Friday assorted links

by on January 6, 2017 at 12:48 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. What if U.S. importers and exporters are the same?

2. More on religious tolerance in Lagos: “We’re too busy trying to make money”

3. Now declassified CIA maps.

4. For the median working age male, measured median income growth since 1962 (!) is zero.  We need more economic theories where wages rise only through some consumer good innovation at the fringes.

5. Anti-surveillance clothing aims to hide wearers from facial recognition.

1 Scott Mauldin January 6, 2017 at 12:57 pm

I would imagine that the anti-surveillance clothing could be defeated by code that just tells the facial recognition software to look at the highest-up face.

2 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 1:02 pm

So then you print it on your kaffiyeh.

3 Scott Mauldin January 6, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Swapping one form of profiling for another…

4 Cliff January 7, 2017 at 12:20 am

#4 Actually it’s not zero, plus it doesn’t include benefits, plus it’s the mythical “median” so it doesn’t account for the swarms of illegals (all male) rushing into the country etc. Doesn’t include SS etc. Plus who knows what deflator they used. GIGO, give us real numbers. How about total consumption? Compensation at least?

5 chuck martel January 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm

A similar product is needed to mask the national identity card screwed to each end of an automobile from infrared cameras.

6 NatashaRostova January 6, 2017 at 3:51 pm

I don’t mean to be rude, but have you spent much time coding? Usually I find people that write stuff like “code that just tells” to misunderstand the way human cognition/learning works, and how easy/hard it is to actually code that up in formal structure. There is no ‘if face below other faces, ignore them’ function. You’re assuming because it’s easy for you to carry out that detection algorithm, it’s easy to code that into a model. That’s a broken way to understand ML.

…With that said, it does seem like a battle facial recognition software will eventually win. Unless there is some sort of arms race in sophisticated masking clothing.

7 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 4:08 pm

As someone who has studied machine learning and object recognition and image analysis and actually implemented some of these programs using actual cameras, I can say it would be trivially easy to identify which pixels in an image are “above” other pixels.
There’s already an open source face detection software out there that identifies boxes in pixel locations that the faces are located. It’s as simple as if (x < y).

8 NatashaRostova January 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm

It would certainly not be trivially easy, outside of a contrived test environment with one person at a time, in which case yeah I guess it would be easy. If you imagine the information-scape of an actual surveillance camera, with lots of people coming in and out of the camera from different levels and regions and perspectives. Not to mention as far as I’m aware, none of these models are currently trained to search for purposeful misdirection. Which can be solved, but that’s not trivial.

9 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 5:23 pm

They do the face recognition when you’re going through the metal detector at the airport, so in practice the situation really is constrained to just one person at a time. Cameras doing face recognition in crowds of randomly moving people are going to be easy to fool in lots of different ways. The algorithms aren’t THAT good.

10 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 5:27 pm

i suspect it’s something of a paranoid myth that anyone is actually doing face recognition on random crowds of people anyway. Obviously, the practical thing to do is put the camera in front of the metal detector where people are already being lined up and walked through one by one. Or a door or some similar location where you can get an isolated face-on head shot. Nobody’s going to waste money on the awesome supernatural AI that can pick a terrorist out of a crowd when they can just set up a camera facing the entrance.

11 Scott Mauldin January 6, 2017 at 6:40 pm

But if you got two cameras a slight distance apart it would also be possible to use parallax to identify distance from the camera, which would allow a process to determine which face had the right size for a certain distance and which was too small. Plus, sure it’s computationally intensive *now* to run face recognition on a jacket of 100 faces, but in 10 years?

12 carlospln January 6, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Who needs face recognition?

Gait analysis is more accurate, with a lower rate of ‘false positives’.

13 Scott Mauldin January 6, 2017 at 6:36 pm

I’m not a professional programmer but I have done a fair amount of coding, and as Hazel Meade said it does seem like it would not be difficult to simply assign an x,y grid to the entire field of view and determine which face, or cluster of faces, has the largest vertical y value. And if more than a certain number of faces are present within a cluster of a certain size, disregard them. Now if people also got hats, sunglasses etc, or printed faces on their jackets combined with the hairstyles mentioned in the article to de-face a face, that could defeat a simple algorithm but in any case it’s an arms race.

14 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 8:33 pm

So in a busy room, everyone who plans to do bad stuff will be safer the closer they are to the camera?

15 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 8:34 pm

I’m more worried about the pervasive surveillance, in fact, than random trouble makers spoiling something.

16 prior_test2 January 6, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Of course a company like ExxonMobil is both an importer and exporter – why, apart from the fact that the U.S. remains a net crude oil importer ( https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=WCRIMUS2&f=W ), obviously there is no distinction to be made, right?

17 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 1:04 pm

What you you think would happen to the cost of US exports if we imposed a tarriff on foreign oil?

18 John January 6, 2017 at 1:12 pm

How much did the costs drop between the oil high and now?

19 Lord Action January 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Hazel, it’s just a VAT. But we have to remember not to say VAT, because Europe. It’s more export neutral than what we currently have. Tariff talk is just propaganda.

With respect to oil, one of the big issues is that the US produces relatively easy to refine crude suitable for products like gasoline, but has sophisticated refineries that specialize in heavy crude and produce relatively more chemical feedstock. It’s part of the reason for lots of exporting and lots of importing at the same time. So the proposed changes in corporate tax law will have unclear implications longer term.

20 Joan January 6, 2017 at 3:34 pm

A tax on domistic consumption of foreign produced goods that is not applied to domestic production is a tariff, not a VAT.

21 Lord Action January 6, 2017 at 3:39 pm

The border adjustment is exactly the same thing VAT economies do. It’s not a tariff. It’s ending the preferential treatment of imports. Just don’t say VAT, ’cause you’ll sabotage the whole thing.

http://www.taxanalysts.org/tax-analysts-blog/diagnosis-trump-suffers-vat-envy/2016/12/21/195166
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-20/why-trumps-border-tax-proposal-most-important-thing-nobody-talking-about
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/21/tax-changes-taxing-imports-plan-has-chance-of-passing.html

22 Lord Action January 6, 2017 at 3:46 pm

But I’ll say it.

The American corporate tax system with its absurdly high rate and invasive rules is a bad, bad thing and it needs to go. It promotes all sort of weird behavior like economically irrational offshoring, tax inversions, and unrepatriated profits. It is the way it is because generations of American politicians have wanted control more than they wanted revenue and GDP.

A pure VAT would be better, and this proposal is a major step in that direction.

23 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Why are Republicans suddenly the party of imposing taxes on everything in order to encourage supposedly desired economic behavior?

I know, this is all part of the secret master plan to get us back to limited government. Well impose all these tarriffs so that working class white guys can make more money and then, when we have them fooled, we pull a giant switcheroo and cut all the entitlement programs and welfare. This is gonna work great.

24 Lord Action January 6, 2017 at 4:24 pm

“Why are Republicans suddenly the party of imposing taxes on everything in order to encourage supposedly desired economic behavior?”

What’s your question? Why are they lowering taxes in a way that removes perverse incentives?

This is analogous to making the income tax flatter while lowering the rate.

25 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 5:30 pm

How is imposing a tax on imported goods, but not domestic goods, making taxes “flatter” ?

26 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Hazel – in wondering why some Republicans can be expected to support such a policy for self-interested reasons, consider that a shift to VAT is assumed to be associated with major reductions in corporate and personal income tax. Billionaires don’t consume a lot, so even if things end up neutral from the business perspective, they probably end up with lower taxation.

The idea can mainly be defended in terms of the effect on incentives. VAT disincentivizes consumption and thus increases investment, whereas an income tax disincentizes effort and innovation.

This links into your most recent point/question, which was a matter of debate in Canada some years ago when cutting the VAT was billed as a growth-oriented tax cut (a few worse options exist, such as cutting tobacco taxes).

I think the point is that imports face a net tax of just a sales tax whereas domestic products face both the sales tax and whatever profits on their production. Shifting more towards VAT (maybe a bad move in countries where it would be better for the government to have a stake in human resource development to provide a basis of income taxation) should then balance this out in a way that reduces exposure to tax havens or low-tax competitors who tend to operate on the margins, as well as constituting a net relative competitive improvement.

Since it is normal for a VAT to be tax deductible, the question of taxing consumed foreign imports but not taxing imports used as production intermediates then involves reference to the status quo rather than some obvious scheme to get an import tax in under the table.

In the short term, it might be a little bit like that (kind of like a scheme to have an import tax).

But, a new equilibrium after rival and/or partner countries adjust, and which involved more VAT and less income taxation across many jurisdictions, might not be a bad thing. Stalin drove everything into production potential and squeezed peasants literally to death in the process. Here, we’re talking about reform to a tax code which incentivizes effort and innovation while adding costs to consumption (which anyways, should be more affordable due to the first part, because, competition and markets). The logic cannot be taken too far, but from the present situation, there are very good reasons to support such a policy, in particular if it can be sold in a way that does not create animosity with trading partners.

27 Ricardo January 6, 2017 at 11:41 pm

Europe has VAT, most U.S. states have a sales tax. America’s “border adjustment” happens when imported goods get sold in retail stores. Imposing a seperate tax at the border and saying it is comparable to what Europe does is simply wrong.

28 Ricardo January 7, 2017 at 3:08 am

“I think the point is that imports face a net tax of just a sales tax whereas domestic products face both the sales tax and whatever profits on their production.”

This is the norm almost everywhere, though. If people want to argue that corporate taxes are too high, too complex, or provide perverse incentives, then they should go ahead and make that argument while also providing a reform plan. If people want a national VAT for the U.S., that’s fine, too, but it is a completely separate issue. Most countries have both a VAT and a tax on corporate income, as it turns out.

29 Scott Mauldin January 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm

You mean like the massive amount of gasoline that we export that is refined from foreign oil?

30 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 2:36 pm

I’m thinking about about the general effect on costs due to higher prices. Oil prices flow down into the cost of producing many goods. Oil is an input for gasoline, but also plastics, and gasoline and diesel are transportation costs, which flow into manufacturing and exporting as well.

31 Lord Action January 6, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Long term, it should improve things. The system is the way it is partially in response to a tax system that rewards importing and discourages exporting. Removing that bias will get things closer to whatever their efficient state should be.

In the short term though, it’s likely to be disruptive, especially for an industry like oil with big capital projects that take a long time to implement.

32 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 4:15 pm

How would it do that?
Lets try another example.

Let’s say the US imposed a massive import tariff on imports on aluminum. What effect on industries that export aluminum-based products do you think that would have? How long would it take domestic aluminum production to ramp up? Would domestic aluminum ever be competitive compared the aluminum sold in global markets? What sort of disadvantage would that impose on US companies consuming aluminum to make products for export?

33 Lord Action January 6, 2017 at 4:26 pm

It’s like we live in a system with a big tariff on exports and a subsidy for imports and we’re getting rid of those.

You’d expect us to move towards whatever mix is more economically efficient.

People don’t move IP overseas because that’s more efficient, they do it to get profit out of the ridiculous US corporate tax system.

34 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 5:33 pm

How about we just lower the corporate tax rate, instead of attempting to work around it by imposing a bunch of import tarriffs that are conveniently designed to benefit working class white guys even though that’s not what we really give a shit about is it?

35 Just Another MR Commentor January 6, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Look Trump won get over it

36 Hazel Meade January 8, 2017 at 11:27 am

What bothers me is not that Trump won but that whole bunch of people who claim to believe in small government have just decided to reverse their positions on a bunch of issues like free trade just because they align with Trump’s beliefs and they momentarily appear to align with the interests of white males.

it seems liberty cannot be compromised, right up until the moment that someone else’s liberty inconveniences a straight white male and then there are all sorts of excuses found why that person’s liberty must be sacrificed for the common good.

37 Jeff R January 6, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Re: #1, George Costanza was on this one a long time ago:

ELAINE: (incredulity) Art Vandelay? This is my boyfriend?

GEORGE: That’s your boyfriend.

ELAINE: What does he do?

GEORGE: He’s an importer.

ELAINE: Just imports? No exports?

GEORGE: (getting irritated) He’s an importer-exporter. Okay?

ELAINE: Okay. So, I’m dating Art Vandelay. What is the problem we’re discussing?

GEORGE: (thoughtful) Yes. Yes.

ELAINE: Ah! How ’bout this? How about, he’s thinking of quitting the exporting, and just focusing in on the importing. And this is causing a problem, because, why not do both?

38 Sisyphus January 6, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Re #4: It would seem to me that inflation-adjusted wage growth should be zero, being that wages are the dominant determinant of inflation. In other words, median wage growth should be equal to inflation, barring short-term fluctuations – and if it isn’t then the measure of inflation would be most likely suspect.

39 John January 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm

So the thinking is that workers never actually improve their productivity? (If one buys into the tight labor productivity value approach to wages).

40 Thomas January 6, 2017 at 10:14 pm

Why should they? We have quartets and million dollar machines. Growth can only come from productivity increases and those increases are going either to the capitalist buying machines or the quartet earning inflation neutral cost disease wages. It’s a sad tale for young men like myself but the solution is accruing capital and human capital.

41 chuck martel January 6, 2017 at 1:42 pm

” wages are the dominant determinant of inflation.”

That’s a myth.

42 Sisyphus January 6, 2017 at 2:01 pm

I would argue that gains from productivity are the real myth, at least as they accrue to labor. Consider this scenario: 100 workers become 10% more productive. As a result, 10 of them are laid off, because now 90 workers produce the same output as before. The median wage remains the same. Alternatively, the company continues to employ the 100 workers and raises prices 10% – the result is 10% inflation (in microcosm), which nullifies the workers’ raise in terms of buying power. QED, median wage gains equal inflation.

43 Sisyphus January 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Obviously, when I speak of labor cost being the primary driver of inflation, I am speaking about endogenous drivers only and I am ignoring monetary policy and other exogenous drivers.

44 Brian Donohue January 6, 2017 at 3:36 pm

“The median wage remains the same.”

There’s your mistake.

45 Sisyphus January 6, 2017 at 3:39 pm

Explain, please

46 Brian Donohue January 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

It goes up.

47 Sisyphus January 6, 2017 at 4:33 pm

No, in fact it remains the same, while the average goes down. Here is the math.

Let there be 100 workers, each making $10,000 per year. Median wage is $10,000. Total wages are $1,000,000.

Now, we give 90 workers a 10% raise and lay off 10 workers. Total wages are 90x$11,000 = $990,000. To get the average, divide by 100 workers (there are still 100 workers, only 10 of them are now unemployed and making $0) = $9,900. To get the medium, plug into Excel and get, drum roll, $10,000. QED.

48 msgkings January 6, 2017 at 4:35 pm

@Sisyphus: because those 10 laid off workers mostly get rehired elsewhere and earn wages that count towards the aggregate.

49 Sisyphus January 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm

@msgkings: The example is ceteris paribus. For the workers to get other jobs you have to assume exogenous economic growth.

50 Brian Donohue January 6, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Also, you evidently don’t know what median means.

51 msgkings January 6, 2017 at 4:46 pm

No you just have to assume an economy of many firms not just your one.

52 Sisyphus January 6, 2017 at 4:48 pm

@Brian Donohue – if you know what the median is better than I do then please do the math. And show your work.

53 Sisyphus January 6, 2017 at 4:51 pm

@msgkings – actually, the number of firms doesn’t not matter. For the laid off workers to be rehired, you have to assume rising aggregate demand, which is exogenous to the model. In the presence of rinsing demand the workers would be rehired at higher pay, which would be offset by higher prices, causing more inflation and keeping the these workers’ inflation-adjsuted wage unchanged, as in my other example.

54 Steve J January 6, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Sisyphus please respond with the definition of median. Then explain to me why in your example the new median is not $11,000.

55 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 6, 2017 at 6:41 pm

You can construct a model that doesn’t allow for income growth and then argue income growth is impossible but your model doesn’t represent the real macroeconomy.

56 Sisyphus January 6, 2017 at 7:07 pm

@Steve J – The median remains the same because you have to count all 100 workers in the sample, including the 10 who now have $0 income.

@King of the Komments – I have demonstrated that in the absence of exogenous stimuli, wage growth (as distinct from income growth) will equal inflation regardless of gains in productivity. Please show me where I am mistaken.

57 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 6, 2017 at 7:39 pm

“Re #4: It would seem to me that inflation-adjusted wage growth should be zero, being that wages are the dominant determinant of inflation.”

But you haven’t shown why anyone would expect inflation-adjusted wage growth should be zero in the real macro-economy you just showed that you should expect it to be zero in your contrived model of a single firm and only model first order, non-aggregate effects. This doesn’t tell me anything useful. Thanks for addressing me by my real title though.

58 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 6, 2017 at 7:50 pm

What is your differentiation of wage and income for workers?

59 Steve J January 6, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Sisyphus… I am not sure how to respond. It seems like you must be trolling but I will continue on the small chance you are just being slow. Instead of 100 workers just do 10. Enter 9 “11000”s and one “0” here:

http://www.calculatorsoup.com/calculators/statistics/mean-median-mode.php

Then hit calculate. You can be happy you learned something or happy that you wasted my time.

60 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 6, 2017 at 7:54 pm

He’s just trying to gaslight people

61 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 9:10 pm

The 90 workers can hire the other 10 workers to do their laundry, their lawn, etc., and have more time to focus on what they’re good at.

Then, you have the equivalent production of 105 people. Maybe the 10 originally laid off workers even end up with more money, more free time, etc.

62 Thomas January 6, 2017 at 11:42 pm

Consider this scenario: productivity across all labor increases 10%, all people are 10% richer; the amount of goods and services produced is 10% greater. As a result we unemploy 10% of labor and all become poorer. Does this make sense to you?

Wages haven’t tracked productivity gains because productivity gains have been nearly exclusively fueled by capital. The idea that a janitor pushing a broom today deserves more than a janitor pushing a broom 20 years ago, solely because the broom the modern generator using is slightly more efficient and more expensive, is somehow unjust toward the janitor of the past. It is similar to the argument made in trumponomics wherein the American worker deserves more than his Mexican or Asian counterpart.

63 Troll me January 7, 2017 at 5:14 am

Why should employers enjoy the entire gain of technological advancement?

Most of the time they just sit tight and wait for first movers to do all the spending, and then buy whatever works once its a proven quantity at a low price.

It’s not like the people who employ janitors are in any particular way more deserving of the gains than the janitor.

Say, when some mere hundreds or thousands of high end niche cafes spend tens of thousands a piece on some special equipment, creating a marketplace, and then competitors come along and buy the same equipment at a thousand a piece some years later, but charge the same for coffee. Does that person who buys the thousand dollar option after the market is proven and equipment cheap and easy to find – do they deserve a premium that should not be “shared” with a janitor?

This is among several arguments in favour of increasing the minimum wage over time, which itself should contribute to demand for labour savings technological advancements.

64 Thomas January 7, 2017 at 9:37 pm

The employer doesn’t receive the entire gain of technological advancement, the purchaser of the advancement does. I am quite familiar with the field of construction and I can assure you that subcontractors with their own tools capture the productivity gains of technological advancements. Of course, the difference between an employee and a business owner is nothing more than the capital investment.

Let me turn your argument on it’s head. This very day, I, a programming novice, can stand upon the shoulders of giants and use highly abstracted languages to produce – with my 2 semester background in Java – a great deal more productivity per hour than the genius computer scientists of 75 years ago. Similarly, I can click a button in a GUI that instructs a machine to perform 1 million man hours of labor per hour. In what way do I deserve even equal pay to the genius or the million men automated by my button click (helped slightly by the 10 figure robotic factory and 8 figure software)?

65 Sisyphus January 7, 2017 at 12:49 pm

@Steve J – Before you resort to ad-hominem, you really should check your calculations. You forgot to include the 1 worker who is now making $0. Now do the calculation again and see what the result is.

66 JFA January 6, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Is this why we haven’t seen living standards increase over, say, the last 500 years.

67 JFA January 6, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Is this why we haven’t seen living standards increase over, say, the last 500 years?

68 Sisyphus January 6, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Living standards and wages are not the same, and it is important to distinguish relative living standard changes from absolute ones. For instance, in the 1950s, a professional white male was able to support a family of 3 as a sole breadwinner, own a house and empty a full-time domestic servant – all solely on his salary. Today, it would take both parents working to be able to support such a a family, and full-time maids have become a thing of the past for middle-income households. At the same time, a modern family would be likely to own two or more cars vs. one in the 1950s, which would be much safer and more comfortable, have a much broader range of entertainment options, and likely would receive better healthcare. On the flip side, they would be working over 80 hours per week between the two of them vs. around 40 for the 1950s professional. Have their livings standards gone up? It would seem to be dependent on the metric.

69 JFA January 6, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Actually, real income is a relatively good metric for living standards (real wages are a measure of one’s command over goods and services, so if your real wage goes down, you have less command over goods and services, generally leading to a decreased standard of living), and if real income is not a measure of standard living, then why do we care so much about it. If wages are the driving factor in inflation (they’re not) (which would mean that increases in wages only just compensate for increases in prices) and if productivity increases only lead to firms laying off workers while keeping other workers at the same salary (it doesn’t), then I don’t see how you could come to any other conclusion that living standards can’t rise.

70 Sisyphus January 6, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Living standards rise when we experience localized price deflation, which happens as a result of technological advancement. For example, food costs are a much smaller portion of a median family’s budget than they were 50 or 100 years ago. For instance, cars cost much less today, in inflation-adjusted terms, than they did in 1950 as are computers than they did in 1980. This improves purchasing power for items that deflate with technological change. However, these gains are offset at the median by items that do not deflate, such as services (witness healthcare) and rent.

71 Thiago Ribeiro January 6, 2017 at 1:02 pm

#2 According to the new directives president Temer issued in his history-making visit to the Northeast region, to make money is awesome. He, himself, became rich through his legal works and teaching Law. The Brazilian Constitution itself makes clear profit is good as long as it fulfills its social role.

72 Every non-Brazilian on Earth January 6, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Nobody cares

73 Thiago Ribeiro January 6, 2017 at 1:25 pm

I see, you care about Nigeria only. Maybe when the next World War comes, you should ask Nigeria’s military bases to serve as the “Trampoline to Africa”. Oh, you can’t because Nigeria actually happens to be in Africa.

74 Mine Is the Only Prosperous National Tribe January 6, 2017 at 1:27 pm

This guy who calls himself Every non-Brazilian probably doesn’t care about Nigeria either. He seems to have his head firmly planted up another part of his anatomy, and that is his focus.

75 Thiago Ribeiro January 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm

But in this case, how can he see? Eyes are terrible things to waste.

76 Mine Is the Only Prosperous National Tribe January 6, 2017 at 1:26 pm

I’m not Brazilian and I care. I like to have some diversity on the board. Why be narrow when you can have different views from different places in the world?

77 JWatts January 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm

“Why be narrow when you can have different views from different places in the world?”

This comment written by a poster named Mine Is the Only Prosperous National Tribe is just freaking hilarious.

78 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 9:17 pm

People like you are the reason that many people will not go to Cuba now that the American government no longer bans direct travel to there.

79 Mine Is the Only Prosperous National Tribe January 6, 2017 at 1:24 pm

As I mentioned on the previous thread about Lagos, people need common goals to cooperate on. Making money will do. And they need to be educated or somehow expected to get along– rather than being expected or educated or propagandized to hate groups other than their own.

Unfortunately, in the U.S., elections can be won through Divide and Conquer programs. So people are constantly propagandized to bash and hate liberals and various minority groups. And terrorism and immigration have been made into hot button political issues. So Muslims and people of Mexican descent sometimes end up being pawns used by politicians to get the fear/anger/hate/rage vote. Propaganda has at least as much effect on the emotions as on beliefs or attitudes. If you want to control someone, terrifying and/or enraging them will do just fine. And the groups that the propagandist causes people become afraid of or enraged at, end up suffering from discrimination, intolerance and possibly even hate crimes.

Giving people scapegoats for their frustrations can win elections handily. Voters lap that up. But it has an awful effect on the level of racial and religious tolerance within a society.

80 Thiago Ribeiro January 6, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Yes, the desgregation of the Americqn regime is truly sad.

81 Jeff R January 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Get rid of the Muslims and the Mexicans and then they can’t be used as props for political propaganda. Problem solved.

82 Thiago Ribeiro January 6, 2017 at 5:04 pm

A German politician once had an analogous solution for the problem of Antisemite demagogues trying to use the Jews as a tool to gain power. Maybe this is what Americais fated to become: a (hopefully) milder III Reich…

83 pyroseed13 January 6, 2017 at 1:02 pm

On #4:
1. What measure of inflation is being used here? My understanding is that these trends are highly sensitive to the deflator used.
2. I believe Mercatus put on a paper recently showing that much of this increase inequality can be attributed to the rising cost of health care. How much of that is a factor here?

84 EverExtruder January 6, 2017 at 1:07 pm

#1 I’ve been in international trade directly for 20+ years. One of my businesses is an export consulting operation that assists SMEs with international ITAR/BIS compliance, legal, accounts receivable insurance, and marketing. Several of my clients have to deal with dreaded federal and state “51% content” rules. If you’re not familiar this is a requirement that mandates 51% value derived content to come either from the state of origin or the USA (federal level). You would not believe how difficult in this day in age that is to quantify if not all out impossible. In doing deeper dives on this subject I’ve come to conclusion that the “made in wherever” stamp on products is virtually useless in assessing its true origin. In some cases, the company overhead, IP, marketing budget and even real-estate costs are used to make this 51% determination on a product that was essentially mfg in China or Mexico. On a practical level, there really is no distinction anymore, not even for small companies. A new way of determining value origin is needed.

#4 The average American worker has not received a raise in over 30 years. Full stop.

85 Mine Is the Only Prosperous National Tribe January 6, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Thanks for your input from where the rubber hits the road, in the field of international trade, EverExtruder.

“The average American worker has not received a raise in over 30 years.”

Well, you can see why so many people voted for “change.” Not that the person they voted for is likely to bring any change, in any constructive way. But change he will bring, for sure. I think many will regret that they did not look more closely at exactly whom they were voting for.

86 Jan January 6, 2017 at 7:38 pm

Well today Trump said that the US, not Mexico, is probably paying for the wall. Can you believe that shit?

87 Thomas January 7, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Trump is a fool; all Mexican citizens should be free to enter this country, receive medicaid, housing, ebt, tanf, ssdi, childcare assistance, birthright citizenship for children and anchor privilege, the right to vote for Democrats, and remit most of their money back to Mexico (the fees should be subsidized by the federal government), where it will be used to buy Carlos Slim (savior from bankruptcy – NYC) products in Mexico. Anything you disagree with here?

88 JFA January 6, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Yeah. I know. If you had to choose whether to live in 1962 or today, it’s like a total toss up, am I right?

89 Keith January 6, 2017 at 5:22 pm

In 1962 I could see the Beatles in concert, tour Venice without crazy crowds, and eaten the fish I caught.

90 Larry Siegel January 6, 2017 at 11:04 pm

But not drink the water, breathe the air, watch more than 3 channels on TV, fly almost anywhere for dirt cheap, cure some types of cancer, or post comments on the Web. But my wife wouldn’t have to work! Oops, she doesn’t. Also, I can afford a maid – I just don’t want one. I’ll take 2017, although 1962 was pretty nice actually; how about 1862? 1362?

91 Keith January 7, 2017 at 10:09 am

I get your point but do you get mine? In some places the air was better in 1962, most people can’t afford maids now, some forms of cancer are curable now but in 1962 you didn’t have to worry about HIV etc.

Is life better now? It depends and you can play this game going back to Roman times. Seneca the Roman philosopher lived to be about 70, traveled extensively, lived in a great city, breathed clean air, ate pesticide-free food, drank great wine etc. Yes he couldn’t comment on a blog though.

92 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Right, like in a manufactured product, do you mean the final assembly, or the components? Lots of electronics are assembled in the US or Mexico from parts made in east asia. Or you could have really complex situations like plastic molds made in China, PCBs made in Malaysia, chips from Taiwan, final assembly in Mexico, engineering design and software developed in the US.

93 EverExtruder January 6, 2017 at 3:09 pm

Both actually. I’ve noodled with this for quite some time. I guess what I’m driving at is a new way for states, chambers of commerce, and economist to derive the true “value added activity” and impact as a margin over and above the cost outlay for components, molds, raw materials etc. I have yet in 20+ years of international export consulting to actually come across a single company that was exporting (in the Midwest mind you) that was 100% made in the USA. Interestingly enough I have found 100% made in USA that were NOT exporting (this one has kept me scratching my head…).

From my perspective on the ground working directly there is no distinction. Large and small exporters are importers. The biggest problem with my “value added activity” model measurement is how closely that is tied to company and corporate sourcing costs, pricing, mark-up, sales channels and also salaries for principals. This information is some of the most closely guarded information within a company structure and is essential for determining the real “value added” in turning something like iPhone components into a functioning iPhone for example. How do you determine the value added by your CTO? How do you determine the value of your chief salesman’s sales channels and relationships? What is the true value of your IP…but more importantly how irreplaceable or damaging is it if were to be stolen or copied? What is the value of your brand?

I have worked with companies that had the product entirely produced and assembled in Canada and Mexico for which their only value-added activity was packaging and brand ownership which resulted in a 300% mark-up to customers in East Asia. I’m not kidding. I know where that extra “value” came from, but I can’t prove it, and certainly can’t ask it…

94 Hazel Meade January 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Yeah, good point. The “value added” concept is especially squishy if you recognize value as subjective. What is being added by branding?
And doesn’t this kind of penalize efficiency improvements? What if you got a good deal on your inputs – is that value added? Any time you source a cheaper part, you’re going to get taxed on the fact that you made an efficiency improvement, because you just added more value.

95 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 9:27 pm

I think a lot of trade-oriented analysis in economics has adopted the value added orientation alongside expansion of value chains analysis as a part of value creation in marketing facilitation. At least in cases where it’s relevant. Which is much different than such throwing some algorithm process at masses of trade data and seeing if any trends are spit out.

96 EverExtruder January 6, 2017 at 3:14 pm

“…was packaging and brand ownership …”

To clarify this was the activity that US company is undertaking, not the foreign firm.

97 John January 6, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Haven’t the Japanese pretty much solved that problem already — wear a hat, sunglasses and a mask to keep you germ free.

98 carlospln January 6, 2017 at 2:44 pm

You are immersed in microbes.

Take the Ray Bans off.

99 Bob January 6, 2017 at 1:13 pm

The real basis for the stagnation of male median income growth is “the demographic transition.”

Governments of populations in decline can invert “the demographic transition” by inverting the “empowerment of women” (aka the disempowerment of men upon which Islamists prey) upon which the demographic transition depends*. This can be done in a way that simultaneously deals with the artificial intelligence displacement of all jobs (particularly white collar jobs) by the simple expedient of replacing all social programs with a citizen’s dividend paid out only to able bodied men starting with draft-age men upon graduation from secondary education. This puts young men in a position to support a family immediately upon high school graduation — which is the strongest predictor of conservative aka “family” values and voting patterns. Of course, doing this kind of thing in a homogeneous culture like Japan, is far more feasible than in a country like the US where free-riding would force devolution of Federal powers to the States in response.

*The demographic transition reduces birth rates by out-bidding the family for young women. This, in turn, removes from the next generation the very characteristics demanded by the economy. Young men receiving the citizen’s dividend plus their job income would be in a far better position to “bid against the economy” for the fertile years of those young women. Of course, a big problem remains with “the economy” which is the tax base leaves economic rent in place while punishing economic activity — and that creates an anti-competitive private sector prone to diverting potential profit into acquiring middle management harems of young women (until they age out of sexual demand at which point they’re “downsized”).

100 Have you tried... January 6, 2017 at 1:36 pm

….meeting girls at church? They aren’t all gold diggers you know.

101 Heorogar January 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Nobody listens! Find a rich woman whose father owns a liquor store or saloon.

102 Lord Action January 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm

“Brewery heiress or similar.”

103 chuck martel January 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Mrs. John McCain

104 msgkings January 6, 2017 at 2:02 pm

If she’s rich why do you need to buy booze from her dad?

105 Mungo Jerry January 6, 2017 at 3:57 pm

If her daddy’s poor, just do what you feel

106 Jeff R January 6, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Mungo, is that year ’round, or does that advice only hold in the summertime, when the weather’s fine?

107 4ChanMan January 6, 2017 at 8:08 pm

What’s the difference you guys are all cucks anyway

108 Jan January 6, 2017 at 7:41 pm

I’m tired of dating immigrants.

109 Thiago Ribeiro January 6, 2017 at 2:13 pm

I wouldn’t work by the very nature of the American regime. Women vs men, Black against White, gays against straight, Catholics against protestants, theists against non–theists, Mexicans aginst Trumpists, Jews against a lot of people. The American regime is based on hatred against fellow human being.

Also, people don’t change for better just because they got free money – specially thanks to their sexual organs. Neither people also change for better by marring these people. American men already complain loudly tnat women are taking everything in the settlements. Will they have right to half of the money if the marriage ends? Igpf the answer is yes, it won’t solve the real problem: Americans seem to hate one another and themselves. If they won’t get the money, then they are at the mercy of lower class trust fund-like boys. No woman who has a shot at a decent future would acept such conditions. The effect coukd be described as dysgenic (by those of you who think genetics have a big say on one’s life station) or simply nightmarish. And it is surely sad to think about marriage as an auction.

The American regime itself must to be changed. Unless it changes in a radical way, the American Empire is headed to the ash heap of History.

110 Christiano Ronaldo January 6, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Por que você está tão sozinho? Outros brasileiros o acham tedioso e insano?

111 Thiago Ribeiro January 6, 2017 at 3:13 pm

No, they find me charming and awesome.

112 Anderse January 6, 2017 at 6:42 pm

“Jews against a lot of people.”

We all slip up eventually.

113 Thiago Ribeiro January 7, 2017 at 4:27 am

Do you deny the Jews are widely hated in the so-called America?

114 Jason Bayz January 6, 2017 at 6:14 pm

What does the demographic transition have to do with stagnating male wages? If anything, it should have a positive effect, all those retirees aren’t competing with the working age male.

115 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Empowering women does not make you less powerful. Unless you get your esteem from dominating those you deem to be your inferior.

116 collin January 6, 2017 at 1:13 pm

4. If there is anything I wish people would understand is the 1950s economy had extremely slow job growth and in fact Obama job growth increase, despite Great Recession and falling in public (state) payrolls, had higher job growth (1.13%) than Dwight Eisenhower (1.11%). (Actually this was mostly labor supply was flat in the 1950s.) And additionally, I wish people knew how much real wages really did decrease during the Reagan Revolution (1981 – 1992) where most of the male wages decreased the last 40 years.

It does seem obvious the women in the work force with high labor participation is the primary reason here and probably did a lot to improve job productivity the last 40 years.

117 pyroseed13 January 6, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Even taking the graph at face value, there’s no evidence that real wages for men fell during the Reagan years. The largest drops were during the stagflation period of the late-70s and the Great Recession. At best you could say they increased very slightly during the Reagan boom.

118 JWatts January 6, 2017 at 2:09 pm

” I wish people knew how much real wages really did decrease during the Reagan Revolution (1981 – 1992) ”

That’s not true. Even a casual perusal of the graph at the link indicates that the “working age adults” wages climbed from roughly 22K to 25K during that period.

https://twitter.com/gabriel_zucman/status/806599154357194758

119 Jan January 6, 2017 at 7:51 pm

You’re reading it incorrectly. They very clearly declined.

120 Larry Siegel January 8, 2017 at 12:18 am

Jan, if you think real wages declined during 1981-1992, please cite some evidence. The Gabriel Zucman graph very clearly shows that they increased.

121 Ron January 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm

But Germany, Japan and others had better job growth than the US since 2008. http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/United-States-2016-overview.pdf Does that mean the Obama administration did a bad job?

122 gab January 6, 2017 at 6:32 pm

I don’t see that in the series of graphs.

123 gab January 6, 2017 at 6:40 pm

in fact, Jason Furman (CEAChair) tweets:
Since 2010, the United States has put more people back to work than all the other G-7 economies combined.

124 Thiago Ribeiro January 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm

” If there is anything I wish people would understand is the 1950s economy had extremely slow job growth and in fact Obama job growth increase, despite Great Recession and falling in public (state) payrolls, had higher job growth (1.13%) than Dwight Eisenhower (1.11%). ”

I like Ike, though.

125 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 9:31 pm

Wages tend to grow during growth periods.

What’s that got to do with Reagan?

126 Scoop January 6, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Tyler needs to link to something that explains the proliferation of self driving cars.

How is it that more than a dozen companies now seem to be in the race to market?

What was the point of Google spending a decade and hundreds of millions (billions?) of dollars if that provided no significant head start?

How can a non technology company like Uber be in the race? Is it now so easy that it requires a few sensors, a few chips and a dozen coders?

127 chuck martel January 6, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Over 2500 US automobile manufacturers have gone out of business since the adoption of the automobile. When snowmobiles came onto the market there were many brands. Now there are only a few.

128 Lord Action January 6, 2017 at 1:45 pm

“How is it that more than a dozen companies now seem to be in the race to market?”

It appears to be easier than people thought it would be.

“What was the point of Google spending a decade and hundreds of millions (billions?) of dollars if that provided no significant head start?”

Prior to the arrival of their new CFO, Google spent a lot on moonshots that didn’t make much sense.

“How can a non technology company like Uber be in the race?”

Uber basically bought the technology from universities:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/is-uber-a-friend-or-foe-of-carnegie-mellon-in-robotics-1433084582

129 mpowell January 6, 2017 at 3:29 pm

I think it is more that neural networks made great progress in the last few years and, as is usually the case, the benefits will accrue to everyone much more than the inventors. So now self-driving cars will be ‘easy’. 10 years ago it was impossible.

130 Lord Action January 6, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Do any of the self-driving cars use neural networks?

http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/embedded-systems/bringing-big-neural-networks-to-selfdriving-cars-smartphones-and-drones

I’m not sure it’s any one thing that’s enabled this. Of course, the inexorable rise in computing power and sophistication of software helps. But I’m not at all sure this couldn’t have occurred in, say, 1995. Albeit, perhaps, at greater cost.

But I’m not an insider and I don’t make that statement with confidence.

131 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 9:45 pm

I don’t see why neural networks should be that useful. Then again, I don’t really understand what they are yet.

Seems kind of like network analysis with an optimization routine. Is it really innovative, or is it just being applied differently?

132 Alain January 7, 2017 at 10:00 am

Of course they do, for some functions. It’s not overly difficult to ponder which portions would be trained.

133 Alain January 7, 2017 at 10:16 am

One fun fact about your comment :

” I’m not at all sure this couldn’t have occurred in, say, 1995. Albeit, perhaps, at greater cost.”

The processor within the current model Tesla can perform more FLOPS than the top supercomputer in 1995 (actually if you go by the spec sheets, about ~10x more). Moore’s law is absurd, and GPGPU is also absurd.

134 Alain January 7, 2017 at 10:07 am

Google made exactly the right bet. This is a market of absurd proportions, everyone knows this and many companies are joining onto the bandwagon.

135 Bruce Cleaver January 6, 2017 at 1:39 pm

#4 I’ll notice that the magic year of 1973 shows up once more as the first sharp decline for men after 1962 (The Great Stagnation, etc. seems to start about then).

136 collin January 6, 2017 at 4:46 pm

Yes 1973 was the magic year as in 1974:

1) Oil embargo! Commodity prices started fueling 1970s inflation.
2) Japanese manufacturing really started outpacing US manufacuring.
3) Vietnam war slowdown.
4) Although it started earlier, job growth was still high with Baby Boomers starting work.

I have simplified the whole 1974 – 1982 a long recessionary period in the US economy much like the 2008 – 2015 Great Recession.

137 John January 6, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Tyler, could you post the links within Twitter? I like to check the daily links during my lunch break, but can’t access Twitter at work. Also, I work in a cell phone dead zone so I can’t just pull it up on my phone.

138 Just Another MR Commentor January 6, 2017 at 8:55 pm

Time to get a new job

139 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 9:50 pm

Is the “cell phone dead zone” a technological solution or a rule that you can’t use your phone in there?

140 Slocum January 6, 2017 at 2:23 pm

I wish I could take all the people who think incomes and living standards haven’t improved dramatically and send them back to 1962 to live for a year.

141 Urso January 6, 2017 at 2:37 pm

The thing is, whoever decided that “living standards” meant “quantity/quality of material goods” was wrong.

142 msgkings January 6, 2017 at 2:44 pm

What about life expectancy, diversity of food choices, affordability of travel, quantity/quality of communication and entertainment, and so on?

143 anon January 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

If you knew in 1962 to eat the bluefin tuna raw .. what a deal.

144 Urso January 6, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Life expectancy, fine, although that’s a better argument if you’re comparing to the pre-vaccination, pre-antibiotic era. But the rest are only relevant if they have made people happier. They *provably* have not and do not because of the hedonic treadmill. The idea that “diversity of food options” is a meaningful driver of human happiness is completely absurd. It’s not like people in the ’60s were eating gruel 3x a day.

145 msgkings January 6, 2017 at 4:27 pm

No doubt, I don’t think people are generally happier now than in 1962 or 1902 or even 1802, because your happiness is based on the world you know. People lived the lives they were given, and were happy or unhappy relative to their surroundings. Just as people in most (not all) Third World countries report themselves as happy or even more so than First Worlders.

By the same token, people are no LESS happy than they were in the past either, for the same reasons.

So if happiness is roughly unchanged, and it is, what’s wrong with the benefits of modernity? We can cherry-pick things that were better in 1962 or even 1902 and say boy that’s worse today, but I really doubt most of us would take the whole package of 1962 vs today. No fair cheating and saying in 1962 you’d be super rich either, because I probably would rather be super rich in 1962 than middle class in 2017. But maybe not so in 1902….

146 Slocum January 7, 2017 at 8:45 am

The happiness research asks people to rate their happiness on a 5 or 10 point scale. Ratings can’t possibly continue to rise with income — there’s nowhere for them to go (they don’t go to 11 or 12 or 27). If you asked everybody to rate their household income on a 10 point scale, you could ‘prove’ that societies never got any wealthier also.

147 J January 6, 2017 at 7:06 pm

What about cost of housing, education, health care and day care?

148 Slocum January 7, 2017 at 8:41 am

The cost of building housing has dropped dramatically. Americans live in much larger, more comfortable, better appointed houses now than they did then and they’re occupied by fewer people, so living space per person has increased even more than house size. Only during bubble peaks and in coastal cities where tight development restrictions have driven up prices have housing costs significantly outstripped inflation. In the 100-year Case Shiller, we’re at 160 (and probably in at least a mild bubble):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case%E2%80%93Shiller_index#/media/File:Case%E2%80%93Shiller_Index.svg

But keep in mind that a ‘standard house’ from 1890 was a very different animal than it is now (watch a few episodes of ‘1900 House’).

Healthcare and education costs are special cases in having been thoroughly screwed up by ill-advised government policies — over regulation combined making 3rd party payment universal via tax-free employer provide health insurance and by federally backed, non-dischargeable student loans respectively. Daycare has not increased in cost if you do it the way people did back in 1962 — namely unregulated care in-home with neighbors and relatives (which remains a common, practical choice for lower income families).

As for everything else, here’s a good start:

http://cafehayek.com/2006/01/working_for_sea.html

149 Benny Lava January 6, 2017 at 8:24 pm

And I wish I could take all the people who can’t read graphs and send them back to school for a year.

150 JFA January 6, 2017 at 2:43 pm

The interesting thing about the graph at number 4 is not that it shows no growth in median income compared to 1962 but that it shows essentially shows no growth throughout the entire period, i.e. it’s not that it got really high in the middle and dropped but that it’s fluctuated around $37,000 plus or minus a couple of thousand for the past 50 years.

Honestly, I don’t think it passes the sniff test, but one wonders why you don’t see Tyler linking to op-eds from each decade mentioning the fact of zero income growth. Why is it that people weren’t bemoaning during the mid 90s that the median income was lower than in 1966?

151 collin January 6, 2017 at 2:54 pm

There was especially in 1992 – 1994. (1995 and after the job market was burning hot!) Remember Ross Perot in 1992 won the highest number votes by a third Party in the last 100 years. (although no electoral votes like Wallace or Thurmond.) Yes without the internet fully rolled out people did not know the actual charts but in general the populism of Perot was similar to Trumps 2016 except Perot did not win a major Party nomination. Also replace Japan for China and the NAFTA for the Wall.

And remember Perot was running against Bush Sr. & Bill Clinton both of whom are consider effective Presidents by most historians. So 19.2% of the voters was a lot of support for Perot despite dropping out in early summer and choosing a not-ready-for-prime-time VP, Admiral Stockdale. (A very good man who was just not ready for VP.)

152 anon January 6, 2017 at 2:55 pm

I didn’t think things were this bad, perhaps because I am used to seeing potatoes [actually “the data” but a funny voice input fail] sliced in different ways.

I think we usually see medium family income quoted as an increase. That’s because it was increasingly the sum of male and female income?

Still, sad that productivity increases do not benefit median men as higher wages.

153 Benny Lava January 6, 2017 at 8:25 pm

Because the graph doesn’t show zero income growth. It shows fluctuating stagnation for men and a large steady rise for women.

154 罗臻 January 6, 2017 at 3:14 pm

One of the strategies used by Japan, and copied by Korea and China, is to first attract low cost suppliers. Any industry in the process of being taken over by a targeted foreign industrial policy would seem to be increasingly reliant on imports. The job losses don’t come from only losing a car factory, it comes from losing the supply chain, research jobs, and all the attendant economic activity. It’s a process, not an event.

155 Floccina January 6, 2017 at 3:24 pm

#4 When I read something like that, zero wage growth since 1962, I think do they include the benefits that people get from a cleaner environment? Cleaning up the air and waterways has costs and benefits. It is tougher to build big things today and that has costs and benefits are those included?

I also think about slow growth policies driving up the cost of housing.

It is a problem for both sides, the left likes to blame neoliberalism but Government has grown.

156 Floccina January 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Also at least jobs are easier now.

Also I remember 1962 inflation must be overstated.

Also entertainment is much better and cheaper now, and entertainment is very important to people.

157 chuck martel January 6, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Jobs are easier because technological advancements that minimize labor are more productive. Companies make more money having one operator move dirt with a 988 front end loader than 75 guys with shovels. Entertainment is better and cheaper? Who has replaced Cyd Charisse and Doris Day? Bought a ticket to an NHL hockey game lately?

158 msgkings January 6, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Don’t need to replace them, you can watch Charisse dance and hear Day sing anytime you want, plus everyone after them.

159 baconbacon January 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm

“4. For the median working age male, measured median income growth since 1962 (!) is zero. We need more economic theories where wages rise only through some consumer good innovation at the fringes.”

The way this is phrased (and the link) make it sound like they are taking the median working age male, not the median working male. LFPR has dropped 10 percentage points for males in that span, if this graph is indeed including them then you are being misleading.

Additionally hours worked has dropped significantly over this time, which means you could title this “working age males have gained 400+ hours of leisure since 1962!”.

Lastly the link also specifically states that it is “pre tax labor income”, which on first and second reading makes it sound like it doesn’t include benefits which have also risen since 1962.

160 Floccina January 6, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Also may not include health insurance if provided by employer.

161 stephan January 6, 2017 at 3:33 pm

#4 So what’s the explanation? women median income is up almost 6 times during the same period. Women were underpaid ?, women were underqualified and got qualified ?. Men suffered from competition from low paid women? from offshore workers ? the gains mostly went to the upper income folks ?

It would be good to see the same graph for the top and lowest quartiles. GDP per capita at constant price grew ~ 4.7x during the same period

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp-constant-prices

162 JK Brown January 6, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Yeah, let’s talk about income rather than than compensation, where health insurance benefit cost has skyrocketed. Or maybe employee cost with the increased take of the pie by government via insurance, time off mandates, etc.

All we can really say is that there has been zero growth in cash compensation.

Excellent recent Econtalk on the topic:
http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2017/01/mark_warshawsky.html

163 JWatts January 6, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Good point. The total compensation is often mentioned, but the increased regulatory requirements are not.

164 stephan January 6, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Yes but only for the median income for men. Women median income saw huge growth

165 collin January 6, 2017 at 4:50 pm

#2 Why was their less race strife in the US in 2005? Because the entire country was working harder for a higher monthly house payment.

166 Jason Bayz January 6, 2017 at 6:48 pm

I’m skeptical of economic reasoning in this case, considering how uneven the wealth is distributed. In Lagos, there are slums full of people who have no wealth and little hope for wealth, seeing all the new wealth should just be making them madder. They say there’s a “revolution of rising expectations” should one expect the same with ethnic conflicts? For a while, Lebanon was the richest Arab economy not dependent on oil, it’s capital Beirut was considered the “Paris of the Middle East.” Then it exploded. Maybe the same thing will occur in Lagos.

167 Rafael R January 6, 2017 at 6:33 pm

#4 well ask the mediam American male today if he would like to live in 1962 without 2/3 of our modern gadgets and life expectancy 10 years shorter.

168 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 8:29 pm

5) On the criminality part – I wouldn’t be that surprised if it was at least slightly true for the most obvious reasons.

But isn’t it also obvious that if people just make assumptions like that, then it will become self fulfilling to the extent that it will have some statistical reliability in giving the expected direction of effect/association?

169 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 8:29 pm

5) Hey, has anyone else noticed that all of a sudden there are cameras EVERYWHERE?

I assume that to ensure upholding fourth and thus first amendment rights, all of these units are autonomous, un-networked, and can only have data accessed after a court order enables to manually retrieve the data from the location.

Sometimes other possibilities cross my mind, like a bunch of Hollywood-style nonsense, maybe like the Matrix or Enemy of the State or something. But na, that’s just the movies.

May be if it goes too far, we can all just wear burkas or something, which will eliminate all forms of tracking of presumed innocent individuals.

170 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 8:31 pm

As far as I’m concerned, for most relevant situations that people face, there should be no camera where there is not a tlil. So, Starbucks (among many many others) needs one camera pointed where the money is, not 10 cameras to catch every patron from multiple angles no matter where they sit.

171 prior_test2 January 7, 2017 at 6:21 am

How can you honestly suggest that Starbucks cannot perform market research to enhance the consumer experience its deserving customers desire.

However, the real reason there are cameras everywhere at this point is that they have become mind numbingly cheap, particularly in connection with storing the data. The other reasons are just used to justify the expense, and once the price point gets low enough, the idea that everyone is doing it is a powerful incentive on its own.

Besides, only those who have something to hide worry about being on camera, right?

172 Troll me January 7, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Switchblades are also cheap, and supportive of personal security in many situations. But those are not encouraged, are they?

It’s almost like it’s not about security.

173 cw January 6, 2017 at 10:09 pm

the growth comes through longer healthy lives due to improved but more expensive heath care and cheaper and much more valuable consumer goods. The internet is endlessly valuable.

174 Highgamma January 7, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Does anyone trust s time series of medians? I don’t.

175 Bryan January 7, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Re 4, wonder if they looked at total compensation or just cash income

176 Bryan January 7, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Oops bacon*2 already pointed this out

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