Assorted links

by on August 14, 2012 at 11:41 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. How are the Chinese solar companies doing?

2. Claims about Neanderthals.

3. Duncan Luce passes away at 87.

4. China’s money outflow continues, or in contrast here is Scott Sumner on China.

5. Udemy class on energy and the environment.

Tomas Nils August 14, 2012 at 12:18 pm

In case the Vanguard link doesn’t get fixed, here’s a tribute from another fan:

@tylercowen had never met
A food he would not brave – forget
All rules of the gourmet-
He’d try – Oui, il sera
As long as it’s not someone’s pet

@tylercowen in a Russian dive
Was carefuly samplng endive
When in walked a Chechen
With raw goat intestine
“It’s local!” – now he’s not alive :(

Alexei Sadeski August 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm

US opposition to Chinese government backed solar companies is silly. It’s just like subsidized corn… but in this case foreign consumption is being subsidized. Win-win for non-Chinese residents, lose-lose for Chinese residens.

Brett August 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Pretty much. Most of the money in the business is installing the panels, not making them. We’re basically get a whole ton of solar panels for cheap courtesy of the Chinese taxpayer and bank depositor.

I’ve read stuff similar to the article above. The whole Chinese solar industry is just hilariously over-subsidized and completely dependent on politically-motivated loans from state Chinese banks.

Mark Thorson August 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

When somebody is willing to sell you dollars for 75 cents, I say buy all you can. Cheap Chinese solar cells don’t just benefit U.S. manufacturers of complete solar energy systems. They also benefit U.S. semiconductor equipment manufacturers and U.S. polysilicon refiners, both of whom sell to the Chinese. Instead of promoting this mutually beneficial relationship, the U.S. government slaps a 31% tariff on Chinese solar cells.

The tariff was pushed by a German company with a U.S. manufacturing plant. The same company is currently pushing for a similar tariff in the EU.

E. Barandiaran August 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

# 4. Tyler, you link to a post on China’s BoP data that ignores the current account balance and the government’s role in determining this balance via capital flows. First, leaving aside how bad the official estimate of the current account balance may be, it is the only measure of the net flow of capital that may be reliable –direct measures are almost impossible. The post refers to the trade balance and I have to assume that it ignores other current account transactions. Second, the net flow of capital should have distinguished between government transactions (broadly defined to include all levels of government, state banks and enterprises and PBC) and other transactions. An estimate of the government’s net flow of capital (including the purchase and sale of all sorts of real and financial assets), albeit hardly reliable, would have allowed to estimate “other transactions” as a residual and use it as evidence of whatever the post’s title intended to mean. The post, however, presents the standard IMF distinction that has always been irrelevant to explain how government (broadly defined) has been investing abroad. Frankly, the post you link to is useless.

Let me ask you again for references to new research on the Chinese economy. (Note to readers: I’m asking Tyler because he was there in July). It’s frustrating to read “comments” by American economists on the Chinese economy that fail to understand how different its structure is relative to the standard structure of Western market economies and that attempt expediently to use their concepts, frameworks and tools to the Chinese economy. Although Scott’s post shows some frustration with other American economists, he doesn’t question their poor job in analyzing the Chinese economy.

Hope you can contribute to a serious discussion of the Chinese economy based on recent research rather than the impressions of journalists and visitors.

Roy August 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm


The aversion to the possibility that Neandertals may have interbred with Modern Homo Sapiens has always mystified me. Why is this so troubling to people? What if Neandertals were not a different species at all?

ziel August 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm

It’s not aversion to the idea of interbreeding, but that the Out-of-Africa theory (OoA) has reached such iconic, sacred status that there is a push to preserve it – “We’re all Africans” and such. Post-African-exodus interbreeding, on the other hand, suggests the unthinkable – that there might be differences after all. Given 50ky+ separation, such a notion should have been obvious anyway, but this would make it so much more concrete.

Roy August 15, 2012 at 10:59 am

My natural tendency would be to agree with you, but my experience says otherwise. This sort of hostility is far older than the “out of africa twice” model you are referring to. I think i has more to do with the preconception that neandertals are some sort of alien and inferior other and that those who object most strongly are of european ancestry and don’t want neandertal ancestors, but this is just a suspicion.

chuck martel August 14, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Anybody that thinks that neandertals are extinct hasn’t stopped by the iron workers union hall.

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