Assorted links

by on January 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Via Chris F. Masse, alligator eats capitalist.

2. Pizza topping mark-ups.

3. Markets in everything the culture that is Japan.

4. Trade Diversion economics blog.

5. Symposium on how to fix the housing market, including me.

Master of None January 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm

1. “alligator eats capitalist”

This is part of an installation by the artist Tom Otterness in the 8th Ave / 14th St subway station in New York. Hundreds of thousands of people see this permanent work of art every year. The “Moneybags” figure is a popular recurring character in Tom’s work.

The most powerful Otterness work that I have experienced, however, is titled “The Consumer” and I saw it for the first time in his studio in 2008, when the financial system was collapsing. You can see it here:

http://www.tomostudio.com/images/marl_4L.jpg

Nylund January 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I knew I once lived where ever that was. I just couldn’t remember if it was NYC or Toronto. Thanks for the details! It was driving me crazy, like when you have a song stuck in your head and can’t remember the name of it or who sings it.

In my search for trying to figure out if it was NYC or Toronto, I was reminded of the neat “perspective” drawings in one of the Toronto stations:

http://img.weburbanist.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/subway-perspective-art-2.jpg

http://ama-zing-arts.blogspot.com/2008/10/subway-art.html

Willitts January 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Otterness’ sculptures are very good, but he just had a contract canceled by San Francisco.

In his younger days, Otterness tied a dog to a post, and shot it with both a gun and a video camera. He called this work of art “Shot Dog Film.”

The city where dogs outnumber children didn’t take kindly to a six-figure payout to a caninicidal maniac, no matter how good of a 99%er his work is.

DKB @ NYU January 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I pass the every day, wonderful work more or less hidden away behind the stairs which, of course, is part of the appeal.

guy January 27, 2012 at 9:12 am

These have always been a favorite of mine. They look really cool when the water level is a little higher.

http://www.tomostudio.com/exhibitions_roosevelt.html

xysmith January 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm

#5 – Drives me nuts. All the talk is about “fixing the mortgage market” seems misplaced as I don’t see a problem with the mortgage market. Prices go up, prices go down. That’s what a market does. Any principle reductions are merely handouts to people who made a bad purchasing decision. If I can trust wikipedia, then in 2010 the case-schiller home price index is down 30%. So we’re talking tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost value. Writing that amount down is a pretty substantial handout. I note in your brief statements that you contrasted the subprime mortgages and non-subprime mortgages. Well there’s at least one additional group that needs to be considered: those without mortgages. Either because they’ve paid off their homes or because they don’t own a home.

Do the plans being considered include a multi-$100,000 gift to people who don’t have mortgages? If not then there’s something quite evil going on.

I suppose I could probably be persuaded that it’s necessary to bail out people if the conditions were onerous enough.

1 – They never get to make a profit on a home sale again in their life until they pay off their original loan on it’s original terms. That is, they have this ongoing debt that they don’t have to pay off except with proceeds from home sales. When they die any remaining amount of their mortgage would be paid from their estate.
2 – They have to go through a restructuring type bankruptcy that involves at least five years of having their finances managed by a third party. And the baseline finance situation is that they just won’t be allowed anything but the basic necessities of life.
3 – Lose the right to vote for at least three presidential election cycles.

Alternately go with a plan that I vaguely referenced above. Anyone who doesn’t take a mortgage principle reduction (because they don’t have a mortgage or they aren’t struggling with their existing mortgage) gets a cash payout appropriate for a projected home value loss based on what they could have purchased during the height of the boom. Say a credit worthy individual with $300,000 for a down payment could have taken out a $1,000,000 interest only 3/1 ARM to buy a $1.3 million house with a projected loss of $400,000 would get a cash payment of $400,000 plus a tax reimbursement for all of the non-deducted mortgage interest that they didn’t take.

(Once the mortgage market is “fixed” can we turn to the Mt. Dew market? I’ve spent a lot of money on Mt. Dew in my life and have nothing to show for it. I think that needs to be corrected…)

(Also, I bought APPL at $90 a few years ago and sold at $110. I’d like to undo that transaction too.)

Ted Craig January 26, 2012 at 3:25 pm

5. No offense, but weren’t there more qualified people for this debate? I mean, Tyler’s great, but he’s not even the most qualified GMU blogger on the subject.

anon January 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm

5. Symposium on how to fix the housing market

What? The housing market is already “fixed”.

1., alligator eats capitalist, reminded me of “The Money Game” by Scott Moore:

http://www.contemporary-art-dialogue.com/image-files/scott-moore-lg.jpg

Samuel X Brase January 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm

#2 My roommate has long wondered why he can get unlimited toppings at Subway but has to pay out the nose for Dominos.

CBBB January 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Why would you want to eat Dominos Pizza?

Willitts January 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm

If your only alternative is Round Table.

Fortunately, I’ve always lived in the two best pizza cities in the world: New York and Chicago. I love both styles.

Domino’s has improved their quality somewhat. If I have to eat at a chain, I prefer Papa John’s.

Rahul January 26, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Don’t subs have a lesser surface area (or internal volume) available for toppings? On a pizza the toppings pyramid could reach very high.

Willitts January 27, 2012 at 2:54 am

You raise a good point about the volume of toppings, but I think you’re overthinking it. A guy I knew who worked at Subway told me that the reason they pile the veggies on there is to obscure the fact that there is so little meat on it.

When I think about a pizza, I use the analogy of a movie theater. Once you’re in the theater, they have a monopoly on concession items. When you choose to buy a pizza, a regular cheese pizza is fairly cheap, but they have a monopoly on the toppings.

Someone suggested you could put the ingredients on yourself, but it doesn’t taste the same as having them cooked on the pizza. Also, if you are getting pizza delivered, you are already demonstrating a preference for convenience.

But there may be a more benign explanation. Preparing toppings and putting them on the pizza takes time – a LOT of time in the world of 30-45 minute delivery. You don’t just throw pepperoni on the pizza; you must distribute it evenly. Each extra ingredient adds more time for preparation, and pizzas are made in an assembly line of sorts. Time slows down the line.

Subs (especially at Subway) are assembly line too, but it take less care to get it right and they don’t have the volume of output that a pizza place has.

One pizza place I know will charge you for four toppings if you get two toppings on half and two on the other. That’s why I think time is of the essence.

Slocum January 27, 2012 at 6:19 am

But you don’t get unlimited meat toppings. And veggies are cheap.

JWatts January 27, 2012 at 11:52 am

Having worked my way through college by first delivering pizza’s and then later running the weekend shift, I’ve got a little knowledge of the process. The most obvious answer is that a majority of the customers don’t pay the nominal price. Coupons and special deals account for most of the volume. So judging the actual cost by the nominal price is misleading.

You might be charged a very high premium at nominal value, but if you take the ‘buy 1 get the second 1 for $5′ deal, you end up paying much less per topping.

Andrew' January 27, 2012 at 5:30 am

5. What are things the government is doing that messes up housing that it could stop doing? We seem to gravitate toward this linear do more/do less. Clearly providing money preferentially to housing caused the bubble. How is it that we can’t provide money preferentially to housing now? What’s kind of funny is that as bad as the housing bust was they lost what, 30% value? So, if you are buying a house for an investment, as bad as that idea is, and as everyone now “knows,” gold, the ultimate asset can drop 30% in a week.

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