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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

Mugabenomics!

Wealth Redistribution, Zimbabwe Style...
posted by Renoroc on May 20, 2012 - 19 comments

TED: Yes to "Drying your Hands," No to "Income Inequality."

"I can say with confidence that rich people don't create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small," said über-rich venture capitalist Nick Hanauer in a March 1st TEDx talk, which TED is refusing to put on its website. [more inside]
posted by blazingunicorn on May 16, 2012 - 98 comments

In Canada, Alternate Currency Keeps Traction With Fans

Canadian Tire Company coupons, thought of by some as an alternative Canadian currency, may be on the way out. [more inside]
posted by reenum on May 14, 2012 - 63 comments

"It All Turns On Affection"

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 - 27 comments

"If you have your checkbook in your car I will be happy to wait for you."

Hospitals in Minnesota have hired a collections company that plants its employees in the ER, squeezing money out of patients before they can get further care.
posted by reenum on Apr 24, 2012 - 67 comments

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

"The world's most important story" – A decade of environmental journalism in China, by Guardian environment reporter Jonathan Watts.
posted by nickrussell on Apr 20, 2012 - 3 comments

Get Rid of Employment and Education Directive

A modest proposal to get rid of income inequality in America: just give every household a $10 million dollar loan.
posted by falameufilho on Apr 13, 2012 - 129 comments

Student Loans on Rise -- for Kindergarten

Student loan debt is now extending to K-12 private educations, fueled by parents who believe getting their children into the "right" primary school is essential to future success.
posted by reenum on Apr 7, 2012 - 113 comments

Time To Corner The Market On Passenger Jet Wing Assemblies!

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 - 60 comments

The Enduring Consequences of Unemployment

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 - 83 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

In a sympathetic biochemical photo-reactive process, the Biosphere has altered the litho-sphere into the pedosphere, the cryo-sphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere*

The Loess Plateau in China’s Northwest is home to more than 50 million people. Centuries of overuse led to one of the highest erosion rates in the world and widespread poverty. Two projects (results) set out to restore the Loess Plateau. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Mar 22, 2012 - 7 comments

Pop! Goes the Law School Bubble

With the number of LSAT test takers in sharp decline, has the law school tuition bubble finally burst?
posted by reenum on Mar 20, 2012 - 79 comments

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