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The wisdom of Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger

“Academic Economics: Strengths and Faults After Considering Interdisciplinary Needs” (.pdf)
posted by Kwantsar on May 17, 2007 - 12 comments

Geek fight

Freaks and Geeks keeping it real. [TNR login=metafilter pwd=metafilter] In late March, New Republic columnist Noam Scheiber posted an article strongly criticizing, among other things, Chicago Economics Professor Steve Levitt's "cute and clever" approach to the dismal science, now famously known as Freakonomics. Levitt replied last week with a post of his own. And now, Scheiber has appears to want some more of this.
posted by psmealey on May 3, 2007 - 40 comments

Race in basketball

Are NBA referees racially biased when calling fouls? In a paper [PDF] released yesterday, economists Wolfers and Price claim that an all-white team would win two extra games over an 82-game season.
posted by Aloysius Bear on May 2, 2007 - 99 comments

"Divergence of Interests" is one way to put it.

"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 - 76 comments

2007 Reith Lectures

Over the next four weeks, Jeffrey Sachs will be giving the 2007 BBC Reith Lectures. Download [MP3] the first week's lecture ("Bursting at the Seams"), or subscribe [XML] to the podcast. Listen to the 1999-2006 lectures in full, or hear historic lecturers such as Bertrand Russell and J.K. Galbraith.
posted by Aloysius Bear on Apr 13, 2007 - 14 comments

Mind the gap. Wait, nevermind.

Income inequality continues to rise. Or maybe not.

Professors Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty and the Cato Institute's Alan Reynolds debate on how to measure[PDF] income inequality. Despite the ongoing debate, President Bush has decided, "The fact is that income inequality is real; it's been rising for more than 25 years."
posted by peeedro on Mar 30, 2007 - 81 comments

The Economics of Fat

Cheap Donuts and Expensive Broccoli: the Effect of Relative Prices on Obesity. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for the period 1982-1996, we find that individual BMI measures, as well as the likelihood of being overweight or obese, exhibit a statistically significant positive correlation with the prices of healthful relative to unhealthful foods.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Mar 27, 2007 - 61 comments

Leisure time study

I'm so glad I'M not an Alpha. Economists Mark Aguiar and Erik Hurst have published a study (pdf) saying that Americans have more leisure time now than they did in 1965. And that most of these gains have gone to the poor.
posted by Trochanter on Mar 12, 2007 - 65 comments

The Principles of Economics

The Principles of Economics by the Standup Economist A short, funny video that riffs on Mankiw's 10 Principles of Economics. Check out the hilarious proof that trade can make everyone worse off!!! The standup economist is Yoram Bauman.
posted by storybored on Mar 2, 2007 - 14 comments

Wealth of Nations

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. (via)
posted by Kwantsar on Feb 26, 2007 - 53 comments

Economics in One Lesson

The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.
Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt, is available online for all to peruse, and makes sobering reading for anyone who's ever fretted over the United States' $8.7tn national debt. Or if you prefer action to theory, you can always help your fellow citizens out by making a check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water on Jan 25, 2007 - 39 comments

Economic States

California = France? Norwegian bløgger Carl Størmer (via THE BIG PICTURE) made a U.S. map substituting the state names for other countries of equivalent GDP. Some of the substitutions are funny: Illinois = Mexico? Texas = Canada? New Jersey = Russia? Hawaii = Nigeria? Oregon = Israel? But your economic mileage will vary: apparently California no longer has the "sixth-largest economy in the world", no matter what The Governator says. Wikipedia chimes in, while some Californians don't want to be bothered with facts.
posted by wendell on Jan 16, 2007 - 39 comments

Worldwide GDP per Sq. Kilometer

GDP per square kilometer (jpg), via.
posted by jonson on Jan 13, 2007 - 31 comments

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button (So We Can Put Them in Jail)?

Permission to Innovate? How the Record Industry Is Like 17th-Century French Buttonmakers A corporate consultant blog makes a weird but compelling argument that the RIAA and MPAA are forcibly imposing a draconian 17th-century business model on the 21st century.
posted by jonp72 on Jan 13, 2007 - 45 comments

Water Footprint

Water footprint - "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 - 9 comments

The Trouble with Enron

Open Secrets - the trouble with Enron
posted by Gyan on Jan 2, 2007 - 68 comments

You can divide my labour, anytime

Harvard Economists design a recruitment video. It is unintentionally funny. Students make it even funnier.
posted by Alex404 on Dec 14, 2006 - 18 comments

Big riches

"There are several factors which determine the value of stone money. The first is the number of human lives that were lost on the journey to bring the stone home..." The giant stone coins of Yap were used for hundreds of years before the island experienced inflation of the most literal kind due to the entrepreneurship of a shipwrecked American fugitive. Today, the Yap islanders are trying to save their currency, as well as their caste system; while an economist at the Federal Reserve considers what Yap says about our money. [last link pdf, some html excerpts here]
posted by blahblahblah on Dec 9, 2006 - 22 comments

Human Development Report 2006

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 - 18 comments

Money, Derek Jeter, Nail Clippings & Apple Pie: Harvard's WorklifeWizard

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 - 26 comments

Milton Friedman dies at 94

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 - 123 comments

Breaking the Chain.

Breaking the Chain: The antitrust case against Wal-Mart. Barry C. Lynn argues Wal-Mart is a monopsony, and should be dealt with the same way A&P and Standard Oil were many years ago.
posted by chunking express on Nov 2, 2006 - 32 comments

If you drive a car, I'll tax the...gas?

Thomas Friedman:
The First Law of Petropolitics, in short, argues that the price of oil and the pace of freedom operate in an inverse correlation. As the price of oil goes up in what I call petroauthoritarian states—like Iran, Sudan, Venezuela—the pace of freedom goes down. These regimes can afford to be less responsive to their people and outside pressure. And as the price of oil goes down, the pace of freedom goes up because these regimes have to open up to the world if they want to deliver for their people, and they have to empower their people more.
But how to lower oil prices and help freedom on its proverbial march? Many, from Alan Greenspan to Andrew Sullivan to Ray Magliozzi from Car Talk think the answer may be to . . . raise the gas tax? The Pigou Club is an ever-updated list of economists, politicians and others who have advocated Pigouvian (or is it Pigovian?) taxes to not only lower oil prices, but reduce greenhouse gases, fix the federal deficit and strengthen our national security. Though some remain more than a little hesitant to jump on the bandwagon and others remain skeptical that the movement is anything more than "just talk," this could be an idea whose time has come, especially since the gas tax isn't as regressive one would think.
posted by joshuaconner on Oct 25, 2006 - 57 comments

Virtual Economies

As virtual worlds economic activity and populations grow, the importance of Real Money Trade comes to the fore. When does fraud inside game worlds become illegal? when do earnings from online worlds become taxable? [discussion], and what happens when real day traders get interested? [more inside]
posted by MetaMonkey on Oct 21, 2006 - 25 comments

"For their efforts to create economic and social development from below"

In 1976, a young Bangladeshi economics professor named Muhammad Yunus founded Grameen Bank to implement microcredit — lending small sums to the very poorest members of society. Today, he and his bank share the Nobel Peace prize. Grameen, a profit-making company with social objectives, has lent $5.3bn to 6.4m people. 97% of borrowers are women, as Yunus believes [video] "men will do whatever they could to enjoy for themselves personally [but] women looked at it for the children, for the family and for the future."
posted by matthewr on Oct 13, 2006 - 24 comments

What do you mean I can't pay my rent with this?

The Bitchun Society is now open for all of your Whuffie-market needs. Or cynical mocking, take your pick. Via (of course) BoingBoing. Can a brother get a ping? Confused?
posted by loquacious on Oct 6, 2006 - 58 comments

Miracles You’ll See In The Next Fifty Years

Miracles You’ll See In The Next Fifty Years (Feb, 1950)
Some more up-to-date predictions: science, invention, space travel, colonisation, immortality, water shortage, flooding, nanotech, techno-apocalypse, extinction, mental health, smart machines, robots, mind uploading, AI, Asia, economics, demographics, goverance, cities. What is your prediction?
posted by MetaMonkey on Oct 5, 2006 - 54 comments

the next debt bubble?

Plunging into the shadows: "In thinly traded, lightly regulated and untransparent markets, the bold can make an awful lot of money—and they can lose it on an even more extravagant scale... In today's caffeine-fuelled dealing rooms, a barely regulated private-equity group could very well borrow money from syndicates of private lenders, including hedge funds, to spend on taking public companies private. At each stage, risks can be converted into securities, sliced up, repackaged, sold on and sliced up again. The endless opportunities to write contracts on underlying debt instruments explains why the outstanding value of credit-derivatives contracts has rocketed to $26 trillion—$9 trillion more than six months ago, and seven times as much as in 2003."
posted by kliuless on Sep 24, 2006 - 27 comments

The Trouble with Foreign Aid

Foreign Aid: Can it work? The conundrum facing the rich countries is that everywhere in the developing world, and particularly in Africa, you see children dying for want of pennies, while it's equally obvious that aid often doesn't work very well....But the pitfalls of aid tend not to be discussed among humanitarians, at least in loud voices, for fear of scaring donors. And now along comes William Easterly, in his tremendously important and provocative new book, The White Man's Burden, which asserts with great force that the aid industry is deeply flawed.
posted by storybored on Sep 23, 2006 - 63 comments

A-Team Stands for Anarcho-Capitalism

A-Team Stands for Anarcho-Capitalism
posted by MetaMonkey on Sep 18, 2006 - 34 comments

Down with Labor AND Management!

As Labor Day 2006 winds to a close, America's long & twisted history with Organized Labor seems to never come to rest on any one side of the fence, opinion wise. While we hate the idea of the evil CEO crushing the employees underfoot, there's something profoundly un-American about bolshevikism. This excellent collection of political cartoons from Life Magazine from the early decades of the 20th Century explores both sides of the debate, reminding us at the end of the day that nobody loves a fat man.
posted by jonson on Sep 4, 2006 - 21 comments

Fair Price Energy: A market-based approach to America’s Energy Crisis

Fair Price Energy. One persons idea for a free market solution to the fossil fuel problem.
posted by stbalbach on Sep 2, 2006 - 46 comments

The ties that bind

The International Networks Archive is an effort by a group of sociologists to understand 2,000 years of globalization through mapping the network of transactions that link the world, rather than geography. The project is still ongoing, but you can see some of the results: an interactive map that uses travel time to visualize the world; a graphic of the growth of Starbucks and McDonalds; the distribution of government jobs (apparently the 3,412 postal inspectors can carry firearms); the cashflows of movies and tobacco; and, of course, the world at night. There is also access to a lot of detailed data, as well as more maps and information at the Mapping Globalization wiki.
posted by blahblahblah on Aug 22, 2006 - 5 comments

What Will Nauru Do?

Nauru was once a lovely place. Despite its small size and isolation, Nauru's story is one of monumental dimensions. Things have gotten pretty grim. But it looks like Naurans may get a reprieve of sorts. Will it be pretty?
posted by owhydididoit on Aug 13, 2006 - 17 comments

The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right and who is dead.

Game Theory at the movies. The Princess Bride demonstrates the use of common knowledge, Butch Cassidy laments pareto equilibrium, and Swingers is an example of pooling equilibrium. Though no longer on the site, you can still see the most involved rock, paper, scissors game ever filmed [.mov].
posted by blahblahblah on Jul 19, 2006 - 25 comments

Dr. Schelling's neighborhood

Dr. Schelling's neighborhood. Is segregation the holdover of a racist past or an inevitable result of simple mathematical processes? After you've read the theory, try it for yourself here, here & here. Dr. Thomas Schelling won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics for developing these ideas, but not everybody agrees that he deserved to.
posted by scalefree on Jul 9, 2006 - 31 comments

Suction is the female of movement and pressure is the male of movement.

"Lawsonomy is the knowledge of Life and everything pertaining thereto." The collected works of Alfred Lawson - professional baseball player, aviation pioneer, economist, scientist, theologist, and philosopher - are available to all. [more inside]
posted by UKnowForKids on Jul 6, 2006 - 6 comments

He's got the whole world...

Hans Rosling is on a mission (flash video). The founder of Gapminder (previously discussed here) gives an inspired talk about the third world, while turning statistics into beautiful graphics. Of course, the folks at Google are already all over this.
posted by neurodoc on Jun 29, 2006 - 15 comments

Hmmm.

Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution asks: "Assuming you start from a multi-dimensional global utility maximum, which Lancastrian characteristics—with non-trivial shadow prices—would you like more of in a corresponding unconstrained equilibrium?"
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jun 23, 2006 - 35 comments

Sports come with numbers

How valuable is your favorite sports star to his or her team? Sports economics take center stage as the NBA finals are underway in the United States and World Cup fever has gripped the rest of the world. Malcolm Gladwell reviews the Wages of Wins, where “Freakonomics meets ESPN”
posted by msali on Jun 13, 2006 - 16 comments

Gross? Yes. Dan Gross.

Daniel Gross, economics columnist for Slate, wrote on April 7 : "...if (Bush appoints) an A-list Wall Street CEO (for Treasury Secretary), I'll buy a copy of Dow 36,000 and eat the first chapter." Bush appointed Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson on May 30. Today, Gross makes good on the promise.
posted by suckerpunch on Jun 9, 2006 - 14 comments

Tuna, Esq.

The Tuna Court: Law and Norms in the World's Premier Fish Market. [more inside]
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jun 2, 2006 - 20 comments

Coming Soon to a Network Near You

The Wealth of Networks: the seminar. We've talked about The Wealth of Networks before. Now Crooked Timber is hosting a web seminar on the book & the ideas in it. How it works: a bunch of smart guys read the book & write essays on it, then post them for anyone to read & comment on. You can read them all together (PDF) or separately with comments: Norms and Networks, A General Theory of Information Politics, Why Do Social Networks Work?, Whose Networks? Whose Wealth?, Mediating the Social Contradiction of the Digital Age, The Dialectic of Technology & the author's response. And now you can join in too!
posted by scalefree on Jun 1, 2006 - 7 comments

Econ 101 videos

Econ 101. A collection of links to videos about economics for those who want to learn more about the dismal science.
posted by srboisvert on May 29, 2006 - 9 comments

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

Timeline of Trends and Events (1750 to 2100). Large image, lots of info. Via digg
posted by sourwookie on May 27, 2006 - 51 comments

I guess freedom ain't free.

Have your war and heat it too? As the war approaches the $350 billion mark, Cass Sunstein notes: "For the United States, the economic burden of the Iraq war is on the verge of exceeding the total anticipated burden of the Kyoto Protocol." Costs may rise as high as $10 trillion. At least we know it wasn't about oil: in a good year, Iraq makes about $14 billion on fossil fuels. (via)
posted by anotherpanacea on May 10, 2006 - 28 comments

Galbraith memorial thread

John Kenneth Galbraith, an influential and unorthodox economist, has died, at age 97.
posted by mr_roboto on Apr 29, 2006 - 47 comments

The Wealth of Networks

The Wealth of Networks. Yochai Benkler is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School. A few years ago he wrote one of the seminal papers on Commons-based production, Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm. Now he has a new book - The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. You can buy it, download it or add to it.
posted by scalefree on Apr 16, 2006 - 6 comments

Nudge instead of a push?

The avuncular state - "A smarter, softer kind of paternalism is coming into style"
posted by Gyan on Apr 12, 2006 - 9 comments

A review of Friedman's "The world is flat." (.pdf)

UCLA Economist Ed Leamer reviews Thomas Friedman's "The world is flat." (.pdf) When the Journal of Economic Literature asked me to write a review of The World is Flat... I shipped it overnight by UPS to India to have the work done. (via)
posted by Kwantsar on Apr 10, 2006 - 39 comments

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