In the latter years of the second world war, the economist RA Radford was a prisoner of war. After the war ended, he wrote this
now well known (if you're an economist) article on the economic structures that emerged in the POW camps. (JSTOR link
) [more inside]
posted by pharm
on Jul 6, 2008 -
Women's rights: What's in it for men?
- "Women in rich countries largely enjoy gender equality while those in poor countries suffer substantial discrimination. This column proposes an explanation for the relationship between economic development and female empowerment that emphasises changes in the incentives males face rather than shifts in moral sentiment. Technological change that raises demand for human capital may give men a stake in women's rights." [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Jun 29, 2008 -
The Scholar Ship
, an international floating university stewarded by top universities in Morocco
, the United Kingdom
, and Ghana
, have temporarily suspended all voyages
due to lack of funds - mainly caused by the withdrawal of main sponsor and initiator Royal Caribbean International
. The program ran two voyages in 2007
before shutdown. Alumni and prospective students on Facebook
are busily sourcing options to revive the organization, while Semester at Sea is offering spaces
to students who were accepted for the now-cancelled voyages. [more inside]
posted by divabat
on Jun 14, 2008 -
The Phillips Machine
, also known as the Moniac
, is a early analog computer for economic modeling with an unusual twist: all of the computation is done by water flowing through its pipes. The flows represent taxes, income, and so on, and the chambers
represent balances held by various bodies. Floats attached to pens can provide graphical output such things as GDP and interest rates, and valves can be opened and shut to change the state of the system in real time. You can listen to a BBC radio segment
on the origin of Phillips machine, or see a demonstration
of one of the only extant working models at the University of Cambridge. [more inside]
posted by Upton O'Good
on May 24, 2008 -
I asked Nathan Myhrvold, C.E.O. of Intellectual Ventures and widely considered to be one of the smartest people in technology, if he is brilliant. "If you put yourself in that camp, you might be correct," he teased. "But then, you're also an asshole." The Brilliant Issue
profiles Porfolio's picks for best game-changers, upstarts, rebels, connectors and other influencers. [more inside]
posted by Non Prosequitur
on May 2, 2008 -
Odd Crop Prices Defy Economics.
For finance and economics geeks:
Could a drugstore sell two identical tubes of toothpaste, and charge 50 cents more for one of them? Of course not. But, in effect, exactly that has been happening, repeatedly and mysteriously, in trading that sets prices for corn, soybeans and wheat — three of America’s biggest crops and, lately, popular targets for investors pouring into the volatile commodities market.
The curious thing is that these price anomalies should be ripe for arbitrage. There should be no gap between the price of say, wheat in the cash market and the wheat futures contract on the day the contract expires.
posted by storybored
on Mar 30, 2008 -
Where no economist had gone before
. Paul Krugman posts a type-written paper on interstellar trade which he wrote as "an oppressed assistant professor" in the '70s. I do not propose to develop a theory which is universally valid, but it may at least have some galactic relevance.
posted by grobstein
on Mar 11, 2008 -
Some say economics is changing so radically that attention
is of more value than money or material wealth. If that's true, then should Paris Hilton and Britney Spears be considered role models? Must we each be stars
in order to be a success, to get anything achieved, or to gain even the slightest traction?
posted by kmartino
on Feb 28, 2008 -
"In a test
of the American Dream, Adam Shepard started life from scratch with the clothes on his back and twenty-five dollars. Ten months later, he had an apartment, a car, and a small savings." Introduction
to the book which arose from his "journey", which was inspired by Barbara Ehrenreich
. [more inside]
posted by Rumple
on Feb 15, 2008 -
Carmen Reinhart of the University of Maryland and Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University have compared the recent US subprime mortgage crisis with five downturns in industrialized economies in the past 30 years in their brief paper, Is the 2007 U.S. Sub-Prime Financial Crisis So Different?
(pdf). Their conclusion: “given the severity of most crisis indicators in the run-up to its 2007 financial crisis, the United States should consider itself quite fortunate if its downturn ends up being a relatively short and mild one.” Summarized, with some data and charts, here
posted by ibmcginty
on Feb 9, 2008 -
Waving Goodbye to Hegemony.
"Just a few years ago, America’s hold on global power seemed unshakable. But a lot has changed while we’ve been in Iraq — and the next president is going to be dealing with not only a triumphant China and a retooled Europe but also the quiet rise of a 'second world.'" [Via The Washington Note.]
posted by homunculus
on Jan 27, 2008 -
allows people to undertake commitment bonds: promises that they will do something (lose weight, quit smoking, etc.) or else forfeit a pre-determined amount of money to a charity. Either the honor system or a referee can be used to decide if the goal is met. The idea is related to Nobel prize-winner Thomas Schelling's concept of strategic precommitment
. More here
, and here
posted by shivohum
on Jan 18, 2008 -
Nitroeconomics (if you want to sound more scientific you can call it synthetic economics) is different. It is set in the virtual world of Nitropia, which doesn't exist but easily could....
We can use nitroeconomics to understand real situations in the real world, such as the subprime crisis, with a simple three-step process.... The first cool thing about Nitropia is that it has no financial system at all. Unlike other, inferior virtual economies, it does not distinguish between "money" and other virtual objects. A monetary token in Nitropia is an object like any other - a magic sword, an inflatable penis, or whatever. A player in Nitropia who has a lot of money just owns a lot of these tokens. There is no special, separate "bank balance." A[n Austrian-school] straightforward explanation of the present financial crisis (part 1) [more inside]
posted by orthogonality
on Jan 17, 2008 -
Moreover, based on the empirical distribution of height and wages, the optimal height tax is substantial: a tall person earning $50,000 should pay about $4,500 more in taxes
(pdf) than a short person earning the same income. Draw what inferences you will
posted by Pants!
on Dec 15, 2007 -
by James Surowiecki. "As TV writers hit the picket lines, Surowiecki discusses the motivations and consequences of labor strikes. Historically, he argues, strikes have rarely ended up benefiting workers; the deals reached are usually similar to offers on the table before workers walk out. So why strike? For one thing, he writes, striking may clarify how serious your employer is about his stated position. And strikes are often about fairness, rather than economics -- people tend to reject deals they view as unfair, even when doing so leaves them worse off. A cogent analysis offering some interesting, timely tidbits of economic theory." [via
posted by shotgunbooty
on Nov 13, 2007 -
The 2007 Frédéric Bastiat Prize
for Journalism has been awarded to Amit Varma (economics journalist for Mint
and writer of the interesting India Uncut
blog). Clive Crook (Atlantic
) was second. The Prize was developed to encourage, recognise and reward writers whose published works elucidate the institutions of the free society, including free trade, property rights, the rule of law, freedom of contract, free speech and limited government. [more inside]
posted by patricio
on Oct 31, 2007 -
Are you a young, college educated liberal who can't afford health care or a place to live? In his new book
, Daniel Brook
says you are getting screwed by being forced to choose between a job that you would actually like or selling out so you can have a middle class lifestyle.
posted by afu
on Sep 29, 2007 -