Assorted links

by on June 12, 2014 at 11:45 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Chinese rent-seeking benches with spikes.  Or are they just clearing the market?

2. Anti-strike drones, via South Africa.

3. Good Iceland photos, including one puffin and some ponies.

4. More on the economics of Brat.  And more here.  And a dress code for class.

5. Stagnationist ideas take over the mainstream.

6. Goldman Sachs report on the economics of the World Cup.

7. Some economics of teacher tenure.

Rob June 12, 2014 at 11:52 am
DR. D. June 12, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Sunny days in Iceland, almost as likely as unlimited visibility in Shanghai!

S June 12, 2014 at 12:05 pm

I didn’t know I could like the guy more

So Much for Subtlety June 12, 2014 at 5:51 pm

I agree. Making students dress properly? My God!

Brat 2016?

Jan June 12, 2014 at 12:05 pm

#2) I’ve been looking forward to the day the movie Elysium comes to life. Good South African pedigree on that one.

ThomasH June 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Brat is a little more ecumenical that most on the “Christian Right.”

“Brat was raised in the Presbyterian faith and his wife is a Roman Catholic.[5] They split their time between two churches.[5] They are parishioners of St. Mary Catholic Church in Richmond.[61] Brat also identifies as a Calvinist, and list affiliations with Christ Episcopal Church, Third Presbyterian, and Shady Grove Methodist.”

bartman June 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I’m not sure if this makes his reflexive anti-Catholicism more or less surprising.

PD Shaw June 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Sounds like he is a Christian to the right of the typical New York columnist, what more can there be to know?

stan June 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm

“Christian” is now a dog-whistle word

prior_approval June 12, 2014 at 2:50 pm

It sure is –
‘Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Tuesday repeatedly confronted a faith leader — who also happens to be a noted church-state separatist — about his Christian beliefs during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on religious freedom.

“Do you believe in sharing the good news that will keep people from going to hell, consistent with the Christian beliefs?” Gohmert asked Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Lynn responded that he wouldn’t agree with Gohmert’s “construction of what hell is like or why one gets there.” When Gohmert pressed him to say whether he believed people “would go to hell if they do not believe Jesus is the way,” Lynn again answered that he thinks failing to ascribe to a certain set of Christian beliefs doesn’t necessarily doom a person to hell.

“No, not a set of ideas,” Gohmert insisted. “Either you believe as a Christian that Jesus is the way, the truth, or life, or you don’t.”

“Congressman, what I believe is not necessarily what I think ought to justify the creation of public policy for everybody,” Lynn countered. “For the 2,000 different religions that exist in this country, the 25 million non-believers. I’ve never been offended. I’ve never been ashamed to share my belief.”’ http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/43484_GOHMERT!_Loveable_Louie_Debates_Pastor_on_Whether_Non-Christians_Go_to_Hell

ThomasH June 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm

The tenure-pay decision could be good if it leads to higher pay for teacher who teach in difficult environments. We probably want the best teachers in the worst places but at least average teachers. Without pay for difficulty teacher/student quality are likely to be positively correlated.

So Much for Subtlety June 12, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Why? Why put the best teachers where they can do the least good?

Surely what we need is a triage system. We should put the best teachers in the best schools with the best students. After all, education is wasted on most people. It is, so to speak, the Talented Tenth that matters.

F. Lynx Pardinus June 12, 2014 at 5:35 pm

I prefer Thomas Wolfe’s vision: “So, then, to every man his chance – to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining, golden opportunity – to every man the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him.”

The America Dream is for every child, not just those whose parents were wealthy or politically connected.

So Much for Subtlety June 12, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Good for you. How do you manage that? Do you penalize the smart? Which is what moving the best teachers to the worst schools does. And by the way, which also means that people’s life chances are shaped by their parents’ wealth and political connections – neither Obama or the Mayor of Chicago send their children to Chicago’s schools.

Or do you recognize that some children are smarter than other children and academically strong children need to be searched out and supported?

Schools have a lot to do with people’s futures. But not everything.

john June 12, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Speaking as a smart kid, we don’t really need the good teachers.

Tom June 16, 2014 at 11:28 am

Speaking as a dumb kid, we don’t really need the good teachers.

Jan June 12, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Then you will be delighted to hear what you describe is the system we have in place now. How’s that working out?

So Much for Subtlety June 12, 2014 at 8:15 pm

I have no idea who that is addressed to, but I find it hard to believe anyone can look at the disaster zone that is American education and find much to be happy about at all.

Although it is not working out too badly. If you’re White or Asian. Less so if you’re Black or Hispanic. Which means, I guess, schools and teachers don’t actually do all that much. At least not as much as they think they do.

Jan June 12, 2014 at 10:50 pm

It is addressed to you. The best teachers by and large teach in whiter, wealthier schools with higher achieving students, just like you asked for. http://americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2014/04/11/87683/looking-at-the-best-teachers-and-who-they-teach/

I agree with you that the system overall sucks, because so many kids don’t thrive in it.

So Much For Subtlety June 13, 2014 at 5:52 am

I am sure they do. One of the things that make life miserable for teachers is ill-discipline. Who would teach in an inner city school if they have a good chance of physical assault?

Naturally they will all try to get jobs in the suburbs and the good ones will succeed.

Ted Craig June 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm

4. Is Brat’s take on Adam Smith really that radical?

The Engineer June 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Has no one heard of “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”?

JWatts June 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm

I think that some people consider anyone considering Adam Smith in a positive light to be a radical or a loon.

Kabal June 12, 2014 at 1:06 pm

@4

So chicks love obeying well-dressed, high status men.

Good to see the claims of James, 2011 replicated.

Thor June 12, 2014 at 10:05 pm

James 20:11

Is that from the Bible?

I looked, but mine came from a hotel room and didn’t have it.

rayward June 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm

4. “But in his writings, Brat seems eager to fuse Christianity and the generally secular field of academic economics. A review of several of Brat’s academic papers reveals that he sees free-market economics as being intricately linked to ethics and faith. He’s not just a professor who happens to believe in God; he wants to put God at the center of his work.” One need not be a practicing Christian or an observant Jew to believe there’s a correlation between the Judeo-Christian system and economic growth. Robert Wright makes the point that the spread of Christianity facilitated the growth of international trade and economic growth, not because the Christian faith makes its followers more productive but because fellow Christians in far off places were deemed more trustworthy. “But Brat goes further than simply questioning economic dogma and trying to reclaim Adam Smith for the Christian intellectual tradition. In a 2004 paper, “Economic Growth and Institutions: The Rise and Fall of the Protestant Ethic?”, Brat again returns to the link between historical Christianity and modern economic theory, claiming that countries with Protestant pasts have inherent economic advantages over countries without them. “Give me a country in 1600 that had a Protestant led contest for religious and political power and I will show you a country that is rich today,” Brat wrote, while claiming that Protestantism “provides an efficient set of property rights and encourages a modern set of economic incentives” that often lead to “positive economic performance.” I suppose Catholics were too overwhelmed with guilt and Jews were too overwhelmed with shame to be especially productive, leaving it to the Protestants to grow the economy and advance civilization.

So Much for Subtlety June 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm

I suppose Catholics were too overwhelmed with guilt and Jews were too overwhelmed with shame to be especially productive, leaving it to the Protestants to grow the economy and advance civilization.

People can mock but the Catholics had over 2000 years to come up with the Industrial Revolution. Jews, even longer. Neither did. The Protestant Northern Europeans did. It may be shame, it may be guilt, but it is a fact, it is there, and it needs to be explained.

And “Judeo-Christian” is a weasel word. There is no such system.

Chris June 12, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Actually those Catholic Frenchmen, Catholic Walloonians, Catholic northern Italians, Catholic Germans (Rhinelanders, Bavarians), and Catholic Czechs seemed to do just as good of a job with the Industrial Revolution as did the Protestant British, Dutch, Germans, and Scandinavians. Prussia would have been hard pressed to become an industrial power without Catholic Silesia it took from Austria and the Catholic Rhineland – after all, that is where the coal and iron were.

The Dutch and British were certainly pioneers, but the factors that caused them to develop industrialization and capitalism first don’t seem heavily based on their religion. If Katherine of Aragon gave birth to a baby boy and heir to Henry VIII, it is very hard to see England going Protestant or that it would fail to develop along the same path that it did anyway.

So Much for Subtlety June 12, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Catholic Frenchmen? You mean like Armand Peugeot? Or Benjamin B Hotchkiss for that matter. Catholic Belgians? Like John Cockerill? Rhineland Germans? Like the Krupps?

And of course Northern Italians have had trouble the modernization and industrialization. As most Catholic countries have. They were very late coming to the market and have struggled really ever since. Spain is a good example. Like Italy, the Fascists gave a lot of support to larger industrial enterprises but on joining the EU in Spain many of those failed and are now owned by northern Europeans. See SEAT for instance.

It is hard to see what Protestantism has to do with industrialization but the link is pretty strong.

freethinker June 14, 2014 at 12:17 am

How will Brat explain the economic success of the predominantly Buddhist … not Protestant or even Christian … nations of East Asia and now China?

Donald Pretari June 12, 2014 at 1:20 pm

1. I don’t think that will work on someone like George Costanza. He’ll just get used to it.

Florian June 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm

#1: (spiked park benches):
the irony is killing me:
“Park bosses got the idea from an art installation in Germany where sculptor Fabian Brunsing created a similar bench as a protest against the commercialisation of modern life.”
“He thought he was exaggerating. He didn’t foresee that a very practical country like China might actually use them for real,”

Dan Weber June 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm

China should put his picture on each spike.

Mark Thorson June 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Maybe the artist should have patented his concept, though I’m not sure that patents are very enforceable in mainland China.

Thor June 12, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Number One Best Anal spike?

dixie June 12, 2014 at 10:28 pm
Matt June 12, 2014 at 2:44 pm

The photos are okay, but man do I wish people would lighten up on the photoshop color enhancement. It’s a huge crutch for many photographers, mostly looks like crap, and turns photos that could be good into something that look like they should have “Thomas Kindkade, Painter of Light” after them.

Mark Thorson June 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Someone should create an app that takes a normal photo and automatically Kinkadizes it. Maybe there could be goggles that would let you see the whole world as Kinkadized, all the time. That might not be your cup of tea, but I think it could find a market.

F. Lynx Pardinus June 12, 2014 at 5:37 pm

“Maybe there could be goggles that would let you see the whole world as Kinkadized, all the time.”

Considering that Kinkade drank himself to death, I’m not sure seeing the whole world through such goggles is a good idea.

Mark Thorson June 12, 2014 at 7:37 pm

I didn’t say good idea. I said I think it could find a market. Kinkade was very popular among conservative Christians. They might buy Kinkade Glass, too.

cheesetrader June 13, 2014 at 9:05 am

Thus beer goggles

Barkley Rosser June 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm
ivvenalis June 12, 2014 at 5:37 pm

@2 the same technologies behind the nascent proliferation of small drones will enable the proliferation of surface-to-air guided weapons (and ubiquitous precision surface-to-surface standoff weapons, but anyone who can’t figure that out from just looking at what these things are needs their head examined). I predict “anti-drone” systems to be the next big thing (of course they will also be murder on manned aircraft, particularly helicopters). Eastern Europe has the right combination of know-how, access to material, and lack of regulation that I expect to see “consumer” MANPADS out of there in the next few years into the hands of anyone who finds themselves inconvenienced by drones who has a few tens of thousands of dollars to spare.

mulp June 12, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Does Brat think cutting government spending in Virginia will create jobs and boost the VA economic growth because the wages paid by government spending are sucked out of the economy because government workers or government contract workers never spend any money because they grow all their own food and make all their own clothes, and shoe the horses they ride to work on, all on their own 40 acres?

So Much for Subtlety June 12, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Does mulp think that taking millions of workers out of the real economy to drag great big rocks to create a pyramid bigger than anything that Egypt has, in order to provide a proper burial site for George H. W. Bush, God forbid it is ever needed, would have no impact on the average wealth of America?

freethinker June 14, 2014 at 5:19 am

4) ” God : the author of the Bible”. But which Bible? The catholic canon or the protestant one? perhaps the Jewish canon? And which interpretation of the Bible does he endorse? And God is ( supposedly) not the author only of the Bible but also the Islamic Koran, the Hindu Song of God ( The Geeta) , the book of Mormon and all other holy books. In a class with students from diverse faiths would it not be better if Brad leaves God out of the picture and sticks to teaching economic reasoning?

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