by Tyler Cowen
on March 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm
1. Markets in everything: the “Face time” facelift, and do elites excel at hypocrisy? Do they excel at sincerity too? What do they not excel at?
2. More bad economic news from India.
3. Can a crowd predict the outcome of a trial?
4. How effective are mandated disclaimers?
5. Was Schumpeter right about Bell Labs?
6. The educational plateau and stocks vs. flows.
You might be interested in this Credit Suisse note calling for a massive, coordinated QE program between all of the G5 central banks before year end:
2. and unfortunately, no reforms
1. Was trying to remember that one. No wonder Google couldn’t find the donut story. It’s bagels!!!
Who are these elites? Are you (Tyler) an elite? Or are the elites defined like the rich, those who have more money than me?
Of course Tyler is elite. Why do you even have to ask?
n. pl. elite or e·lites
a. A group or class of persons or a member of such a group or class, enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status.
b. The best or most skilled members of a group.
If Bell Labs hadn’t existed, the development of the transistor might have been delayed by … oh, six months or so.
w/r/t Caplan’s argument about educational attainment:
I thought economics was about marginals, not about averages…
People like to think the problem was the Bell System couldn’t evolve. That really isn’t so. For instance, before 1982 there was a roadmap to bring high-speed data services all throughout the country. After the break-up those plans were shelved.
Second, people like to think that the Bell System had an outdated cost structure. On the contrary, Bell’s operating costs were low, lower than its competitors, and falling fast. What happened though was regulatory arbitrate by the likes of MCI. Public policy required the Bell companies to subsidize local telephone service by charging excess rates on long-distance calls. The theory was that only rich people made long distance calls.
MCI came in and wanted to poach the long distance business. Why? Because long distance was a profit center without the cross-subsidy. Obviously, this created the impression that Bell was gouging its customers. They lost the public policy campaign, and the rest is history.
Is Robin Hanson talking about hypocrisy or just the tendency of elites to engage in “noble lies”?
Consider if you are an elite and you sincerely believe you inherently have better judgment and discipline on at least some matters than most non-elites. In an egalitarian country like the U.S., this makes you arrogant and obnoxious but not necessarily wrong as a factual matter.
Since making this non-egalitarian argument makes you a social outcast, it is better to engage in a noble lie and preach virtues that you do not, yourself, practice and think are inapplicable to elites like you and hope nobody finds out. Julian Sanchez makes this “Straussian” argument about social conservatives here but it could apply across ideological lines.
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