Assorted links

by on June 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Norway’s new bestseller.

2. Dani Rodrik is moving to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.

3. Humorous Russian reactions to the Putin divorce.

4. There are few recent Chinese borrowings in English.  But they may build a new canal in Nicaragua.

5. The problem is too little dynamism, not too much, and this relates to TGS vs. “Race Against the Machine” as explanations of our recent past.

6. Prosthetics and Yakuza.

Ray Lopez via a US proxy server June 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

MR is banned in the Philippines so I post via proxy server. Re #5: “Most Americans believe that the job market has grown more turbulent, with people changing employers ever more often. In reality, the opposite is happening.” In reality, the percentage of people participating in the workforce has declined steadily since 1990, with more pronounced acceleration since 2000. It’s the Baby Boomers retiring early. This explains the lack of a strong job market, and the ‘turbulence’ for those left behind, who have a greater burden (the opposite of “many hands make light work”). I have spoke. Bye.

Claudia June 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm

yes, Ray, demographics are working against economic growth (and may be masking a stronger labor market recovery) … Baby Boomers are not a one time issue, just an extra big dose in the trend of population aging. and in some ways it’s not a ‘problem’ but a successful life-cycle run for many individuals. in any case, there are ways, including immigration, to ‘fix’ this problem.

P June 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Why is MR banned in the Philippines? Because of all the porn?

Alexei Sadeski June 8, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Because there’s not enough porn.

JWatts June 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm

More evidence in favor of The Great Stagnation?

Erik Brynjolfsson June 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I heartily agree that we need more organizational and individual dynamism. We haven’t had enough of it, and since technology is racing ahead ever faster, we’re having growing mismatches.

We are pretty clear on this in our book, Race Against the Machine (http://raceagainstthemachine.com) starting our recommendations chapter by championing more entrepreneurship:
“Digital progress, in fact, is so rapid and relentless that people and organization are having a hard time keeping up. So in this chapter we want to focus on recommendations in two areas: improving the rate and quality of organizational innovation, and increasing human capital.”
We then go on to discuss the virtues of creative destruction, the central role of entrepreneurs in this process because of what Hayek calls the “knowledge of particular circumstances”, and list a set of specific recommendations for increasing entrepreneurship and dynamism in the economy.

Mike H June 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm

#4

Another proof that China’s “rise” is not based on the creation of new ideas but on plagiarizing the ideas of others. So far they have plagiarized Google (Baidu), Facebook (Renren), Youtube (Youku), twitter (Sina Weibo), Wikipedia (Baidu encyclopedia) and almost every successful Western websites, all those Western sites are currently blocked in China. When companies like Google and Yahoo moved in to China in the early 2000s they were warmed by some that Chinese government would one day take away their business, they decided to move in anyway. Now that all of them have been driven out of China, with their websites blocked throughout the country, their company secrets and database completely stolen, their invested money wasted, and their former Chinese employees colluded with powerful communist party officials to create those localized knockoff websites. And you wonder why China has not been able to influence Western world culturally and intellectually even with their growing economy? Why create new idea when you can just steel from the others?

Careless June 8, 2013 at 5:53 pm

lol@”plagiariz[ing]” google and facebook. Friendster, Myspace, Yahoo, Alta Vista, and maybe some others are now planning on pummeling you in your sleep

Mike H June 9, 2013 at 1:25 am

Do you even know the history of Google in China and how it got driven out by the Chinese government? Chinese PLA launched a systemic cyber attack on Google and other Western companies in China in order to steal their company secrets and database. Because of these attacks and the constant embarrassments from the Chinese government Google pulled out of China in 2010 and leaving Baidu, the Chinese company that has extensive connection with the top communist party leaders as the top search engine there.

Educate yourself before you comment on something you don’t even understand:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_China
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Aurora

Mike H June 9, 2013 at 1:35 am

*embarrassments should be harassments. Not sure why my browser keeps leaving me with wrong spelling corrections.

dearieme June 9, 2013 at 6:06 am

Thank goodness that when the US turned to manufacturing it didn’t steal technology from Britain or Germany, eh?

Mike H June 9, 2013 at 9:01 am

And did you read the links that I provided? Can you please point out an example where the Pentagon/CIA assisted Microsoft or General Motors in stealing corporate secrets from Siemens or Mercedes? Not to mention Chinese government completely banned all the foreign competitors once their domestic companies got hold of the vital technologies and database.

Oh and guess what? The reason Google got driven out of China wasn’t just about economics and helping domestic industry. Google initially accepted Chinese government’s demand and build a censorship mechanism in their search engine, but apparently that wasn’t enough for the communist party officials. Google’s search engine was deemed to be too powerful and too well-connected with the rest of the WWW that simple censorship on certain keywords and search results weren’t enough to filter out all the “subversive” websites run by the Chinese dissidents and Falun Gong. Chinese government took down Google simply because it was providing too much information to the Chinese people.

Axa June 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm

It’s to soon to say China is just copying the idea.

Last time, the US sponsored Panama independence from Colombia, made Panama sign a 100 years contract for an exclusive “canal zone”, built a naval base, supported a bunch of dictators and killed any opposition in sight.

This time an elected Nicaraguan government is analyzing the idea. Let’s see if China follows the US example of how to do things in Latin Americans or not.

Enrique June 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm

#2 Who cares? Why does the IAS demean itself by admitting people from the social sciences?

ThomasH June 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm

The problem with the labor market (and this feeds into the worsening income distribution) is that growth has been only barely above productivity increase. We need faster growth to absorb the unemployed and encourage an increase in the labor force.

byomtov June 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm

We borrow …. too many words to count from French during the long Anglo-French rivalry).

That sounds silly to me. With French we are not talking about occasional loan-words. I think it’s more accurate to say that English overlaps French to a substantial degree. A huge fraction of French vocabulary has English cognates.

At the point that English started being something that we would understand it already included a lot of French. Norman invasion, anyone?

Ryan June 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm

#5–I think the secular decline in various measures of dynamism is a pretty important topic, largely because we haven’t been able to figure out what’s causing it. We’re seeing it not only in worker flows but also job flows, migration, startup rates, etc.

Industry composition effects make the puzzle even bigger–retail and services are typically more volatile than manufacturing, so the larger employment share they’re seeing means we should expect to see HIGHER rates of churning rather than lower (see http://updatedpriors.blogspot.com/2013/02/job-flows-industry-composition-and.html).

One thing that DOES help explain secular declines in gross flows is firm age stuff. Startup rates and employment shares among young firms are on secular decline (see http://updatedpriors.blogspot.com/2012/12/startups-and-great-recession.html); since dynamism typically declines as you go up through the age classes, lower young-firm activity means we should expect lower flows. But it’s not clear that this is a sufficient explanation; and, more importantly, it’s only explanatory in an accounting sense. We don’t know why entry is declining. And this is a secular trend, so common political explanations may not work.

Whether we should be worried really depends on what is causing all of this. After all, churning is costly. If churning is declining for good reasons, we should applaud it. But that may not be the case.

BC June 8, 2013 at 9:56 pm

#5 Also relates to the Great Reset, i.e., the problem is not the alleged Great Reset, but not enough little Resets.

middle aged vet June 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Putin’s divorce : whether one respects him and his wife or not, divorce is a sad thing. Some languages have words for the human behavior which consists of mocking or laughing at the misfortunes of others without emphasizing (or, as I get older, I realize in the majority of cases without even realizing) that “there but for the grace of God go I”. English has no such word, although I am sure that after a few more generations of internet snarkbots such a word will enter into general use.

affenkopf June 9, 2013 at 2:00 am

English has such a word. It’s schadenfreude.

CBBB June 9, 2013 at 7:43 am

That’s German and that word means to take pleasure in the misfortunate of others which is not the meaning he was looking for.

Eric H June 9, 2013 at 10:25 am

-1 Contextual irony recognition fail

alex June 9, 2013 at 2:11 am

Plenty of Chinese borrowings in Singlish, no?

Eric H June 9, 2013 at 10:40 am

#4 (B) Is this evidence that China is not fully convinced of AGW? Because it seems like permanent opening of the Northwest Passage renders Central American canals moot.

Matt June 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Re: 5 “The problem is too little dynamism, not too much”

Most Americans believe that the job market has grown more turbulent, with people changing employers ever more often. In reality, the opposite is happening.

I wonder if any of this is down to corporate rhetoric relating to offshoring and downsizing, where these are seen as much more prominent than they are as a consequence of corps agitating for their rights to this (and morally normalizing these as inevitable consequences of remaining competitive).

Also, I think a reason the more “turbulent” job markets of history aren’t seen as turbulent likes today’s may perhaps be because the changes in employers within them were driven mostly by employee side by opportunities for wages increases interacting with expansions by businesses, rather than employer side downsizing, offshoring and demands for more dedication for less from their employees. If the situation is driven by employee agency, and not really a “turbulent” chaotic ocean that they must navigate.

Don Kenner June 10, 2013 at 10:22 am

The Bible is the new bestseller in Norway? Damn. Before I clicked on the link I was hoping it was Atlas Shrugged. Or even The Wealth of Nations. Hell, I’d settle for The Road to Serfdom.

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