Assorted links

by on December 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 David December 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm

2. ZING!

2 Rich Berger December 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm

4. Tyler – I guess you are in bad company.

3 Nathan Tankus December 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

That’s an academic who Schumpeter fought to have tenured at Harvard University during the McCarthy era. Just thought you should know.

4 AndrewL December 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm

#2: The researchers left out a very important actor: the crab-leg stalkers. They are like the boorish lout, except they act in groups with at least one person standing by the buffet table waiting for the crab legs to come out. When they do, they signal their compatriots who rush over and take all the crab legs before you can even get a plate.

The best strategy here is to not like crab legs.

5 JWatts December 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm

“The best strategy here is to not like crab legs.”

No, I don’t like crab legs. It’s not the best strategy at all. The cost of buffet sans crab legs $8, with crab legs $18. Everyone wants to go to the buffet that night. Guess what? You are paying $18 for an $8 meal. I look for excuses to bow out of Chinese buffets at night.

6 Steven Kopits December 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Sweeney: Another economist who’s never heard of oil.

7 Nathan Tankus December 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Sweeney Todd is an economist!? who knew?

8 Steven Kopits December 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm

He was. Not a lot of people know that.

9 Sean P. December 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Something tells me that gathering a few anecdotes was the only “research” performed for #3. 6-10 is the busiest time for websites because that’s when people are home and still awake, so it makes perfect sense to host a sale then. If there were a trend of drunken shopping, I’d expect to see websites hosting sales between 10 PM and 4 AM on weekends.

10 Steven Kopits December 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm

2. “altruism”

Can we please stop using this word in economics? It has no meaning as such, ie, you cannot do anything not in your self-interest. The question, rather, is how you define self-interest.

In the Three Ideology Model, as comment readers will recall, one of the ideologies is (socially) conservative. In a conservative ideology, the unit of analysis is the group, not the individual, and the form of interaction is as agent, not principal. The agent acting on behalf of the group is not being altruistic. He is assuming his role as agent to maximize the benefit to the group (without necessarily the assumption that it will benefit him individually–I don’t believe the personal calculus actually comes into it, although it could). Thus, when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady takes a hit from some enormous tackle, he is not being altruistic. (“What a nice guy to be smushed like that for the good of the team!”) He is acting in his accepted role as agent–quarterback–for the team. It is highly unlikely that he does a principal cost/benefit analysis (“The expected payback to me if I duck is “X”, if I take the hit, it’s “Y”.) He’s come to play football, not economics. Indeed, as any football fan knows, it is the coaches who typically prohibit quarterbacks from placing themselves in danger. Left to their own devices, quarterbacks would be more inclined to act the agent, the daring quarterback giving all for his team. Not only do principals sometimes accept agency without thinking, they often relish it.

Therefore, if we use the Three Ideology Model, we can do away with the notion of altriusm altogether and substitute for it the application of conservative (agent) versus liberal (principal) modes of behavior. In both cases, the individual is acting in his own self-interest, but how that’s defined then becomes situational.

11 Jim December 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm

3: Dear God.

Online retailers and TV merchants report that people buy more things online in the evening as opposed to during the workday… and this is because they must be drunk?

A survey reports that “nearly half” of people have bought things online after drinking — which means that most people say they’ve never done it — and this is evidence that online buyers are often drunk?

Journalism: much, much too difficult for the New York Times. Anyone want to start a real paper?

12 NAME REDACTED December 30, 2011 at 2:41 am


13 JasonL December 29, 2011 at 3:56 pm

2 – I think on balance the existence of the Golden Corral and chinese buffets is a boon to foodies (both of the economic and standard varieties) by collecting the sort of customer that would strategize to have an optimal $4 all you can eat steak experience. If those preferences were at all reflected in better restaurants, they would no longer be better restaurants. Let them eat “steak”.

14 Dredd December 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm

The ZMP phenomenon will translate into ZMP zerky if I know my Texans well. They eat anything that does not eat them first.

15 Ashwin December 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Actually Paul Sweezy got there in 1966 with his book ‘Monopoly Capital’ co-written with Paul Baran – the analysis is Marxist and somewhat excessive in describing the economy as monopolistic but you could derive the same conclusions by substituting “monopolistic” with “crony capitalist”.

16 CH December 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm

“The culture that is America, Univision edition.”

saying it won’t make it so.
keep trying, though. your mood affiliation amuses.

17 eddie December 29, 2011 at 5:39 pm

#1 – The WSJ buried the lead in that article.

“In Navarro County, 60 miles south of Dallas, hungry burros acquired by absentee landowners to qualify for agricultural tax exemptions on their property are breaking loose, or being set free, in big numbers.”

Drought doesn’t kill donkeys. Government subsidies do.

18 NAME REDACTED December 30, 2011 at 2:42 am


19 jkl December 29, 2011 at 6:52 pm

The culture that is America, Univision edition. Welcome to the third world. Telenovelas , the worst export of Latinamerica. I thanks them anyway, because of telenovelas there was no Tv to watch between 1pm to 4 pm or between 9pm to 11 pm. So I had time to study and read

20 Silas Barta December 29, 2011 at 8:32 pm

3: Isn’t that what TARP was, with the government playing the role of the trunk? “Buy your CDOs at face value [*]? Durrr okay!”

[*] “One hundred cents on the dollar” if you can only work in cliches.

21 Andrew' December 30, 2011 at 1:04 am

1. Toxic Ass sets.

22 Andrew' December 30, 2011 at 3:08 am

Being taken over by The Feed Reserve

23 TallDave December 30, 2011 at 10:16 am

4. Good piece. I especially like this: “But no one can say for sure that there will never be other new powerful stimuli to investment, such, for example, as were provided by the industrial revolution, the railroad, and the automobile in earlier times.”

It’s pretty funny to think he wrote that the same year TCP/IP was standardized, which maybe a few dozen people in the world noticed at the time.

Also good: “We still do not know what will bring the stagnation of the 1970s and 1980s to an end—or what kind of an end it will be.”

24 Mario December 30, 2011 at 2:09 pm

#2. This seems to be exactly the same thought process that goes into drafting a fantasy football team (or even a real one, presumably). It looks like they went through a lot of work reinventing an already well-understood strategy for a slightly different use.

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