Assorted links

by on February 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. Via Chris F. Masse, which countries have the most dentists per capita?  Also look for the UK on this list.

2. Charles Manson's letterhead.  And: "There is no Great Stagnation."

3. Agnostic on TGSRyan Avent on TGS.

4. The behavioral economics gym, designed by Harvard students.

5. Social impact bonds.

6. Social trust and IQ.

7. The twenty best articles from the AER?

dirk February 9, 2011 at 8:36 am

I love how agnostic has the balls to review TGS while admitting he hasn't read it.

Hell, I should have left my own review up. Maybe Tyler would have linked to it eventually. The gist of it was imagining someone actually invented a teleportation machine which happened to be cheap to replicate and cheap to use. Would median GDP increase? If not — and I suspect not — then median GDP is not the end all measure of increases in standard of living.

On the other hand, Steve Sailer raises one good point. Median housing costs have risen faster than median income over the past 40 years even if you account for the increase in the size of houses. So when it comes to basics, we have not merely stagnated but have fallen backward. I attribute it to the fact we are much like bowerbirds, building bigger and bigger houses to attract pussy. More economic inequality means fiercer competition for pussy. The stakes rise, along with home prices.

dirk February 9, 2011 at 9:11 am

The Big Invention chart looks exactly like a commodity chart. All you can say is that the volatility has increased over time. There is no trend.

subdee February 9, 2011 at 9:39 am

From comments on Trust vs. Social Spending:

"Straight out distance from equator is probably a better fit to the data than either trust or unionization rates. This sucks as a sensible cause and effect theory, but we don’t get to choose the facts."

Makes perfect sense to me. Homeless poor people are less likely to die on the street when the weather is warm, therefore they require less social spending.

Is it really true that greater IQ >> greater cooperation >> greater national wage? What is a "nation's wage"? Is it the national minimum wage? The national average wage? National per capita income?

Ryan February 9, 2011 at 10:04 am

Re: the stagnation hypothesis, the plethora of TGS reviews, inventions, etc. In my view, the Internet, with respect to its impact on leisure, has been substantially undervalued. Of course, leisure isn't accounted for in median-household income, GDP, etc.

WT February 9, 2011 at 10:44 am

Re #7: Not one article from the last 30 years made the top 20? What does this say about the current state of Economics? Society?

thepolemarch February 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm

WT, I think it says the reviewer is biased against newer paper, and/or it's harder to judge the brilliance and impact of newer papers. Plus the profession has become much more technical, and specialized because all of the basics are gone.

Six Ounces February 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm

1. The number of dentists per capita is amusing, but scarcely informative. The figure tells us nothing about the quality of care, the licensing requirements, the efficiency of dental services, or the cost and profits of those services.

A dentist could have back to back appointments all day, every day, or they could have one appointment per week.

They could be poorly trained and get paid with gyros, or they can have advanced training and equipment.

2. Ballston Barber Shop in Arlington. Wait for Mimi.

Yancey Ward February 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Wow, I didn't know Greeks and Brazilians had such lousy teeth.

Six Ounces February 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Great point Yancey. I didn't even think about it from the demand side.

Which of those countries have flouridated water? According to Wiki it's: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ireland, Malaysia, US, and Vietnam. France flouridates salt.

The Wiki article on flouridation talks about the huge controversies in Europe over flouridation. In many countries it was banned. In others, there were fights between municipalities and the provincial and federal governments over it. East Germany had flouridation, but Germany banned it there after unification.

It seems that Europeans had more angst about contaminating their precious bodily fluids than the US.

Stats seem to suggest a rise in tooth decay in the US because more children are drinking bottled water without flouride. I drink tap water, and I haven't had a cavity since I was 15. But I also brush and floss daily.

dirk February 10, 2011 at 12:09 am

@agnostic — I was just making a joke. Your commentary was very intelligent. Tomorrow I plan on re-writing my own review and hope Tyler links to it.

B.B. February 10, 2011 at 5:39 am

I am combining two threads.

In the list of best AER articles, and it is a very good list, the latest paper listed was in 1981. That means that no paper the AER has published in the past 30 years deserves to be on the top list, even though the number of articles per issue has increased.

Combine that observation with the Great Stagnation. And your earlier reference to "peak athletic" performance.

The best gains are behind us. In economic theory, athletic improvement, and productivity growth.

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