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The Day Care Dilemma

"Trusting your child with someone else is one of the hardest things that a parent has to do — and in the United States, it’s harder still, because American day care is a mess. About 8.2 million kids—about 40 percent of children under five — spend at least part of their week in the care of somebody other than a parent. Most of them are in centers, although a sizable minority attend home day cares.... In other countries, such services are subsidized and well-regulated. In the United States, despite the fact that work and family life has changed profoundly in recent decades, we lack anything resembling an actual child care system. Excellent day cares are available, of course, if you have the money to pay for them and the luck to secure a spot. But the overall quality is wildly uneven and barely monitored, and at the lower end, it’s Dickensian."
posted by zarq on Apr 15, 2013 - 139 comments

Material Poverty & Privilege in India

What would a poverty map of India look like?
posted by Gyan on Apr 14, 2013 - 10 comments

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

There is a curious feeling of power you get when you drop a couple of twenties without a trace of critical thinking. "Here in the West, a lifestyle of unnecessary spending has been deliberately cultivated and nurtured in the public by big business." [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Apr 14, 2013 - 57 comments

"like most of the working class, I’ve developed a locust morality."

The Locust Economy
I was picking the brain of a restauranteur for insight into things like Groupon. He confirmed what we all understand in the abstract: that these deals are terrible for the businesses that offer them; that they draw in nomadic deal hunters from a vast surrounding region who are unlikely to ever return; that most deal-hunters carefully ensure that they spend just the deal amount or slightly more; that a badly designed offer can bankrupt a small business. He added one little factoid I did not know: offering a Groupon deal is by now so strongly associated with a desperate, dying restaurant that professional food critics tend to write off any restaurant that offers one without even trying it.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 11, 2013 - 73 comments

"I couldn't afford for Carpentersville to become Detroit"

Tom Roeser was unhappy about the decline of his town, Carpentersville, IL. So he decided to do something about it. Roeser bought some foreclosed properties, renovated them, and then rented them out for below market value.
posted by reenum on Apr 2, 2013 - 56 comments

Workers of the world... Relax!

"Because work is unnecessary except to those whose power it secures, workers are shifted from relatively useful to relatively useless occupations as a measure to assure public order." -- The Abolition Of Work by Bob Black [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 29, 2013 - 92 comments

Evaluating the impact of international aid, scientifically

International aid projects come under the microscope Clinical-research techniques deployed to assess effectiveness of aid initiatives.
posted by infini on Jan 24, 2013 - 3 comments

There's a lot of bullshit coming from America

"Of the top 100 Swiss companies, 49 give shareholders a consulting vote on the pay of executives. A few other countries, including the United States and Germany, have introduced advisory "say on pay" votes in response to the anger over inequality and corporate excess that drove the Occupy Wall Street movement. Britain is also planning to implement rules in late 2013 that will give shareholders a binding vote on pay and "exit payments" at least every three years. Minder's initiative goes further, forcing all listed companies to have binding votes on compensation for company managers and directors, and ban golden handshakes and parachutes. It would also ban bonus payments to managers if their companies are taken over, and impose severe penalties — including possible jail sentences and fines — for breaches of these new rules."
posted by vidur on Jan 21, 2013 - 32 comments

The Origins of Neoliberalism

Philip Pilkington writes for naked capitalism: The Origins of Neoliberalism Part I: Hayek's Delusion
Hayek’s entire ideology and career had begun to come apart in the 1930s. His theories were shown to be inconsistent in the academic journals of the time and the practical implications of those theories had shown themselves to be both discredited and dangerous. A man in such a position only has two choices: he can either completely re-evaluate his ideas which, if they were held with unshakeable conviction and constituted a core component of his emotional make-up, as seems to have been the case with Hayek, would have likely resulted in a mental collapse; or, alternatively, he can engage in a massive repression, shut out reality and construct around himself a fantasy world.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 18, 2013 - 136 comments

Secret and Lies of the Bailout

Secret and Lies of the Bailout. "The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 7, 2013 - 77 comments

"Victory as recorded on those screens made them feel like Masters of the Universe."

Eunuchs of the Universe: Tom Wolfe on Wall Street Today: [Daily Beast]
"As America teeters on a cliff, Tom Wolfe draws up a sterling indictment of our unscrupulous financial culture. Twenty-five years after Bonfire of the Vanities, the author returns to Wall Street to see what happened to the Masters of the Universe."

posted by Fizz on Jan 4, 2013 - 35 comments

2013 real estate and economy predictions

Garth Turner, the former politician and now cranky (but funny and more or less accurate) blogger opines on real estate and the economy for 2013.
posted by anothermug on Dec 31, 2012 - 26 comments

Old Hansa

Networks of the Hanseatic League - The Hanseatic League was a late-medieval network of economically largely independent long-distance trade merchants which was based on trust, reputation and reciprocal relations. The informal cooperation among its members kept transactional, informational and organizational costs low, allowing the Hanse merchants to make good profits from the long-distance trade between the Baltic and the North Seas. Thanks to personal and institutional links with confederations of towns, the Hanse merchants were initially able to strengthen their international position of power. Since the late 15th century, however, the transaction costs of long-distance trade increased as a result of growing exclusivity and formalization efforts in the Hanseatic league. Moreover, changes in the European economic structure, triggered by the discovery of America, and internal conflicts ultimately led to the disintegration of the Hanseatic networks.
posted by infini on Dec 29, 2012 - 14 comments

Wonky graphs of 2012

2012: The year in graphs - as picked by the Washington Post Wonkblog's favorite economists, political scientist, politicians and other wonkys.
posted by Artw on Dec 28, 2012 - 17 comments

A tax time bomb, slowly ticking away

Income based repayment is touted as a solution to rapidly rising college costs in the US. But there is a hefty tax bill looming for people who take advantage of this program.
posted by reenum on Dec 18, 2012 - 134 comments

"how we learned to stop worrying and embrace the abstraction"

A Brief History Of Money [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 16, 2012 - 53 comments

Where are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars. I don't see any flying cars!

Global Trends 2030 Alternate Worlds is the latest quadrennial report from The US National Intelligence Council (NIC). (Report: PDF / Talking Points: PDF.) Similar to its predecessors, '2030' attempts to predict 'alternate visions of the future.' An official blog discusses their speculations. The Atlantic Council has published a "companion publication": "Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 11, 2012 - 21 comments

Fiscal-Cliff-Diving

There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration."
Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 1, 2012 - 214 comments

The New York Times - Complaints Aside, Most Face Lower Tax Burden Than in 1980

The New York Times examines how American taxes have changed since 1980
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 30, 2012 - 105 comments

"Don't call it a comeback/I've been here for years."

Jay Walljasper covers Detroit: Not Your Father's Motor City, The Surprise Behind Detroit's Emerging Comeback, Young People’s Fascination With Motor City is Only Part of Detroit Revitalization, A Food Commons Grows In Detroit. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 27, 2012 - 31 comments

Spoiler alert: Northern Europe does well

The 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index ranks the wealth and well-being of the world's countries according to eight sub-indexes. Interestingly, you may individually re-weight those eight sub-indexes, in order to create country rankings closer to your own values and priorities. Foreign Policy has more on the Prosperity Index's unique approach to the ultimately very silly art of numerically ranking nation-states.
posted by Sticherbeast on Nov 23, 2012 - 25 comments

NGO in a box

A polemic against NGOs and the destruction of local innovation However, one issue that has received relatively scant attention is the way in which the notion of civil society has been reduced to being synonymous with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This is one area that can have malign and far-reaching negative impacts, which I’d like to explore here. And here's another view, this time from India.
posted by infini on Nov 17, 2012 - 22 comments

¿Sí Se Puede?

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 - 108 comments

How My Danish Friend Paid Off His Debt By Becoming A Gay Prostitute

How My Danish Friend Paid Off His Debt By Becoming A Gay Prostitute
posted by reenum on Oct 31, 2012 - 51 comments

Who writes this crap?

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 - 44 comments

Abracadabra, No More Banking Crisis

IMF Economists are suggesting that The Chicago Plan, first proposed in 1936 as a way to avoid another Great Depression, is the answer to our current economic woes. [more inside]
posted by COD on Oct 22, 2012 - 57 comments

"...how great it could still be.”

"Is she O.K.?" a customer asks.
"My mom?" asks Kristy, the waitress.
"Yes," the customer replies.
"No."


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 - 42 comments

Rubber Rooms Are Still Open, Just Different

Thought the "rubber rooms" where New York City teachers were sent to wait for disciplinary hearings were closed? Not so much. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Oct 16, 2012 - 32 comments

Why Obama Now

Why Obama Now - from Simpsons/Family Guy animator Lucas Gray [more inside]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 11, 2012 - 61 comments

"If we're going to get 21st century economic policy right... we have to start moving to a model that measures value creation rather than value capture."

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 - 77 comments

"No one wants to hear about how tough it is."

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 - 20 comments

HE'S A SOCIALIST!

A society where the lucky few reap prodigious financial rewards is one where many will fall short of their dreams through no fault of their own. We must insure all people against disability, against sickness, against hunger, and against homelessness. I realize that these things cost money. I believe that the costs of building and maintaining a great country should be shared by all of us, beginning with the people who benefit the most from our society. I believe that people like me (and people who are far wealthier) should pay more in taxes.

So-called "job creator" acknowledges that he lives in a society and owes a debt to it, as a response to (seemingly in agreement with) a satirical Job Creator Manifesto published in the Washington Post. [more inside]
posted by univac on Oct 6, 2012 - 40 comments

Dodging Corporates Taxes? There Is An App For That.

How Apple uses a Nevada based investment fund to (legally) avoid paying corporate tax on some of its massive profit.
posted by COD on Oct 2, 2012 - 135 comments

Mes Aynak

Golden Buddha, Hidden Copper. "Twelve years after the Taliban blew up the world-famous Bamiyan Buddhas, a Chinese mining firm -- developing one of the world's largest copper deposits -- threatens to destroy another of Afghanistan's archeological treasures." Campaign to Save Mes Aynak.
posted by homunculus on Sep 22, 2012 - 14 comments

Brother, can you spare a dime?

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. (Via) Bonus SLYT: Money As Debt (1hr)
posted by infini on Sep 10, 2012 - 32 comments

The Juris Doctor is 'Versatile' Thanks Mainly to Numerous Logical Fallacies

Many people say that a law degree enables the holder to do virtually anything. Am Law Daily explores the logical fallacies behind this statement.
posted by reenum on Aug 16, 2012 - 55 comments

Pick your side. Pick your history.

"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 - 101 comments

Some Shoppers Are More Equal Than Others

Supermarkets are attempting to customize prices for different shoppers. At a Safeway in Denver, a 24-pack of Refreshe bottled water costs $2.71 for Jennie Sanford, a project manager. For Emily Vanek, a blogger, the price is $3.69. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Aug 10, 2012 - 164 comments

Are you a slave?

Asking young people: It’s Just Business: How Corporate America Made Slaves of the Young And for discussion is this the only time in our history that it has occurred?
posted by robbyrobs on Aug 10, 2012 - 64 comments

High earners in France consider moving in response to 75% tax

“We’re getting a lot of calls from high earners who are asking whether they should get out of France,” said Mr. Grandil... “Even young, dynamic people pulling in 200,000 euros are wondering whether to remain in a country where making money is not considered a good thing.” French president François Hollande's plan to tax income above a million euros ($1.24 million) a year at 75% is alarming some.
posted by shivohum on Aug 8, 2012 - 259 comments

The Cheesecake Factory as a model for the American health care system

A new model for the American health care system: The Cheesecake Factory
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 6, 2012 - 96 comments

"Man is made for something better than distributing dirt."

"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 - 106 comments

The law school scam as a cognitive bias

Discover Magazine posted a couple of blog entries about the law school scam as a cognitive bias and why law school tuition isn't more dispersed.
posted by reenum on Jul 6, 2012 - 52 comments

Assertion that all young people think they are special snowflakes.

Vagenda Magazine sums up every article about graduate unemployment.
posted by mippy on Jul 2, 2012 - 62 comments

Computer says No

For the past 4 days, up to 12 million NatWest / Royal Bank of Scotland customers have been unable to pay bills, move money or get paid due to a technical problem. Customers have been unable to complete on house purchases and some are stuck because they can't pay hotel bills abroad. The new mobile banking service has also been affected. The bank has called in 7,000 staff to open all weekend as problems persist.
Just three months ago, the State-controlled bank outsourced nearly 300 back-office roles to Hyderabad in India.
posted by Lanark on Jun 23, 2012 - 71 comments

The Economic History of the Last 2,000 Years in 1 Little Graph

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 - 79 comments

Decision time for China

"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 - 46 comments

Valve Economics: the challenges of virtual economies at Valve

“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 - 56 comments

Why is the US losing technology jobs?

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 - 107 comments

10 Faces Behind The Incredible Law School Underemployment Crisis

10 Faces Behind The Incredible Law School Underemployment Crisis
posted by reenum on Jun 1, 2012 - 32 comments

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