Tuesday assorted links

by on July 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. The cow culture that is Dutch.

2. New evidence on the gradual and seventeenth century roots of the Industrial Revolution (pdf).

3. Payments systems and other features of life in Dubai, interesting, by Alice Wilkie.  And is Daesh moving to a gold standard?  In fact it’s always been a substitute for trust.

4. If they put some crummy paintings into British museums and hang them, few people seem to notice or care.

5. “The problem with the Swedish housing market is that there are no houses and there is no market.

6. Abbas Kiarostami has passed away.  Virtually all of his movies are worth watching, and often more than once.

7. The coming Italian referendum.  And how Remain lost.

1 rayward July 5, 2016 at 12:47 pm

4. Can the curators distinguish fakes from the real thing? I can appreciate why curators would want to spend hours looking at a painting, but why would anyone else? It’s not as though life’s answers can be found in a painting if one looks at it long enough. What actually moves people? Revenge. What are films about? Revenge. Or more accurately, vicarious revenge. Social custom prevents us from seeking revenge against those who wrong us, so we experience revenge vicariously through films. And in politics. The British, slighted by those on the continent, sought revenge at the ballot box. American white males, slighted by everyone, seek revenge through Donald Trump, who offends everyone. Where’s the revenge in looking at an old painting? On the other hand, a painting that offends my enemies would exact revenge.

2 Thiago Ribeiro July 5, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Not a bad point.

I’ll tell you what, I’ll concede you your point if you agree that Argentina is way better than Brazil.

BRAZIL, WHOOP WHOOP!!!!

3 JWatts July 5, 2016 at 2:13 pm

“What actually moves people? Revenge. What are films about? Revenge. Or more accurately, vicarious revenge. Social custom prevents us from seeking revenge against those who wrong us, so we experience revenge vicariously through films. And in politics. The British, slighted by those on the continent, sought revenge at the ballot box. American white males, slighted by everyone, seek revenge through Donald Trump, who offends everyone.”

What? That comment seems mulpish.

4 Brian Donohue July 5, 2016 at 2:23 pm

rayward had an idea about Brexit and Trump, so he came here to share it by shoehorning it into a comment about museums.

5 Vivian Darkbloom July 5, 2016 at 3:16 pm

“If they put some crummy paintings into British museums and hang them, few people seem to notice or care.”

Probably true, but it doesn’t seem to have much to do with the referenced article. First, “fake” does not necessarily equate with “crummy”. If someone were to make a convincing copy of Velazquez’ Las Meninas it would be a “fake”, but it would not be “crummy”. It would be a fascinating picture in its own right. Second, nothing in the article suggests that museum goers don’t notice or care. That may be true, but the experiment is only starting.

It’s true that most people who go to art museums simply do so because they think it is expected and that they can obtain cultural credentials simply by attending but not paying attention or doing any work. Skimming pictures is like skimming books. Drop the right names, perhaps here and there an obscure one, add a cryptic remark and you’ve got popular cred. Tyler seems to be working here from experience. (This is my revenge).

6 anon July 6, 2016 at 1:15 am

What actually moves people? It’s trolling. Social custom prevents us from trolling IRL, so we experience the satisfaction of trolling unmoderated blogs by posting off-topic political comments. And on 4chan. The British, slighted by those on the continent and jealous of big brother ‘merica, are especially noxious trolls. American white males troll during work hours, or if unemployed, from the comfort of their mothers’ basements. Where’s the “trolling” in posting low quality comments on an unmoderated blog? On the other hand, a troll comment that prompts more than a few “wtf” replies is surely a success.

7 derek July 5, 2016 at 12:53 pm

7. Rule #1. It doesn’t matter. Rule #2. If it does matter see rule #1. With the right computer models and a slimy technocrat like Messina you can manipulate the voting public to get what you want. We really really believe in these wonderful ideas, but if it comes to actually cooperating with the kids in the sandbox, well that is different.

I like how Labour figured it could resurrect all the wise old guys who were tossed out on their ears by the electorate to sell something.

It really doesn’t matter to these folks. There are no consequences, other than a bit of humiliation easily washed down by some pricey liquid bought by the generous pension and various perks of power.

8 chuck martel July 5, 2016 at 1:18 pm

There’s been no mention in Brexit analysis of the 500+ years that the British have suffered with a cultural inferiority complex to their Francophone antagonists across the Channel. EU membership reminds them of this every day. While the relationship with the Krauts is more complex, many Brits aren’t too crazy about being lorded over by them, either. The UK, once the world’s most extensive empire and victor, albeit it with some help from allies, over the two supposed leaders of the EU in centuries past, doesn’t like taking a subsidiary role, especially in trade, a field in which they were always the most prominent. Why should they accept defeat in the cubicles of Brussels when they never have on the battlefield?

9 prior_test2 July 5, 2016 at 1:53 pm

To think that just yesterday is celebrated in a former British colony to mark one of the British Empire’s greatest military losses.

10 prior_test2 July 5, 2016 at 1:54 pm

Well, to celebrate the process leading to a final battlefield loss, that is.

11 JWatts July 5, 2016 at 2:18 pm

“To think that just yesterday is celebrated in a former British colony to mark one of the British Empire’s greatest military losses.”

Most people get over issues from the distant past. Of course some people never will.

12 Thor July 5, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Zing! Besides, in the grand scheme of things it was a “divorce” between cousins. The loss of the colonies was at best an annoyance to the British. For really serious bloodshed, America would have to wait til the Civil War.

13 jon livesey July 5, 2016 at 4:57 pm

And talking of inferiority complexes……

14 M July 5, 2016 at 2:47 pm

As to why this idea has not been raised, a causal might be that there’s remarkably little in the British media or public opinion polling that I am aware of in which the British public perceive the EU as an instrument that places them in a subsidiary role to France or that there is a sense of a cultural inferiority complex. You could cite some evidence that supports your thesis? I suspect you’d have an easy time making this case with Germany rather than France, but that the evidence would still be scanty.

15 jon livesey July 5, 2016 at 4:58 pm

Right. There has been some loose talk about Merkel really running the EU, but France? That would get the giggles in London. France really is a hollow vessel these days.

16 dan1111 July 6, 2016 at 1:34 am

Occasionally in Britain you’ll see things like “Britain has more kinds of cheese than France” or a food columnist claiming that London has better food than Paris. This might be evidence of a bit of a “cultural inferiority complex” but if so it is really minor, and focused on food. Not relevant to the EU question at all.

17 JWatts July 5, 2016 at 2:12 pm

“5. “The problem with the Swedish housing market is that there are no houses and there is no market.”

“Song said strict regulations, including a constitutional law that allows municipalities to veto building plans, tie the government’s hands.”

So government regulation has crippled the industry. Well, that’s a self inflicted problem, that will be easily remedied when the pain is high enough.

18 enoriverbend July 5, 2016 at 7:23 pm

“So government regulation has crippled the industry. Well, that’s a self inflicted problem, that will be easily remedied when the pain is high enough.”

You’re too optimistic. A more likely prospect is added layer upon layer of government subsidies fighting with government regulations leading to a even-more-towering pile of fail. This is, after all, the pattern of socialism social democrats.

19 John L. July 5, 2016 at 8:51 pm

Nothing some deregulation a subprime loans bubble can’t solve.

20 dan1111 July 6, 2016 at 1:35 am

“subprime loans bubble”–another thing driven by government subsidies and regulation, rather than the lack thereof.

21 John L. July 6, 2016 at 5:27 am

Yeah, sure it is. If only those banks were even freer to repack and sell junk loans.

22 MMK July 5, 2016 at 2:14 pm

#5. Guy at the end of the article claims that Sweden needs more people for labor. What happened to all those refugees they imported? Surely they aren’t just sitting around doing nothing?

23 Silas Barta July 5, 2016 at 2:48 pm

> Surely they aren’t just sitting around doing nothing?

Oh you poor child…

24 DJF July 5, 2016 at 2:55 pm

They need more housing to house more immigrants to who will pay for the housing and upkeep of the last bunch of immigrants they imported.

1 Import immigrants

2. Pay money for immigrants

3 Import more Immigrants

4 Profit

25 Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta July 5, 2016 at 5:10 pm

It’s not like Sweden is suffering from a drought and needs to extract water from the human bodies migrating to its shores.

Isn’t that why California and Texas are so enthusiastically welcoming all those newcomers from south of the border?

California needs more immigrants to water the crops?

26 Benny Lava July 5, 2016 at 3:11 pm

I know that this post is rhetorical in nature but it reminds me of Scott Sumner’s recent post about how the long term unemployed are unemployable. Basically a skills mismatch. Need more programmers less laborers.

America doesn’t take in more refugees because it creates them domestically.

27 enoriverbend July 5, 2016 at 7:28 pm

“America doesn’t take in more refugees because it creates them domestically.”

In 2014, there were 9.6 million unemployed Americans, and 11.3 million illegal immigrants. No one would say that there would be no unemployment without illegal immigration, but it would be fatuous to claim there’s no relationship.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/22/unauthorized-immigrant-population-stable-for-half-a-decade/

28 JWatts July 5, 2016 at 2:25 pm

“1. The cow culture that is Dutch.”

I realize that’s just a demo project and probably not serious, but it just seems like a waste of money. It’s going to cost a lot of money to ship in feed and ship out manure for the cows every day. Not to mention the milk.

29 coketown July 5, 2016 at 2:56 pm

This seemed more an example of “cosmopolitan sustainability culture” than “Dutch cow culture.” Other than location there’s nothing uniquely Dutch about it, and I think most Dutch dairy farmers–and even most Dutch cows–would find the idea of seafaring, bio-dome-dwelling cows to be absurd.

30 kimock July 5, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Speaking a foreigner living in the Netherlands, I believe that there is something Dutch about it, but not necessarily their typical cow culture. They have a deep longing for the purportedly sustainable, a desire for local, and a fascination with clever solutions. Clearly, this is not disagreeing with “cosmopolitan sustainability culture.”

This is much like the solar panel bike path, which cost many times more than solar panels on roofs. http://breakingenergy.com/2015/05/13/solaroad-performs-better-than-expected-remains-pointless/

31 coketown July 6, 2016 at 1:18 pm

That’s a good point, although I’m not sure Rotterdam, of all places, demonstrates a desire for local. The Dutch do seem to come up with uniquely clever (weird?) solutions to things, though. You have convinced me this is an example of that. Unrelated, but jarringly haunting for a Wednesday morning, was this picture commemorating the Rotterdam blitz. I go looking for data on the Rotterdam port and I get this.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotterdam#/media/File:HerdenkingVuurgrensRotterdam1940_2007_edit1.jpg

32 James July 5, 2016 at 2:34 pm

I love the mock-up of the floating cow barn. Notice what’s missing? Cow dung. It’s not going to look that chic.

33 Cooper July 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm

5. Phoenix and Houston have a rapidly growing population, lots of immigrants and no housing crunch. Maybe the Swedish government should take a note from the American Sunbelt and just get out of the way every once and a while?

34 y81 July 5, 2016 at 4:21 pm

1. It takes an incredible level of agricultural protectionism and price supports to make this sort of enterprise even faintly viable. Imagine if your i-phone were manufactured on a floating island off Manhattan by well-paid American workers. How much would it cost?

35 DJF July 5, 2016 at 4:36 pm

Depends on how efficient the workers are. Imported agricultural products also have costs too, transportation, inspection, environmental, social , etc

36 Cooper July 5, 2016 at 5:22 pm

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy is a disaster. They squander nearly half the EU budget on wasteful farm subsidies. Over £50B/year!

This floating cow palace is a monument to waste, not a symbol of Dutch ingenuity.

37 John L. July 5, 2016 at 5:48 pm

“American farm subsidies are egregiously expensive, harvesting $20 billion a year from taxpayers’ pockets. Most of the money goes to big, rich farmers producing staple commodities such as corn and soyabeans in states such as Iowa.”–“http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21643191-crop-prices-fall-farmers-grow-subsidies-instead-milking-taxpayers
Well, maybe one day Iowa will have castles too. If it is possible to import them from China, I mean.

38 JWatts July 5, 2016 at 6:04 pm

I agree that US farm subsides are egregiously expensive. But in response to to the EU’s Common Ag Policy, they come off as sounding somewhat reasonable. So, kudos John L. for pointing out how sane American polices are compared to Europe.

US GDP in Trillions (2015): $17.9
EU GDP in Trillions (2015): $17.0

AG subsidies: US $20 billion vs EU $70 billion (euros 59 billion)

39 John L. July 5, 2016 at 7:23 pm

I am pointing out how frugal the centralizing and usurper EU supposedly Brobdingnagian budget apparently is.
“They squander nearly half the EU budget on wasteful farm subsidies. Over £50B/year!”
70 B/year × 2= 140 B/year. America wastes on AG subsidies alone one–seventh of this. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program alone costs more than 10% of this, the Marine Corps cost more than half of this.

40 JWatts July 5, 2016 at 7:29 pm

“I am pointing out how frugal the centralizing and usurper EU supposedly Brobdingnagian budget apparently is.”

That’s a pretty surprising stance given the fact that the EU is spending 2.5x the money and has a smaller economy.

41 John L. July 5, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Less surprising when you think that the American government wants to spend on the F-35 alone more than it is spending to feed an entire country and fatten an impressive clowder of rural fat cats. Our tax money at work. Meanwhile, the EU budget couldn’t pay for the US Marine Corps. The centralizing EU is just a myth.

42 JWatts July 5, 2016 at 9:14 pm

“Less surprising when you think that the American government wants to spend on the F-35 alone more…”

I suppose you are clueless to the fact that the F-35 has already been bought by: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

43 Anon7 July 6, 2016 at 4:16 am

The EU’s centralizing tendencies can be found in many places other than the budget (though its bureaucrats would surely like more money to waste), and speaking of waste, farm subsidies (unlike military hardware) in rich countries hurt the world’s poor the most.

44 John L. July 6, 2016 at 5:25 am

“and speaking of waste, farm subsidies (unlike military hardware) in rich countries hurt the world’s poor the most.”

Well, American military hardware hurts poor people a lot (poor villagers attending wedding ceremonies for instance). Maybe Americans haven’t got all the bang they want for their bucks, but it’s a lot of bang anyway because it’s a lot of dollars.

“I suppose you are clueless to the fact that the F-35 has already been bought by: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.”

Yeah, they bought it, and American taxpayers are the ones paying one-tenth of the EU entire budget for it with little to show. The program just couldn’t build the previous agreed number of planes. The disaster prompted former naval aviator John McCain to call the program “a scandal and a tragedy (…) and disgraceful.”– “http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/26/politics/f-35-delay-air-force/

What happened to America?

45 Scott Sumner July 5, 2016 at 7:37 pm

Kiarostami was also a very fine photographer.

Benny, I do not believe the long term unemployed are unemployable. Perhaps you were thinking of the recent post on the shortage of skilled workers in Spain.

46 angus July 5, 2016 at 7:52 pm

#4. Maybe they should try putting a few non-crappy paintings in those museums and see what happens?

47 wwebd on picasso and crowds and art-world speculation July 5, 2016 at 9:33 pm

4. One reason the middle-aged and elderly Picasso had a sense of having done well in life was he knew that for every peso or franc he made on the 90 per cent of his work that was completely specious and uninspired he was earning the future gratitude of thousands of future impecunious art-loving museum goers in dozens of museums who would be delighted that their fellow future crowds would cluster in the Picasso rooms leaving the other rooms with the real paintings by the real artists in those rooms measurably quieter and more spacious. Sad for him (Picasso) he did not have a good friend to tell him there were better uses of his time but if he were the kind of artist who lived for real art and who loved the look of individual humans and loved God’s creation the way an artist should – well, unless I am wrong, there would be fewer Picassos and the crowds would be less conveniently diverted. (As for me, I could have scooped up a quality Bougereau for a few thousand bucks when I was in my early twenties and I didn’t, due to lack of funds. Sad for me I did not have a good friend to tell me I should get a loan).

48 Tom Warner July 5, 2016 at 10:59 pm

Thanks for #2, good stuff. I think the Netherlands is also worth looking at in the same era. The textile industry there for example was getting more productive well before steam power. But also more grim and deadly, which for some was a motivator to try the Americas.

49 Rent Control! July 6, 2016 at 5:43 pm

The reason for Sweden’s housing shortage? RENT CONTROL.
Incredible that the linked article by Reuters does not mention rent control once.

Rent Control in Stockholm
by Alex Tabarrok on July 24, 2015

“In addition to Soviet-level shortages, the letter writer discusses a number of other effects of rent controls in Stockholm including rental units converted to condominiums and a division of renters into original recipients who are guaranteed low rates and who thus never move and the newly arrived who have to sublet at higher rates or share crowded space. All of these, of course, are classic consequences of rent controls.”

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2015/07/rent-control.html

50 y81 July 6, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Yeah, Reuters will never mention rent control as a cause of housing shortages, Tyler will never mention immigrants as a source of crime. Most people live their lives solidly in the cave, projecting their own fantasies on the cave wall, and die in ignorance and oblivion.

51 Troll me July 7, 2016 at 3:42 am

I plan to rent to people for an average of 5 years at a time in a rent controlled city. But I do not plan on charging more in the early years of a rental to recoup for lower profits/rents after years of limited rental increases.

Or … maybe rent controls are not the devil?

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