Assorted links

by on July 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. How smart are sheep?

2. Taiwan lottery markets in everything.

3. Joseph Stiglitz con los Indignados.

4. Cheap labor and TGS.

5. Rents are too damn high, proof that Matt Yglesias thinks too small.

6. The Italy-Germany spread is back up to before the rescue plan.

db July 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm

1) Old news for Murikami fans. Sheep have designs on world domination.

Nick Bradley July 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm

re: #4 –

Is there any way to track median consumption growth instead of median income growth? I bet that if you could, you’d see we’re right on trendline. Examples of studies that try to do this include Don Boudreaux ‘s “sears catalog index”.

http://cafehayek.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Heres-a-PowerPoint-presentation-that-I-gave-as-part-of-a-lecture-that-I-delivered-earlier-today-at-Cato-University.1.ppt

Scott Sumner has been pushing analysts to look at consumption inequality instead of income inequality because it’s pretty meaningless when you think about it.

Yancey Ward July 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm

#6, Jeez, who could have expected that?

T. Shaw July 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm

What has conscience have to do with economics?

#6, “. . . the GOP does its best to destroy America’s credit, . . . ”

. . . federal government has not the capacity to repay the debt amount . . . Obama has no plan . . . Ried et al refuse to negotiate . . .

Kruggie, Harry Reid, 52 other demagogue senators, McCain, Obama, et al: What part of, “You have run out of other people’s money.” don’t you understand?”

“The horror of an obama-worshiping imbecile ”

I wasted 15 seconds on that moron. I am going to throw up.

Randy July 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm

re #4
“So how do we make labor more expensive? One way is to raise the minimum wage and increase rates of unionization, which are both good ideas.”

Hmm, to create more demand for labor, we need to make it more expensive. Come again?

Nick Bradley July 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Another comment on #4 –

Yes, labor scarcity drives technological growth, but technological growth does not equal wealth growth. In Lant Pritchett’s ‘Let Their People Come’, he makes the argument that labor migration restrictions have resulted in the greatest misallocation of capital in human history. Migration restrictions encouraged $trillions in capital to flow away from consumer goods and into the R&D and production of labor-saving devices. Using his neoclassical model, the world would be twice as rich with totally free immigration. In a counter-factual where we saw free migration in the 19th and 20th centuries, we’d be 3x as rich with 1/2 the level of technology.

Looking forward, migrations restrictions will hasten the arrival of the post-human economy a 100+ years before when it would have occurred otherwise.

More Indian rental cars that come with their own Indian driver, less autocars.

anonymous July 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Re: #6, it seems likely that Europe keeps pulling rabbits out of the hat — each emergency summit announcing an umpteenth “final resolution” of the crisis — not because they actually think a solution is possible, but because they are crossing their fingers and hoping that Congress will f%ck up so badly on the debt ceiling that money might actually flee to Europe, in which case all the stalling for time would actually miraculously pay off.

Unlikely. Both sides of the Atlantic are doomed regardless of what the other does.

Yogi July 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Re: # 2, I suppose the severity of this concern depends on the relative cost of the city’s plan for disposing of the gathered poo, but I am not sure that human poo and dog poo, when placed in a bag, are sufficiently distinct for the city to be confident that this plan will produce a net good.

Slocum July 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm

@4. Wow. Raise labor costs via high minimum wages and unionization, which the author understands will drive more automation and put marginally-skilled people out of work…but that’s OK because we’ll just provide generous benefits for the unemployable? Because people excluded from the labor market and relegated to lives on the dole live such happy, fulfilling lives?

Nick Bradley July 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm

@Slocum – I hear ya. That’s what passes for analysis these days. The guy who wrote ‘lights in the tunnel’ has a blog (econfuture) where he lobbies for mass income redistribution in the future where machines to all the work.

When I comment that the easiest way to combat cheap technological advancement is to make labor cheaper, people don’t get it. My platform is to:

1. remove immigration and labor restrictions
2. eliminate intellectual property so anyone can own capital equipment
* I’m also open to the idea of making the structure of capital gains taxes a little bit more progressive so that the low-income can accumulate more capital as well.

- the result of these policies would be mega-deflation due to productivity gains like we saw in the late 19th Century.

spencer July 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Slocum, I’ve seen your theory repeated time and time again.

But economic history shows results that directly contradict it.

Can you show us an historic example of your theory working.

Obvious it is not the US.

From WW II to 1980 when average real wages rose sharply in the US unemployment of unskilled labor was minimal — not what your theory forecast.

Since 1980 when real wages stagnated unemployment of unskilled labor rose sharply — just the opposite of your theory.

Tyler Fan July 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Why are you always so nice to Matt Yglesias (who has 1/1,000th the knowledge based that you do) while slagging genuinely intelligent liberals like Krugman?

robbl July 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm

#5 Why is it that nutty right wingers think that squeezing every possible human in on the earth is desirable. (You can also argue whether it is possible…but why bother). Obviously if we are just ghosts in the machine that is one thing, but if we are living in the real the space and resources here are finite. Whatever the distribution, the more there are to divide among, the less there is in your share.

Obviously there will be technologies to provide subsistence, but who wants to give up wide open spaces…even if only visited infrequently? I like living in the district, but I would be unhappy knowing that connecticut ave reached all the way to fairbanks.

MC July 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm

#4: Mr. Cowen, your Great Stagnation thesis is dead-on, and is flawed only in the sense that it fails to take immigration seriously into account.

BC July 28, 2011 at 8:33 pm

On #2, Taiwan has used lotteries in creative ways before. Every receipt from a purchase is also a ticket for a lottery held every two months. Presumably, this encourages customers to go to businesses that actually produce receipts, and would help cut down on tax evasion by checking the customer’s and vendor’s versions of the receipts.

Matthew July 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Re #5 — Yglesias actually got to the population density of Trantor four years before Hanson did here

Brian Donohue July 29, 2011 at 12:32 am

re #4. Tyler, do you appreciate the drivel to which TGS is being attached?

“But in addition, we need to raise wages. So how do we make labor more expensive? One way is to raise the minimum wage and increase rates of unionization, which are both good ideas. And rising wages in China will hopefully start to improve the situation on a global scale. But in the United States, the most important thing is to get back to full employment–i.e., create labor scarcity throughout the labor market. Just keep in mind that we don’t necessarily need to do it by creating a ton of jobs.”

Wha?

mjw149 July 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

#5 Any other New Yorkers out there remember the ‘Rent is too damned high’ party? I love my state. Sometimes.

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