The November 6th elections saw a lot of historic decisions made in the United States -- the first black president re-elected
, marijuana legalized for the first time
in two states, gay marriage affirmed by the voters
in four, and even the first openly gay senator
. But perhaps the most underreported result yesterday came from outside the country altogether: in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a solid majority voted to reject the island's current status and join America
as the long-fabled 51st state
How the bid might fare in Congress is an open question, but both President Obama
and Republican leaders
have vowed support for the statehood movement if it proves successful at the ballot box (while D.C. officials ponder a two-fer gambit
to grease the wheels). Though it would be the poorest state
, joining the Union might bring economic benefits to both sides [PDF]
And politically, some argue the island might prove to be a reliably red state
, despite the Hispanic population, although arch-conservative
governor and Romney ally Luis Fortuño
appears headed toward a narrow loss
. But the most important question here, as always, is: how to redesign the flag?
(Puerto Rican statehood discussed previously.)
posted by Rhaomi
on Nov 7, 2012 -
The 4th Estate corrects its numbers -
"That journalism struggles with racial diversity is old news, but a study released on Thursday by The 4th Estate tried to quantify the magnitude of the problem. The organization released an infographic showing that, among the 38 most influential newspapers in the country, 93 percent of front-page articles about the 2012 election were written by white reporters. The infographic received a host of coverage." [more inside]
posted by marienbad
on Oct 29, 2012 -
"Is she O.K.?" a customer asks.
"My mom?" asks Kristy, the waitress.
"Yes," the customer replies.
Since Sunday, the front page of the New York Times has been featuring a portrait in five parts
of Elyria, Ohio (pop: 55,000), seen mostly through the lens of a local diner. (Second link is to a full multimedia feature, but direct links to the five individual articles can be found within.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 18, 2012 -
The Clothesline Paradox: A Conversation with Tim O'Reilly
- "The thesis is simple: You put your clothes in the dryer, and the energy you use gets measured and counted. You hang your clothes on the clothesline, and it "disappears" from the economy. It struck me that there are a lot of things that we're dealing with on the Internet that are subject to the Clothesline Paradox. Value is created, but it's not measured and counted. It's captured somewhere else in the economy." (a full text transcript of a video interview) [more inside]
posted by flex
on Oct 9, 2012 -
This summer, Gawker began soliciting and publishing a weekly series of first person essays submitted by their readers: "True Stories
." They include ten stories (to date) from struggling, unemployed Americans: Hello from the Underclass
. (Those who dislike Gawker's interface can find direct links to individual essays within.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 7, 2012 -
The National Bureau of Economic Research has published a new paper analyzing 138 years of economic history in 14 advanced economies, which proves that high levels of private debt cause severe recessions.
Money As Debt
posted by infini
on Sep 10, 2012 -
"Some date the crisis to August 9 2007, the day it became clear that Europe’s banks were up to their necks in US housing debt. The ECB flooded markets with €95bn of liquidity. It seemed a lot of money then. The term “trillion” was still banned by the Telegraph style book in those innocent days. We have since learned to swing with the modern dance music from central banks." [Five years on, the Great Recession is turning into a life sentence
posted by vidur
on Aug 13, 2012 -
"It's the 21ist century--why are we working so much?
" In which Owen Hatherley exhumes the humiliated, expired idea that the reduction of work is a worthwhile goal. "If there's one thing practically all futurologists once agreed on, it's that in the 21st century there would be a lot less work. What would they have thought, if they had known that in 2012, the 9-5 working day had in the UK become something more like 7am to 7pm? They would surely have looked around and seen technology take over in many professions which previously needed heavy manpower, they would have looked at the increase in automation and mass production, and wondered – why are they spending 12 hours a day on menial tasks?" [more inside]
posted by byanyothername
on Jul 10, 2012 -
GDP since Jesus. That headline is a big promise. But here it is: The economic history of the world going back to Year 1 showing the major powers' share of world GDP, from a research letter written by Michael Cembalest, chairman of market and investment strategy at JP Morgan.
everything to the left of 1800 is an approximation of population distribution around the world and everything to the right of 1800 is a demonstration of productivity divergences around the world. [more inside]
posted by Golden Eternity
on Jun 22, 2012 -
"Dwarfing even the $2 trillion borrowed for the Railway Ministry’s high-speed networks since 2008, and the thousands of kilometres of 4–6 lane toll roads with barely a vehicle on them, China’s building binge is the most striking example of what Prime Minister Wen Jiabao famously, but impotently, denounced in 2007 as the country’s “unbalanced, unstable, uncoordinated and unsustainable” model of economic development. Now, with house prices and sales sagging in response to government restrictions aimed at deflating history’s biggest ever property bubble, and with local governments as deep in bad debt as the developers, I asked the businessman what was to prevent the bubble actually bursting
, in a spectacular financial explosion? "
posted by vidur
on Jun 21, 2012 -
“I’m the president of a videogame company (www.valvesoftware.com).”
I thought to myself: Oh, not another “business proposal” from a crackpot… However, something in my head stopped my finger from pressing DEL while my eyes pondered the next line:
“We are running into a bunch of problems as we scale up our virtual economies, and as we link economies together. Would you be interested in consulting with us?”
Valve has hired economist Yanis Varoufakis
to work on their virtual economies. Valve Economics is Varoufakis's recently launched blog where he explains his background and how he came to work at Valve
. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis
on Jun 14, 2012 -
The US has lost
a quarter of its high-tech jobs since 2000, the number declining by 687,000. A veteran headhunter opines on the causes
: The technical jobs in Silicon Valley are hard to fill with Americans...I get email every day from new grads, asking for help finding jobs, but honestly, most are Indian or Chinese, not many Americans.
He cites a NYT article
which claims that the reason iPhone manufacturing doesn't happen in the US is that Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.
posted by shivohum
on Jun 2, 2012 -
Last night, author and farmer Wendell Berry delivered a powerful lecture
[video; full text here
includes portions not delivered verbally] to a full house on the occasion of his accepting the National Endowment of the Humanities' Jefferson Award. The famous PC holdout
has appeared previously
in the blue, but this lecture is not to be missed. Here is soul nourishment for the long-time Berry follower, and for the newcomer a superb introduction to one of our time's greatest intellects. [more inside]
posted by maniabug
on Apr 25, 2012 -
Economies of Scale
is a free, web-based multiplayer business/commerce simulation game under development by Scott Rubyton (aka Ratan Joyce). Players use starting capital to build production/wholesale/retail businesses from the ground up in a basic economic model, competing for market share while collaborating through business-to-business trading of goods and materials. It's more fun than getting an MBA! Also much less expensive. [more inside]
posted by cortex
on Apr 3, 2012 -
The Enduring Consequences of Unemployment.
It is perhaps no surprise that "....workers who lost jobs during the recession of the early 1980s were making 20 percent less than their peers two decades later." Or that unemployment is also bad for your health.... "lA worker laid off at age 40 could expect to die at least a year sooner than his peers." What frames the issue starkly though is that unemployed people gradually lost the ability to read. [more inside]
posted by storybored
on Mar 29, 2012 -