Assorted links


Fully 20% of which are from melissa dell. Wow.....

Glad the first sentence to ponder was from Jason Collins. I enjoy his blog immensely.

China's bubble burst is in part caused by government budget crises. Before long, they are going to regret joining the Euro.

That person is joking. We don't "demand 10 times the pay" because of anything have to do with merit, we do so because we live in a country with prices that require it. Make the prices magically 1/10th of what they are - and that ESPECIALLY includes rents - and we can accept 1/10th the pay.

What a joke of a statement.

People always want more money for themselves and lower prices for things they consume, but they rarely ask what are the means to bring about these changes.

You're assuming that the only difference between your lifestyle and that of a worker in an a lesser developed country is prices. I can assure you that working- and middle-class Americans live EXTREMELY lavishly compared to their Taiwanese counterparts. Sure, things are less expensive in Taiwan, but that's because you're buying lower quality (of all goods, including housing). Buying things of the quality I take as a given in America is not any cheaper in Taiwan than in the US.

You as an American do demand a level of quality (even though you might not realize it, bc it is assumed) that is considered at least a minor luxury in places even as developed as Taiwan. It's not absurd to say that in order to justify the salary that allows for that lifestyle, you need to be more productive.

The most recent UN Human Development Index calculated the U.S. score as .910 and that of the Taiwan at .882. Taiwan is about the same as Finland and France, and well above the UK and Singapore. It just depends on what aspects of American "lifestyle" you consider lavish and whether those in other countries really would want them.

For example, in most parts of Europe and Asia people drive far less often than Americans. I personally would love to drive less and not have to own a car--it's a big expense. If I lived in a dense urban area in Asian, I would prefer to ride the bus.

I would like to participate in Taiwan's national healthcare system instead of having private insurance here in the U.S. (which is paid for indirectly through a lower salary for me) and universal access to fancy, overpriced imaging technologies.

Taiwan has a great mobile network that is much faster and offers better phones than what we have in the U.S. Do I require cable TV at my home in the U.S.? Yes, but I'd trade it any day for cutting edge mobile phone options and a much faster wireless network.

The bulk of my response is below, under CBBB's reply.

But specifically about transit. While in the heart of Taipei it's totally feasible to get around without a car, if you want to live anywhere else it's not. You have to use scooter and inhale excessive amounts of fumes.

But the larger point is that you have the choice. You can afford a car but would prefer to live in an environment where you didn't have to use it. Most Taiwanese don't even have the option, living in places without great transit but also without a car.

What do you consider "lavish" about the middle class American lifestyle?

Compared to somewhere like Taiwan of course.

Well, I'd start with the lack of German-style dumpster diving.

I'm not really convinced, besides it's so hypocritical hearing these comments come from a CEO. On the one hand the CEO wants to force the workers to accept far lower wages on the other hand they get their panties in a bunch whenever consumers aren't consuming their products - and then they point the consumers to their banker friends who can help extend credit. And the whole moralizing circle repeats.

Your mention about the high HDI reinforces my point. Taiwan is certainly a developed country, but the average person here lives significantly cheaper than the average person in the US. At the (relatively) same level of development, the US demands a higher level of consumption (both in amount and quality), so it is not ridiculous to expect higher productivity.

While the (practically free) National Health Insurance system is very nice, you note that you would rather have that more bare-bones plan than the lower salaries you get for having access to the most advanced medical technologies. But the thing is that even with that lower salary, you still make more than a comparable Taiwanese AND you get the fancy medical plan. I don't deny that it might be preferable to have even more disposable income in exchange for a more Taiwan-style medical insurance, but the fact is that right now you're coming out ahead in both disposable income AND health care quality. Which is a great thing, but it still demands higher productivity.

Things that similarly-placed people in America are used to that are either luxuries or unavailable in Taiwan: The ability to own a home, or a non-shoebox sized apartment is a biggie. Also, the quality of construction (ie perhaps some insulation not just pure concrete) and appliances (how I miss dryers and dishwashers). The ability to own a car before the age of 35. Food quality: whereas in the US the options range from medium- to high-quality, Taiwan has a much larger range. Meaning that what in the US is considered low-quality meat is medium-quality here, and people who are price-conscious will stick to the lower-quality food that you just don't find in America.
Any sort of consumer goods (TVs, computers, cell phones, etc) are priced the same as in the US, but are relatively much more expensive due to lower salaries.

RE: #5. Use Passover as a control? That holiday is aimed squarely at children, always has been, and competes with Easter! If you're going to conduct a study a population, you better learn something about it first. Use Yom Kippur or perhaps Rosh Hashanna.

Having said that, you have to be an idiot not to see that Jewish parents are acutely aware of Christmas envy.

#2 I think part of this article implies you can expect worse food on flights going to holiday destinations then flights going to non-holiday destinations. The food on-board the flight to Bali might not be as good as the flight to Shenzen.

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