"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.
What US Health Care Needs Medical doctor and writer Atul Gawande gave the commencement address recently at Stanford's School of Medicine. In it he lays out very precisely and in a nonpartisan way what is wrong with the institution of medical care in the US — why it is both so expensive and so ineffective at delivering quality care uniformly across the board.
"Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors" by Scott Carrell and James West
is the title of an interesting new study in this month's Journal of Political Economy
, a leading journal in economics. (For a summary of the paper, see this review
. An ungated version
, too). The authors are interested in determining the role of "professor quality" in student learning. They do this by exploiting an unusual institutional feature of the Air Force Academy whereby all undergraduates are randomly assigned their professors, and all professors use the same syllabus. The authors also have the professor's student evaluations, as well each student's subsequent performance in the follow-up classes. To keep it simple, they focus only on Calculus I and the follow-up courses in Calculus (which are mandatory), though they note that an earlier study that looked at Chemistry and Physics found similar things. [more inside]
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Ending Poverty In the 1990s, Paul Romer revolutionized economics. In the Aughts, he became rich as a software entrepreneur. Now he's trying to help the poorest countries grow rich—by convincing them to establish foreign-run "charter cities" within their borders. Romer's idea is unconventional, even neo-colonial—the best analogy is Britain's historic lease of Hong Kong. And against all odds, he just might make it happen.
) [more inside]
or: How I Learned[4,5]
to Stop Worrying
and Love Deficit Spending[7,8,9]
(during a general glut
at the zero bound
) -- When I was a kid, if I was sitting around the house and complained I didn't have anything to do, my mom would always respond the same way. "I'll find something for you to do," and she would. It was make work, she was finding something for me to do on the spot to cure my unemployment problem... [more inside]
It's been described as one of the most profound scientific initiatives of the 21st century
- building an Earth Simulator
. Not to figure out icepack melt, calculate global climate patterns, predict earthquakes or determine once and for all 'What do you get when you multiply six by nine
'. No, this one's to prevent another kind of meltdown
. [more inside]
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. In a few hours, I will destroy the Greek economy. Unless, that is, you give me the sum of...one trillion dollars
(SLNYT, but with this much money I can afford to look frumpy)
Building a Green Economy,
Paul Krugman on the economics of Climate change.
This recent academic article [PDF]
by Catherine Hakim presents "a new theory of erotic capital
as a fourth personal asset, an important addition to economic, cultural, and social capital," and proposes "a new agenda for sociological (and feminist) research and theory." Here's a stripped-down magazine version
. The theory is controversial
, sure, and there are counter-arguments
. The Financial Times
notes the obvious: If eroticism is indeed a kind of capital, then there is a market in it
. Meanwhile, newspapers get yet another reason to print pictures
of sexy people
. [All links are SFW]
Cory Doctorow gives a talk
at Bloomsbury on book pricing in the internet age (47min video)
Recently, Paul Krugman has been advocating
for US trade protectionism
to counter China's apparent undervaluation of renminbi. Peking University Economics professor Yiping Huang disagrees
A new study
suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics
. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion
in human history, as well as more complex economies
). [more inside]
A NYTimes columnist just comes out and says it: America's taxes should be higher. The Perils of Pay Less, Get More
. [more inside]
What the cable company pays for the channels you don't watch.
A chart of the subscriber fees for basic and digital cable. ESPN laps the field at over $4.00 per subscriber, MTV Hits
("MTV Classic") and Nick Too (west coast Nick) come in at $.01.
It has been looked at for many years
(link to a 2003 PDF revised edition of a 1983 report). Inspiring reports trying to predict where this was heading
, the knowledge economy
is incredibly difficult to get a grip on, mainly because its products are intangible. [more inside]
Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger
. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
"The reality is that the post-bailout era in which Goldman [Sachs] thrived has turned out to be a chaotic frenzy of high-stakes con-artistry
, with taxpayers and clients bilked out of billions using a dizzying array of old-school hustles that, but for their ponderous complexity, would have fit well in slick grifter movies like The Sting and Matchstick Men. There's even a term in con-man lingo for what some of the banks are doing right now, with all their cosmetic gestures of scaling back bonuses and giving to charities. In the grifter world, calming down a mark so he doesn't call the cops is known as the "Cool Off.""
“Being willing to sit in a boring classroom for 12 years, and then sign up for four more years and then sign up for three or more years after that—well, that’s a pretty good measure of your willingness to essentially do what you’re told,” - The Santa Fe Reporter talks to Economist Samuel Bowles about New Mexico's income gap, welfare, social mobility, and a radical way to help. (Via)
As a reaction towards the financial crisis the Real-World Economics Review
will award the Dynamite Prize in Economics
to the three economists who contributed most to blowing up the global economy. The Real-World Economic Review is the central organ of the movement for Post-Autistic Economics
which is critical about the current mainstream in economics — in particular microeconomics and neoclassical theorists
. [more inside]
Last December, the government of North Korea unexpectedly revalued its internal currency, the North Korean won
, at a rate of 100-to-1 and capped the amounts that residents could exchange old currency at 300,000 won
(approx. $90 U.S. on the black market). This effectively wiped out many peoples' savings and killed the nascent market economy
that had begun to emerge after a series of economic reforms starting in July, 2002
. Professor Rüdiger Frank of the University of Vienna argues that while it represents a temporary victory for the North Korean government, this move may ultimately lead to the end of North Korean socialism
. [Recently here
With quantitative easing
on everyone's minds
, pundits of all sorts talk about
Central Bank exit strategies
. But in The Treaty of Lisbon
, which came into force across the EU on December 1st, 2009, it turns out European member states have put forward an exit strategy of a completely different kind
[.pdf] . [more inside]
The New Economics Foundation, also responsible for the Happy Planet Index
and Jubilee 2000 campaign
, has released a study
(full text here
) about the values and costs of different professions to society.
(pdf) Strategies for Building New Economies From the Bottom-Up and the Inside-Out. [more inside]
For economics nerds: fun Keynes vs. Hayek hip hop song
on PBS Newshour.
They were first known as "Praescriptiones"
and used by The Romans from around 100BC 1
. Employed by Perisans of the Sassanid Dynasty
during the third century, they were then known as "Saqqs"
. They have been found in Egyptian ruins
dating from the 12th century, about the same time as The Knights Templar bolstered their use by issuing written instruments, redeemable for cash
to pilgrims bound for holy land bound. Even so, it took another five centuries for the cheque
to be adopted by England. [more inside]
Economist Paul Samuelson
- a major proponent of Keynesianism in the United States and the second Nobel Laureate in Economics
- has died
. [more inside]
Have you ever wondered why you can't get what you want, but, if you try sometimes, etc.? Mark Hicken, a British Colombian lawyer, is a great source of information
on the state(s) of Canadian liquor regulations. Sure, a little localised and dry, but that's the terroir, man. Also, he does point out some inanities
that have a relatively universal appeal.
The Moral Dimensions of Ditching a Mortgage:
University of Arizona law professor Brent T. White
has written a provocative new paper
(pdf) that urges homeowners with "underwater" mortgages"
to walk away
by strategically defaulting
on their mortgage debts. [more inside]
Doug Rushkoff throws down the gauntlet in his “Radical Abundance” speech at the O’Reilly Web 2.0 conference.
Some highlights of the speech: “The only real possible competition to Google and their economy of faux openness would be peer-to-peer exchange.”
“As a result of all this freedom the abundance of genuine creative output is declining. We are actually getting the scarce market place demanded by our currency legacy system. The same way the early Renaissance got a scarcity by killing off half the people with the plague.”
1: The development of a digital culture that actually respects the labor of individuals.
2: The creation of new modes of currency based in abundance rather than scarcity.
You can slog through the video
, but I preferred the transcripts 1
| 5 [more inside]
Silicon Sweatshops is a five-part investigation of the supply chains that produce many of the world’s most popular technology products, from Apple iPhones, to Nokia cell phones, Dell keyboards and more. The series examines the scope of the problem, including its effects on workers from the Philippines, Taiwan and China. It also looks at a novel factory program that may be a blueprint for solving this perennial industry problem.
The History of Economic Thought Website
contains a wealth of information on the many schools of thought
in the history of economics and the issues
they grappled with.
On pinball's downfall
; draft Scrabble
; strategies for choosing a seat
; visiting our old friend
; and meatball theory
: various and sundry economical, game theoretical, and miscellaneous morsels from the folks at Cheap Talk
, price inflation
, and the great moderation
have been trying to locate the origins
of the great chain of causation
that has led us to our present situation
-- the worrying conclusion is that problems remain -- imbalances precipitated by a labour supply shock
] and/or (the rise of) machines
] have not gone away and continue to persist in decimating the ('developed world's) middle class, as evidenced by high and rising unemployment
, which has led to a crisis
in central banking
itself. [more inside]
The Freakonomics follow up, Superfreakonomics, contains a chapter
on climate change that lives up to the best selling contrarian style of authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. However actual climate scientists were not pleased with the chapter. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists
, the book "repeats tired global cooling myths," "unfairly trashes climate models" and "advocates rolling the dice on unproven technology" among other faults. They have also been accused of misquoting climate scientist Ken Caldeira
Levitt and Dubner respond to their critics, Global Warming in SuperFreakonomics: The Anatomy of a Smear
. [more inside]