Assorted links

by on September 28, 2012 at 10:15 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. “Warum schon die deutsche Einheit ein Fehler war,” from the excellent Wolfgang Münchau.

2. The Daily Mail on whether economics and finance students have more sex.  Guess which major offers and indeed creates (supposedly) the most promiscuous students?  The least promiscuous are majors in philosophy, education, and earth sciences, or so we are told.  Caveat emptor.

3. Lady Gaga markets in everything very negative restaurant review.

4. A more optimistic measurement of Spanish deposit flight.

5. Jazz-singing robots, and the electronic implants that dissolve inside your body.

6. Profile of new GMU President.

CBBB September 28, 2012 at 10:35 am

#2 It’s not that certain students are more promiscuous it’s which major gives students the most chance to meet suitable partners. Certainly Engineering, Physics, Math, and CS are probably the absolute worst majors for guys who want to hook up.

Andrew' September 28, 2012 at 10:52 am

It is screaming for supply and demand curves. And since business majors cost was less time on the volleyball field everyone’s curves would be different.

Turing Test September 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

“cheap talk” anyone? surveys are worthless

Anthony September 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm

The reporting on the study also fails to discuss the difference between having many partners and having a lot of sex (with the same partner).

Careless September 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Engineers made the top five. I can’t think that list would be the same with American students. education majors bottom five?

prior_approval September 28, 2012 at 10:49 am

Münchau is so much fun to read, so I’ve translated this sentence from the article detailing how Helmut Kohl’s dream of a unified Europe may die because of Chancellor Kohl’s ability to create a unified German state –

‘If a confederation [East and West Germany] had been first established, I do not believe that the population in the East would have still wanted re-unfication a few years later.’ (‘Wenn eine Konföderation erst einmal etabliert gewesen wäre, glaube ich nicht, dass die Bevölkerung im Osten die Wiedervereinigung einige Jahre später immer noch gefordert hätte.’ – a lot of conditionals which don’t quite translate well into English – German makes a very strict grammatical separation between what happened and what might/could/didn’t happen.)

What Münchau wrote, in essence, is that the citizens of the socialist German Democratic Republic would not have joined the capitalist Federal Republic of Germany if given the choice, particularly after having experienced what life was like in the old Bundesrepublik. Which is not an opinion one’s hears espoused too often at Marginal Revolution, to put it mildly.

But the article is quite interesting, and thought provoking. Whether it misses the point is a bit harder to tell – he seems to have a certain form of Westalgie, a longing for an old way of life that died in 1989, when the Berlin Wall tumbled down. (‘Westalgie’ is a play on the German term ‘Ostalgie’ which was a sort of portmanteau to describe those Germans expressing ‘Nostalgie’/nostalgia for the ‘Ost’/East Germany, still longing for the good old days in the DDR.)

Norman Pfyster September 28, 2012 at 11:30 am

If the choice was put to east Germans (i) integrate into a world changing over to a market economy on their own or (ii) integrate into a world economy changing over to a market economy with billions of Euro support from west Germans, I wonder which one they would have taken. Their real choice was never socialism vs. capitalism, it was to have an economy like current eastern part of Germany vs. an economy like current Poland.

prior_approval September 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm

‘Their real choice was never socialism vs. capitalism’

Well, that is just one way to put it. Let’s just say that if the East Germans could have kept their atheism, nude beaches, and universal child care, they most certainly would have. Though in fairness to the Ossies, they did manage to win the skirmishes concerning naturism and not forcing schools to teach religion – but they lost big on the child care.

Unfortunately, it was the third one that really mattered to them.

And yes, I am joking just a tiny bit when comparing nudism to the unemployment that ensured that many East German women no longer had a job, nor a place to care for their children. But if government guaranteed employment, a place to live, and child care are considered socialist, I’m sure that a majority of East Germans in 1995 would have voted to return to their old way of living. And the West Germans, unhappy at the re-introduction of the Solidaritätszuschlag probably would have gladly said Tschüss.

Jermaine September 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Reunification was inevitable because both East and West Germans saw themselves as part of the same nation that was artificially separated by outside powers. I know it’s difficult for cosmopolitans to comprehend, but culture is often more important than even economics. By the way, eastern Germany is significantly richer and more pleasant and orderly than Poland even with the massive population loss it’s endured the last two decades.

Dismalist September 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

#1: Schwachsinn: Let East and West Germany have continued to exist and one would have received an empty East Germany and a more densely populated West Germany. Emptiness always and everywhere translates into abject poverty. The Wall had not built by idiots.

Donald Pretari September 28, 2012 at 10:49 am

The Munchau piece was very interesting, but it still seems to me that what Germany was trying to accomplish in Reunification and the EU was worth it.

prior_approval September 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Compared to World War III? Absolutely. One should never forget that if anyone had predicted in 1988 that in ten years, Eastern Europe would no longer be under Soviet domination, and would be busily integrating itself into the EU and NATO, such a scenario would have been dismissed as total lunacy by those considered serious thinkers on such weighty issues.

affenkopf September 28, 2012 at 11:16 am

1.
Die überhastete Wiedervereinigung kostete am Ende knapp zwei Billionen Euro an Transferleistungen. Sie war das größte Beispiel wirtschaftlichen Missmanagements der Weltgeschichte.

Worst economic mismanagement in history? Worse than the policies of Stalin or Mao?

Da September 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm

And thats only the start of it. This article by Münchau is really disappointing, considering it had Tyler’s praise.

Basically it’s an old man who misses ‘the good old days’ when things seemed less complicated. And if only nothing had changed, all would be a lot better now. It’s sad to read, but I guess it’s what old people do.

The mistakes done with the reunification were of course gigantic. As they are today again, only on a larger scale.
But those mistakes didn’t come from nothing. They were the direct result of the economic blindness of our so called elites. And while the old Münchau believes that should go home with the CDU, the das fact is, the economic ideas of the political competition are most of the time far worse.

But then lets face it: It’s not really about the mistakes of the reunification. It’s about rallying the troops for, you know: Wollt Ihr das totale Europa? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wollt_ihr_den_totalen_Krieg%3F)

prior_approval September 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

+1 Godwin – and no reason to smear Münchau or any other German, EU supporter or opponent, with such an association.

Da September 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Technically not a case of Godwin, sorry.

(And then of course, Godwin is an integral part of German politics and Münchaus ‘side’ frequently, freely and happily makes use of it.)

Slugger September 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Ein fehler? Zwei generationen ohne Verdun, ohne Stalingrad! Zwei billionen Euro sind sehr billig.

Claudia September 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm

affenkopf, that same sentence caught my eye. And it made me think of Gorbatschow’s “Wer zu spät kommt, den bestraft das Leben.” (Life punishes those who delay.) Sure German re-unification was costly and the speed at which it was done added to that cost, but it became reality and many have reaped benefits from it. Not exactly sure what this all means for stabilizing the Eurozone, but a critique of the re-unification now seems misplaced.

Allison September 28, 2012 at 11:34 am

I went to Joanne Trattoria last month…it’s nothing to right home about — pretty mediocre Italian food, especially considering the price level and the fact that you can good Italian food at a lot of places in NYC for much cheaper — but it’s not nearly as bad as that review indicates.

A friend of mine lives on the block of the restaurant and says the front bar area is a low-key hangout for locals.

Jacob September 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Munchau seems to be really shouldering the mantle of German elites here, the ones reluctant to “pay” for resolving the Euro crisis. I think it’s possible to read him as being somewhat tongue-in-cheek and pointing out the error of the polity, and I want to because I normally respect his work a lot, but I’m not sure I see any sign of sarcasm here.

From a pro-EU integration perspective, I think he’s full of shit. West Germany’s decision to make transfer payments to the East was precisely the driver behind the subsequent economic boom and restoration of the (united) country’s political and economic standing in the EU. I dare say I agree with Kohl that it was a driving force in the integration of the European community. It’s a very clear model for what Germany needs to do now with respect to the European periphery, namely suck it up and accept that subsidized export competitiveness is a two-way street that requires some offsetting transfer payments.

I’d summarize his underlying argument as “If Germany hadn’t reunified and gotten so strong, then we wouldn’t be being asked to pay as much toward the cost of resolving economic imbalances today.” I would counter that it’s about time to establish a Treuhand for Greece.

Adrian Ratnapala September 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Hmm, my German’s not exactly top class, but my summary would have been “If Germany hadn’t gotten indigestion unifying itself, it would be more willing to eat the much bigger cake that is Europe”,

Man sollte sich nicht wundern, dass die Bundesbürger, die bereits die Transferleistungen für Ostdeutschland über sich ergehen lassen mussten (und müssen), jetzt keine weitere Transferunion in Europa wollen.

So I suppose that’s the Euroskeptic version of your argument: you say the Wiedervereinung was great, and thus the Eurovereingung will be even better too. The skeptic says they were both terrible.

Münchau seems to say that (a) the Wiedervereinigung was terrbile in it’s own right, (b) the two unifications are similar sorts of things, therefore (c) the Wiederveinigung is doubly damned because it prevents the Eurovereingung.

Jacob September 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Fair point, I don’t dispute what he actually wrote. I was trying to read between the lines. I’m probably coming at it with too much bias, but the “terrible in its own right” view of reunification is why I found his argument elitist. It’s hard for me to swallow the notion that what an earlier commenter cleverly termed “Westalgie” still exists. In my opinion, it takes a peculiar combination of economic and regional superiority complexes to view reunification as having been a bad thing in the face of the available data. I have to think the population of reunification opponents today is composed exclusively of East German pensioners and old money Wessis who somehow didn’t manage to cash in during the integration process.

Dismalist September 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm

For the benefit of those downthread:

#1: Schwachsinn: Let East and West Germany have continued to exist and one would have received an empty East Germany and a more densely populated West Germany. Emptiness always and everywhere translates into abject poverty. The Wall had not been built by idiots.

münchau is an idiot September 29, 2012 at 5:48 am

He can go f*** himself if he would prefer paying money to Europe to having a unified Germany. He should give his German passport back and just f*** off.

freethinker September 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Is it possible economics students are influenced by Landsburg and think that “more sex is safer sex”?

Tom September 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I don’t know, just a hunch, but I suspect dance majors beat Finance majors.

JB September 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Truth.

JB September 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm

As someone who majored in both dance and economics, I’d have to say that dancers win hands down.

PK September 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm

No. Finance majors win, but only the smartest of them :-)

Jermaine September 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Shorter Münchau: It’s unfortunate that Germans spent so much money on other Germans; otherwise, they would be much more willing to transfer their wealth to other European countries.

Münchau is the typical European integrationist fanatic who considers the nation-state a scourge.

PK September 29, 2012 at 7:01 pm

@1
I liked the first comment following the article: “In Wahrheit will in Europa niemand, dass Deutschland irgendwelche “Führungsrollen” übernimmt. Deutschland soll zahlen und ansonsten die Klappe halten. Sobald Deutschland mit irgendwelchen Führungsambitionen aufwartet, kommt sofort Ablehnung und Nazi-Vergleiche.”

Which means:

“In fact, nobody in Europe wants Germany to take some sort of leading role. Germany should pay and shut up. Whenever Germany comes up with ambitions to lead, disagreement and Nazi comparisons follow quickly.”

Butalbtal October 8, 2012 at 5:00 am

Jermaine It’s really good material to read. I like it.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: