by Tyler Cowen
on December 17, 2016 at 2:15 pm
1. Japan’s “evaporated people.”
2. Why aviation innovation matters.
3. Transfers across the states.
4. Tesco markets in everything.
5. It’s hard to get rid of tipping (NYT).
2. If wealthy people had to fly commercial, there would be a lot more innovation in aviation; but they don’t, and there isn’t. If wealthy people had to endure today’s crumbling infrastructure, we would invest a lot more in it; but they don’t, and there isn’t. And so on. Incentive. It makes what we make, better. It’s for wealthy people, too.
Unclear if you mean by “wealthy” centimillionaires and up, or by “had to fly commercial” you mean a normal definition of “wealthy” who don’t have to fly commercial, but almost always do
Regulate away billionaire options so they will want to go to bat for us? I dunno, they might not play ball, but … maybe they will?
For example, if there is no special billionaire overpass to get anywhere in LA with no traffic (price rationing), they might support more public transit as a means of reducing their exposure to traffic congestion.
Satisfaction with air travel is actually rather high after Obama administration implementation of increased spending on security.
Congress has for decades refused to provide sufficient sustained funding until recently for NextGen which is thought to be about air traffic control, but really isn’t. Traffic control is a client of NextGen, as are planes, air carriers, etc. However, integration is so great, they are all partners.
For example, planes need to have the right hardware to integrate at each level of air space access. Pilots must input data and respond to data from the hardware.
Given planes operate internationally, the hardware standards must be international.
Air traffic control is not like in Airplane or other 60s movies.
NextGen is to move to and beyond current FedEx traffic control. And partner with FedEx and air carriers making the same investment.
So many enabling technologies are involved, privatization would not help. I doubt the Navy navigate directorate would be privatized.
And how would all aircraft, most already private, be brought under a private operator? Will the private contractor charge planes for ADS-B hardware and install it, or ignore the ADS-B equip planes currently using it?
By yet more “costly” regulation, all planes must be equipped with ADS-B Out by 2020. General aviation units are down to $2000. But that merely locates and id’s the plane to the system. The costs are higher to provide pilot awareness and still higher to provide collision avoidance. The Congress required action in 2003 legislation, the FAA issued draft rule in 2007, with final rule published in 2010, giving aircraft owners a decade to comply.
Data Comm is beyond pilot stage, but only 2000 at most air craft have it installed compared to 24,000 with ADS-B. 57 airports support it for ground operations, with hopes to have en route equipment in place by 2019. ERAM is complete and providing 4d data on everything it the air space with more and more advanced radar systems than before, integrated with ADS-B when available. Many more things are required for NextGen.
Enough are in place or in progress from work over the past dozen years, it’s doubtful Congress will not keep funding progress. Unless someone stupidly tries to privatize a part of it which could create a contract preventing progress without paying added costs to the private contractor.
If breast cancer was a Man’s disease then it would be cured by now.
This force-everyone-to-have-the-same-outcome gambit is what massively accelerated white flight. If the only way to be free of your meddling and forced bussing is to be completely out of your city, then so be it. Bye Felicia.
If you could stop viewing people as chess pieces you move around on the board, this wouldn’t happen so much.
1. People remake themselves in America all the time. In plain view, without having to disappear. Donald Trump has remade himself many times. Now he has remade himself as president. I would have preferred that he had evaporated. Some things the Japanese do better.
And people in America run away all the time. I find it bizarre there is no missing persons database in Japan, just as a law enforcement tool. Too much shame? Crime is lower there, so is the assumption missing people are missing by choice?
Indeed. People like to make such a fuzz of Japanese culture as if it were something so completely weird: “OMG, suicide rates are 1.6 times the world’s average” I would be impressed if it were like 5-6 times the world average: For instance, in the US there are twice as many suicides than in Japan in absolute numbers and US’s suicide rate is 70% of Japan’s.
More to the point, American duicide rates are more than twice the Braziian ones. It is worrying.
Yes, why aren’t Brazilians killing themselves as much as they should? Very concerning.
> But when the octopus plate rose to $21 from $16, they looked at the plate and realized another adjustment was needed.
But why? The increase seems like more than the average tip. This should have been more than enough to compensate the staff.
Sorry, forgot to quote the most important part: “At Huertas, where the octopus grew another leg, the kitchen staff has shrunk from six cooks to four or five per shift.”
Lower demand from higher prices.
3. Slicing data by states shows a researcher doesn’t understand how America works.
This data does not support liberal/Progressive/Socialist California as the worst case failure, so the data must be wrong.
Never registered for FT. Does the article track the transfer of retirees out of progger states? When people are not forced to live where a job is, the majority reject progger states.
Yes, when we sell this multimillion dollar house, it will be because we reject the prosperity it represents.
And if we move to a ski town it will totally be because the state has a “red” government.
“The prosperity it represents”
You mean zoning ordinances.
You can zone flatland all you want, and see if that makes a Hollywood or Cupertino pop up.
IOW, causation runs the other way.
The value comes from the magical dirt and liberal smug. It definitely doesn’t come from creating barriers to entry in areas with historical network effects.
Yeah, when people don’t have to care about decent jobs, people go for Republican states. Some even go for Somalia.
I think this is wrong on three counts. First, most retirees don’t actually move across state lines. They stay where they are. Second, I’d be surprised if you could show me any data that says retirees’ primary reason for moving is the politics/liberal/conservative bent of the state. Rather, I’m pretty sure they would say things like weather, being close to family, cost of living, etc. Third, while blue states generally have more and better jobs, there are plenty of red states with a lot of good jobs. See Texas and NC (which went from blue to red and looks to be headed back to blue). And sometimes blue states don’t have a ton of great jobs or wealth. See Oregon, Vermont.
The real problem with #2 is that it presumes that “more planes and more flying” would be better. Most people most of the time hate any airplane they aren’t on. This includes me, and I’m a newly minted pilot.
Airports near any kind of substantial population center in the US are surrounded by enemies, encumbered by noise restrictions, under real estate pressure, etc.
Small airports that succeed in getting new charter/taxi/small airline service inevitably also get a barrage of noise complaints, and face efforts to shut them down.
IF you are really worried about Global Warming, THEN you must OPPOSE ALL use of aircraft, they are NEVER the lowest AGW burden method of transport.
Also, with the robotic pilots, will there be robotic flight attendants? Robotic baggage handlers? And when robots are good enough to be baggage handlers and flight attendants, let alone pilots, will the economy have any need whatsoever for human labor? In which case business travel will be zero, no?
My political prediction? Before we have robot pilots we’ll have rules forbidding operation of any airliner that doesn’t have 100 passengers on board and isn’t flying at least 400 miles. Any cargo plane will be required to be carrying at least 50,000# of cargo and traveling at least 400 miles. The total number of flights allowed in and out of any particular airport will be severly rationed (much worse than it already is.) The main cost of a ticket will be costs of offsetting the global warming effects of airflight and noise mitigation.
As for drones – “drone hunting season” and youtube videos about how to hack amazon drones for your personal use will be big hits.
The whole “drone delivery” idea presumes that customers will accept, let alone want, something delivered by a large noisy mosquito. That they won’t refuse, and petition their neighbors to refuse, such deliveries. That the liability costs of scaring dogs and old people literally to death, replacing windows, having product stolen by thieves who follow the drone, and so on won’t sink them.
(By the way, liability is probably the number one reason airplane designs change so slowly. Production of new small aircraft actually came to a total stop in the US until liability law was changed – but the basic issue of high liability, social and economic, for vehicles than can and do fall out of the sky and kill innocents below, will never go away.)
Why do you really think that if “the rent is too damn high” things like drone delivery will be allowed in the nice places it would have some prayer of being economical? And how the hell does it work for multi-story appartments and offices?
More planes suggests more people with reasons to go places, whether for travel, business, study or other.
Maybe it’s not that obviously a good thing, considering that it suggests limitations of more local options. But probably it’s a good sign with respect to opportunities in those things.
How about the robots that are going to stop passenger fist fights, the robots that pick-up full barf bags the ones that clean feces smeared on the cabin wall in row 22, the ones that hold the hand of a scared kid traveling alone for the first time, the one that helps your grandmother get to a wheelchair on the jetway, the deadheading robot with 20,000 hours in the airplane that goes to the cockpit to help the pilots land in a corn field when there’s a complete hydraulic system failure and it takes one pilot for each axis of flight, turning the aircraft with differential thrust.
Sometimes the best ‘technology’ turns out to be human.
Ever see 2001? Mandatory suspended animation. HAL will be your pilot tonight…
“How about the robots that are going to stop passenger fist fights, the robots that pick-up full barf bags the ones that clean feces smeared on the cabin wall in row 22, the ones that hold the hand of a scared kid traveling alone for the first time, the one that helps your grandmother get to a wheelchair on the jetway,”
Dude, what airline are you flying on? I can’t even get my pretzels…
How is it I still hear the infernal leaf blowers all the time?
1. I knew a Japanese coffee shop owner in the early 90s with a small, beautiful place next to a park where I’d often go once a week at night to talk to people as I was learning Japanese and would help them with English. I went back there in 2002 to say hello and the place was gravel. The friend I was with asked neighbors where he and his family moved to, and they said after the coffee shop went under they “disappeared.” There was an article in the newspaper that the coffee shop had folded, though.
The article mentions Japan’s higher than average suicide rate but the press usually fails to mention it is mostly (not entirely) an elderly phenomena that is much higher than elderly in most other countries where religious beliefs differ. Also, wiki mentions the suicide rate in Japan jumped 35% from 1998 to 1999 and stayed there for years. Actual suicides didn’t increase nearly that much – the law for reporting changed then. This happened in South Korea in 2000 as well: If a relative died in South Korea, you could no longer just phone it in as was often done in rural areas. The cause of death needed to be confirmed by a doctor.
There’s another deep problem illustrated by #2 but that runs throughout economic thinking.
1. Increasing welfare is good. (True)
2. Increasing average or median welfare is about the same as increasing welfare for everybody (often false.)
3. GDP measures welfare (very often false)
4. Increasing GDP increases welfare (quite possibly net false most of the time in the US)
All of this presumes (with some but not perfect justification) that (a) innovation is better and (b) “more” is better.
And so, lots of flights of little airplanes from one little airport to another might well be more efficient for the people making those trips. But net welfare might go down rather than up. More Global Warming gases. More noise. More plane crashes, and more bystanders on the ground killed by them. More pressure to take trips one doesn’t want to take, and which could be avoided on time/cost pretext before.
It would *look* better the GDP numbers, in airline employment numbers, and so forth. But if every citizen got to weigh the pros and cons what would they decide?
Interesting that the only possible explanation that comes to mind is that the people left due to “shame”, and not because they didn’t thing there was a single person in that place who it was worth telling them where they were going.
Who needs connections who can only see evidence of shame when someone takes a step to improve their situation? No wonder they left, with folks like that around.
Among other things, arriving in a new place, beyond whatever opportunity directly attracts a person, offers much potential for recreation and improvement (or whatever…) of the self. So, for example, when you meet a new person, it’s good to offer them lots of scope for creatively imagining their trajectories, then trying to box people in from the first minute of their lives and keep it that way right to the end.
“re-creation” not “recreation”. Re-creating the self (maybe in just some small ways…)
Yeah, totally normal to abandon your school-aged child because you didn’t think he/she was worth telling where you were going. What is wrong with you?
If I’d actually said anything like that, perhaps there would be cause for concern.
But if someone disappears and leaves their child behind, I somewhat doubted it was “shame” that caused them to leave. Assuming that they’re not just dead …
So… you didn’t read the article past the first paragraph, or what?
About a general type of situation (someone leaves town, never hear of/from them again), not a specific case.
2. The autopilot does not do ‘most of the work’. Cockpit it automation is in place to support higher priority aeronautical decision making performed by the pilots. Decisions that directly affect safety of flight. In the case of AF447, the autopilot did not aggravate the emergency. It did exactly as it was designed to do and disconnected when it was no longer receiving the air data it required to safely control the aircraft, which at the time was experiencing the severe turbulence and convective activity common in the ITCZ. The PIC and one of the SICs were sleeping and the PF was inexperienced and lacked basic airmanship skills. The guy rode the stick shaker all the way into the sea. Only in the last few thousand feet did one of the pilots try to lower the nose and break the stall. This is not a circumstance for use an autopilot. It also illustrates an unintended consequence of airport privatization, which is a phenomenally bad idea. It significantly increases the cost of pilot training, resulting in sub-standard piloting skills in everything from instrument approaches to basic stall recognition and recovery.
Do people not differentiate between a PC, a refrigerator, or even a car and an airplane? In most cases when your car, refrigerator, or your PC break down, you don’t generally die and kill the people that have I trusted their lives to you and your use of a household appliance.
The capability to make Austin, Denver, and Waterloo into day trips from D.C. already exists, you just don’t want to pay for it.
I can appreciate the pressure to publish ‘research’ in pursuit of a tenured position, but one really ought to have a better command of the subject matter than old re-runs of The Jetsons. Go out and take a flying lesson.
#2 “Why aviation innovation matters”
The author of this dopey essay is all over the place in his opinions, unhinged from technical, economic and political reality.
However, he casually stumbles somewhat upon the genuine cause of US aviation problems: “But a large percentage of the hurdles are regulatory.”
Ya Think ?
US aviation has always been the creature of massive government control, regulation, and subsidy. Politicians and bureaucrats are terrible at running an airline, running any transportation system, or managing anything else.
The author’s solution of new and better government regulation is pathetic.
“unhinged from technical, economic and political reality” – could not be better stated.
Something this insipid could only come from the Mercatus Centre.
Is this just another “progressive” attempt to eliminate individual incentives??
If you get great service, can you stop the slip of a $10?
I am pleased to know that the NYT thinks this will help servers with “more seniority”.
As a signal, this would tilt me against such a venue.
“A rational system is exactly what he was hoping for when Huertas joined several restaurants in Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group — Maialino, Marta, the Modern, North End Grill and (as of last week) Gramercy Tavern and the newly reopened Union Square Café — that have stopped accepting tips. The switch is part of an effort to bring the nation’s roughly $800 billion restaurant business, with its frequently chaotic and unprofessional practices and traditions, in line with modern workplace standards.”
What would Hayek say about the rational planner’s obsessive desire to replace “chaotic and unprofessional practices and traditions” with a “rational system”?
5. If they’re having to change their prices and overhaul the restaurants that much it shows just how much people were overpaying in tips. Otherwise they could just add a (+15%=$x.xx) to each menu item to show customers that the price is the same and the tip will automatically be included.
Yeah, but in the case they quote, $16 was changed to $21, which is a 30% raise.
Well, yeah. Little something for the owners, too.
20% plus many taxes…
#3: The study about how much Blue states subsidize red states is the repetition of a meme that has been going around at least a decade. Is it relevant? The nyt crowd is claiming red states are voting against their interested, however, the interest of red voters is to minimize outflow from their household, given the often quoted household income of 70K for republican voters, and 50k for democrat voters, it is the republican that takes the position of Connecticut, and the democrat household that of West Virginia. This is not altered by the liberal celebrities or tech billionaires, where conservatives like Clint Eastwood and Peter Thiel are few and far between. The conservative small business owners dwarf them by comparison. Unfortunately, this election cannot do much about transfers to the rich, namely retired state workers with excessive pensions where the prior governments used the funds of future governments to bribe unions for votes. At best we can pass laws limiting federal bailouts of state pension funds.
Its also tiresome to explain that Blue States are not 100% full of Blue People, but could have 45% Red People, and many of the actual tax earners could very well be Red. Meanwhile, welfare transfers in, say, Alabama, might actually go to Blue voters even if the state is 55% Red. (and in reality many people just are not political at all.)
Despite you and me being tired of repeating this, it needs to be repeated until everybody gets it. “Don’t just look at the mean or median, look at the whole distribution.”
The “no tipping” controversy reminds me of a guy who used to write for the Washington Post – Bob Levy, I think. He really liked the DC area. Anyway, for about a week or so, back in the day, he went on and on about an argument between a customer and an Italian restaurant owner about the order in which the customer wanted the risotto be served, compared to the rest of the meal. The restaurant owner insisted that the risotto came out, in the sequence of the meal, when the restaurant owner knew it had to come out, and that he was not running a public convenience for ignoramuses. The customer argued otherwise. To me, this was not a controversy. You go to an Italian restaurant, you ask – you demand – you angrily repeat your demand – for risotto in the wrong order from the rest of the meal, and you are asked to leave, you just leave. Bob Levy seemed to think there were two sides to the story – one side, the customer; the other side, the people who sacrificed so much to create a wonderful experience for people who wanted to eat good food in the Italian way. There was only one side to the story, though. Relevance: tipping is here to stay; there are not really two sides to the “can tipping be abolished” story. (Another Bob Levy classic was the week when he tried to figure out for several days if you should say something at a crosswalk when someone else repeatedly presses the “walk” button.)
“Running a public convenience for ignoramuses” is a not-so-nice way of saying “being in business.” I really appreciate my customers and they’re always right, even when they are as loopy as a loon.
‘and they’re always right’
No they aren’t – when a customer demands a 90% rebate, you most certainly do not agree and say they are right.
They aren’t right, but also not a customer.
3. Are there any good post-1865 metrics on the value of human capital transfers from higher-fertility to lower-fertility areas?
You mean Maexico and Africa to the USA and Europe? There must be.
You mean Mexico and Africa to the USA and Europe? There must be.
2. proposes self-certifying about standards for planes. That worked out actually not well for the global car industry.
Care to give some examples? The car industry is bedevilled with regulations anyway. I always laugh at the safety regulations imposed on cars when you can purchase motorbikes in the same dealership which have exactly zero air bags, seat belts and other mandatory safety provisions.
Nobody ever reads this far in a comment thread, so I will post my reactions solely for my own personal satisfaction;
1. I would guess that there are very similar phenomena in western societies, people leaving their families etc for reasons of shame, boredom wanting to start fresh etc. Maybe the reason that it is less of an issue is that the police forces etc are more diligent in finding the people concerned to ensure a criminal act has not been committed. Japanese police seem more about ensuring orderly society rather than investigating crimes.
2. One thing missed by Eli about innovation is that big jets have become very much more efficient, about 10% per decade since the 1950’s. This is a hidden innovation. And can a technology which has been growing at 5 or 6% per year for decades (global passenger numbers) really be said to be a stagnant area. Another issue is that Eli seems to think that US regulations are the reason for little progress in private planes, but the US is only one part of the world. I look at countries where regulation is almost non-existent, or not applied, and private plane use there is also low. I think this is because the benefits of private planes are falling as commercial aviation becomes more and more perversive. It’s a bit like people not driving anymore as public transport becomes better and better. I agree that drone like technologies are going to make a big difference to aviation, for instance learning to fly helicopters could be a lot easier than it is now, but the maintenance demands of such machines will remain large, and that is really the dominating cost at the moment. There just any science that will allow levitation of people without large powerful rotating machines, can do this in a solid state way. I think the real change will come with virtual reality headsets making the need to travel become irrelevant for much business purposes, at the moment the business sector provides an enormous subsidy to the commercial aviation sector. It will in the future become much more leisure focussed. Finally, Uber for planes is already a reality – if you are more than about 5 people NetJets is usually cheaper than commercial.
3. No opinion – too boring a topic.
4. Why not? Seems no sillier than any other scented product. I wonder if this is a confusion between British English and American English, in this case the product I think is for blowing the nose, not wiping the arse.
5. This is a good example of a bi-stable system. Currently the system in the US is set up for tipping, so rules of thumb for meal prices are based on this. Switching over to a new system will cost the pioneers. Interesting how minimum wage rules will affect the restaurant business, I expect that soon they will be lobbying to exempt waiters from minimum wage rules.
#1: this article initially struck me as implausible. 100K people disappearing per year for 20 years amounts to 2 million disappeared people.
But the “I’m too ashamed to go back home” attitude may be real in Japan; I’m reminded of the stories of Japanese soldiers and sailors who fought to the death during WW II, but when they did become prisoners of war they became cooperative. Because to become a prisoner was unthinkable; when they did become a prisoner they were essentially an evaporated person: their families and comrades in arms would assume that they had died in battle; they could not return home with honor; they were persona non grata back home and in terra incognita as prisoners. They were pretty much beyond life and death, and free to make their own decisions for their new half-life, half-death as prisoners of war.
The article on air flight goes on and on about making planes faster. But for the bulk of short haul flights that is irrelevant. I live and work in Boston. If I want to go to a meeting in New York I schedule 4 hours for the door to door trip. But only about 30 minutes of that is actually in the air. It takes me up to 60 minutes to go from my office to when I board an airplane. The same at the other of the the line in New York I schedule an hour to get from the plane to an office in New York. So for a 30 minute flight I spend at least 2 hours getting to and from the airport to downtown and need to build in at least a 30 minute buffer for unexpected delays or problems. If I’m going to Chicago or Washington or almost anywhere else in the Northeast I still need the 4 hours even though the time in the air may expand to 60 minutes. For the bulk of business travel it probably is not possible to significantly improve on this experience. I can actually drive from my home to New York in 4 hours. I know from experience that a trip from LA to San Fransisco is virtually the same as my trip from Boston to New York or Washington. At least In Washington I can take the subway from the airport to downtown much faster than I can get downtown in other cities. When I go to New York to see clients or on marketing trips I tend to make it a 2 day trip — one day in mid-town and one day around Wall Street — to reduce the wear and tear of trying to make the trip in one day by leaving at 4:00 or 6:00 AM and getting back around 9:00 PM or later.
The article on airline travel was a massive waste of effort to deal with what the typical business trip actually entails. Sure flying to London or across country takes a full day and maybe it could be improved, but I doubt it is worth it. I prefer to get to London or LA the day before and get a good night sleep before my meetings. The comments on flying between small cities seemed like pie-in-the-sky analysis.
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