Assorted links

by on December 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Where might we be getting new nations?

2. Does the American way of hiring worsen long-term unemployment?

3. The forthcoming Thomas Piketty book will be very important.

4. Stephen Williamson on the Phillips curve.  And a bit more here.

5. Making a life-size origami elephant.

6. Is Sweden rethinking education privatization?  Here are some further results on U.S. preschool, by the way.

TMC December 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm

#6.1 An educator goes out of business. Isn’t that exactly what we need in the US?
#6.2 Preschool is still babysitting. Mother can work – why, the kid is at the sitter, er school.

Harry K December 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I agree wholeheartedly, the article made it feel like the education system was failing but failure is a sign the system IS WORKING. There are so many public schools in the U.S. that are continuing for no reason.

Z December 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm

#1: Texas splits off and maybe takes Oklahoma with it. New England splits off to form a semi-independent state.

Ted Craig December 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm

If any U.S. entity were to break off and become a nation, I’d put my money on NYC.

dead serious December 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Curious why you think that. I would agree with Z: many Texans openly and regularly talk of independence.

The Northeast isn’t on any path to secession – NY or NE. My next guess after Texas would be California only because the rest of the US isn’t progressive enough.

Ted Craig December 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Two reasons.

1. It has been considered before (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_secession#Civil_War_Era).

2. A growing portion of the population of NYC, especially Manhattan, consists of foreign residents.

Tom Noir December 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Then why NYC and not Miami?

Ted Craig December 16, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Because Miami is too small. And a mess.

dead serious December 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Manhattan, foreign residents, increasing?

I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about. If you had said Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx you might have a point.

Ted Craig December 16, 2013 at 4:43 pm
dead serious December 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm

So wealthy foreigners are buying Manhattan real estate as investments. Your supposition is that the demographics are changing so much that residents (these people aren’t residents, by the way) are agitating for independence?

I’m curious what you think would happen to NYC real estate if the 5 boroughs seceded from the US.

Ed December 17, 2013 at 11:48 am

I don’t see any part of the Northeast seceding. Remember, the people who pretty much own the country live in this region.

I can see a future where New York City becomes a version of Shanghai during the late Qing and the warlords eras.

Mark Thorson December 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I can’t imagine that independence would get any traction at all in California. When I was a kid, there was a proposal to split California into northern and southern states, but I haven’t heard anything more about that in at least 40 years, so I presume that movement is dead.

Ad Nauseum December 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm
Mark Thorson December 16, 2013 at 5:09 pm

The proposal I was referring to would have put the north/south border somewhere south of San Jose and north of Santa Barbara, not in the far north near the Oregon border. The latter proposal is a total non-starter.

Z December 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm

The financial class needs the rest of America for its skimming operations.

Shane M December 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Or Alaska? I guess the details are a little murky, but some evidence VP candidate Palin was affiliated with the Alaska Independence movement.

dead serious December 16, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Good candidate. I’d bump that up to #2 behind Texas.

Chip December 16, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Let’s assume Canada keeps drifting towards lower taxes and restrained spending, while the US continues moving the other way, and this scenario gains more traction.

Alaska would fit nicely into its Canadian neighbour, especially with the broader autonomy given to provinces.

Ad Nauseum December 16, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I like to think this is possible, but am curious about a timeline. Currently, there’s too much nationalism in the rest of the country, and lets face it. Texas has oil. The U.S won’t let go of an oil producer that quickly (same goes with Alaska).

Kevin C. December 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Never going to happen. No part of America is going to secede; any that tries will experience the full wrath of the US Armed Forces. If Texas tries to leave the Union, Houston, Dallas et al. will get the Dresden treatment; the Governor’s residence will get a cruise missile or Predator drone sent their way. The USA is like the Mob (or Hell): once you’re in, you’re in forever.

Ted Craig December 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm

1. Possible, although not probable: India breaks up or at least Khalistan breaks away.

EDJ December 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Kashmir is another Indian province worth watching.

EDJ December 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Then there’s Taiwan officially declaring nationhood from China.

Someone from the other side December 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm

1 seems weird to be missing Catalonia

dead serious December 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

It’s at the bottom of the article.

Saul December 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm

6.2 I’m curious about universal preschool but not well-read on the literature. How does this study’s results and methodology look to the informed?

Anon Canadian December 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Hey, Quebec isn’t on the list! Yay!

Anon Canadian December 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm

List of potential new nations, that is (#1)

JWatts December 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm

“6. Is Sweden rethinking education privatization?”

Yes, but how well do the students of the private schools do vs the students of the public schools on standardized third party testing. Isn’t that the most important criteria?

mulp December 16, 2013 at 7:28 pm

On 2, its just more of the same on long term unemployment, going along with what I heard Tyler say on the radio this afternoon.

I had hoped the title would refer to the observation that Henry Ford had a century ago, but no.

Tyler and the HBR see the problem solely as a problem for the person who can’t get a job and thus get paid. Tyler looks at the automization and sees businesses producing a lot more with many fewer people.

But economics is zero sum.

Who does the HBR authors and Tyler think is going to buy all the production?

If the population ends up with 25% unemployment while businesses are producing more than ever, only of the government somehow creates money to hand out, all that production will go unsold.

The US has an economic policy over the past three decades based on half the people saving a lots and the other half surviving off borrowing the savings of the other half. Before 1980, there were net savings and huge investments in bond to build stuff, schools, bridges, power plants and grids, telephone grids, and those bonds were AA paying 8-10% with that debt service coming from the users through taxes and utility fees.

Since 1980, building stuff is avoided at all costs in order to avoid tax hikes or to reduce the supply of productive capital so the price of the capital rises. If a power plant was built assuming 50% utilization as part of resilience of the system, the mandate since 1980 has been to drive it to 70% then 80%, 90% utilization, which has resulted in a reduction in the bonds outstanding. And with existing capital debt free and thus generating high rates of return as it moves closer and closer to failure, the feasibility of a new one is impossible from an ROIC standpoint without special subsidies.

The bottom line is borrowing has been increasingly to fund consumption, not investing in long term productive capital assets, thus the labor to build those assets is never employed, so the debt will never be serviced, and can only be eliminated by default – bankruptcy is a Constitutional redistribution of wealth mechanism.

But if borrowing is no longer allowed or possible, the production will far exceed the income required to consume it unless the capital owners consume a much larger share of the production of consumption goods. If you own shares of McDs, you need to eat a burger per 100 shares each day.

Locke saw the Americas as idyllic because anyone “unemployed” could grab a sector of the huge surplus of common land and settle down, and until finding the right spot, wander the huge American common and hunter-gather until you find your dream spot. Locke refused like conservatives today to imagine the Americas becoming the British Isles with no common land remaining with every patch of land claimed by some owner. A day of no free lunches, er free land.

Without a supply of free lunches, the economy needs to balance the consumption of individuals with work for every individual that matches exactly over the long term, or else the economy is unsustainable.

Chris S December 16, 2013 at 10:06 pm

“Economics is zero sum.” -mulp, in the last comment of his I will ever read.

JWatts December 17, 2013 at 9:30 am

That really is a silly comment to post on an economics blog.

chuck martel December 16, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Then the big machine that makes disposable diapers will just keep puking them out and since there won’t be as many babies to wear them and the few people with babies won’t be able to afford them, in a short time the earth will be covered with disposable diapers, right?

Joel December 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm

#1. Normandy, a possible new country getting independence from France? That’s a pretty strange claim.

Pierre December 17, 2013 at 3:40 am

Thought the same thing.
Never heard any secessionism trend in Normandy since at least William the Conqueror.

john personna December 16, 2013 at 7:49 pm

I bumped into a friend of a friend, apparently a world-famous neurosurgeon. He’s in his sixties. He told me he was looking for software people, but no one over thirty, they weren’t good enough. I am a software guy. I didn’t hit him the the logical implication. If software people can only hold it together until thirty, software must be harder than neurosurgery?

The Anti-Gnostic December 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Younger employees are cheaper and you can work them like rented mules.

Chris S December 16, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I’ve worked with a lot of older software people lately, including several who had high level, high-pressure jobs and took a couple of steps back to have a more enjoyable life, if a bit less money.

They go “apparently” slower, in that they won’t bang out supercool android apps over the weekend, but strangely their solutions just work in real life, as many of the edge cases and strange failure modes are accounted for based on long experience. As a hiring manager I find they need a lot less handholding.

mike December 17, 2013 at 12:10 am

There might be a few US states that wouldn’t be better off breaking away from Washington DC and FedGov, but I sure as hell can’t think of any.

Andreas Moser December 17, 2013 at 5:40 am

#1: The link which lists Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg as possible new independent states hasn’t been to Germany in two generations. There is no such movement, no such inclination, no such wish by almost anyone.

Axa December 17, 2013 at 6:53 am

Sorry, out of topic but Bitcoin is now considered an asset than can be charged with capital gains tax in……….Norway.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-12/bitcoins-fail-real-money-test-in-scandinavia-s-wealthiest-nation.html

Jane the Actuary December 17, 2013 at 8:19 am

Regarding the preschool-for-all study, do you have anything not behind a paywall? Even from the abstract, though, it doesn’t seem particularly credible — not a randomized trial, so that I find it unlikely that you can truly attribute 8th grade test score improvements to the program, when truly randomized studies have shown otherwise. The biggest finding seemed to be that, when given the opportunity, people will take advantage of free government programs (which means future estimates of cost will have to include the disruption of middle-class parents switching from existing tuition-based programs to the free state program).

http://janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2013/11/parking-link-preschool-for-all.html

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