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 -
Hatred and Profits: Getting Under the Hood of the Ku Klux Klan
(50 page pdf).
, of freakonomics fame, along with Roland Fryer
, has just released a new academic paper that assesses the rise and fall of the KKK from a variety of perspectives.
From one of the authors ...It details the rise and fall of the Klan in the 1920s. Incredibly, the Klan had millions of members at that time, and most of them were reasonably well-educated. Based on a variety of data sources, we argue that, despite its size and education levels, the group nevertheless had little measurable impact on society or politics...
posted by jourman2
on Sep 18, 2007 -
"Here is what makes the rise of supply-side ideology even more baffling. One might expect that a radical ideology that successfully passed itself off as a sophisticated new doctrine would at least have the benefit of smooth, reassuring, intellectual front men, men whose very bearing could attest to the new doctrine's eminent good sense and mainstream bona fides. Yet, if you look at its two most eminent authors, good sense is not the impression you get. Let me put this delicately. No, on second thought, let me put it straightforwardly: They are deranged." Feast of the Wingnuts
- How economic crackpots devoured American politics, by Jonathan Chait. Counterlink: Arthur B. Laffer explains his curve
posted by Kattullus
on Sep 5, 2007 -
Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal
by Joel Salatin. This Saturday will mark this article's four year anniversary. Frankly, I was mildly surprised not to have found it mentioned before in MeFi. It's a good read about a sad state of affairs; how our government is turning its own people into outlaws, because freedom has been traded in for an illusion of security. ...but then we already knew that. Don't we?
posted by ZachsMind
on Aug 29, 2007 -
Constitutional Showdowns. Eric Posner
and Adrian Vermeule
analyze constitutional showdowns, ask what rate and level of showdowns would be socially optimal, and ask whether socially optimal showdowns will be supplied by government institutions acting to promote their policy preferences and institutional interests.
posted by dios
on Aug 10, 2007 -
The Happy Planet Index
presents an alternative to GDP for measuring standard of living. It ranks countries by measuring life expectancy and self-reported life satisfaction against an "ecological footprint" needed to support that country's lifestyle. The press release
claims that well-being is not based on high levels of consumption, but many don't agree
. Full report in PDF here
. Vanuatu tops the charts, while Zimbabwe and Swaziland lie at bottom. Critiques here
, and here
. A critique of happiness indices generally here.
posted by shivohum
on Jun 3, 2007 -
Environmentalism, globalization and national economies, 1980-2000
in Social Forces
, Dec 06] Triple-punch! (1) "We find no impact of environmentalism on foreign investment and trade. Firms and investment do not appear to be fleeing countries with strong environmental standards." (2) "While it is common to assume that environmentalism targets industry, the agricultural sector may be [negatively] affected more significantly." (2) "[S]ociologists influenced by world-system theory [posit that] the relationship between environmentalism and growth could be spurious: environmentalism does not cause growth, but rather coincides with the economic success of core nations. However, broader results do not support this."
posted by Firas
on May 19, 2007 -
"The church of global free trade, which rules American politics with infallible pretensions, may have finally met its Martin Luther."
A thorough summary in The Nation of the brilliant but ignored Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests
by Ralph Gomory
, former IBM Senior Vice President for Science and winner of the National Medal of Science. His heresy? Arguing, with supporting technical and economic data, that multinational corporations and their home countries have divergent interests in shipping skilled labor and advanced technologies overseas, and that this "divergence" is a net negative for the American economy and the American public. Globalization, he argues, has its losers, the United States paramount among them.
posted by Pastabagel
on Apr 20, 2007 -
Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.? (pdf)
We assemble a dataset on technology adoption in 1000 BC, 0 AD, and 1500 AD for the predecessors to today’s nation states. We find that this very old history of technology adoption is surprisingly significant for today’s national development outcomes. Although our strongest results are for 1500 A.D., we find that even technology as old as 1000 BC matters in some plausible specifications. (
posted by Kwantsar
on Feb 26, 2007 -
- "of an individual, business or nation is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual, business or nation"
posted by Gyan
on Jan 11, 2007 -
Clean water is a right:
"The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) published its annual report on human development
. It denounces the world's complacent disregard for such unglamorous subjects as standpipes, latrines and the 1.8m children who die each year from diarrhoea because the authorities cannot keep their drinking water separate from their faeces. The study
is both coldly analytical and angry..."
posted by kliuless
on Nov 24, 2006 -
The Harvard University Worklife Wizard
, created by an international team of journalists, economists, and statisticians, is Barbara Ehrenreich's wet dream. It's also a fantastic resource that has flown pretty much under everyone's radar. The Worklife Survey
drives the constantly-revised, constantly-refined Salary Comparison Tool
, which is always hungry for more data about employment from around the world. And when they say they want data from everyone, they mean it-- there's even a VIP Salary Checker that pits the wages of the Yankees against those of the Red Sox
. (Plus if you take the survey, you can apparently earn a chance to win a trip to South Africa). Personally, I love the Workplace Horror Stories
(and there's a competition there too). I can't look at a nail clipper the same way now.
posted by yellowcandy
on Nov 20, 2006 -
Milton Friedman has died.
One of the most famous economists to come out of the Chicago school
, his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom
was a straightforward challenge to the predominant Keynesian model
that government intervention was frequently necessary to prevent market failures, arguing instead that the way to true political freedom was through economic freedom. He was a devout monetarist
and although conventional wisdom conflates conservatism with laissez-faire economics, he described his own philosophy as liberal
in the Enlightenment sense of the word. His 1980 book Free to Choose
, written with his wife Rose in conjunction with the PBS series
of the same name, explained in layman's term his philosophy of how a truly free market works for the benefit of society.
posted by Doofus Magoo
on Nov 16, 2006 -