China. Abandons Communism.
May be about to lose its shirt.
While everybody on the pink side of Ebenezer Scrooge is pissing and moaning about the state of America, here's one American who thinks the state of the Middle Kingdom is at least equally interesting (as in ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times.")
posted by jfuller
on Nov 12, 2002 -
: the first in a New York Times
series on class in the United States. Princeton economics professor Paul Krugman declares the death of the middle class, pointing out disparities between the rich and the poor, examining efforts to cover up class makeup with quantile data, and probing the transformation of corporate executive ethics and influence. Even Glenn Reynolds
is taken to task for his Sweden-Mississippi per capita GDP comparison. Krugman's sources
are on the slim side, but the question must be asked: Are we living in a new Gilded Age? And, if so, how can citizens and government work to change things?
posted by ed
on Oct 20, 2002 -
Doomsayers refuted yet again,
this time by the United Nations
and the Institute for International Studies, who independently released studies declaring that humanity is, for the most part, in the best condition it’s ever been. (Former MeFi-er DenBeste comments here
.) With more and more studies reaching similar conclusions as Bjørn Lomborg
's "Skeptical Environmentalist" and the CATO Institute's "It's Getting Better All the Time"
, I'm on my way to buy myself a new pair of shades. The future does indeed look bright!
posted by dagny
on Oct 11, 2002 -
"By removing both costs and the barriers, weblogs have drained publishing of its financial value, making a coin of the realm unnecessary. A lot of people in the weblog world are asking "How can we make money doing this?"
The answer is that most of us can't." Though he finally admits: "Right now, the people who have profited most from weblogs are the people who've written books about weblogging."
posted by zenpop
on Oct 5, 2002 -
Boston is having a real brouhaha over grass-roots efforts to return to rent control
. Here in D.C., some folks aren't happy
about a massive vending machine in Adam's Morgan. Meanwhile, D.C. braces for protests
surrounding the upcoming meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Is there, in this day and age, a debate raging about the equity, and even the efficacy, of capitalism
? Is Marxism
still a viable vein of thought in the modern age? Are free markets as self-policing as some folks
argue? Or does industry require a more arduous watchdog
posted by NedKoppel
on Sep 13, 2002 -
worldcom, enron. In Australia we know
how to make a loss. AU$11,962,000,000 in fact. One has to wonder how much of this is a "paper loss" or how much of this is "creative accounting for tax purposes". Or just where the hell did the money go?
posted by Neale
on Aug 14, 2002 -
What a real depression
looks like. Total collapse of the middle class, malnutrition, starving bands of marauders eating road-kill, it's every survivalists dream come true. Until last year, Argentines were part of the richest, best-educated and most cultured nation in Latin America. Not anymore.
posted by stbalbach
on Aug 6, 2002 -
The CEO White House
has yet another CEO with credibility problems. On Mr. O'Neill: "Administration officials "need to bring in someone with real credibility, with a good understanding of economics and who understands politics," said Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a conservative political action committee."
posted by nofundy
on Jul 18, 2002 -
Someone we trust says something reassuring.
Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, arguably the most powerful man in the world, blames "infectious greed" for the recent panic-like tail-spins on Wall Street, but says that the economy is on the way to recovery. One comment held that Greenspan was finally able to let out how he feels about what's going on, without shrouding his opinion in economic jibber-jabber.
"For once he really spoke his mind. He usually tends to obfuscate things quite a bit."
But really, how many of you expected Greenspan to say anything other than "the fundamentals are in place for a return to sustained healthy growth"? Does Greenspan actually feel this way? Could it be that he is actually majorly pessimistic, but is using his soothing sweet-song voice and obvious clout and earned respect to somehow buck recent trends? Bush's speech didn't do much for our faltering economy, but will Greenspan's? Can one man's mere words possibly change the course of history? Well?
posted by Hammerikaner
on Jul 16, 2002 -
"The bigger the binge,
the longer and more severe the hangover." A short history of accounting scandals and fraudulent bankruptcies that follow bubble economies.
posted by raaka
on Jul 10, 2002 -
The New Gilded Age and its Discontents.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz began explaining why markets fail long before Enron and WorldCom rose, exploded and crashed. But not many people wanted to listen during the boom-boom '90s; Stiglitz was even fired from his position as chief economist at the World Bank after he repeatedly criticized the organization's free-market obsessions.
posted by Ty Webb
on Jul 3, 2002 -
J.K. Galbraith shocked at scale of corporate failures.
"I can only say I hadn't expected to see this problem on anything like the magnitude of the last few months – the separation of ownership from management, the monopolisation of control by irresponsible personal money-makers." Myself and chrispy
came to the same conclusion on the drive home from the resolutely un- (rather than anti-) corporate Glastonbury Festival
today. Profit is valued and rewarded by the vast majority of corporations above all else. As a consquence, people with the same values dominate executive positions, to the exclusion of those with more 'humanitarian' or longer-term outlooks. Where is the balance? Should we make hippie non-exec directors compulsory? Or should I just go back to bed and let the drugs wear off???
posted by barnsoir
on Jul 1, 2002 -
"No national railway of a developed country has ever run a profit.
They're not supposed to. The correlative economic and social benefits they throw off -- bringing commuters to taxpaying corporations daily, for one thing -- more than offset any net loss they suffer." [via camworld]
You don't run your home's central heating, air conditioning or plumbing at a profit, so why should a country try to run its infrastructure that way, be it rail, health service, water, ...? Is it forced on us because nationalised services always seem to become fantastically inefficient and bureaucratic?
posted by southisup
on Jun 26, 2002 -
More from the Textual Analysis Department
: Spiderman as class warrior. "This battle of good vs. evil features the alter egos of an orphan raised by financially-strapped working class relatives versus an egotistical corporate executive."
posted by raaka
on May 17, 2002 -
Understanding what makes America tick
"The belief that America is exceptional, in the double sense that it is superior and that it is different...The United States had a mission, a manifest destiny, to change the world in its image. This conviction echoes down through American history....Other countries—France, Britain, Russia—have from time to time in their history felt a sense of mission, of carrying their civilisation to other peoples and territories. But in their cases it has been episodic and not deeply rooted—usually limited to when their power was at its zenith and usually clearly recognisable as a rationalisation for what they were doing for other reasons. In the case of the United States, it has been constant and central
." [Centre of Independent Studies
in Sydney via aldaily
] American Exceptionalism. Mix it with sole super power status and massive military might. Should make it quite an intoxicating ride these next few years.
posted by Voyageman
on Apr 4, 2002 -
the Olympics isn't the boon to business Salt Lake City expected it to be. It might be convenient to blame the terror scare, but the same thing happened to Atlanta a while back. Businesses hired extra workers and spent money to prepare for crowds that never showed. Is all the money to be made taken in through corporate sponsorship deals and television? How have other cities fared financially during and after past Olympics?
posted by troybob
on Feb 14, 2002 -
The world of the laid-off techie.
"Human resource experts say the underemployment trend in the current economic cycle is just starting to emerge. Many workers got the ax when mass layoffs peaked in the summer and fall of 2001, and they coasted on several months of severance and unemployment insurance, which generally lasts six months. With the tech job market still in the doldrums, they're now considering new gigs as waitresses, bartenders, forklift drivers or baby sitters--anything to pay the rent. " I wish the media hadn't/didn't focus so much attention on the suits who seem to only be able to "fail upwards" versus the folks in the trenches. (via /.
posted by owillis
on Feb 11, 2002 -
Wealth Spawns Corruption
economies could be more at risk from corruption than Liberal
ones. Ironically, wealth condensation poses the greatest danger to economies that impose constraints on the accumulation of great wealth - broadly speaking, Socialist
economies that maintain free and unrestricted trade are less susceptible.
posted by stbalbach
on Jan 28, 2002 -
The "Pardon Effect" - economic theory applied to the death penalty
Pardons increase homicide rates. "The pardon effect is a matter of simple market economics... pardons reduce the chances that convicted killers will pay the ultimate price for committing murder. Thus a pardon represents a decrease in the cost of committing the crime and is accompanied by an increase in the homicide rate. Conversely, if you increase the "cost" of committing murder by executing a larger share of convicted killers, then economic theory suggests that the murder rate will fall" . The chairman of the economics department at the University of Colorado claims to have the data to support the theory from their analysis of all 6,143 death sentences handed out between 1977 and 1997 in the United States.
posted by Voyageman
on Jan 24, 2002 -
CD prices to drop
due to competition from the net? "(We) believe music software CD prices may soon permanently decline to $9.99 given weak sell-through of new artists and continued Internet piracy that appears unstoppable."
Is there an economic model for competition from piracy pushing prices down? This seems to contradict the rhetoric about the rest of us paying more because of pirates.
posted by NortonDC
on Dec 28, 2001 -
What do Greenspan, Enron and the number 11 all have in common?
Economist and NYT colimnist Paul Krugman notes with not too much irony that "Just one month ago the James A. Baker III Institute presented Alan Greenspan with its Enron Prize
." (a big wince over regretable timing, and the emphasis is mine)
No big conspiracy here, but the general thrust of Krugman's column
(NYT link) is that somethings got to give if things are to again get real (good). Lots of interesting under-reported economic factoids in the article make for enlightening reading.
posted by BentPenguin
on Dec 14, 2001 -
The Nash equilibrium
So at the present time I seem to be thinking rationally again in the style that is characteristic of scientists. However this is not entirely a matter of joy as if someone returned from physical disability to good physical health. One aspect of this is that rationality of thought imposes a limit on a person's concept of his relation to the cosmos....from John F. Nash Jr.'s autobiography for the 1994 Nobel Prize for Economics.
posted by riley370
on Dec 12, 2001 -
Walk for Capitalism
is scheduled for this weekend (Sunday, December 2nd) in over 100 cities around the world. One of the few rallies actually for
something, and certainly first global campaign for capitalism
in history. Will you stand up for the principles set forth in their position statement
posted by dagny
on Nov 29, 2001 -
Why the world needs America to cheer up
This article claims America and New York in particular have lost faith in an economic recovery. Can any New Yorkers tell me whether this is true?
A side note: The (London) Times
has been excellent since 9/11 IMO, although the site desperately needs a redesign. I'll do it! Employ me!
posted by Summer
on Oct 25, 2001 -
Speaking of Tokyo Rose:
AOL/Time Warner, with assistance from the Bush administration, signed a "landmark deal" with China. AOL/TW gets to broadcast a Chinese-language station in the area of China that already gets Western programming (although illegally), and in exchange AOL/TW agrees to broadcast a Chinese state sponsored English language channel in Los Angeles, New York and Houston. "We are very pleased to have achieved this landmark agreement, which represents a significant step in the growing relationship between AOL Time Warner and the people of China," said CEO Gerald Levin in a statement. Why does this make my skin crawl?
posted by bclark
on Oct 23, 2001 -
Is Wage Insurance the Answer?
Central to the ongoing debate on globalization is whether free trade is a good thing or not because it pits capital against labor. Like a lot of policy issues (and politics :) trade helps some but hurts others, while polarizing and often making enemies of people on either side of the debate. Wage insurance might provide a middle ground where people can come together. (more inside!)
posted by kliuless
on Sep 6, 2001 -
Percent of World Military Spending.
The US and its allies dwarf the rest of
the world in what it spends on defense. On the one hand I see the need to
bring overwhelming force in a conflict and I think just having it is in
itself stabilizing. But I can also see money and resources put to better
use elsewhere (e.g. healthcare, education, basic research) the effects of
which I think might even do more to affect global peace and prosperity than
any loss that may obtain from a reduced defense budget.
(other Thoughts of the Fortnight
by J. Bradford DeLong including this draft
he presented with Larry Summers! at the Fed symposium in Jackson Hole :)
posted by kliuless
on Sep 1, 2001 -
The American Worker:
Labor Day is coming up, so its an opportune time for the AFL-CIO to release a poll saying how unhappy workers are. But is this just a by-product of a (basically) stagnant economy with the drumbeat of layoffs ever present, business running roughshod
over their employees, employees not realizing how good they have it - ready to sue at the drop of a hat
, or business as usual? (plus: Unions in Hollywood doing their own thing
posted by owillis
on Aug 31, 2001 -