Assorted links

by on July 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Chilli, military demand, poor Indian farmers, etc.

2. Will it be Amazon that delivers the death blow to newspapers?

3. Does seeing the doctor more often keep you out of the hospital?

4. The moral sentiments of controlling a drone.

5. The new debate on interest on reserves.

6. Evan Soltas on what happened in the early 1970s.

dearieme July 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm

“Does seeing the doctor more often keep you out of the hospital?” Of course not; the point is to send you into hospital, isn’t it?

dearieme July 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm

“Something Big Happened in the Early 70s”: computerisation?

JWatts July 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I think the 70’s was a little early for computers to have a mass effect on wages.

dearieme July 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Mm, you may well be right. Would “automation” fit the bill? Advances in electronics were making it cheaper and better.

zbicyclist August 1, 2012 at 12:20 am

I remember this Newsweek cover from January 25, 1965 — a great fear at the time was that automation was costing too many jobs.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEWSWEEK-magazine-January-25-1965-AUTOMATION-JAPAN-/310374106105

This cover also can be found here if the Ebay link no longer works, a few centimeters down:
http://idreamlo-tech.blogspot.com/2012/04/1965-when-typewriters-talked-and.html
There’s also this wonderful typo: “1965: when typewriters talked and Newsweek cost ¢35″. It has been so long since the cents symbol was in common use that this author has forgotten it went AFTER, i.e. 35¢

Asher July 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Men may well be better suited than women for flying F-16s in enemy territory and in any case I don’t think the US uses women in combat. But women are probably better suited than men to sitting still in a chair for hours and just observing patiently. I don’t know who is better suited to launching bombs though I would be interested to know.

I would guess that in a few years the majority of these remotely piloted planes will be controlled by women, at least if the Pentagon is thinking straight.

Cliff July 31, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Yeah, I wonder which sex is better at video games…

dearieme August 1, 2012 at 8:44 am

Women might be better if they could see the point. Especially if, as Asher suggests, it was a video game requiring patience.

Bender Bending Rodriguez August 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Women have slightly better tolerance to g forces, which is a big plus. They’re in more danger when shot down over less-civilized enemy territory, which is a small minus (i.e. We shouldn’t worry about what happens when they fail).

Having said all that, the standard US air operations paradigm is that if you’re frequently forced into Mexican knife fights, you’re doing it wrong. Our planes should be back in BVR space clubbing baby seals, er, launching AMRAAMS.

anon July 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm

2. Will it be Amazon that delivers the death blow to newspapers?

As a buyer, I like Amazon, and Prime is a great value for me.

As a small business, I hate Amazon. It’s not just their price matching tech, it’s also the many small ways they screw sellers.

And it still amazes me that the “Justice” Dept. went after Apple and the big publishers when it is Amazon that scares the heck out of publishers, large and small, because of the near monopoly Amazon has on book sales and ebooks. Jeff Bezos must have had a good long laugh when he heard about that DOJ action.

Emanuele July 31, 2012 at 8:46 pm

It amazes me too, usually DOJ does not care about who is right, but (as you say) who scares the heck out of publishers.
However this time it did: Amazon has a legal near monopoly, Apple and the publishers were (allegedly) doing a cartel. The first is not illegal, the second is. The obvious proof is that when Apple entered the market all prices increased. It is really hard to write an economic model with prices increasing following an increase in competition, if you do not have a cartel.

If I have a monopoly and I screw publishers and deliverers by lowering prices and cutting renting profits, the total welfare increases.
If I collaborate with other firms to keep the price higher, the total welfare decreases.

anon August 1, 2012 at 8:41 am

The other thing that amazes me about Amazon is that it took them so long to jump on the Internet tax bandwagon. State sales taxes applied to online sales is going to kill small businesses that sell products online that must then be shipped.

And that is going to negatively impact many small brick and mortar stores who also sell online. But you won’t see anyone protesting Amazon, unlike WalMart.

Bezos is a genius.

zbicyclist August 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

In addition, there’s another reason for Amazon to jump on the internet tax bandwagon. There’s some indication that Amazon would like to try “same day delivery” in urban areas. This requires local warehouses, which means local sales taxes where they have a physical presence. This would put them at a disadvantage against other online retailers without a physical presence in that state.

mpat July 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm

2. Will it be Amazon that delivers the death blow to newspapers?

I’m struggling to see how this would be considered revolutionary. Pizza shops have long mastered the same-day (same hour!) delivery method. So there’s nothing stopping retailers with large brick-and-mortar footprints from hiring delivery drivers to provide same-day delivery to its customers. Well, other than the idea not being particularly lucrative.

Dan Weber July 31, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Amazon could advertise in the local newspapers. “Check out amazon.com today for a great deal on Thneeds.”

anon August 1, 2012 at 8:44 am

Amazon tried print advertising a while back in the DC area. I don’t recall if it was a mailed piece or came with the paper.

Mike July 31, 2012 at 9:27 pm

“Something Big Happened in the Early 70s”

Yes. In 1973, Jews won.

In 1973, the highest influx of debutant shiksas the world had ever seen, and possibly will ever see, went up for grabs and the Portnoys of the world would not be denied regardless of the consequences for themselves or the world.

As Philip Weiss wrote of the era:
http://observer.com/2001/01/jews-in-bushs-cabinet-dont-hold-your-breath/

I remember when I got to Harvard in 1972, and all my outsider Jewish energy was focused on tearing down the WASP bastions that kept me back. And we tore them down.

Weiss doesn’t mention the sexual dimensions of this deconstruction of WASP citadels, but he hardly needed to to since that had already been covered by the other Philip (Roth) in 1969.

Demoralization of the bulk of the non-Jewish, Boomer males was the proximal result of this Jewish victory, and the ultimate result was the permanent slow-down in productivity growth starting in 1973.

The year was 1973 and Jews had finally fulfilled Henry Ford’s prophecy made over a half century earlier:

And now the two forces, Industry and Finance, are in a struggle to see whether Finance is again to become the master, or creative Industry. This is one of the elements which is bringing the Jewish Question to the bar of public opinion.

GiT July 31, 2012 at 10:32 pm

It’s amazing what bubbles and oozes up to the top here every once and awhile.

Doc Merlin July 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Its often weirdly fascinating.
One of the things I love about this blog is the strangeness and diversity of its comentariat.

quigley August 3, 2012 at 6:02 am

RE: doctor visits leading to hospital visits
I don’t have access to the paper, but it seems difficult to control for underlying illness as a driving force for great hospital visits.

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