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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

A Pareto-optimal Thanksgiving

The most economically efficient use of a turkey is to use it for conceptual art while others starve. Generalized equilibrium theory wishes you a happy and Pareto-optimal Thanksgiving, via Cosma Shalizi.
posted by escabeche on Nov 24, 2011 - 31 comments

Is a Law Degree a Good Investment Today?

Professor Herwig Schlunk of Vanderbilt University explores whether a law degree is a good investment today. (SSRN link) [more inside]
posted by reenum on Nov 23, 2011 - 49 comments

Why do we need a financial sector?

Economics blog VoxEU debates Why do we need a financial sector? Serious, important and very dull articles discuss the trade-offs and myths of innovation, and whether the sector is overrated, critical or a contributor to the wider economy.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Nov 22, 2011 - 35 comments

The De-Industrial Revolution

Why doesn't Britain make things any more?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 16, 2011 - 108 comments

Trickle up economics? Or soak the rich?

Standing up for the little guy. Robert Reich spoke last night on the steps of Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley -- the epicenter of recent violence -- as the speaker for the Mario Savio memorial lecture. Reich has been making the rounds, both within corporations, in the media, and at Occupy events, has been lecturing on the dangers of inequality well before the current income/opportunity disparity crisis. "There is going to come a time when the (inequality) trends we are seeing are going to cause something to snap... There are two kinds of snaps... one is the snap back... and the other is the snap break."
posted by markkraft on Nov 16, 2011 - 69 comments

"To elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness"

lululemon athletica, the "yoga-inspired athletic apparel company", has rapidly become a brand fixture in the Pacific Northwest since its founding by Chip Wilson in 1998. Recently, a strange ode to Ayn Rand appeared on their website, and a "Who Is John Galt?" advertising campaign has adorned company packaging this November. Meanwhile, one of their employees has been convicted in the bizarre murder of a co-worker, in which the employees of a neighbouring Apple Store ignored the victim's cries for help.
posted by mek on Nov 14, 2011 - 111 comments

Washington's Blog on Unemployment

Today I am sharing with you an article arguing that unemployment rates during the Great Depression were overstated, that current unemployment rates are understated and that the two sets of data considered in combination indicate that we are are firmly in Depression-era levels of unemployment.
posted by jason's_planet on Nov 12, 2011 - 78 comments

Consider the human judgment

The King of Human Error: Michael Lewis profiles Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman [more inside]
posted by vidur on Nov 8, 2011 - 61 comments

Occupy, eh?

While Occupy Wall Street has captured the attention of major American politicians, its counterpart in Canada has been mainly a municipal headache. Despite inequality north of the border rising at a comparable rate, and similar political sentiments, most Canadians also believe the movement is ineffective, though their hearts are in the right place. As the movement slows as winter weather sets in, cities are taking various measures to discourage the protests, hoping a combination of inconvenience and weather will disperse the encampments. [more inside]
posted by mek on Nov 3, 2011 - 83 comments

the bonds (and bounds) of trust

Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies (ted/yt) - "We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust." (previously)
posted by kliuless on Oct 26, 2011 - 18 comments

The Closest Thing We Have To A 99 Percent Movement Comedy

Alyssa Rosenberg of Think Progress on why CBS's new show 2 Broke Girls is the closest thing we have to a 99% Movement Comedy.
posted by reenum on Oct 25, 2011 - 69 comments

Does crime still pay?

Why has crime in the US fallen, despite rising unemployment? [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on Oct 25, 2011 - 74 comments

A factor of 40

How Valve experiments with the economics of video games
posted by Artw on Oct 24, 2011 - 80 comments

(That's 9% Income Tax, 9% Sales Tax, 9% Corporate VAT)

Effect of Herman Cain's proposed "9-9-9" tax reform plan on average household tax liability. Cain is leading the field of GOP Presidential candidates in polls of Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. Previously 1 2
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 20, 2011 - 283 comments

Solutions for the U.S. economic crisis

Political revolution, the Tea Party, and Occupy Wall Street notwithstanding, what actual policy steps could be taken to prevent the U.S. from falling into a Japanese-like decade of stagnation (or worse)? Economists from the New America Foundation offer a rather balanced, clearly articulated, and comprehensive proposal: The Way Forward. [more inside]
posted by GnomeChompsky on Oct 11, 2011 - 66 comments

What People Eat

Some photos of what individuals and families around the world eat.
posted by reenum on Oct 10, 2011 - 38 comments

Is Cooking Really Cheaper Than Fast Food?

Is Cooking Really Cheaper Than Fast Food?
posted by reenum on Oct 7, 2011 - 192 comments

Survivial of the fittest school of economics?

Charles Darwin, Economist
posted by Gyan on Oct 6, 2011 - 121 comments

Niall Ferguson: The 6 killer apps of prosperity

Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture -- call them the 6 killer apps -- that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Oct 4, 2011 - 97 comments

Who watches the technocrats?

Peter Orszag (previously of Obama's OMB) argues that circumventing democracy is the best way to save it, but Catherine Rampell isn't sold, and Uwe Reinhardt points out that technocrats base "science" on moral values.
posted by klangklangston on Sep 28, 2011 - 91 comments

And we know that everything falls to dust...

Are small theaters punching a ticket to oblivion? Radical changes in the traditional structure of the lab processing and exhibition sides of the film industry have been filling the lives of small theater operators with uncertainty and worry for the last few years. Will filmstock be the next Kodachrome? (And what will that mean for the future of film preservation?) [more inside]
posted by bubukaba on Sep 28, 2011 - 36 comments

The Growing American Fertility Divide

Knocked Up & Knocked Down Why America's Widening Fertility Class Divide is a Problem [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 27, 2011 - 89 comments

We appreciate your candor

BBC News asks independent trader Alessio Rastani "what would keep investors happy, make them feel more confident?" and gets a surprisingly honest answer: "Personally, it doesn't matter. See, I'm a trader. I don't really care about that kind of stuff. If I see an opportunity to make money, I go with that. So, for most traders, we don't really care that much about how they're going to fix the economy, about how they're going to fix the whole situation; our job is to make money from it. And, personally, I've been dreaming of this moment for three years. I have a confession which is I go to bed every night and dream of another recession, I dream of another moment like this." [SLYT]
posted by finite on Sep 26, 2011 - 235 comments

The Atlantic Cities

The Atlantic Cities is a new site launched today by the Atlantic. It's about cities.
posted by parudox on Sep 15, 2011 - 23 comments

Unemployment: still terrible

Obama to Congressional Republicans: pass this jobs bill, or take the blame. The Economist has the details of the plan. Paul Krugman describes the plan as significantly bolder and better than expected. Good news and bad news: Obama's plan would work, but GOP won't pass it. Why not? [more inside]
posted by russilwvong on Sep 10, 2011 - 212 comments

The Golden Laws of Prosperity

The Golden Laws of Prosperity
posted by scalefree on Sep 8, 2011 - 42 comments

Fertile ground for demagogues

Robert Reich talks at Google about the biggest problem facing the US economy. [SLYT, 57min]
posted by knave on Sep 1, 2011 - 98 comments

How the Dismal Science of economics got its name

JS Mill vs. Thomas Carlyle Economics may deserve its reputation for being hardnosed and calculating, not warm and fuzzy. But sometimes it is its critics who are lacking in the spirit of humanity. [more inside]
posted by Philosopher's Beard on Aug 31, 2011 - 48 comments

Obama nominates Alan Krueger as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers

White House economic policy largely originates with The Council of Economic Advisers, CEA, who directly advise the President of the United States. CEA research and publish the annual Economic Report of the President[ .pdf ], which details the state of the nation's economic health. Today President Barack Obama is expected to nominate Princeton Economist Alan Krueger as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Krueger, who previously held the post of Assistant Treasury Secretary for Economic Policy, has written on a wide range of topics, from the economics of rock music [ .pdf ], the causes of terrorism [ .pdf ] and American's changing work / life balance. But Krueger is best known as a labor economist who has extensively researched long term unemployment. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Aug 29, 2011 - 69 comments

It's a normative theory

As is well known, having six legs is the only possible defence against Dutchmen but, in unrelated news, Brad DeLong comments on the tendency of economists to blame prediction failures on irrational people failing to model the theories rather than the theory failing to model the people. He also highlights how this applies to waltzing with Darwin on starships. Or something like that. [more inside]
posted by DRMacIver on Aug 28, 2011 - 54 comments

March of Time

From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeingforeign affairs, social trends, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.) By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues, including (eventually) America’s entry to WWII. Video samples are available at Time.com, the March of Time Facebook page and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required) at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 22, 2011 - 8 comments

The Food Riots of 2013

Researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute say they've uncovered a pattern that triggers riots wherever it's found. What is that pattern? The price of food. When it rises to a certain level, social unrest & violence are soon to follow. According to their calculations the food price index is due to peak in August of 2013, assuming no corrective action is taken. The original paper is here.
posted by scalefree on Aug 21, 2011 - 49 comments

Marx was right. Capitalism may be destroying itself.

Roubini warns of global recession risk. In a video interview with the Wall Street Journal, Economist Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics warns that the risk of a global recession is higher than 50%, suggests investing in cash, blames George Bush for the United States' economic predicament, advocates higher taxes, warns of a possible break-up of the European monetary union and states that "Karl Marx was right". [more inside]
posted by moorooka on Aug 15, 2011 - 122 comments

"all this amazing wealth is fragile, a castle built on sands of illusion...."

Has the Higher Education Bubble Popped? According to the CSM, the boom in demand for bankers, barristers, and bureaucrats is over.
posted by blue_beetle on Aug 11, 2011 - 79 comments

FiveThirtyEight rips apart Standard and Poor's ratings

Nate Silver: Why Standard & Poor’s Ratings Are Substandard and Porous
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Aug 10, 2011 - 46 comments

זו הכלכלה, טמבל

Over the past three weeks, Israel has experienced what may perhaps be the largest, spontaneous / grass roots social protest of the secular middle class that it has witnessed in decades. Thousands of demonstrators in cities and towns throughout the country have been protesting cuts in government funding to health care and education, and massive, exorbitant rises in taxes and housing costs -- and demanding change. Tent cities have sprung up in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and in public gardens and parks throughout the country. And they may not be going anywhere: polls indicate Israeli support is "exceptionally high". [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 3, 2011 - 58 comments

Well, that about wraps it up for growth.

UCSD physicist Tom Murphy inaugurates his blog Do the Math with two posts on the thermal limits of energy use on earth and the related absurdity of infinite economic growth.
posted by adamdschneider on Aug 1, 2011 - 59 comments

The Medium Chill

"We now have a smallish house in a nondescript working class Seattle neighborhood with no sidewalks. We have one car, a battered old minivan with a large dent on one side where you have to bang it with your hip to make the door shut. Our boys go to public schools. Our jobs pay enough to support our lifestyle, mostly anyway. If we wanted, we could both do the "next thing" on our respective career paths..... Fact is, we just don't want to work that hard! We already work harder than we feel like working. We enjoy having time to lay around in the living room with the kids, reading. We like to watch a little TV after the kids are in bed. We like going to the park and visits with friends and low-key vacations and generally relaxing. Going further down our respective career paths would likely mean more work, greater responsibilities, higher stress, and less time to lay around the living room with the kids. So why do it?" David Roberts in Grist on satisficing, voluntary non-affluence, and the medium chill.
posted by escabeche on Jul 27, 2011 - 179 comments

I'll take the Double Dip to go

There may be $2 trillion sitting on the balance sheets of American corporations globally, but firms show no signs of wanting to spend it in order to hire workers at home, however much Washington might hope they will.

Time magazine outlines five common destructive myths about how to stimulate U.S. Growth.
posted by AndrewKemendo on Jul 16, 2011 - 42 comments

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