Assorted links

by on April 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Is the black market in metereorite fragments a good or bad development? (NYT)

2. Salamander has algae living inside its cells.  And Reihan on Lula.

3. China famine facts of the day.

4. Breaking down the decline in TFP; note the importance of sectoral shifts into lower-growing sectors, as discussed here by Gordon Bjork and in the comments by Andy Harless.

5. Dan Gardner on nuclear power.

6. How San Francisco parking pricing will work.

7. How the world’s economic center of gravity has been shifting.

Noah April 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Tyler – Thanks for the link.

Two things:

1. A shift into slower-progressing industries may be underway, but it is not apparent in Fernald’s data set; the GDP share of the durables sector, in which TFP growth continues apace (and has even accelerated), has held steady at 20% over the entire sample.

2. Also, note that a shift into sectors with slower TFP growth does not necessarily indicate that technological innovation is slowing down…imagine an economy in which we get infinitely better at producing right shoes (i.e. there is no “low hang fruit” effect), but no better at producing left shoes, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. As right-shoe production gets more and more efficient, expenditure on shoes becomes dominated by expenditure on left shoes; this means that TFP growth in the shoe sector overall will look like it is slowing, even though there is no change in the rate of technological improvement in either shoe subsector.

Best,
Noah

E. Barandiaran April 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Tyler, have you found a survey of the large research on TFP growth, hopefully one that takes into account growth in developed countries over the past 200 years? So far I have not been able to get one. In case that you don’t get one I strongly recommend you to do one –I mean one that meets the requirements to be published in JEL– rather than cherry-picking evidence in support of your TGS idea.

David Wright April 5, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I love the SF parking plan, but in the article comments it is very unpopular. Many people see below-market pricing as a good thing for the less wealthy who have more time (to circle for parking) than money (to pay for it).

E. Barandiaran April 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm

AGAINST STAGNATION — A REVOLUTION TO REMEMBER AND THE LONG MARCH TO iPAD 2. Read
http://www.stormdriver.com/blog/the-tech-archive-30-years-of-mobile-computing/

In late 1983, a friend imported an Osborne into Santiago Chile and I rented it from him. I had been using a typewriter since I was 10, and then at 42 I entered into a new world. I was publishing a monthly report on the Chilean macroeconomy that required a lot of last minute work. With Osborne, I saved at least 3 or 4 days of work per month, at a time (Chile’s financial crisis of 1982-83) in which I was working close to 12 hours per day

I thank Chris from Stormdriver for a good post comparing the Osborne I and the iPad 2.

Miley_Cyrax April 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm

@7
“Extrapolating growth in the 700 locations is projected by 2050 to locate between India and China. The graphic below shows, in 3 year intervals, the WECG 1980-2007 in black and projections for 2010 – 2049 in red. It is interesting to note how the WECG seems to move horizontally so does this sugest that the north-south divide will remain invariant? In looking at the actual data in Quah’s research, it shows that latitude declines from 66 degrees North to 44 degrees North by 2049. This might seem to imply that the south, like the east, is actually gaining considerable relative economic strength. ”

Yeah, linear trends go on forever right? And if you use a pencil and keep drawing the line to the right, by 2079 the center of gravity will be well into the Pacific Ocean. This seems to imply that Hawaii secedes and becomes an economic powerhouse.

SteveX (formerly Steve) April 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm

#5 I couldn’t agree more with Dan’s observations. I grew up within 2 miles of a nuclear power generating station in Canada, so I’ve actually lived through the emotional, economic and technical arguments of nuclear power from the perspective of a rate-payer and a potential nuclear accident victim. Everything Dan says is true. The misinformation about nuclear power safety is off-the-map irrational. Probably the main reason I think this way now is that despite all the dire predictions of the anti-nukes, few of whom actually lived in my community, 40 years have passed and nothing bad has happened. When you think of how dangerous ANY facility that churns out in excess of 1GWe net 24/7, regardless of what technology spins its turbines, that’s quite remarkable. The predictions of us all having thyroid cancer by the time we were 40, and every other unimaginable horror never materialized, just as the scientist said they wouldn’t.

Were we just lucky, and the people of Fukushima weren’t? Possibly, but Fukushima is a boiling water reactor (BWR) design, which uses the same light water that moderates and cools the reactor to turn the turbines. That makes it one of the riskier designs for a 40 year old Generation II commercial nuclear reactor. Not only that, they built it in about the riskiest place they could find… on the coastline 30 miles away from an major underwater fault, and the dang thing still came within a whisker of surviving. The one I grew up next to, also a 40 year old, but more expensive and safer Gen II (CANDU) design, uses heavy water moderation and a heat exchanger to create the steam for the turbines. I only know the difference because I happened to have one of them in my back yard. I doubt many people have any idea how vastly all the technologies differ, but they’re certain none of them are safe.

Allan April 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Should there not be two centers of economic gravity on opposite sides of the earth?

Take a simple example, all economic activity is in the center of the US and the center of China. It will pull east from the US and west from China. But it will also pull west from the US and east from China.

We could extrapolate with southeast Asia and Europe pulling, but it would pull both points in opposite directions, no?

The only way to get the true center of gravity would be to put it somewhere under the surface of the earth.

Paul Ralley April 6, 2011 at 1:29 am

I thought the centre of gravity was a bit 2D as well. What about the GDP of space?

Chris April 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm

The only thing I know about DPT in SF is that they are evil and omnipotent.

Drea April 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm

And now they can be omniscient as well. But I don’t mind so much:
http://www.streetlinenetworks.com/smart-parking-solutions/motorist-guidance

Chris in Baltimore April 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm

SF parking: Odd how it’s always the most liberal places that are most eager to embrace rules that get poor and middle class people out of rich people’s way.
This complements that earlier story about blacks moving away from those northern urban liberal paradises to Red states.

Greeneyeshade April 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm

The only thing I know about DPT in SF is that they are evil and omnipotent.

Welcome to the business end of the socialist paradise. Good thing petty tyrants like this haven’t gone to Sacramento or DC. Nevermind.

Voltaire in '08 April 6, 2011 at 8:43 am

The authors of the essay cited in the abandoned footnote on China are mistaken in claiming that their findings disprove or refute or even much diminish the importance of ideology in explaining the Great Leap famine of 1958-62. All their findings prove is that even in an environment driven by feverish ideology, the normal motives of ambition and status rivalry are not held in abeyance; they simply take their place within the framework of incentives shaped by the feverish ideology itself. This is itself not a negligeable or an unwelcome claim, although neither is it a dramatically novel one (for a more interesting discussion of the phenomenon, see Frank Dikötter’s account of the role of China’s international status in explaining the unfolding of the catastrophe in his Mao’s Great Famine). Perhaps that is why the authors felt a need to exaggerate its importance. Status rivalries are rife in the United States, or any other functioning Western country, with results somewhat different from those that arose in China 1958-62.

Luminique April 7, 2011 at 1:49 am

I check my mail using Yahoo and Internet Explorer. I click on New to send a note and nothing happens.

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