Assorted links

by on January 26, 2015 at 12:59 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 ummm January 26, 2015 at 2:12 pm

I wonder if Obama is going to give a statement about deflategate?

2 mulp January 27, 2015 at 2:34 am

If he does, the statement would be “this shows the need for common core and stronger STEM education. Look up Charles’s law, so named by Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac.”

3 rayward January 26, 2015 at 2:39 pm

5. I don’t understand fanaticism. But then, I’m a cradle Episcopalean – pretty much everything is okay as long as it’s done in moderation. I’m fascinated how a large segment of Protestantism, evangelical Protestantism, has become self-obsessed, self-seeking, self-interested, and self-serving, how a religion based on the teachings of Jesus has been replaced by a religion based on a personal relationship with Jesus, how religious beliefs have merged with political beliefs, how self-reflection and self-criticism have given way to fanaticism. The academy should be a place to learn, for teachers and students, a place for open minds not a place for ideologues. Fanaticism should concern everyone, whether it’s the Sunni Muslim extremist terrorizing infidels or the ideologue indoctrinating young and impressionable minds.

4 Ted Craig January 26, 2015 at 2:59 pm

I think society became more political in general. It’s reflected in everything people consumer, from information to electronics to food itself.

5 msgkings January 26, 2015 at 4:00 pm

If so, why? My guess: that mean old internet again.

6 Ted Craig January 26, 2015 at 4:50 pm

I blame the Baby Boomers.

7 Roger Sweeny January 27, 2015 at 12:54 pm

“You may not care about government, but government cares about you.”

8 Jake January 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Regarding the first link, economics has a great deal of explanatory power, but the Coase comment overextends it and misses the point completely. The Coase paper only argues that companies make their products less durable than otherwise possible to increase profits; it says nothing about how durable it is possible to make the products. That is a matter for physics, chemistry, etc. The surprise expressed in the article’s question is that it is *at all possible* to make a battery that lasts 175 years. No amount of economics could have predicted this.

It’s like someone started flying by flapping their arms, surprised onlookers asked, “how is that possible?!”, and an economist replied, “well, that dramatically decreases his transportation costs, so it’s to be expected”.

9 Urstoff January 26, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Haha, excellent

10 dearieme January 26, 2015 at 3:46 pm

“1. Why has this battery lasted for 175 years?” Oxford is the home of lost causes.

11 Merijn Knibbe January 26, 2015 at 6:43 pm

#4: the question about lower export prices is difficult to answer as one needs very detailed PPP comparisons of products. The GDP price level of Greece however declined with 10% compared with the EA level in about 2,5 years.

Despite this, exports are not really increasing (though there is a limited uptick during the last three months). Whcih, considering the lack of aggregate demand in a main customer like Italy, is not surprising.

12 mulp January 27, 2015 at 3:17 am

How do you export meal service or bed turn down and towel service?

And why would you travel to Greece if everything unique about Greece is closed on orders of austerity.

13 JWatts January 27, 2015 at 11:44 am

“And why would you travel to Greece if everything unique about Greece is closed on orders of austerity.”

This seems like a weird statement. My guess is that places that are “closed”, are closed because the Greeks don’t have the money to open them. “Orders of austerity” seems a surprising turn of phrase to capture the concept of “out of money”.

14 Scott Gustafson January 28, 2015 at 10:35 am

How do you export meal service or bed turn down and towel service?

The same way you export a round of golf or a spring training baseball game – you get someone from somewhere else to consume the service, leave you their money and then go home.

15 ChrisA January 26, 2015 at 7:48 pm

On 5, Peter Boettke says:
“Economic policy determines the wealth and poverty of nations. I have a simple formula: Ideas → Institutions → Outcomes. Bad ideas result in bad institutions with bad outcomes. Socialist ideas → Socialist institutions that provide perverse incentives and distort information → Bad outcomes in terms of economic growth and development and political tyranny. The fundamental cause of a nation’s economic fate is not to be found in geography, or resource abundance, but in the ideas and institutions that define that system.”

But surely good ideas and institutions are merely necessary and not sufficient for economic development. We can easily see where potentially rich countries, like China, have suffered through bad institutions which when changed have had a dramatic effect on the countries prosperity. But we can also see countries where institutions are fine but subsections of the population do much worse than other sections of the population. The lazy approach to this is to say it is racism, but some subsections do fine (like Indians for example) when you would think that they would be subject to the same sort of racism.

Having worked all over the world, and see many diverse cultures close up, I am increasingly of the mind that different populations require different institutions and methods of working to perform well. And that good performance for one population will not look the same as good performance for another. We should be careful not to therefore ascribe too much of the success of the West to its institutions and then try to foist those same institutions on other populations therefore.

16 mulp January 27, 2015 at 3:52 am

#4 is just too complicated because economists and the bankers who listen to them are out of touch with reality.

Let’s put it in real world terms.

Greece is your unemployed in-law you loaned $500 and then $50 to gas up to drive to a job interview. He’s tapped out every friend and relative. He was allowed to move back in with his parents on the condition he cut back his consumption.

Now his buddies, Syriza, have told him to stand up and not take it anymore and demand everyone forgive all his debts and then lend him enough every week to party every week.

I find the suggestion that Greece will leave the Eurozone.

That’s like your in-law drawing his own money with his face on it to pay for gas and going partying.

Like anyone is going to accept new Greek money to pay for oil or food or iPhones.

Like they would accept the Greek money before Greece entered the Eurozone if they hadn’t and US investment banks innovated Greece into hundreds of billions of debt, except in Euros, it would be in dollars. Krugman some how seems to think the US bankers would have denominated the debt in drachma instead of dollars as Greece ran its printing presses full time.

The problem is Greece no longer produces what it consumes – they fell victim to free lunch economics which holds that consumers are not workers and workers are not consumers, so production is driven by profits, not by consumer labor wage income.

The real problem today is Greece can no longer afford to use oil because its global income from mostly shipping has shrunk while oil imports and other imports have increased significantly. Without any debt, Greece would have been forced to go green or invent something to manufacture to export to pay for oil imports.

Of course, the Mitt Romney’s would simply sell off the antiquities, beaches, etc, distribute proceeds, and then declare bankruptcy because the tourism is dead.


17 dan1111 January 27, 2015 at 7:06 am

Wow, I did not predict that this entire comment was going to be a slam of Mitt Romney!

18 JWatts January 27, 2015 at 11:48 am

It was a very subtle lead in.

19 Adrian Ratnapala January 27, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Other than the commenter’s name, the hints start to come in the 5th paragraph:

I find the suggestion that Greece will leave the Eurozone.

Which is a grammatical English sentence, unlike most of mine. But, where does it go?

20 Ray Lopez January 27, 2015 at 8:10 am

#3 – the abstract, taken literally, is not that controversial, if it merely shows this: “It shows that private-order institutions have not historically substituted for public-order ones in enabling markets to function; that parliaments representing wealth holders have not invariably been favorable for growth; and that the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England did not mark the sudden emergence of either secure property rights or economic growth”

keywords: “historically”, “invariably”, “sudden”. Not at all controversial.

21 Ray Lopez February 1, 2015 at 9:49 am

Further, Ogilvie et al apparently are engaged in some questionable historical revisionism about some aspects of their claims, see:

“The ‘scrupulous examination’ of the Maghribi traders by Edwards and Ogilvie’s does not survive scrutiny. 203 First, Edwards and Ogilvie discuss documentary evidence carelessly, avoid meaningful— detailed or quantifiable—comparison and misreport the content and number of the documentary evidence. Second, historiographical consensus is misreported, important works are not mentioned, and secondary sources are alleged to support claims that, in fact, they do not. Third, Edwards and Ogilvie repeatedly misrepresent arguments, confuse pre-conditions with predictions, and do not distinguish the exception from the rule. They refute arguments that were not made based on evidence that does not refute the original arguments. Fourth, their analysis is ahistorical in focusing on the existence of courts and reliance on reputation rather on their nature and use.” – The Maghribi traders: a reappraisal? By AVNER GREIF* 1 March 2012

22 Art Vandalay January 27, 2015 at 9:33 am

Boettke is an impressive crank. Good luck with your nutjob crusade, FatBoy, Austrian economics is not going anywhere.

23 rayward January 27, 2015 at 9:50 am

5. I’ve often commented that, absent intervention, excessive inequality is self-correcting. What I mean is that excessive inequality correlates with financial instability, and that a financial crisis (i.e., collapsing prices for financial assets) corrects the excessive inequality, provided governments and central banks don’t intervene. Case in point: 1929: inequality collapsed along with the prices of financial assets (wealthy people own most of the financial assets). Of course, the correction is not for the faint-hearted, although it can create an economic environment for a long period of shared economic prosperity. Members of the Austrian school are not faint-hearted. Cranks, perhaps, as suggested by George Costanza, but not faint-hearted.

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