Assorted links

by on November 28, 2013 at 7:51 am in Education, Web/Tech | Permalink

1. Three key facts about Japan’s deteriorating demographics.

2. “Imagine a search engine that simply removed the top 1 million most popular web sites from its index. What would you discover?

3. Spectator picks for book of the year.  And from The Observer.

4. Is the economics job market picking up?

5. Drone tries to sneak contraband into Georgia prison.

6. You can’t park at the new Tysons Metro stops.

ThomasH November 28, 2013 at 8:15 am

Re: Japan’s “deteriorating” demographics
The way this is supposed to work is that each cohort invests in the productivity enhancing capital that will produce what it will consume when it is not working. If there is a problem it’s not demographics, but failure to invest or investments that did not produce the income expected. I cannot tell from all the articles like this one whether Japan has a problem or not. If the elderly are still net savers, enough to keep long term interest rates low, the problem is not yet evident.

Gabriel Puliatti November 28, 2013 at 8:39 am

They invested in JGBs… we shall see if those “produce the income expected”.

Adrian Ratnapala November 28, 2013 at 10:14 am

Children are an asset of this kind and have been used for this purpose (among their other benefits) for eons, mostly with success.

msgkings November 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I keep harping on this, but Japan’s demography is the whole world’s in 60-70 years. Still haven’t heard a good answer for how things will function then. I guess like Japan with even more robots, including robot elder caregivers.

Careless November 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Might want to check your math on that. It can’t even be JApan’s then.

msgkings November 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Well, I wasn’t trying to imply exact equivalence. My point was that in 60+ years the world’s population will be slowly shrinking, and hence aging. What will that mean? Japan is the closest analogy. Parts of Europe too.

mike November 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Yeah but even if that extremely dubious (idiotic) prediction were to come true, within countries there would be a lot of variety. Or would you predict that Nigerian demographics will dominate Japanese politics, or vice versa?

msgkings November 29, 2013 at 12:34 am

It’s not my prediction, check any demographic report. Demography is one of those things almost impossible to get wrong. All nations’ birthrates are in decline, and as the world gets richer they will decline further. And no there aren’t enough Mormons and Orthodox Jews and Muslim harems to counteract that. Soon the world will simply not be replacing population, and it will shrink.

And I agree that different nations will deal with it differently, some will allow immigrants from the last young nations to replenish their ranks (those nations being mostly in the Middle East and parts of Africa), some will like Japan keep most out. But eventually the big number in total will be dropping, and to me that implies a global economy somewhat like Japan’s: aging, shrinking population, with robots. And that’s not so bad, Japan is hardly a hellhole. Yes they are in a stagnation that may never end, but by and large they are a wealthy nation.

JWatts November 29, 2013 at 12:49 am

#1 uses 15-64 as the definition of working age. That’s low on both sides. How do the demographics look if you choose 22-73 as the working age population for Japan?

When push comes to shove all the developed world will raise the retirement age to a more demographically balanced age range.

msgkings November 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

Good idea. I know that’s how the US is going to ‘solve’ Social Security. Perhaps Medicare as well.

prior_approval November 28, 2013 at 9:03 am

6. Strangely, you can’t park near any of the Ballston/Virginia Sq./Clarendon/Courthouse stops in Arlington, either – compared to places like Vienna, that is.

And what a disaster of planning that Arlington high density corridor turned out to be – which probably explains why GMU keeps expanding there. However, the dearth of good Vietnamese restaurants alone, compared to the later 1980s, is a tragedy. (GMU did make a killing selling some of its property at a fantastic mark up to the federal government though, so it wasn’t a complete loss – ‘The George Mason University Foundation later sold approximately half of the land on the western side of the parcel to the Federal Government for nearly five times the amount it paid for the entire property.’ – )

mulp November 28, 2013 at 6:56 pm

The government doesn’t provide parking spaces on the Interstates for commuters, so why should the government provide parking space on commuter rail.

Or rather, the government providing commuter parking on Interstates began only after the congestion on the Interstates got so bad the demand for government solve the congestion problems ran into opposition to higher taxes and government taking private property in local communities to provide benefits to people outside the community who were far richer, but saw their property rights to be inferior to rich(er) commuters.

And I have seen a lot of attacks on the stupidity of putting commuter parking lots out in the middle of nowhere for people in cars to stop them from using their cars but to carpool or take buses. “Obviously” the solution is for government to eliminate people from cities so the space can be used for cars.

But don’t tax the suburbs and commuters – the cities should provide roads and parking for commuters for free, like the free market delivers free stuff.

Careless November 29, 2013 at 2:00 am

Damn, if only PA replies to this, we’ll get the incredibly rare sight of the human equivalent of two early Turing programs failing while talking to each other.

msgkings November 29, 2013 at 11:38 am


Evan November 28, 2013 at 9:26 am

If you put “economics” into the search engine at #2, you find the University of Chicago Department of Economics on the first page. Right alongside other top departments such as the University of Malta and CSU Channel Islands.

Careless November 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Not at all what I get. I get George Mason followed by Berkeley, The OSU, MIT, Harvard, and Stanford , with a plagiarism site in the middle

sIU Carbon dale being between Harvard, Stanford, Duke, and Cornell was weird.

UC is next to UCal San Marcos, Princeton, Columbia, northwestern

anon November 28, 2013 at 9:47 am

6. You can’t park at the new Tysons Metro stops.

You rubes, you’re supposed to walk, bike, or take the bus.

prior_approval November 28, 2013 at 10:26 am

You mean like Hazel Hall and how it is served by Metro?

mike November 28, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Hazel Hall is easily within walking distance of Metro (rail or bus) and is also very easy to park near (St. Charles parking lot) unless you are trying to park there at exactly 6PM, which is well after 90% of regular business at Hazel Hall has ceased.

ummm November 28, 2013 at 10:04 am

bitcoin & stock futures keep going up

weird how the crisis in 2007-09 which was predicted to bring about a new social order of a downgrading of America’s economic hegemony, fiscal restraint, and wealth equality the exact opposite has happened. The socio-economic trends that were in place before 2008 only accelerated in the years that have followed. A Mathew Effect in overdrive. Winner take all outcomes.

And holiday sales will not be weak despite the unending pronouncements by the media about the consumer being dead, maxed-out, etc. Rumors of the death of the consumer are greatly exaggerated.

Z November 28, 2013 at 10:12 am

I guess crazy does not take off for holidays.

Z November 28, 2013 at 10:07 am

#1: I always get a chuckle when (alleged) free market types use the phrase “market distortions.” The implication is the current conditions are imperfect, which means there is a “perfect” version of the market for whatever it is under scrutiny. The Wells Fargo types complaining about those pesky market participants thwarted their preferred fantasy are just employing their version of the “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

Anyway, Japan is a good test of modern finance. For three decades we have been told that we can live like kings today by spending the wealth of the unborn. Unfortunately, those unborn re remaining unborn. I guess that makes Planned Parenthood a market distortion. Anyway, we may be learning that the only capital that is not static is human capital.

dearieme November 28, 2013 at 10:15 am

Is the employment of economists a good thing or a bad? Where will the buggers do least harm?

dead serious November 28, 2013 at 10:21 am

In banking. It’s all backstopped.

You Brits might not understand that word. Try this instead: it has 1000 goalies minding the net.

dearieme November 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I think we might guess that it’s an Americanisation of the cricket position “long stop”.
But is it?

Adrian Ratnapala November 28, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Backstop is a cricket position too. It is used by schoolboy teams who know they cannot trust they wickie.

Adrian Ratnapala November 28, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Actually a long stop is used for much the same purpose, and is really the same position. But in my experience (that’s the kind of cricket I played) — the dude doesn’t have to be placed very deep so “backstop” seems like a better word to me.

ummm November 28, 2013 at 10:34 am

economists shouldn’t feel impelled to predict things. they are good for explaining problems from an economic standpoint and prescribing solutions to economic related problems. The list of New Deal critics is long but because FDR was not an economist nor lend his deference to any and the result was the implementation of bad policy that present and future generations will bear the consequences of.

mulp November 28, 2013 at 6:30 pm

An economist would have advised FDR to use free msrket creative destruction to deal with the unemployed and hungry: euthanize them and grind them up for fertizer, just like old cars are handled??? Especiallty the old, infirm, disabled, and their dependent children…?

Tax cuts tax cuts tax cuts have really delivered the most fantastic growth since the year 2001, hasn’t it, with taxes since 2009 at record sustained low burden for the past three quarter century.

Of course, the economists advising Reagan to call on private charity has created huge increases in dependency. The dependencies on soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food banks, free clinics just keep getting greater and greater. Worthless people should be regarded like old broken down rusty cars or obsolete machinery. Scraped, ground up, recycled.

Dead or In Jail November 28, 2013 at 10:50 am

Re: #6

I’m in favor of replacing the appellation “Tysons Corner” with the designation “Tyler’s Corner.” It’s my one-step plan to improve America. I don’t plan on resorting to revolutionary violence to affect this change immediately, but if my hand is forced, so be it. Who’s with me?

mike November 28, 2013 at 10:42 pm

I’m in, and I own a lot of guns

Mercer November 28, 2013 at 11:10 am


There is a 2800 space public parking garage two blocks from the Ballston Metro and well as private garages,

chuck martel November 28, 2013 at 11:13 am

Small radio-controlled helicopters are going to be the mechanism of choice for future violence so look for governments to jump all over the regulation of them.

Mark Thorson November 28, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Radio-controlled helicopters were available in the 20th century, but that didn’t happen. The future of terror and violence is in autonomous aerial vehicles. GPS jammers and spoofers may help, but what is really needed is autonomous anti-drone patrol aircraft. In another 10 years, the sky will be buzzing with them, and your wireless devices will drop connections all the time.

ThomasH November 28, 2013 at 11:46 am

Tyson’s may be a good place for the county to start experimenting with demand-driven pricing of parking including of residential street parking with revenues dedicated to feeder bus routes.

Alexei Sadeski November 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Light rail may be extremely wasteful, but hey at least it’s not as bad as the NSA.

Adrian Ratnapala November 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm

#5. I hope the guys who got caught are only the tip of an iceberg.

radical blogger November 28, 2013 at 4:25 pm

the demographics in japan also leads to a shortage of labor, which means wages go up.

Aint that just horrible??!!

Rising wages, and older people find it easy to get jobs, too. What a sad state of affairs! No wonder neoliberal economists everywhere are wringing their hands in agony, sympathizing with Capital, as always…

Cliff November 29, 2013 at 12:12 am

Is that actually true that wages are going up in Japan?

mulp November 28, 2013 at 6:17 pm

4. quote:
Roughly 49% of the students in the survey said they planned to seek work with a university or college—a finding that didn’t surprise Mr. Clayton, of Northern Kentucky University. “If you can get a tenure track post, it’s such an attractive position,” he said. “It’s about as close as you can get to being self-employed and not having a boss over you…You’re always doing new and interesting things.”

I’dthink half of all people, from high school drop outs to phds would love an economy that is “as close as you can get to being self-employed and not having a boss over you…You’re always doing new and interesting things.”

mike November 28, 2013 at 10:43 pm

more like “as close as you can get to being on six-figure welfare”

prior_approval November 29, 2013 at 2:01 am

That is an extremely rude way to refer to the authors of this web site.

Alex Godofsky November 28, 2013 at 6:45 pm

There are two malls with extensive parking lots adjacent to the Tysons metro. The obvious outcome is that they will start charging for parking with some rebate if you buy something at the mall. I believe there is a mall near a Maryland metro that already does this.

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