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Your bookshelves are a model of organization.

True to style would have been IKEA IVAR shelves, and stacking the book in 2 rows, front and back : - )

That bitcoin transaction was 80 million, not 800 million. By the way, the total fees paid for that transaction was $0.04.

Yeah - noticed that myself - off by a factor of 10. Still a mighty big transaction, though.

Nice spot on the transaction block. Also it could have been a publicity stunt. I notice bitcoin 'dice' shops (gambling roulette wheel shops, which, if they set up their site correctly, are proveably fair meaning you can tell if they are cheating or not, ex post) will sometimes get touts to play their site and make big wagers, in an attempt to show that the site is popular, and encourage rubes to follow suit. I know this because I have followed the conversation at, which is the de facto site where bitcoin fanantics hang out.

I have a theory that all the bitcoin gambling is kind of a way of scrambling up the block chain to anonymize drug transactions.
Considering the gambling is "fair", when you gamble enough, you basically are just exchanging the bitcoins you purchase (with your bank account) for other different bitcoins. Then you go spend them on drugs. It makes it harder to connect your bank account to the drug transaction in case anyone is looking.

Great News for BITCOIN I predict the end of fiat money within 5 years.

That's overly optimistic; there will be people who still don't get it even after watching the price for five years. You'd be amazed at how misinformed academic elites are, and most non-economists haven't even heard of it.

Bitcoin transactions aren't funded by fees, they're funded by mining rewards. The current payout is 25 bitcoins every 12 minutes, or 3,000 bitcoins per day, or about .$1.1m a day.

Transaction volumes have lately been averaging just over $80m a day, so transaction costs are currently running around 1.4%.

One of the main tests of bitcoin will be whether it can survive mining reward halving without a big increase in the bitcoin price. The recent trend is for transaction activity to go up while the price wobbles in a range. That means miners are getting paid progressively less per transaction they verify. The next halving of mining rewards is due roughly March 2016.

Fortunately that doesn't seem like it will be much of a test though.

Of course it's a very serious test. Without a rising bitcoin price, mining industry income shrinks by half every three to four years.

There is some level, I have no idea where, representing the minimum cost of running mining equipment required to maintain a functioning cryptocurrency. The repeated halving of mining rewards and the uncertainty of the future bitcoin price makes it highly likely the network will someday breach that level.

Another thing to keep in mind when citing the low cost of bitcoin transactions: the cost of consumer fraud protection, a major component of bank card fees, is not included in bitcoin transactions. It could be added for some price, but either the price would be higher or protection would be weaker than for bank cards as a bitcoin fraud protection system would lack economies of scale.

I read Piketty on kindle too. "I mention this because of recent discussions of whether we experience and evaluate books differently depending on how we consume them." How does Cowen read books? Does he evaluate books differently depending on how he consumes them? If I had read Piketty in hardcover, would I have concluded that Piketty is just too French to matter.

#4: ?

I'm pretty sure Tyler is referring to this line:
"Prostitution is punishable with a fine of up to 2,000 rubles ($37) in Russia. Pimps face up to a decade behind bars."

But what exactly does he mean? Two possible and opposite interpretations:

1. Classic public finance considerations usually dictate putting higher taxes on inelastic factors. When demand or supply are quite elastic, then raising the tax will reduce quantity and perhaps even revenue. The services in question require two factors of production: the worker and the middleman. If the fine is viewed as a tax, then it indicates that the Russians view the supply of workers to be quite elastic so the "tax" is low. But the supply of middlemen is elastic. From an economic point of view, it would suggest that very few people are good at being middlemen, and if you are good at it you don't really have much trouble finding workers because their supply is quite elastic.

2. Or perhaps he means the opposite: If the objective is to deter prostitution, then a punishment for a very inelastic factor will just not be effective. You need to punish the elastic factor. Then the comment would be meant to imply that if a lady wants to ply this profession she will not be easily deterred - inelastic supply thus difficult to deter so why bother. But being a pimp is difficult, risky etc. Supply will be highly dependent on the incentives. So since both inputs are necessary effective deterrence requires fining the middleman.

#7: "Over the late 2000s, the average effective minimum wage rose by 30 percent across the United States. We estimate that these minimum wage increases reduced the national employment-to-population ratio by 0.7 percentage point."

No kidding, Jack!

Minimum wage policies are popular with everybody because they harm no one. Some people get wage increases. Meanwhile the remainder move to the informal sector, where the minimum wage benefits them too - it is driving out formal sector competiton. I'm always puzzled economists never get this.

That relies on the assumption that quite a lot of low wage positions are not very valuable to the economy if so many positions are no longer profitable after raising wages. Given the relative difficulty of workers to organize to negotiate relative to managers and shareholders, I would treat this as an upper bound on the estimate.

And that doesn't even consider the effect that higher minimum wages can have on human and physical capital investments/accumulation.

Re #4...

"In addition to the falling ruble, the sex tariff inflation may have been boosted by an influx of sex workers fleeing war-torn Ukraine, the website said. The new competition is forcing local sex workers to hike their rates in order to pay their bills, the report said."

Shouldn't more competition put *downward* pressure on prices?

Thank-you for #5. To enhance the irony, read it against this aubade:

What irony are you referring to? Calling it an aubade?

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