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I gave up on David Mamet about 10 years ago, when I heard him state that the likely reason there are so many Jewish directors and producers in the movie industry was Asperger's Syndrome.

Regarding Germany, it looks like government work subsidies may be involved. The subsidies may cause German companies to lay off US workers first and retain subsidized German workers. From the nut article in this post:

For example, Trumpf, a machine-tool maker in the south German city of Ditzingen, managed to get through the recession without laying off any of its 4,000 German workers. In the United States, Trumpf laid off 90 of the 650 workers.

Why the difference? Part of the answer is that, in Germany, Trumpf could take advantage of government incentives to reduce worker hours rather than lay off people, a system known as short work. In the program, the government gives workers partial compensation for the lost wages.

“We wanted to keep our well-trained people on board,† the Trumpf chief executive, Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, wrote in an e-mail. “Short work helped a lot.†

The quality of Hitchens' writing in that article demonstrates the magnitude of the loss it will be be if he doesn't make it. And he almost certainly won't - esophageal cancer has a dismal survival rate.

On arts prices: there was an article on one of the theatre blogs a while back that made a good argument that the high prices on Broadway have hurt it creatively.

They're increasingly trapped into selling very expensive tickets, chiefly to tourists, to people who think of it as a rare treat to be indulged in once or twice a year. When you've laid out that much money, you're very risk-averse. You don't want to take a chance on something new that might be great or might be terrible, so you end up seeing something almost exactly the same as you saw last year... and the year before that... and the year before that...

When prices are low and you can visit more frequently, you get bored with seeing the same old thing again, and you want to see something different.

High prices may be profitable for the theatres, but they're creatively stultifying.

Arts funding is possibly something where you don't want the markets involved. We have Hollywood. It's very good at providing "artisticky" pieces for mass-consumption.

The Europeans just happen to think that art is infrastructure. It's like libraries here. While you could make the case that public libraries cannibalize book sales, you could make an equal argument that without libraries there would be few recreational readers and hence no real publishing industry. Books would become like theater in New York. Something people didn't really enjoy, but put on their shelves to prove they had money and taste. You'd pay $200 for the latest Pulitzer prize winner and never read it.

On the baseball graph, what were the causes of the big declines in number of players that occurred twice?

'The subsidies may cause German companies to lay off US workers first and retain subsidized German workers.'
Exactly - this is what happens when you care more about your own society than for some abstract theory. I think that in most successful industrial economies, similar thinking applies (including China, of course ) - take care of your own first.

It is only in the U.S. where the idea of taking care of your own has become so distorted that we think it is better to dismember ourselves than actually play the same game as our competitors. Which is pretty apparent at this point - the rest of the world doesn't waste much money on its military, and we spend very little money on keeping a high quality workforce active.

I love Fire!:The Crazy World of Arthur Brown-Fire (1968)

"John, there was an episode of "Yes, Minister" titled "The Middle-Class Rip-Off" about that. Over there, "middle class" is often used as a pejorative the way "elite" is here."

Yes, I remember Hacker, the minister, asking Sir Humphrey why the government didn't subsidize sports teams, but of course it does, at least in the U.S.

American companies have laid off German and other European workers to save cuuting jobs in the USA.Whats good for the goose...

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