Assorted links

by on December 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Time magazine/WEF interview with me.

2. Getting physicians to wash their hands.

3. The ongoing death of retail, still underway this Christmas season.

4. The next Cass Sunstein book: Simpler: The Future of Government.

5. In spite of the cold weather, New Year’s is the deadliest day for pedestrians.

6. Why does India have such a sexual violence problem?

Bill December 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Quiz of the day.

Who said this:

“In my view there are two main areas that we don’t regulate nearly enough: finance and climate change.”

Paul Krugman, Tyler Cowen, Ben Bernanke, or Alan Greenspan.

Andrew' December 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Of course in the context of “ONLY two areas” and even these two are dubious without explanation. In finance, the national problem is some form of too big to fail which is a direct result of government. Literally, when banks fail, they simply create a bigger bank. And does China want regulation of climate change, or are they willing to pay the price for the requisite development? And if the poor would rather have the development, then what is the justification for the people who developed the technologies they are copying to bear the burden? If anything, that would argue for something that simply internalizes the decision. You charge a Carbon tax and then cut a check DIRECTLY to the consumer, who then probably just uses it to buy carbon. I don’t think the government has ever done such a thing.

Andrew' December 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Additionally, in finance the situation is a bit like healthcare where the government has created a situation of dysregulation. And how much does the government screw up the energy markets? Half or so of our defense budget subsidizes oil markets. So, yes, it is quite possible to require more regulation and less government because of it.

Bill December 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm

c’mon Andrew, no fair. You didn’t guess who.

Hint: Click on number 1

Claudia December 31, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Dumb quiz. TC says this all the time…it was in TGS. I wouldn’t be surprised if two more in your list agreed with him on this point.

Sumeet December 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm

You know the per capita rape rate in Delhi is lower than NYC or London

affenkopf December 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Reported per capita rate rape.

Rahul January 1, 2013 at 2:05 am

And what do you know of the non-reported ones? Even adjusting for that I don’t think India’s abnormally high.

Roy January 1, 2013 at 10:52 am

This might actually be correct because so many woman successfuly take what in other places one would regard as extraordinary measures to avoid rape and harassment. These measures are extremely debilitating for the women forced to take them, and effectively make them into second class citizens.

So Much for Subtlety December 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm

2. So we take the smartest 1% of the population, give them about a decade of higher education of various sorts, and they still need to be nagged into something as basic as washing your hands? You know what, I know kindergarten teachers who manage to instill this skill into five year olds. Perhaps some of those would be cheaper than this sort of electronic nanny? The worrying thing is, even with Golden Staff an out-of-control problem in the UK, plus all those super-geniuses actually spreading the disease, a full third of them still didn’t wash their hands when told they had to.

6. At the risk of sounding obsessive, the word that is missing from that story on India has to do with their former colonial masters. And I don’t mean the British. Why is it the Central Muslim lands, and all countries formerly ruled by people from the Central Muslim lands, have such a problem with public sexual harassment, domestic violence and rape? Can’t think of a reason myself. Perhaps I should have listened to my kindergarten teacher more too.

Therapsid December 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Is rape incidence really higher in “Central Muslim” countries? Statistics are unreliable here, but the very low rate of HIV in the Middle East compared to surrounding countries makes me suspect the pre and extramarital sex is less common than in other parts of the world. This could imply non-marital forms of rape are also not as high.

Anyway, the status of women under Hinduism is traditionally not really much, if any better than under Islam. Legally at least, they had more rights under Islamic law to inherit property and divorce than in Hindu culture. Christian culture historically struck a better balance than both in maintaining separate gender roles while not totally subjugating women.

Rahul December 31, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I don’t think sexual violence is more in India than the average western nation. Is there any hard data to prove the assertion?

So Much For Subtlety January 1, 2013 at 2:04 am

Statistics are unreliable, but going on the incredible scenes of mass sexual assault on Egyptian streets that you could have seen on Youtube years before Ms Logan made them famous, yes I think that rates are higher. HIV depends on many things. For one thing, IV drug users. Who are likely to be rarer in the Middle East. It also depends on homosexuals who take both an active and a passive part. The tradition of male-on-male sex in the Middle East is more likely to involve unequal relations where one is passive without exception. That would impede HIV transmission. As would the legal ban on anything like the San Francisco Gay Bath House scene. HIV is actually quite difficult to spread. On top of which they also practice circumcision which seems to have a preventative effect against transmission. And finally it is likely to be underreported. A Shame culture may result in many people going to France to be tested and insisting the death certificate calling it something else.

If pre- and extra-marital sex are rare then obviously rape rates are going to be higher. The West has seen a massive drop in rape since porn and adultery became fashionable.

Any woman who has travelled in India will tell you, they have fewer problems in the south where Muslim rule was brief and passing than they do in the north. Whatever the legal status of women was, women are not as routinely harassed in the south as they are in places like New Delhi.

Therapsid January 1, 2013 at 2:48 am

Thanks for giving us zero data. You responded to posts which gave none and responded in kind with nothing. This discussion can be extinguished in a singularity and humanity will be no worse off.

So Much for Subtlety January 1, 2013 at 6:10 pm

No problems. My pleasure. If you like data, how about a simple one – Lonely Planet guides. I will bet that the vast majority of places where women are warned about harassment and assault were or are run by people from the Central Muslim countries or countries they used to rule.

Joe Smith January 1, 2013 at 6:22 pm

After dropping the string of nonsense:
“… the very low rate of HIV in the Middle East compared to surrounding countries makes me suspect the pre and extramarital sex is less common than in other parts of the world. This could imply non-marital forms of rape are also not as high.”

you have no right to comment on anyone else’s line of reasoning.

Rahul January 1, 2013 at 7:48 am

Any woman who has travelled in India will tell you, they have fewer problems in the south where Muslim rule was brief and passing than they do in the north.

Have you factored in the fact that the south of India has, in general, more education and less lawlessness? I don’t think it has much to do with being Muslim at all. Lucknow, Awadh etc. are traditionally Muslim dominated northern areas with none of the women-harassment problems of Delhi.

Even the crass on-the-streets stereotype of a harasser in Delhi is not the average Muslim male. (PS. How many of the six / seven accused of the recent Delhi-rape were Muslim?)

So Much for Subtlety January 1, 2013 at 6:13 pm

No because I would think those things tend to go together. the Central Muslim countries, and countries with a long history of rule by same, tend to have very poor educational outcomes. Again I am willing to bet the Lonely Planet guide says otherwise about Lucknow and Awadh.

I do not think culture exists in self-contained boxes. It spreads and is shared. Honor killings are also found in minorities from the Central Muslim lands. They tend not to be found among people of the same religions who do not have long experience of rule from the Central Muslim lands. In the same way I doubt most harassers are Muslims and I would not be surprised if none of the alleged rapists/murderers were Muslim. But I doubt any of them are Tamil either.

TGGP January 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Iran actually has a very high rate of heroin addiction.

Roy January 1, 2013 at 11:00 am

2. This may be an a very good argument for the US tort system and high malpractice insurance rates.

6. Honestly you maybe unfair in picking on Muslims here, though Muslim attitudes toward female reponsibility for inciting men clearly don’t help. You should visit Marseilles or Naples or quite a few places in Latin America where I can assure you it is not Islam which is the problem. The same could be said or places in China, but I will stick to European locales. It is just part of the premodern condition.

So Much for Subtlety January 1, 2013 at 6:18 pm

2. I don’t think there is any good argument for the US tort system although I expect that it is the result of the State apparatus being captured by the people who run it. The NHS is or used to be run by senior doctors and so of course it is run for senior doctors.

6. It may be a common Mediterranean culture, but still these are not stunning counter-examples. Arabs having ruled both Marseilles (where people of Arab origin may be a majority anyway) and Naples. And Latin America being run by White people from Spain with its 700 years of Muslim rule. That Spanish attitudes to women have been strongly shaped by Islam is hard to deny – the Conquistadors kept their women in niqaabs and locked up at home. Even Gabriel Garcia Marquez said that the Colombia of his childhood had no women on the streets or in public. They stayed home. By way of total coincidence, Latin America is the only part of the world to compete with the Central Muslim lands in rates of domestic violence.

And the Lonely Planet guide is just as clear about China – women don’t have problems except in the west where there is a large Turkic population. It is not part of the pre-modern condition. Ask any women who has been to Thailand or Bali or Sri Lanka.

jeffn December 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm

6. Not sure if #1-10 are in any particular order of importance, but if so I think reason #10 is much more relevant than reasons 1 and 2 (reason 1 actually causes an underreporting of rape, so adding female police officers may or may not make India a safer place, but it could very well make the reported levels increase.)

anon December 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm

3. The ongoing death of retail, still underway this Christmas season.

Hmm, I wonder how many more mom and pop restaurants we’ll see in the next 10 years.

ThomasH December 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm

End of Retail

Interesting phenoenon, but why is it reported as a problem. Does retail produce some postiive externalities so that its disappearance is a problem for anyone but it’s investors?

Ted Craig January 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Taxes. State and local government depend heavily on sales and property taxes.

doctorpat January 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm

So less retail -> less government?
That’s one bit of good news then.

Mark December 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Those of us who have actually tried to work with OIRA have found the claims in Cass Sunstein’s new paper and the blurb for his new book hilarious. The myths he attempts to dispel are in fact solidly based on reality, while the claims for a new order in regulation are merely fantasy. OIRA has always been a useless organization, but never more than under Cass.

anon December 31, 2012 at 8:21 pm

+1

Rimfax December 31, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Where’s the fundamental evidence that India has a notable rape problem?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics#UN_Rape_Statistics

Even with horrendous underreporting, India has a remarkably low rape rate, according to the UN.

That is not to say that there aren’t cultural and judicial problems worth addressing.

shrikanthk December 31, 2012 at 10:44 pm

The idea that sexual repression is a cause of rape is deeply flawed.
Rape rates in US and several European countries higher than in many supposedly culturally “hidebound” and “conservative” Asian countries.

The fact is that human beings are fundamentally flawed. “Rape” is a universal male problem.

So Much For Subtlety January 1, 2013 at 2:06 am

I have an academic paper somewhere where someone actually went to the main Taipei hospital in Taiwan and counted in a single week, at that single hospital, more rape victims being treated than the country reported for the entire year. Places like China and Japan simply do not report rapes. In South Korea it is still a fairly common way to get married – rape the girl and her parents will force her to marry you.

All you mean is that reported rates are higher.

Eric January 1, 2013 at 3:27 am

Lol, show us any links that support your statements about China, Japan, and South Korea. You are so full of crap.

So Much For Subtlety January 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Son, given I started out saying I have an academic paper, do you really want to go down this route?

Rahul January 1, 2013 at 11:45 pm

@So Much For Subtlety

Yes, please. I’d like to read the paper you mention.

doctorpat January 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm

“Rape” is a universal male problem.
Speak for yourself.

skeptic January 1, 2013 at 12:43 am

Statisticaly, India does not have an especially bad rape problem even if we assume only 1 in 10 rapes are reported.

However, urban India is a miserable place to be a working woman especially if you have to travel in public transport. Lewd remarks, groping etc. are extremely common.

shrikanthk January 1, 2013 at 7:29 am

Again, this seems to be an urban legend of sorts.
Several female relatives of mine were working women in Bombay/Bangalore in 70s/80s.
None of them has a single incident of “abuse” to narrate.

If you’re equipped with a sense of victimhood then even a sub-conscious touch by a fellow male bus traveller will be construed as “sexual abuse”.

Rahul January 1, 2013 at 7:40 am

I’ll differ with shrikanthk on that. Yes, there is indeed a problem about “Lewd remarks, groping etc.” Though it’s hard to know quantitatively how bad it is and how it compares with other nations. I haven’t seen any systematic studies. But “miserable” is a bit of an exaggeration. It’s like me saying Chicago is a “miserable” city to visit because of high mugging rates.

shrikanthk is out of touch with reality if he denies it outright; just pick up a random Indian newspaper any day of the week. Maybe the 70s/80s were indeed a different world.

shrikanthk January 1, 2013 at 8:40 am

I will never deny it outright. Misbehavior exists everywhere.
I am only 28 and while growing up in Blore over the past 2 decades I’ve never personally witnessed a blatant case of gender abuse in a public place.

Gender abuse will exist as long as the human race exists. But it is an exaggeration to say that women find it hazardous to lead an outdoor life in our big cities. Yes, there are some cultural mores, what’s “done” and what’s “not done”. But that’s not the same as saying – “you risk a high probability of being abused if you step out of your house”.

Ray Lopez January 1, 2013 at 5:38 am

@#1- disappointed at the TC Time interview and not a single mention of patents. It’s as if economists really believe that inventors do not need incentive to invent–they just do it out of love–whatever happened to basic economic theory? This romantic notion is reinforced by Nobel Prize winners who go into science for the love, not the money. But it does not answer the question: given a stronger, better patent system, would more people invent, at the margin? If economist grandmaster Kenneth Rogoff was given $1M a year to play chess, would he give it up for economics? If strong chess player Tyler Cowen was given $200k a year, and a sabbatical, to play second string for a chess team (sorry TC but you’re not as good as Rogoff) would he consider chess more boring than economics, as he claimed? No and No. When will the communists who think innovation drops from the sky, exogenously, ever be defeated? Their tyranny is oppressive. It’s the heavy hand of history and backward looking thinking, to paraphrase historian Fernand Braudel. Economists: “If man was made to fly, he’d have wings or have already done it by now”. Wrong. Anecodote: a form of glider/kite that could carry a man was supposedly invented–and lost–in ancient China. A form of electroplating was invented–and lost–in ancient Persia. Both these examples are speculative, but it’s a fact that concrete was invented twice in history; once by the Romans (and lost) and reinvented in medieval times. All because of lack of patents. Trade secrets and weak patents that really don’t disclose anything since there’s really no incentive to do so, as patents are defeated about one-third to one-half the time, and pioneer patents only last 20 years (today’s system) is not the solution.

Roy January 1, 2013 at 8:57 am

2. Note this is in the North of England, where life expectancy is up to eleven years lower than in London, and the gap is widening. Now they just need to try this North of the Border…

The radically different opinions of the NHS people seem to have make a lot more sense when you look at regional differences.

James January 2, 2013 at 8:55 am

The tests were done in a London Hospital.

d January 1, 2013 at 11:59 am

I work with fully westernized Pakistani woman who says when she goes back to Pakistan and walks in the streets, she will be fondled by random men if there’s any type of crowd. She says this is a regular thing.

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