Assorted links

by on May 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Data on blockbuster movies.

2. Can China use its capital in a time of crisis?

3. My Piketty NYT column from July: “If you’d like to know where American political debates are headed, the data suggest a simple answer. The next major struggle — in economic terms at least — will be over whether taxes on personal wealth should rise — and by how much.”  I believe this was the first coverage of Piketty in a major media outlet.

4. The prices of Qatari license plates.

5. First Bay area sex truck (what does this imply about living quarters?)

Anon May 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm

4. In the United Arab emirates , plates have been more expensive including a world record of $14.2 Million

http://www.therichest.com/luxury/most-expensive/dubai-auction-most-expensive-license-plates-in-the-world/

ChrisA May 3, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Anon – I don’t think the prices being charged are the point of the link. Pretty depressing that people in Qatar, who have basically been under US protection from regional hegemons like Iran and Iraq for decades, can have this attitude,

Just another MR Commentor May 4, 2014 at 6:22 am

Which is….?

ChrisA May 4, 2014 at 6:47 am

I am referring to the 911 themed ones, open displays of support for extreme anti-Americanism.

Careless May 4, 2014 at 10:18 am

Having looked through the first nine pages of plates, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Just another MR Commentor May 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

Just typical leftwing hate towards good, hardworker, wealth-generating Qataris

ChrisA May 5, 2014 at 3:02 am

The list changes all the time. The top one when I looked was 9090911.

jean-louis salvignol May 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm

3. “this new economic configuration will mean greater political influence for the holders of that wealth, and that will make higher wealth taxes harder to achieve.”
This prognostic of Tyler Cowen in the NYT is especially interesting with regard to the current position of Piketty in France. You know he’s totally in opposition to the tax policy of Hollande, that he had very strongly supported in 2012.
The influence of Big money on Hollande and his advisers is totally obvious and led to this conflagration between Piketty and the French President.
The funniest is that the campaign of Hollande was a huge tissue of lies and false leftists postures – war on Finance etc. .. – and that our wise Professor Piketty did not understand it in real time, and this is what motivates his humiliation and his tenacious and sterile Opprobrium.

Phill May 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm

I would like to know how you feel, Tyler, about the parallels between Capital and the Average is Over.

It seems to me that the prognostication is very similar; both works suggest that In The Future most will be reduced to providing increasingly marginal services for the rich.

Most everyone seems to agree that growth is over because we’re both not adding lots of new people and/or not finding new, great productivity boosts – certainly this doesn’t seem to be contested by Piketty – and thus the present liberal status quo becomes untenable as average living standards stop increasing.

I’m still working through the accounting identities myself, but at a preliminary glance it seems to me that the grave income inequality you propose isn’t all that different from the mechanics of wealth inequality Piketty suggests; based on how things seem to be going with say, university tuition, income stratification due to accumulated human capital strikes me as part and parcel of patrimonial capitalism.

The key difference then seems to be, well, mood affiliation? Inequality is okay, because we can loosely pin these to individual responsibility above and beyond a systemic bias. The former suggests we learn to like it and deal with it and the latter suggests renegotiating the social constructs that allow “wealth” to be a meaningful concept in the first place.

Above and beyond series of different economic pundits disputing that the tone of Piketty’s argument doesn’t match arbitrary if well respected models in the literature instead of tackling the historical evidence, I would really like to hear your take on the above.

Phill May 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm

I submit the possibility that I have misunderstood the imports of both works, naturally.

Cliff May 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Did you actually read both works? Tyler concludes that we will break free from the stagnation- see for example the subtitle, if you read that far :)

Adrian Ratnapala May 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Hmm, more murder and less gore in modern movies. I would have expected it to be the other way around. Perhaps the ’70s had a larger proportion of B-grade horror which has been swamped by modern, 11-year-old friendly comic-book movies.

Brett May 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm

5. If there’s real demand for a sex truck, then San Francisco probably needs the Japanese equivalent of “love hotels” renting places by the hour. That said, I can imagine the authorities not being pleased by either the former or the latter, since any type of short-term rental place for sex is also a good place to practice sex work if it’s not being heavily monitored.

3. How do you tax personal wealth anyways? Fees on banking accounts and other assets just for holding? Wealth is pretty diverse.

Charlie May 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm

@5. The sex truck is probably more about providing a venue for quasi-exhibitionism, rather than a need for space. SF is big on exhibitionism, there are lots of naked parades and other excuses for public nudity; it’s a strange place.

Jeff Rensch May 3, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Actually in the Bay area exhibitionism is everywhere, just like sex, so…. this seems to be about making sex as boring and commonplace as possible. So in a way, a new tongue-in-cheek Puritanism. (?)

Just Another MR Blogger May 3, 2014 at 3:35 pm

I was the first one to talk about that stinky Frenchman! Pay attention to meeeeeeeeeeee

LJM May 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm

TC doesn’t need attention as much as some commenters, it would seem.

Sumeet May 3, 2014 at 4:29 pm

On Noah Smith’s criticism of Tyler linking to Piketty criticism, I think there is another book with a similar theme for which Tyler linked several criticisms of. He is so obssessed with debunking that book, he started a tag on this blog called “There is no great staganation” !

Dick King May 3, 2014 at 4:37 pm

#3: What would a wealth tax do to those who have dutifully saved for their retirement?

-dk

Michael May 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm

I assume you’re joking. What does an income tax do to those who have dutifully saved for their retirement? How does progressive taxation work? Seriously–you put a sliding scale or a high upper threshold. Do you really think a wealth tax on people with a net worth over $10m is going to hurt those who dutifully saved for retirement?

ladderff May 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Yes, through inflation and (even) lower growth.

Michael May 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm

This is why I’ve stopped taking this blog seriously. Inflation is the opposite of low growth. It’s impossible to have both–it’s like having snow and 120 degree heat at the same time.

Mike May 3, 2014 at 7:27 pm

I guess Weimar Germany and recent experience in Zimbabwe didn’t happen. But I guess if you are only looking at nominal growth both did quite well!
(For a more realistic example see the US in the late 1970s/early 1980s)

Peldrigal May 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Inflation is not the opposite of low growth, you can have both, and it has happened before.

Michael May 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Inflation is the opposite of low growth. It’s impossible to have both–it’s like having snow and 120 degree heat at the same time.

Cliff May 3, 2014 at 10:20 pm

lol no

Ali Choudhury May 4, 2014 at 10:52 am

Some people on this blog have heard about the 1970s.

ladderff May 3, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Inflation is the opposite of low growth. Ok, got it.

Yancey Ward May 3, 2014 at 6:08 pm

When supporters of a thing criticize the publication of the critics of that thing, you know the supporters are feeling deeply insecure about their position. It is almost an iron law.

Alex G May 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm

The Piketty and Saez paper that used tax-return data to determine income levels within the top 1% received a lot of coverage during Occupy, including in major media outlets.

Tom May 3, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Thank you for quantifying why I don’t watch blockbusters.

Kirk Hartley May 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

Th Epicurean Dealmaker reviews Tyler Cowen’s review of Piketty – he is not impressed with Tyler’s thoughts on culture and the history of France.

http://epicureandealmaker.blogspot.com/2014/05/ozymandias-at-art-gallery.html

Michael May 4, 2014 at 10:31 am

That’s a brilliant response, actually.

Tyler really embarrasses himself when he talks about the gentleman-artist/gentleman-scholar making the world a better place (because of course we will never know how many smarter and more talented peasants were never allowed to make the world even better–a quick read of Jude the Obscure would do Tyler a world of good).

It’s a shame Tyler will always get more attention, though. Money makes the world go round.

Just another MR Commentor May 4, 2014 at 11:24 am

Those who are truly talented always succeed. If someone remained obscure during their life then it means they must have not had talent and should have selected a higher IQ at birth.

Just another MR Commentor May 4, 2014 at 11:27 am

Having read the essay I find it full of Mood Affiliation. Hardly a substantive argument to be found there, simply more ranting from an obviously blind and angry man.

Dan Lavatan May 4, 2014 at 4:56 pm

It seems odd people would pay that much for an anti-feature. If I had that much cash, I would not use a plate and just pay the fine.

Jamie May 4, 2014 at 5:53 pm

That is not the first sex truck in San Francisco. I’m having trouble googling a reference, but in the 90′s there was a box truck for hourly rent that had dildos protruding from the walls, floor and ceiling. I recall seeing ads for it in the Weekly and the Guardian, as well as stapled to telephone poles near adult stores in SOMA.

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