Assorted links

by on November 28, 2008 at 7:14 am in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. Prices, Poverty, and Inequality: Why Americans are Better Off Than You Think, by Christian Broda and David E. Weinstein.  The full text is free on-line at the link.

2. The economics of Scientology.

3. 5, 322, and $4250 are the relevant numbers in this story of a journal run amok.  Shocking (or is it?).

4. NYT 100 Notable Books.  It’s an OK enough list and you can think of these as the mainstream picks.

5. Questions about bagels.

1 odograph November 28, 2008 at 9:41 am

I tend to contrast consumer progress with environmental losses. I can have a new iPod, but I can’t catch and eat as many ocean fish as I want (even in unrestricted species I’d worry about mercury & etc.)

2 Peter November 28, 2008 at 10:42 am

Most important answer about bagels: way too many calories.

3 meter November 28, 2008 at 11:11 am

Re #1:

Haven’t read the book but from the abstract it seems that the argument is that standard of living increases more than compensate for declining real wealth. I can see the argument from a technology, transportation and housing perspective – we are able to buy more house, travel further with nicer amenities, and purchase better technology for relatively less money as time marches on – but I wonder if they account for skyrocketing health care costs, education costs, and food costs?

There’s a reason most American families used to be able to exist on the sole breadwinner model but can no longer do so. Leaving out those who have overreached on housing, it would be very difficult for the average family to run an average household on a single average income.

4 Barkley Rosser November 28, 2008 at 12:13 pm

ramster,

It may be overpriced, but is the Journal of Econometrics junk? How about the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Economic Theory? Elsevier journals are arguably overpriced, but many are not junk. (Of course I am biased as I happen to edit an Elsevier journal)

I have put a post on n-category cafe, given that I have both published in CS&F (three times even!) and actually met El Naschie and found some of his 1994 papers on empty Cantorian sets quite intriguing. I am in no position to judge his e-infinity theory, however, and his practice of publishing five papers by himself in a single issue is simply way over the top. He clearly needs to step down, and it appears that he is being forced to do so.

Personally, he is very engaging and interesting. However, I do suspect that he plays some not so straightforward games. For years he was listed on the journal masthead as being at Cambridge University, but then his Wikipedia entry (since deleted) had nothing about that in it.

I have not read the journal in several years (not easy to access, I used to see it in the engineerng library at the University of Wisconsin, but they stopped taking it some years ago). It would appear that its quality has declined and El Nashie has gone wild.

I would note, however, that it has a respectable impact factor, and this might be due to the fact that many of the papers appearing in it are handled by associate editors who follow proper procedures. It has an economics section, which was edited for about a decade by the estimable Tonu Puu, now retired from Umea University in Sweden. He handled two of the papers that I published in the journal in 1994 and 1996, the first of those actually getting cited a moderate amount by other folks. The last one I published in 2003 was part of a conference proceedings, held at Odense, Denmark in 2001, and it was at that conference that I met El Nashie.

This is indeed a curious and ultimately sad tale. (They also need to lower the price of the journal, as well as get rid of El Nashie.)

5 Anonymous November 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm

I would note, however, that it has a respectable impact factor, and this might be due to the fact that many of the papers appearing in it are handled by associate editors who follow proper procedures.

It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the impact factor by area. I don’t think the aggregate figure means much at all, because of the “E-infinity” papers and other junk. These papers frequently cite each other, and they amount to a large enough fraction of the papers published that they can singlehandedly raise the impact factor.

6 improbable November 28, 2008 at 3:05 pm

“it would be very difficult for the average family to run an average household on a single average income.”

If most households start to have two incomes, then statement will always be true: it tells you that the average now consists of two-income households, not that costs of living have changed.

To what degree this influences the individual seems unclear. If it’s just that our expectations of what a decent household should be able to afford have risen, then nothing has changed, you can live at comparable material wealth to the previous generation, on one income. If the two-income families bid up the price of housing, then the change in the average does make it harder for the individual to buck this trend. I suspect that both of these are true to some extent.

7 K. November 28, 2008 at 7:27 pm

Subtitlemania: A comment in response to an Assorted Links post
Wow, that’s a lot of colons in the nonfiction part of the book list. I think there was a PhD comics about this phenomenon in the titles of research papers in boring subjects.

8 Rex Rhino November 29, 2008 at 2:53 am

There’s a reason most American families used to be able to exist on the sole breadwinner model but can no longer do so.

Americans can’t exist on the sole breadwinner model, because American’s consumer appetite is so much greater. Someone working at Walmart today can most definitely beat my middle-class grandfather’s material wealth in the 1950s.

Eating meatloaf and leftovers, taking the bus and not owning a car, mending your clothing instead of buying new, renting out the spare bedroom to a boarder, where all ordinary things that respectable middle class people would do 1950s, but would be looked down on by many welfare recipients in this day and age… let alone the middle class.

9 Barkley Rosserr December 1, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Just for the record, I have just learned that
Mohammed S. El Nashie will be stepping aside as
Editor of Chaos, Solitons and Fractals early
this coming year. This was apparently reported
in the November 26 issue of Nature.

10 business process outsourcing March 6, 2010 at 9:42 am

fast process of reading

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