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#1 - Ever write an economics post and have it (fairly) savaged by a bunch of 14 year olds in the comments section? Matt can check that one off his list.

It should be noted that Yglesias gets several clearly explained facts wrong in his two paragraph write-up on the Hunger Games Tesserae economy. Indeed, one of the things I've always loved about many good science fiction writers, is their ability to imagine functioning games and economies including strategies and tactics (quidditch notwithstanding).

Can you please explain, because I missed it.

There are districts where there is essentially no risk of getting selected, because even if you are a volunteer will step forward. Do those districts get to have tesserae?

IIRC, the number of times you can enter is severely limited, and the shortages are politically-motivated charades and vary in severity from district to district in any case.

The part that actually bothered me is not addressed by Yglesias at all. That is the vagueness of the size and geographical distribution of the population, and how at odds the few clues you get about them are with the high level of technology. I.e. One very small area in Appalachia, operating at what appears to be a 1940s level of technology (maybe) and a worst-of-the-Depression level of privation, supposedly supplies all of the coal for what sounds like a ridiculously energy-intensive civilization that, it is implied, is much larger and very widely spread out. The only way I can make heads or tails of it is to assume that much of what goes on there is make-work akin to a destructive labor camp, but then the question becomes "Why bother?" If you dislike those folks that much, just carpet-bomb the district and be done with it.

Fair enough. Collins seems to be vague about many of the other Districts.

I got the impression that the North American continent was much less populated in this world. I forget if/how the rest of the world is doing, but I seem to recall that they essentially don't exist for the purposes of the story.

For me, the tesserae seems perfectly designed for collusion. Get everyone in town to enter it once and everyone gets an additional payout with minimal changes in the distribution of the negative random cost.

Depends on the pre-existing (or enforced) level of inequality, I think. If you're quite well off, even relatively, then you're better off not cooperating. Instead, you let the children of the relatively poor enter and reduce your kid's likelihood of being called.

> 2. The culture that is Thailand.

Finally! Accountability for pundits.

1b. The WSJ does little to convince me that the movie is more fantasy than girly-geeky-girl dreck by using the phrase "love triangle" in the first sentence of the article.

I've read the trilogy, and Tyler's mention of it was the push to start for me (cue the advertisers offering more to Tyler). It's enjoyable without looking at it as a girl's story.

I found it amusing the lede in the WSJ article: How producers are trying to attract more males. Easy, make the lead role a hot chick. Damn, I should be a movie producer.

That doesn't work as well as you'd think. They cast hot ladies all the time in girly romantic comedies, and guys avoid them like kryptonite.

One key is to make them not act like idiots or supermen, a la Ripley and Newt.

What you're really saying is the key is make a sci fi movie and not a girly romance. Which is the 'duh' factor of that story. They are emhpasizing the scifi/fantasy aspect and deemphasizing the kissy kissy to attract males. Duh.

I'm saying make it realistic.

I hear ya but if they take a story about a girl choosing between two guys and make it plain and simple and realistic with some laughs and so on, guys won't go near it. Just like girls won't go near scifi unless there's a girl lead or they get dragged by their men.

Obviously there's exceptions, we're talking bell curves.

Downplaying the scifi is a good idea even in scifi movies. Make the relationships non-chick-fantasy-like and that's about the best you can do for dudes.

I can't believe you posted No.1. MY completely misunderstood the rules of that society and thus wrote a column of total gibberish. It's akin to talking about the economics of the DH in football.

In football aren't the safeties DHs? I keed, I keed.

I didn't want to pile on during the whole business about Yglesias's book, but this sort of stupid error is more than routine for him.

If you add how generally uniformed he is, his awful moral and ethical outlook: (ie. “Fighting dishonesty with dishonesty is sometimes the right thing for advocates to do, yes,”), and his frequent mistakes. I am constantly amazed at how highly regarded he seems to be in some otherwise sane appearing circles. I know he is a bright guy, but he is unusually callow and arrogant. There has to be a point where unforced errors have to start damaging one's reputation.

think we're years away from that "point"

see DeLong, Krugman, etc.

#3 - And here I was expecting a slight spin on the Henry George treatise!

Gerhard Richter outselling Mark Rothko is a positive sigh. The former is a talented guy who couldn't resist the draw of charlatanism, the latter is a no-talent hack who could only survive as a charlatan.

Hunger Games looks just like a bleaker version of the Japanese Battle Royale, where every year a class of high school students is forced to participate in a sadistic reality tv show. They are put on an island, handed weapons, and told that only a lone survivor will be allowed to leave. If a day goes without casualties. they all get killed.

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