissions trading scheme within three to five years. The Opposition are outraged, predicting a people's revolt. This should clearly define the next election.
Homelessness: Cutting out the middle men (Economist) "The most efficient way to spend money on the homeless might be to give it to them". [more inside]
“For a good blow job, a man will do just about anything. What can I do with that knowledge? I have no idea.”
How Tech Tools Transformed New York's Sex Trade is an article by Sudhir Venkatesh demonstrating the results from a survey of 290 sex workers in New York about financial matters. Venkatesh and Stephen Leavitt did a similar study in Chicago, posted to Metafilter previously. More information about Venkatesh's research on sex work on his website.
The show Empire on Al Jazeera collects experts on various subjects and holds a roundtable discussion. This week was Obama 2.0, on the President's first two years, with focus on foreign policy. Guests this week are Ralph Nader, Roger Hodge, Stefan Halper, and As'ad Abu Khalil. Earlier weeks include: [more inside]
"We've had revolution in Tunisia, Egypt's Mubarak is teetering; in Yemen, Jordan and Syria suddenly protests have appeared. In Ireland young techno-savvy professionals are agitating for a "Second Republic"; in France the youth from banlieues battled police on the streets to defend the retirement rights of 60-year olds; in Greece striking and rioting have become a national pastime. And in Britain we've had riots and student occupations that changed the political mood. What's going on? What's the wider social dynamic?"
Scott Adams suggests that if we assume that the solution to our fiscal problems is increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans, perhaps we should figure out how to make the taxation amenable to them... [more inside]
Over Christmas, Johnson & Johnson decided to stop carrying their popular brand of o.b. tampons. This elicited an immediate and frenzied response from women who used the product. Told that their tampon of choice was permanently discontinued, ladies took to eBay and other outlets to get the last few boxes. In a turnaround, however, J&J is now claiming they were experiencing a "temporary supply interruption". To everyone's relief, the product will soon be back in stores.
"The people who are constantly exasperated about the perfidy and sheer irrationality of the other side is the team that is in fact ill-informed."
Endogenize Ideology: Steve Waldman on the interplay between policy decisions and public opinion, in response to Krugman.
Hu Jintao, premier of China, is in the middle of his first state visit to the US, whose pomp and circumstance reflects China's growing economic stature and role in world affairs. Due to the linguistic and political differences between the US and China, few Americans know very much about Hu. Many of them will have had their first real look at him during an extended and surprisngly candid joint press conference held with President Obama and lasting well over an hour - something which never happens in China. Fears (or possibly hopes) of a trade war between the US and China a year ago have faded, and instead a trade deal involving $45 billion of American exports was announced, to mixed reactions. He was received less kindly by Congress, whose members expressed disquiet about everything from trade deficits to human rights and whose leaders declined to discuss matters over dinner - perhaps because they did not wish to be lost in the high-powered crowd of attendees. [more inside]
If It Were My Home lets you see in what ways your life might be different if you lived in another country.
Why we're still fighting yesterday's economic war Above all, like historians assessing the Maginot Line, we must avoid comforting ourselves with the judgment that the [financial] system's architects were naive and that therefore we might hope to do much better. Far more important is to be aware that defenses are vulnerable precisely where they are strongest and to be prepared to respond creatively and calmly when they fail, as they surely will again.
Interview with Gary Gorton (pdf) - Fascinating look at private institutional bank money creation (really) and subsequent run on the shadow banking system that hearkens back to the late-19th century banking crises with securitization playing the role of checking before the advent of deposit insurance. "Gorton is a lucid narrator of a complex tale." (via via)
Meet the new form of prison currency: Honey buns.
This is not satire. This appears to be a completely serious attempt to justify the extension of the Bush tax cuts by showing a "typical" family of 4 with no debt (other than a mortgage) struggling to get by on a quarter of a million dollars a year. They clearly can't afford to pay a couple thousand more in taxes. They can barely afford to send the kids to summer camp as it is.
"The rich are different than you and me." A new study out of the Harvard Business School suggests that frequent use of luxury goods and services may encourage a narrower, more self-interested view of the world. Here's a link to the report itself. (Achtung! it's a PDF.)
Employed by a startup? Working long hours for little pay but lots of stock options? When your company goes public you can finally realise the value of your options but what if the IPO is delayed or never happens? [more inside]
According to The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the US recession which started in December 2007 actually ended in June 2009. But unemployment (not to be confused with under-employment), always considered to be a lagging indicator, has continued to rise. [more inside]
Low on money, don't despair, before money there was barter and you can still barter! Bartering for space. Bartering for the use of a car. Bartering food for pints of beer. Bartering books you've read for books you haven't read. Bartering gifts you don't want for gifts you do want. Bartering for dental care. Bartering for baby sitters time. Bartering time on your couch for time on someone else's couch. Bartering time in your home for time in someone else's home. Bartering your UK Council flat for someone else's council flat. Time as a currency alternative. Time banks, bartering your free time for time money. A list of 101 US based timebanks. A timebank in New York. Timebanking in The UK. A bartering exchange. Another bartering exchange. And another bartering exchange.Yet another bartering exchange. A UK based bartering exchange. Obligatory tale of serial bartering: a paperclip for a house. Lest you think bartering is for small transactions only, China barters infrastructure for $9B worth of copper. All the BarterNews you'll need to keep abreast of the fast moving world of barter!
A new working paper entitled "The Effects of Same-Sex Marriage Laws on Public Health and Welfare" by economists Hugo Mialon, Andrew Francis and Handie Peng at Emory University finds that same-sex marriage bans reduced tolerance for gays and increased the MSM syphilis rate, perhaps by making monogamy less common. The authors also find that same-sex marriage bans tended to reduce tolerance for cohabiting sex, as well as reduced abortion and teen pregnancy, although these effects on teen pregnancy appeared to be very short-lived. They ultimately find no consistent evidence that same-sex marriage bans had any effect on marriage or divorce. A link to the paper can be found here, and a link to their legal appendix here. [more inside]
Right Wing astroturfing A non-scientific analysis of the patterns in forum board discussions on a variety of topics. The gist: discussions of issues in which there's money at stake (like climate change, public health and corporate tax avoidance) are often characterised by amazing levels of abuse and disruption by rightwing libertarians who are pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Discussions of issues in which there's little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilised than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions.
Burial & Flight I BEGAN THIS SERIES TEN YEARS AGO in rural Kenya. When I started photographing, I thought I was working on a localized story about how HIV was destroying African society. Over the years, as I broadened my travels to China and Mexico, I began to see similarities in the composition of villages wherever I went. Only later did I fully realize that the quiet moments I documented in the African bush, Mexican plains, and majestic Chinese mountains represented small pieces of a great shift.
Need a little political philosophy? Why not try this conversation on economics, the human person and democracy between conservative Catholic legal scholar Robert George and the always fascinating African-American studies professor and philosopher Cornel West? [more inside]
Giving What We Can is a movement founded by Toby Ord , a 31 year old Oxford academic on slightly more than average income who plans to give away a million pounds during his lifetime. [more inside]
What Do Econ 1 Students Need to Remember Most from the Course?
What Do Econ 1 Students Need to Remember Second Most from the Course? [more inside]
What Do Econ 1 Students Need to Remember Second Most from the Course? [more inside]
How much money do you make with that webcomic internet thing? Dorthy Gambrell of Cat And Girl Answers.
We know companies with a larger percentage of women directors show a higher incidence of "positive events"[ .pdf ], while "Women Matter" [ .pdf ], a 2007 McKinsey study found that adding Women to a company's board of directors improved ROE, EBIT and share price growth. A business case for including women on the board. [more inside]
"Are the American People Obsolete?" an essay by Michael Lind of the New America Foundation. [more inside]
In his easily digested and insightful summary of America's long term outlook, Bill Gross writes that we're all living in Billy Joel's Allentown now and that the easy solutions, as is often the case, aren't necessarily the right ones.
The City As Dominant Agent... Parag Khanna of the New America Foundation on the probable fall of the nation-state and the rise of the City, the obstacles facing it, the futures it could embrace, and what examples are out there. [more inside]
Per capita US spending on health care in 2008 exceeded $7500-- more than any other OECD nation, half again the spending of the runner-up [PDF], and double its spending in 1990. Why? Aaron Carroll of the Incidental Economist explains in 12 parts. [more inside]
Hans Rosling [previously, previously] compares the health and wealth of 200 countries over 200 years in 4 minutes using the best infographic ever. Interactive Flash version here.
A simple idea: take an ordinary savings account, but instead of paying interest to account holders, hold a lottery to see who gets the lump sum. Freakonomics Radio investigates Prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts (Part 1, Part 2), which combine two things that seem completely at odds with each other: saving money and gambling. In Highland Park, MI, PLS accounts have been very successful at converting "non-savers" into "savers". Why hasn't it caught on in the US? It's illegal in most states, of course.
SEED Magazine: Wealth of Nations: "Shared natural resources underpin the global economy, but our current economic system does not acknowledge their worth. Can a major new effort to assess the costs of biodiversity loss force a paradigm shift in what we value?" [more inside]
The Economics of Seinfeld strives to illustrate basic economic concepts using scenes from the famous sitcom. "Seinfeld ran for nine seasons on NBC and became famous as a “show about nothing". It is the simplicity of Seinfeld that makes it so appropriate for use in economics courses." [more inside]
China, Russia Quit the Dollar on bilateral trade. Are India and Brazil next? BRIC leaders aim for 'multipolar' world order.
What Good is Wall Street? Think of all the profits produced by businesses operating in the U.S. as a cake. Twenty-five years ago, the slice taken by financial firms was about a seventh of the whole. Last year, it was more than a quarter. (In 2006, at the peak of the boom, it was about a third.) In other words, during a period in which American companies have created iPhones, Home Depot, and Lipitor, the best place to work has been in an industry that doesn’t design, build, or sell a single tangible thing.
Ken Lay & Enron. Bernie Madoff. Bernie Ebbers & WorldCom. What is it about CEOs that makes them uniquely capable of pulling off the most audacious & expensive kind of white collar crime? Control Fraud Theory has the answer. Via the ever-enlightening Bruce Schneier.
A Superpower in Decline: Is the American Dream Over? Der Spiegel's take.
Winner-Take-All Politics [1,2] (PDF) - "The sources of American economic inequality are largely political – the result of deliberate political decisions to shape markets in ways that benefit the already-privileged at the expense of a more-or-less unaware public." (via bd) [more inside]
Is the rise of automation from computers software and robotics and web-fueled outsourcing leading to a shrinking middle class? MIT Economist David Autor thinks so. Good Magazine speculates on the implications for America's future.