by Tyler Cowen
on August 4, 2010 at 11:46 am
1. The art of money.
2. Posters for the fiftieth anniversary of Brasilia.
3. Werner Herzog reads Madeline.
4. Werner Herzog reads Curious George.
5. How bad are things for the long haul? A critique of Luce's FT piece.
6. Visual history of Las Vegas urbanization, from a new blog on urban demographics.
From the critique:
“The share of mortgages either in foreclosure or 3 or more months delinquent is 11.4 percent, which, because 30 percent of homeowners have paid off their mortgage, translates into 8 percent of homes. So the Freemans’ situation is typical of about one in twelve homeowners, or not quite 3 percent of households (since one-third rent).”
This should be “over 5%”, rather than “not quite 3%”.
Anybody know what the deal is with Curious George’s missing tail?
I live in BrasÃlia, but I had no idea about the poster contest. (Possibly because the district governor was in jail during the celebration of the anniversary).
The Brasilia Poster post is great. I also linked to some of the illustrators. Good Catch!
R W Roger: In fact he spent two full months in jail! This is quite impressive (by Brazilian standards). More info: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8606451.stm
I haven’t seen many blog posts as deliberately misleading as Winship’s.
His first “takedown” relies on ignorance of historical figures. Yes, only 5% of homes are in forclosure – thats 1 out of every 20 homes – while historically, this number was closer to 1.75%, or 1 in 50 homes. This is a crisis by any measure. And it doesn’t include the sheer number of homes that are likely to be in forclosed.
In other words, this clown is relying on the ignorance of his readers to make Luce seem incorrect.
Then, his claim that real earnings growth is solid also relies on ignoring 200 years of U.S. history. 30% gains over 40 years isn’t bad, unless you compare it to 100% gains over 30 years, which is what our grandfathers had, and what their fathers had, and basically what happened for most of U.S. history.
Empiricist or liar? Maybe Hume can answer that. I side with liar.
The problem with hyperbole is that it opens you up to these critiques and undermines your point.
I can’t stand stuff like this:
“Over the same period the incomes of the top 1 per cent have tripled. In 1973, chief executives were on average paid 26 times the median income. Now the multiple is above 300.”
It is intended (I assume) to make the mind draw the conclusion that the top 1% now make 300 times the average. But the sleight of hand is he goes from the 1%, to CEOs. How many CEOs are there? About 500 for the S&P 500. An inconsequential number in absolute terms.
I think it is partly the narrative, as is the constant use of average Joe first names in anecdotes like Presidents tend to do in their State of the Union (“crappy, unless you do what I want”) Speeches.
The middle class may be trending down, but we’ll never know from these storytelling tactics. What we need is data, and I’m glad people are looking carefully at this Healthcare causes most bankruptcies narrative.
techreseller: my guess about the lake would be the months when the pictures were taken… But you have a good point that we should not forget.
ps. Tyler, thanks for the post;
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