by Tyler Cowen
on November 1, 2013 at 11:31 am
1. Ricardo Hausmann on the importance of tacit knowledge.
2. The General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers Union is named Joseph Stalin.
3. What will the “new normal” for America be?
4. Podcast with New America Foundation on *Average is Over*.
5. Experience markets in everything, www.ifonly.com.
6. On the kingdoms of Spain.
I still say that an independent Catalonia has near zero chance of happening.
Hausmann writes: “Brazil in 2010 . . . [had] better social indicators [urbanization, fertility, education of workforce] than the United Kingdom had in 1960.” But: “Per capita GDP at constant prices was 140% higher in Britain in 1960 than in Brazil in 2010.” His explanation: 1960 British workers had more *tacit knowledge* than 2010 Brazilian workers. But he offers no explanation why this should have been so.
His prescription: “Knowledge moves when people do.” It is much easier for a country to gain knowledge by importing knowledgeable people than by training the ignorant ones they already have. Countries should try to attract knowledgeable immigrants, including their own former emigrants. But this is a zero-sum, beggar-thy-neighbor approach; it could not be universally adopted.
Perhaps the urbanization of Brazilians today is qualitatively different from the urbanization of those Brits.
I don’t think movement of knowledgeable people is inherently beggar-thy-neighbor at all. Suppose you want to start up a coffee shop. One of the first things you will want to do is hire some people who have worked at other coffee shops in the past. You can know a lot about running a business, or health codes, or coffee–stuff you might learn by reading books or talking to people or taking classes. But you still will benefit a great deal from hiring a manager who ran a Starbucks for a couple years.
This is generally true. Book learning is really valuable and important, but there really is a lot of knowledge that is best gained by actually doing something, whether that’s running a coffee shop or coaching a football team or whatever else.
Fortunately, most things people do create more people with experience than are needed to keep the systems running. If you want to open a coffee shop, well, there are a fair number of people who have run coffee shops before, many off doing other things. If you hire away the woman who manages the local Starbucks, it’s not like the Starbucks will go out of business–they’ll just promote someone internally. And there are lots and lots of people who have at least worked at coffee shops, or have worked at similar enough places (bars, restaurants, bookstores, ice cream shops) that they have *some* of the right kind of experience.
If what Brazil needs to develop is more immigrants with experience in software companies or pharmaceutical companies, they can probably get them via paying well enough that people who spent their last few years working in such places see better opportunities moving to Brazil than staying here. And that will not keep the US from maintaining our own software and pharmaceutical companies–people retire or die or move away from those companies all the time, and they can replace them from inside and bring new people in who will eventually get up to speed.
My guess is that both India and China have benefitted enormously from this w.r.t. the US and UK. There are a fair number of people who have come to the US, worked here for many years, and eventually gone back to India or China, with the practical experience of working in a microbiology lab or a software company or an engineering consultancy.
Isn’t that the reverse of the conventional wisdom about the world being better off when high-skilled people move to countries with better institutions? Maybe the ideal is to have well-educated people move to a country like the US for about 5 years for on-the-job training and then to a country like Brazil?
“It is much easier for a country to gain knowledge by importing knowledgeable people than by training the ignorant ones they already have.Countries should try to attract knowledgeable immigrants, including their own former emigrants. But this is a zero-sum, beggar-thy-neighbor approach; it could not be universally adopted.”
This falls under a variation of Orwell’s famous quote about some ideas being so dumb only an intellectual could believe it. Namely, some ideas are so obvious only a politician (current policy) or an intellectual could fail to believe it.
#2 Stalin as a name is not too uncommon in India either. Give away that the guy’s parents were fake Commies; the kind that rant against the CIA-capitalist conspiracy but all their kids end up in American universities.
Pre-independence while under British rule it was more of enemy of enemy is a friend , hence the popularity of such names. I remember Madras Medical basketball team in late ’60s, the top 3 players were Stalin, Goebbels and Subbaiah—the most unusual combo of names possible.
The Tacit Knowledge article makes clear yet again that the challenge of income inequality must be addressed on a global basis. Redistribution of income must occur internationally so we can achieve meaningful equality among all human beings.
Please, please spread the word far and wide that this is the endgame of the social justice warriors.
Why I believe that Professor Tyler has been doing that his very self:
” The nation-state is a good practical institution, but it does not provide the final moral delineation of which people count and which do not. ”
3. Brad DeLong is so childish. I quit reading when I got to “Ronny.” It’s striking to me how people Greg Mankiw (i.e., adults) never refer to “Slick Willie” but people like DeLong are incapable of writing anything without a few puerile insults. Anyway, if he ever writes anything mature, link to it and I’ll read it.
What’s the fun of a job for life at a place where everyone agrees with you if you don’t take every opportunity to be a jerk?
As soon as I see it’s DeLong, that means it’s a waste of time. I don’t know how Tyler Cowen can manage it.
I guess for bob, wm13, and FC, Aaron’s point is umemportant; what’s important is that DeLong linked to him.
The link is to a transcript of a speech by DeLong, posted by DeLong to his own blog. Who is “Aaron”, and what does he have to do with any of this?
“economists are not known for their social skills–if they had social skills, after all, they wouldn’t be economists, would they”
At least he admits he has a problem.
“Ronny” does not appear in the Brad DeLong piece.
If he had said “Ronnie” I would not have said anything. But he said “Ronny.”
And I can see no reason to stop reading because of either “Ronnie” or “Ronny.”
I guess Delong should have said “our beloved Saint Ronnie” to get past the filter.
How about “President Reagan”? Only in academia is it considered cute and clever to display one’s supposed superiority by puerile insult of every Republican you mention. It’s like when we were in sixth grade, referring to the teacher by her first name behind her back. We grew out of it by high school. I think less of Tyler Cowen, that he has friends that childish.
I am pleasantly surprised that the teachers union in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka still names itself the “Ceylon Teachers Union”.
#5 Holy shit only $35 for chef Michael Chiarello to follow me on twitter?!?!?!!?
Re: #3 – Watch AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
I’d opt for a colonoscopy without anesthesia rather than waste a second on Delung.
a surgery for lung cancer?
Hope you recover soon.
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