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Scarcity - "More noms plz."

The concept of "Nom Nom Nom" is central to EcoNomNomNomics.
posted by Phire on Jan 9, 2011 - 26 comments

Diss capital

Paul Mason interviews Karl Marx
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 9, 2011 - 30 comments

Down and Out on $250,000 a Year

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.
posted by COD on Jan 5, 2011 - 314 comments

The Luxury Prime

"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.)
posted by saulgoodman on Jan 5, 2011 - 72 comments

Unlocking money in pre-IPO companies

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]
posted by Mutant on Jan 3, 2011 - 32 comments

So that recession is over - really?

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]
posted by Mutant on Dec 29, 2010 - 19 comments

I got what you want and you got what I want lets trade!

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!
posted by Mutant on Dec 26, 2010 - 22 comments

The Effect of Legalized Same-Sex Unions on Divorce, Marriage and STI Risk Behaviors

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]
posted by scunning on Dec 23, 2010 - 38 comments

These astroturf libertarians are the real threat to internet democracy

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.
posted by novenator on Dec 20, 2010 - 79 comments

The hollowing out of the countryside

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.
posted by metagnathous on Dec 17, 2010 - 5 comments

Irreducible Human Dignity

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]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Dec 15, 2010 - 8 comments

Giving What We Can

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]
posted by philipy on Dec 13, 2010 - 52 comments

Brad DeLong explains economics

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]
posted by kliuless on Dec 12, 2010 - 101 comments

The Economics Of Art

How much money do you make with that webcomic internet thing? Dorthy Gambrell of Cat And Girl Answers.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 10, 2010 - 48 comments

Board diversity by the basics: the bottom line about getting women into CXO roles

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]
posted by Mutant on Dec 10, 2010 - 16 comments

All that is solid melts into air...

"Are the American People Obsolete?" an essay by Michael Lind of the New America Foundation. [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 on Dec 10, 2010 - 45 comments

Bill Gross' Investment Outlook

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.
posted by jimmymcvee on Dec 8, 2010 - 56 comments

They Are All Failed States

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]
posted by artof.mulata on Dec 6, 2010 - 21 comments

Getting what we pay for

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]
posted by nathan v on Dec 3, 2010 - 41 comments

BBC - Hans Rosling - The Joy of Stats

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.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Dec 2, 2010 - 36 comments

The "No-Lose" Lottery

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.
posted by Jonathan Harford on Dec 2, 2010 - 33 comments

Defining Wealth

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]
posted by zarq on Nov 30, 2010 - 10 comments

Yada Yada Yada

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]
posted by Phire on Nov 26, 2010 - 40 comments

Begun the currency wars have.

China, Russia Quit the Dollar on bilateral trade. Are India and Brazil next? BRIC leaders aim for 'multipolar' world order.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Nov 24, 2010 - 49 comments

What Good is Wall Street?

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.
posted by shivohum on Nov 22, 2010 - 102 comments

Control Fraud Theory: When CEOs go bad

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.
posted by scalefree on Nov 8, 2010 - 37 comments

The United States is a confused and fearful country in 2010.

A Superpower in Decline: Is the American Dream Over? Der Spiegel's take.
posted by Wordwoman on Nov 8, 2010 - 85 comments

Twenty bucks, same as in town!

World taxi prices: What a 3-kilometer ride costs in 72 big cities. From Lowest to Highest.
posted by vidur on Nov 3, 2010 - 58 comments

Public Policy, Political Organization, and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States

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]
posted by kliuless on Oct 21, 2010 - 47 comments

Automation Insurance: Robots are taking Middle Class Jobs

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.
posted by mccarty.tim on Oct 15, 2010 - 69 comments

The rise of the pensionable pop fan.

What is working for the music industry and why the top buyers of pop music albums are now those over 60.
posted by rongorongo on Oct 8, 2010 - 33 comments

The Gentle Art of Poverty

A former magazine writer in his late fifties moves to San Diego and lives on very little money indeed. In the October 1977 issue of The Atlantic, he describes the stratagems behind his thriftiness. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 7, 2010 - 23 comments

In America, everyone thinks of themselves as middle-class.

Americans have no idea how rich the rich are, nor how poor the poor are.
posted by Pope Guilty on Sep 29, 2010 - 237 comments

Krugman and Wells on the economic slump

Paul Krugman and Robin Wells have a long two-part essay in the New York Review of Books on the current economic slump. The Slump Goes On: Why? And The Way Out of the Slump.
Since around June 2009 many indicators have been pointing up: GDP has been rising in all major economies, world industrial production has been rising, and US corporate profits have recovered to pre-crisis levels. Yet unemployment has hardly fallen in either the United States or Europe--which means that the plight of the unemployed, especially in America with its minimal safety net, has grown steadily worse as benefits run out and savings are exhausted. And little relief is in sight: unemployment is still rising in the hardest-hit European economies, US economic growth is clearly slowing, and many economic forecasters expect America's unemployment rate to remain high or even to rise over the course of the next year.
[more inside]
posted by russilwvong on Sep 28, 2010 - 41 comments

75,000 is the magic number

"We infer that beyond about $75,000/y, there is no improvement whatever in any of the three measures of emotional well-being." Two social scientists at Princeton, Angus Deaton and Nobelist Daniel Kahneman, have a new paper in PNAS about money and the determinants of happiness. Increased income above $75,000 is not associated with higher subjective happiness, though it is associated with superior scores on measures of overall life satisfaction. Other tidbits: "Religion has a substantial influence on improving positive affect and reducing reports of stress, but no effect on reducing sadness or worry... The presence of children at home is associated with significant increases in stress, sadness, and worry."
posted by escabeche on Sep 8, 2010 - 49 comments

The President's Economic Team

A detailed exposition of the roles of the White House economic team. This isn't a discussion of Obama's team per se, but rather an explanation of the mechanics and relationships of the various economic advisers to the President.
posted by OmieWise on Aug 27, 2010 - 4 comments

He's not Haggard, though the economy is

Do you feel overwhelmed trying to understand the driving forces behind our economic collapse. When listening to the latest Planet Money podcast, do you find yourself yearning for something a bit more toe-tappin'? Meet Merle Hazard. "He is the first and only country singer to write about mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and physics."
posted by mkultra on Aug 24, 2010 - 8 comments

Futurama, baby

Goodwill: Monetary policy for the 21st century
Here's my proposal. We should try to arrange things so that the marginal unit of CPI is purchased with "helicopter drop" money. That is, rather than trying to fine-tune wages, asset prices, or credit, central banks should be in the business of fine tuning a rate of transfers from the bank to the public. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 19, 2010 - 20 comments

"This is just the beginning."

China is now the world's second-largest economy.
posted by knave on Aug 16, 2010 - 70 comments

Plutonomy

Some say the USA is a Plutonomy-an economy dependent on the spending and investing of the wealthy. In a further sign, the top 5% of Americans by income now account for 37% of all consumer outlays (the bottom 80% by contrast share about the same). Consumer spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of U.S. gross domestic product. In a possibly worrisome sign, the wealthy are cutting back on spending.
posted by stbalbach on Aug 6, 2010 - 83 comments

What is the value of a pelican?

What is the value of a pelican? - The Planet Money crew investigates how we can estimate the value of a pelican killed in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (podcast)
posted by Argyle on Aug 6, 2010 - 25 comments

Law, economics, and Facebook

"The meteoric rise of Facebook raises four general questions . . . How is it possible for a teenager, however brilliant, to create a multibillion-dollar online business in such a short time? How likely is such a business to flame out? What, if any, legal protection from competition should be given to the ideas that power these businesses? And how far will social networking erode privacy or have other social consequences, good or bad?" Richard Posner (the federal judge and University of Chicago law professor best known as one of the pioneers of the "law and economics" movement [Wikipedia]) answers these questions in his brief history and critique of Facebook. (This is a printer-friendly version that may cause a print dialogue box to pop up, but it's the only link that will work unless you subscribe to The New Republic. The article is nominally a book review but spends barely any time talking about the book that's supposed to be reviewed.)
posted by Jaltcoh on Aug 5, 2010 - 41 comments

Lebronenomics

After announcing that Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade would join the Miami Heat in July the team almost immediately sold out their seasons tickets packages while placing another 6,000 on the waiting list. The result? All 30 seasons ticket salespeople were fired on friday becasuse as a staffer put it `They let us go because there was really nothing left to do anymore.'' [more inside]
posted by jourman2 on Aug 2, 2010 - 57 comments

One of the more persistent economic fallacies of our day.

The Broken Window Fallacy. [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by tybeet on Jul 31, 2010 - 44 comments

Caring with cash

Shared social responsibility - When customers could pay what they wanted in the knowledge that half of that would go to charity, sales and profits went through the roof ... Gneezy describes the combination of charitable donations and paying what you like as 'shared social responsibility', where businesses and customers work together for the public good. (via mr) [also see 1,2,3]
posted by kliuless on Jul 28, 2010 - 19 comments

The Opening of a Conservative Mind

Bruce Bartlett, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, speaks out against Republicans - The monumental hypocrisy of the Republican Party is something amazing to behold. And their dimwitted accomplices in the tea-party movement are not much better. They know that Republicans, far more than Democrats, are responsible for our fiscal mess, but they won't say so. And they adamantly refuse to put on the table any meaningful programme that would actually reduce spending. Judging by polls, most of them seem to think that all we have to do is cut foreign aid, which represents well less than 1% of the budget. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 26, 2010 - 156 comments

""You can't forget there are people listening when you say you are going to do things, and I try not to overpromise."

This past March, former US President Bill Clinton acknowledged to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that tariff policies his administration championed in the mid-1990's helped destroy Haiti's rice production and contributed to the impoverished nation's inability to feed itself. But while most of the world has stopped paying attention to Haiti's woes, Mr. Clinton has become the de facto leader of the effort to rebuild it after the catastrophic earthquake this past January. Will his influence be enough? Reports from the UN Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti indicate that the reconstruction progress has been slow. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 21, 2010 - 35 comments

Four Economic Benchmarks We Need Now

With capitalism in crisis, can it be sustained or is it altogether outdated? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 13, 2010 - 15 comments

Damn That Lemonade Stand!

"His fiancee smiled and commented, 'Isn't that cute. They have the spirit of giving.' That really set me off, as my regular readers can imagine. 'No!' I exclaimed [...] 'They're giving away their parents' things [...] It's not theirs to give.' I pushed the button to roll down the window and stuck my head out to set them straight. 'You must charge something for the lemonade.'"
posted by WCityMike on Jul 7, 2010 - 124 comments

I hope I get the opportunity to do Jello shots with Paul Krugman!

"Trying to do something he knows he really can't do for no good reason tells you a lot about Peter Van Loan" MeFI's own mightygodking snagged an official accredited journalist title via Torontoist in order to post reports and interviews from the controversial G20 Conference.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 26, 2010 - 12 comments

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