Assorted links

1. The Berlin subway slide, video.

2. I've been saying similar things to Bryan Caplan.

3. Chinese multiple currency names and what they mean.

4. Tim Harford reviews The Age of the Infovore.

5. The tents are falling apart in Haiti.

6. Sumner and Caplan on wage stickiness.  On the same topic, here is another perspective.  Clearly wages are to some extent sticky in nominal terms.  But if people who work on commission and tips are out of work in large numbers, or if truly flex-wage workers are being laid off, why see wage stickiness as the #1 culprit?  (Scott isn't following through the logical implications of his cyclicality point.)  In economies with truly flexible wages, people are forced to retreat into household production in down times and that is perhaps a better parable for America today.  No one will hire them, flexibility or not.  Plus if workers are irrational by focusing on the nominal rather than the real values, it's easy enough to trick them by cutting real benefits and working conditions, thereby saving the employer money.  Real wage flexibility should be enough to keep them at work, yet it isn't.

Comments

The irony of that Chinese currency article is that "kuai" is completely misused in the caption, "a fistful of kuai". While Chinese will say something like "this hamburger costs five kuai", kuai is a measure word (like gallon or quart in English) meaning "a unit of a small flat object" such as currency. Saying "a fistful of kuai" is like saying "a fistful of gallons"; it doesn't make any sense.

2. You want to have his baby too? That makes 3 of us.

How sweet would that subway slide be at Woodley Park? (I hear Wheaten and Bethesda are a little longer but I don't think I ever had occasion to see those when I lived in DC)

2. Being a parent is a job and everybody bitches about their jobs. The real study should be of people in their 70s who did or did not have kids and see how happy they are. They can both wing off to Aruba, but only one group gets grandkids visiting.

We have a winner.

mulp,

The unemployed are immeasurably better off than the employed of 1840 or perhaps even 1940. This is due mostly to technological progress and not anything directly political, especially Keynesianism. I'm way tired of this specious argument than anyone who wants to go "back" in POLICY could, even if they wanted to, go back in TECHNOLOGY.

If it is possible to have all the joy of a grandparent without having gone through all the pain of being a parent, I'd like to give it a try.

Yan, you can adopt me. I have two kids.

Without necessarily agreeing to Megan's argument, I certainly agree that happiness may not be the right thing to measure. People want fulfillment, which is not always the same thing as happiness. Raising children is a great example of an activity many people find deeply fufilling but not necessarily always happy.

Tom,

Sad to report that without having brought you up, I won't be getting the same warm and fuzzy satisfaction my grandparents are feeling today. The satisfaction of a grandparent comes from low marginal cost, high marginal return and a strong sense of entitlement to claim it.

Everyone is worried about jobs going overseas, but I think they should be more optimistic. America is great for generating new jobs and dealing with change. My grandfather said railroads once lost a lot of business when electric companies switched from burning coal to nuclear power. Railroads also needed less workers when trains stopped using cabooses. Yet while the railroad jobs may have disappeared, new jobs like webpage designers and video store clerks have appeared. Horse buggy manufacturers became car manufacturers and typewriter companies now make computers. Many industries that were supposed to disappear like movie theatres due to VCR’s and accounting because of computers have never been stronger.

Farmers made up 90% of the labor force in 1790, but only made up 2.6% of the work force in 1990. While women only made up 18% of the work force in 1900, 46% of the work force was female in 2007. There are fewer farmers yet more men and women are working now because the labor market is more diverse with new jobs.

http://www.agclassroom.org/gan/timeline/farmers_land.htm

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/a0104673.html

Jobs that are shipped offshore will be replaced by new technical jobs in the US.

While manufacturing jobs may go overseas to cheaper locations, the United States still manufactures more than any other country.

http://investing.curiouscatblog.net/2009/10/13/data-on-the-largest-manufacturing-countries-in-2008/

Even if more jobs go overseas, America will always have factories. I highly doubt that the United States will buy fighter jets from China. The price of labor may be cheaper in Asia now, but as oil and shipping prices rise, buying American products will not seem to be so expensive. Chinese products also have a reputation for poor quality and counterfeiting. BMW does not worry that Chinese car companies will steal their customers.

Many jobs cannot be outsourced, either. You are not likely to call a doctor, lawyer, mechanic, mover, driver, electrician, real estate agent, or plumber in China to fix a problem you have in the USA. Are all the farms, restaurants, churches, government workers, and athletes in the US going to be shipped overseas, too?

Even if all the manufacturing jobs in the United States went to China, wouldn’t the Chinese need American skills? You could move there and teach English. Most of those container ships returning to Asia are EMPTY. Why not think of something the Chinese would like to buy? Americans are creative. Do you think China will be known as the new Disney and Hollywood? Will China become famous for apple pies, hamburgers, hot dogs, baseball, gun rights, democracy, free speech, and religious freedom?

Phil Gramm was right. The US has become a nation of whiners.

While change is sometimes scary and being cautious is good, hysteria is not. Think for yourself and don’t be a Chicken Little.

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