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Choosing the Road to Prosperity

One of the more conservative of the Fed's regional banks, the Dallas Federal Reserve, says "too-big-to-fail" banks must be broken up. Now. An interesting and important essay(pdf) from a most unlikely source.(via)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Apr 2, 2012 - 13 comments

Is Procreation Immoral?

Elizabeth Kolbert explores the case against kids. Drawing from the work of philosophy professors David Benatar, Christine Overall and economist Bryan Caplan, Kolbert examines the justifications for reproducing.
posted by Kitty Stardust on Apr 2, 2012 - 125 comments

An Interview with Yanis Varoufakis

The New Priesthood - "The hapless economist uses the same tools as acclaimed physicists and astronomers. She has trained for years to speak precisely the same language as them, to understand the same advanced mathematics, to deploy most complex statistical methods which are an essential part of the scientific toolbox. It is, understandably, incredibly difficult to accept that her work is a form of higher order superstition; a religion couched in the language of mathematics and statistics. Tragically, this is precisely what it is." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 2, 2012 - 169 comments

“The time of giving short measure in weighing”

“Kipper und Wipper”: Rogue Traders, Rogue Princes, Rogue Bishops and the German Financial Meltdown of 1621-23
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 1, 2012 - 5 comments

Everything Must Go!

A short history of privatisation in the UK: 1979-2012
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 29, 2012 - 46 comments

Pasty Gate

Following an amendment in the recent Conservative Party budget, VAT on 'Baked Goods' will be re-instated. In response, the question of whether or not David Cameron once ate a Greggs pasty infects the British press. The Telegraph have a live blog covering what has been termed by some Pasty Gate
posted by 0bvious on Mar 28, 2012 - 61 comments

United States v. Health Care Reform

This morning marked day two of marathon proceedings in what's likely the most momentous and politically-charged Supreme Court case since Bush v. Gore: the effort to strike down President Obama's landmark health care reform law. While yesterday was a sleepy affair of obscure technical debate, today's hearings targeted the heart of the law -- the individual mandate that requires most Americans to purchase insurance by 2014. With lower courts delivering a split decision before today, administration lawyers held some hope that at least one conservative justice could be persuaded to uphold the provision, which amortizes the risk that makes universal coverage possible. But after a day of deeply skeptical questioning by swing justice Anthony Kennedy and his fellow conservatives [transcript - audio], the mandate looks to be in grave trouble, with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin going as far as calling the day "a train wreck" for the administration. But it's far from a done deal, with a third day of hearings tomorrow and a final decision not expected until June.
posted by Rhaomi on Mar 27, 2012 - 373 comments

The Iced Coffee Economy

Why iced coffee costs so much more than the hot stuff.
posted by reenum on Mar 23, 2012 - 82 comments

The Extractive Institutions in US

Why Nations Fail - In a nutshell: "Proximately, prosperity is generated by investment and innovation, but these are acts of faith: investors and innovators must have credible reasons to think that, if successful, they will not be plundered by the powerful. For the polity to provide such reassurance, two conditions have to hold: power has to be centralised and the institutions of power have to be inclusive." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 15, 2012 - 78 comments

Guessing the health effects of Obamacare

A new working paper by economists Charles Courtemanche (University of Louisville) and Daniela Zapata (UNC-Greensboro) shows that Massachusetts 2006 uniform healthcare coverage caused improvements for numerous health outcomes. To the degree that the Massachusetts experiment is a guide for the federal Affordable Care Act, this study provides some guidance for guessing which individuals and approximately how much the benefits of the program will be. [more inside]
posted by scunning on Mar 14, 2012 - 24 comments

The Sugar Daddy Recession

The bad economy has forced some women into arrangements with less than ideal men.
posted by reenum on Mar 13, 2012 - 54 comments

Opportunity cost: The Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan Problem.

Opportunity Cost: The Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan Problem. Think you understand the fundamental economic concept of opportunity cost? Answer this: "You won a free ticket to see an Eric Clapton concert (which has no resale value). Bob Dylan is performing on the same night and is your next-best alternative activity. Tickets to see Dylan cost $40. On any given day, you would be willing to pay up to $50 to see Dylan (because he's so cool!). Assume there are no other costs of seeing either performer. Based on this information, what is the opportunity cost of seeing Eric Clapton? A. $0 B. $10 C. $40 D. $50" [more inside]
posted by storybored on Mar 4, 2012 - 137 comments

The Precariat

The 'precariat' "consists of a multitude of insecure people, living bits-and-pieces lives, in and out of short-term jobs, without a narrative of occupational development, including millions of frustrated educated youth who do not like what they see before them, millions of women abused in oppressive labour, growing numbers of criminalised tagged for life, millions being categorised as ‘disabled’ and migrants in their hundreds of millions around the world". [more inside]
posted by hydatius on Mar 4, 2012 - 27 comments

The 0.01 percent: The Rising Influence of Vested Interests in Australia

Writing in The Monthly, Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan makes a cogent case for ongoing economic reform to deliver equity, contrasting Australian with US outcomes, and slamming three modern robber barons, Clive Palmer, Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart for their increasing political influence.
posted by wilful on Mar 1, 2012 - 57 comments

Austerity

If Britain were Greece... (audio slideshow)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 29, 2012 - 39 comments

cross your eyes and wait

Nearly four years into a global economic crisis that has withstood many attempted solutions, MMT theorists are trying to edge themselves into mainstream discourse. After an extended Dylan Matthews article in the Washington Post and a large Italian MMT Summit this weekend, some are claiming victory. But what is MMT? [more inside]
posted by crayz on Feb 28, 2012 - 13 comments

The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators

The Control Revolution And Its Discontents - "the long process of algorithmisation over the last 150 years has also, wherever possible, replaced implicit rules/contracts and principal-agent relationships with explicit processes and rules."
posted by kliuless on Feb 23, 2012 - 25 comments

Dermot O'Connor's "There's No Tomorrow"

"There's No Tomorrow" is a half-hour animated documentary that deals with resource depletion, energy, and growth. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 22, 2012 - 14 comments

Economic Development: The Examples of India and China

"This is an intriguing little video summarizing the hypothesis of a new study by Vamsi Vakulabharanam. It looks at the puzzle of why China and India are exceptions to the Kuznets curve, that economic development at first increases income inequality but then starts to produce less disparity. But that did not occur in India and China. Vakulabharanam argues that the difference lies in changes in institutional arrangements, and the inflection point was roughly 1980."
posted by marienbad on Feb 18, 2012 - 3 comments

Choose Your Own Greek Fiscal Adventure

Choose Your Own Greek Fiscal Adventure.
posted by escabeche on Feb 16, 2012 - 25 comments

The Greeks have no word for "Sovereign Default" OR timeo danaos et linguas quae futurum tempus habent dicentem.

I find that speakers of languages with little to no grammatical distinction between the present and future (weak-FTR ["Future Time Reference"] language speakers) engage in much more future-oriented behavior. Weak-FTR speakers are 30% more likely to have saved in any given year, and have accumulated an additional 170 thousand Euros by retirement. I also examine non-monetary measures such as health behaviors and long-run health. I find that by retirement, weak-FTR speakers are in better health by numerous measures: they are 24% less likely to have smoked heavily, are 29% more likely to be physically active, and are 13% less likely to be medically obese. [more inside]
posted by gauche on Feb 11, 2012 - 70 comments

The End of the Free Market?

We're All State Capitalists Now 'No, according to some commentators, the contest between the two Asian superpowers is also fundamentally a contest between economic models: market capitalism vs. state capitalism.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 10, 2012 - 29 comments

what goes up can always go down

Felix Salmon muses on why art prices keep rising. On the way, he discusses why some art becomes super-popular:

"Fine art has become the billionaire’s-club equivalent of a Louis Vuitton bag, slathered in logos. It’s not connoisseurship which drives values, so much as recognizability. Which in turn helps to explain why the most prolific artists (Picasso, Warhol, Hirst) are also the most expensive: the more of their work there is, the more exposed to it people become, the more they’ll recognize it, and therefore the more desirable it is."
posted by benbenson on Feb 8, 2012 - 23 comments

Sacred Economics and Beyond

"It’s a very ancient idea that the universe runs by the principles of the gift...in fact the purpose for our existence, the reason why we’re here, is to give." Writer Charles Eisenstein speaks on his book Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition.
posted by velvet winter on Feb 7, 2012 - 41 comments

Visualizing economics

Visualizing Economics. Catherine Mulbrandon makes visualizations of economic data, including the variation of the top marginal tax rate over time and the high cost of buying a TV on credit.
posted by escabeche on Jan 30, 2012 - 13 comments

The 7 Biggest Economic Lies

The seven biggest economic lies with Robert Reich.
posted by latkes on Jan 27, 2012 - 126 comments

How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work

“You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.” Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher of the NY Times give an in-depth report on Apple's migration of electronics manufacturing to Asia and its impact on middle class Americans.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 21, 2012 - 158 comments

Warning Warning — Danger Danger

Why you will fail to have a great career [more inside]
posted by esprit de l'escalier on Jan 15, 2012 - 113 comments

This is why Jakob Ander won't hire you

This is why I don't give you a job. Hungarian blogger Jakab Andor breaks down the numbers and explains why taxes and regulations make it highly unappealing for him to start a small business employing people in Hungary. He also argues that these same factors make women and older people particularly unappealing prospects. His comments generated quite a bit of controversy (warning: most comments in Hungarian), to which he responded with an offer.
posted by shivohum on Jan 13, 2012 - 96 comments

the new humanism and socialism? developing human and social 'capital'...

The Future of History (non-gated, summary): Many have noted that democracy [1,2,3] does not often sit well with capitalism [1,2,3], but Foreign Affairs argues in its latest issue that, while the ideological battle was won in the 20th century, the challenge of 21st is one of implementation -- how to make liberal democracy work. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 8, 2012 - 12 comments

Will we be all right in the end? David Runciman on democracy, fatalism, and the European crisis (LRB)

Democracy, fatalism, and the European economic crisis
posted by Philosopher's Beard on Jan 8, 2012 - 62 comments

A new way of accounting for ecological costs?

Social Credit is a movement that takes a different view of economic expansion. Mostly it focuses on how value is created and what happens to the excess value. Proponents can be very aggressive or very mellow but a key part of their philosophy is that we must recognize the value we've inherited from the past. In other words, we don't start our lives with an empty ledger but have inherited many physical and intellectual gifts from previous generations. Recently I began wondering whether we shouldn't look at the other side of the ledger, particularly when it comes to ecological impacts - i.e., the messes we inherit. It turns out that in the early 90s, some social credit economists were writing about this and were even talking about climate change as something that needed to be added to the equation. Is this an idea whose time has finally come?
posted by BillW on Jan 7, 2012 - 13 comments

A Man. A Van. A Surprising Business Plan.

Adam Humphreys created a successful business helping people navigate the Chinese embassy's bureaucracy (in a van parked across the street).
posted by reenum on Jan 4, 2012 - 11 comments

Whip Inflation Now

There will be no big Federal bureaucracy set up for this crash program. Through the courtesy of such volunteers from the communication and media fields, a very simple enlistment form will appear in many of tomorrow's newspapers along with the symbol of this new mobilization, which I am wearing on my lapel. It bears the single word WIN. I think that tells it all. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jan 3, 2012 - 29 comments

debt without growth?

So when the Heartlanders react to evidence of human-induced climate change as if capitalism itself were coming under threat, it’s not because they are paranoid. It’s because they are paying attention. [via the excellent Do the Math]
posted by fantabulous timewaster on Jan 2, 2012 - 133 comments

The first cut is the deepest

This is the story of one cut. Back in October 2010 George Osborne announced £95 billion in cuts to public services, saying he’d leave it to councils to choose what to shut down. Inevitably most of the casualties ended up being unrenowned places, unlikely to stir up much protest - drop-in centers in housing estates, inner-city park rangers, community theatres, etc. I wanted to write about just one of them, about the ripples created by a single closure. I made my selection quite randomly. I chose a place called Youthreach. I didn’t know much about them, only that they offered weekly counseling sessions to young people, aged 11–25, in Greenwich, South East London. Jon Ronson
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 29, 2011 - 16 comments

Feminism's Uneven Success

Feminism's Uneven Success: "Class and racial and ethnic differences among women have intensified over time. The higher earnings of college-educated mothers make it possible for them to purchase child care and help with housework (typically performed by low-wage women workers)... the number of low-skill immigrants living in a large city reduces the tradeoff between employment and fertility for women college graduates. Outsourcing of care responsibilities can have many positive effects, but it reduces the potential for cross-class gender coalitions. Emphasis on changes in women’s average or median earnings relative to men often conceals growing inequality among women." (via)
posted by flex on Dec 29, 2011 - 98 comments

Why is finance so complex?

"You can have opacity and an industrial economy, or you can have transparency and herd goats"
posted by Philosopher's Beard on Dec 29, 2011 - 97 comments

Counterparties

Counterparties is a nice little collection of curated and tagged economic news stories, 5-8 every day. It is edited in part by the admirable (and MetaFave) financial journalist Felix Salmon.
posted by shothotbot on Dec 22, 2011 - 12 comments

Inflation Predictions and Broken Models

Paul Krugman has really been laying into the hyperinflationists in recent days. And rightfully so... these predictions, as Dr. Krugman notes, were based on a model that is completely wrong. [more inside]
posted by moorooka on Dec 18, 2011 - 57 comments

the Norwegian butter shortage

The Norwegian Butter Crisis: An absurd dairy shortage and its very valuable economic lessons.
posted by flex on Dec 17, 2011 - 69 comments

"This slump won’t end until 2031"

You know about the Great Depression, but do you know about the Long Depression? For a while now some have been suggesting we're in a "Third Depression", not so much like the Great one, but more like the Long Depression (1873–96) of 23 years (originally called the Great Depression). Suggesting "This slump won’t end until 2031". [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Dec 15, 2011 - 44 comments

The Marginal Utility of Bickering: Why You Secretly Love Arguing on the Internet

A great contribution to the economics-made-fun genre and food for Mefi thought: Arguing on the internet is addictive because you’re almost always arguing against either a very stupid person or a very smart person, and those are the two types of people most fun to argue with.
posted by Philosopher's Beard on Dec 15, 2011 - 49 comments

Class War: Low Wages and Beggar Thy Neighbor

A presentation by Dr. Heiner Flassbeck, a former deputy secretary in the German Ministry of Finance and currently chief economist the UN agency for World Trade and Development in Geneva. He talks about EMU and interest rates, and then links it all to class war and America.
posted by marienbad on Dec 13, 2011 - 8 comments

BUY MORE STUFF. CONSUME. OBEY.

The Light Bulb Conspiracy is a documentary about disposable printers, light bulbs and everything else, investigating the implications of the business model and industrial design philosophy of Planned Obsolescence that drives and shapes our economy.
posted by loquacious on Dec 10, 2011 - 43 comments

Inequality highest in thirty years across most of the developed world.

Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising is the latest report from the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs. It finds:
In the three decades prior to the recent economic downturn, wage gaps widened and household income inequality increased in a large majority of OECD countries. [...]Launching the report in Paris, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said “The social contract is starting to unravel in many countries. This study dispels the assumptions that the benefits of economic growth will automatically trickle down to the disadvantaged and that greater inequality fosters greater social mobility. Without a comprehensive strategy for inclusive growth, inequality will continue to rise.”
Links to Overview [.pdf]; press release; notes [.pdf format] for Australia, Canada, the UK, the USA; data link (excel format).
posted by wilful on Dec 5, 2011 - 53 comments

equal economic ignorance

I was Wrong and So are You. I needed to retract the conclusions I’d trumpeted in The Wall Street Journal. The new results invalidated our original result: under the right circumstances, conservatives and libertarians were as likely as anyone on the left to give wrong answers to economic questions. The proper inference from our work is not that one group is more enlightened, or less. It’s that “myside bias”—the tendency to judge a statement according to how conveniently it fits with one’s settled position—is pervasive among all of America’s political groups. The bias is seen in the data, and in my actions. [more inside]
posted by storybored on Dec 3, 2011 - 41 comments

C.G.P. Grey

Here is Coffee: The Greatest Addiction Ever and other neat videos by C.G.P. Grey who explains non-obvious aspects of science, history, geography, elections, and economics in entertaining and clear ways. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 1, 2011 - 20 comments

WHAT DO WE WANT? STUFF LIKE THIS.

Critics of the Occupy Wall Street movement have complained that the protestors have no clear goals, so WE DON'T MAKE DEMANDS composed a list of 12 concrete, specific suggestions focusing on economic reform, stronger regulation, and closing loopholes.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 30, 2011 - 193 comments

The Xinjiang Procedure

In 2009, Urumqi, China exploded in riots. The assessment of Western media was on-going ethnic clashes. Behind the scenes, Beijing now stands accused of The Xinjiang Procedure, ground zero for the organ harvesting of political prisoners. [more inside]
posted by nickrussell on Nov 29, 2011 - 28 comments

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