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Boy, i sure hope Rajan doesn't "someday jump in the raucous world of Indian party politics."

Because I'd prefer he jump in the raucous world of American politics...

South Korea, Adultery Made Legal... Plastic Surgeries Take Off?

#4 kinda buried the lede. He's making 500K ish for 2 more years. I bet if the CBA wasn't backloaded to pay for years of service rather than current performance he'd find a number that could keep him on the field. Risking your health for 5M ain't the same as risking your health for 500K.

Not really, what makes this story interesting is he's so young and was well positioned to get paid (he had a great rookie year) but decided it wasn't worth it. Not really a story if a 28-30 year old retires before he's in decline for health reasons. A 1 year player though, that's new. Why did he even play at all?

If you check Twitter, he apparently made $1.03 million his rookie season. That's like what, $500-600k after taxes? That's his retirement fund right there - now he can go live a low-key lifestyle as a coach, trainer, or whatever else and have a pretty secure future compared to the average American.

If his choices are "don't play at all", which gives him $0, "play one season", which gives him $500,000, and "play two seasons" which would apparently give him about $1,000,000 - you can see a person with a certain set of preferences pick the middle one as the best.

Fair enough, sure. I was responding to Chris who said he made $500K. But your logic makes sense.

I do not follow the NFL as closely as I follow other American sports. But I imagine in Year 1, he might have a signing bonus on top of his regular salary. He may also have had an endorsement deal or two that added to his income.

As a Niners fan, next year is going to be the worst season in the history of football, and I grew up in Houston bleeding columbia blue...

If he was playing for the Seahawks he might make a better decision, of course he would have better protection as well...

So what is to stop him from changing his mind down the line? Even if he has to stay with the 49ers, he will not get torn to pieces during the upcoming time of lamentation abd autumn of hope, and then can "reconsider" his situation.

The Niners are going to suck but they won't suck as bad as say 2004. I think 5-6 wins.

I imagine that one or more years of not practicing as part of an NFL team, even if he works out the same way he would as an NFL player, would sap his ability considerably.

RoyL, I'm a Titans fan, and submit that 2014 was the worst season in the history of football. ;-)

Or he could live like a king in the Philippines for about $12000 USD/yr.

Bonus Trivia: Tebow is from the Philippines. Tebow! Great arm. (trollbait, I don't even watch NFL games)

Dunno about the arm, but the accuracy isn't great...

That's my point. He's positioned to get payed in free agency after 2 more seasons. Rookie players are not able to negotiate. If they could, It is more likely an agreement would be reached.

Okay, I'm a girl, but if he were my relative I'd be throwing a family party right now. He made enough money to fund his retirement, and his brain and joints are fine. Seems like a pretty good deal to me.

My intuition tells me that either there's more to this story or he'll realize that his non-football prospects are lower than he thought, and he'll be back in the league within two years.

What level of health risks would you take to jump from a middle/upper-middle class lifestyle to affluence? Taken at face value, it's a perfectly reasonable decision.

I agree. I'm just skeptical about taking it at face value.

How do you get back in after two years away? This is a very youth-dominated field, and two years of constant training would still leave him worse off than now.

He was banged up for much of the time he was here at Wisconsin.

Maybe he realized that life in the NFL just isn't as much fun as it was in college - and the money simply wasn't worth it.

He's got a degree from UW Madison, had been noted as student athlete of the year while there and is still quite young. I don't see why his non football opportunities must be so limited.

An even bigger shock (from this biased Steelers fan) is Jason Worilds leaving $15 MILLION on the table to...knock on doors for the Jehovah's Witnesses.

I always wondered if there would be a self-regulating aspect to global warming, especially since most of the warming is seen at night and in the winter. Higher winter temps would mean less burning of fuel for heating. which would reduce the carbon footprint, and maybe bring things back into balance.

On the other hand, higher temps mean more burning fuel/energy for a/c

Vastly more human consumption of energy goes into heating than into cooling.

Not in the parts of the world that are growing the fastest and that will be most impacted by global warming.

Honest question: What places do you mean?

Warmer winters and warmer oceans means more moist air to drive more storms that drop massive amounts of rain that freezes and SNOW. 5 degrees F warmers than a daily average of 25 degrees F means snow and freezing rain result from warm oceans pumping massive amounts of water vapor into the air flowing into the cold areas.

The economy being shut down for days and weeks from the bad weather will reduce carbon emissions.

Muchas gracias for that priceless explanation. How about explaining why hemmorhoids never seem to become infected?

Pure speculation. The exact effects of global warming are generally a surprise, because the global climate is a complex system. Some scientists have predicted growing ice caps because more water vapor is transported to the poles, while others have claimed the ice caps are going to vanish and cause massive ocean rise.

The truth is, we can't pin any current weather activity on global warming, because the global warming 'signal' is small enough to be completely swamped by annual variations in climate due to other factors. It only emerges from the noise over a period of decades.

In the meantime, the way in which warming affects the planet over any short-term period is still largely unknown and it's entirely possible that it will always be unknown, because complex adaptive systems adapt and change and mutate and never respond to a shock the same way twice.

Higher nighttime temperatures have harmful impacts on plant growth, especially for corn and rice.

"Grain yield declined by 10% for each 1°C increase in growing-season minimum temperature in the dry season, whereas the effect of maximum temperature on crop yield was insignificant. This report provides a direct evidence of decreased rice yields from increased nighttime temperature associated with global warming."

A 1 degree rise in nighttime temperatures counteracts about a decade of technological advances in rice production, for example.

But worldwide yield is skyrocketing due to increasing carbon dioxide concentrations and higher temperatures in places like Canada.


Don't you think that disadvantage (of warmer night time temperatures) could easily be bred away? Or even by transplanting rice from currently warm nighttime areas, to cooler areas that are now warmer? It's hard to believe that this particular problem won't be solvable easily - humans are not helpless neolithic farmers anymore.

David, carbon emissions would have to be cut by about 80%, perhaps more, just to stabilise CO2 emissions in the atmosphere and we'd need to cut them further to limit the damage caused by global warming that has already been set in motion, so unfortunately less need for heating won't cut that could be offset through increased air conditioner use anyway. The good news is that last year we finally stopped increasing CO2 emissions. That is, we're no longer increasing the speed at which we dig the hole we're standing in. I am optimistic we will soon see reasonably rapid decreases in emissions either this year or the next.

If only there were an endless and free source of energy. Maybe you know of one, Ronald?

Thomas, I normally come up with my best ideas when I'm walking, so I would go for a walk now and try to come up with a solution to this problem, but it's far too windy and sunny to go outside at the moment.

#5 - "Cross-class expertise. In a world dividing along class, ethnic and economic grounds some people are culturally multilingual. They can operate in an insular social niche while seeing it from the vantage point of an outsider."

You can read David Brooks, or you can just read Rudyard Kipling.

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

But if you read Kipling you don't get anything like:

"Similarly, people who can capture amorphous trends with a clarifying label also have enormous worth. Karl Popper observed that there are clock problems and cloud problems. Clock problems can be divided into parts, but cloud problems are indivisible emergent systems. A culture problem is a cloud, so is a personality, an era and a social environment."

Which is either profound, or word salad for the Aspen Ideas set.

It's neither. It's a simple observation that complex systems are not like machine that can be controlled by pushing and pulling levers.

'Clock problems' can be solved through reverse engineering, like machines - they are amenable to understanding by breaking them down into smaller solvable pieces through the process of scientific reductionism. And once the pieces are understood, the behavior of the entire system is known and it can be controlled and exploited.

'Cloud' problems are like ecosystems. They are complex, they mutate and change, and they can't be studied through scientific reductionism because their behavior is defined not by the cumulative behaviors of their component parts, but by the interactions between them and the networks that form between them. Dive deep into them, and the system you want to study vanishes. And from a level high enough that the behavior of the system can be seen, the mechanisms are invisible. So their behavior is opaque to prediction and control.

Apparently, what Brooks is saying is that it's increasingly valuable to be able to recognize such systems and to know that you probably shouldn't muck about with them because you don't understand how they will react to your machinations.

I would agree with him, and note that this is a skill that appears to be in very short supply - especially among economists, central bankers, and political pundits like David Brooks..

Kipling was awarded a Nobel Prize. Brooks, not yet.

So was BHO.

Kipling was awarded a Nobel Prize for creating something.

Creating an illusion doesn't count?

Value is subjective, after all.

5. Fortunately Brooks does not call the skills he lists "new". They are only "new" in the sense that they were suppressed since the 80s because complexity requires compromise and in a free lunch solution society, simplicity is required.

Eg, cutting labor costs to increase profits will lead to faster growth and everyone being better off able to consume more.

Eg, consumer spending drives economic growth, and increased wealth from increased profits inflating asset prices fuels increased consumer spending, not increased wages which can decrease in a growing economy.

But an economy is a "cloud". Cutting wages to increase growth means lower growth because one does not produce more than labor can buy in the long run.

HW called the "clock" economics Reagan was selling voodoo. The appeal of Reagan's economic policies was the lure of the free lunch. He talked of the right hand benefits, but ignored the left hand liabilities of his policy proposals. Thus tax cuts and increased spending led to increased debt, and circa 1980, all three kinds of debt increased more rapidly with less and less "capital" to back it, whether the "capital" of return on investment income (education, power plants) or the labor value of replacing some physical asset. GDP being a measure of ROIC, the debt to GDP ratio has been increasing for government (reversing a decline), for business, and for individuals.

But for debt, that is today a "clock" problem caused by increased spending, not intentionally reduced income/revenue if seen as a "cloud".

Unemployment is seen by "clock" analysis as being caused by too high wages, not by too little wage income creating demand by "cloud" analysis.

In the 60s, my experience was economics was a "cloud" analysis, economics required holding contradictory thoughts simultaneously: cost is income, wages is consumption, and the profit motive drives seeking profits which them eliminates profit which is a sign of economic inefficiency that is sought from government rules. But property rights are a monopoly sanctioned by government, and monopoly leads to profits and economic inefficiency, so one role of government is to limit the power to monopolize while maintaining the zero profit of an efficient economy.

Brooks is saying basically we need to return to the 60s when everything was a cloud with all its contradictions and complexity, except that would make him a leftist liberal. So, he tries a clock solution: pick out a few things without embracing the cloud totality.

"But an economy is a “cloud”. Cutting wages to increase growth means lower growth because one does not produce more than labor can buy in the long run"
-So only labor can consume. Got it.
"with less and less “capital” to back it"
-Stocks count as financial capital, too. And their price exploded during the Reagan and Clinton years.
"Unemployment is seen by “clock” analysis as being caused by too high wages"
-Because it is.
Your last two paragraphs make zero sense.

Well mulp, you made it a whole two posts before going off on a Reagan was the devil tangent.

"But an economy is a “cloud”. Cutting wages to increase growth means lower growth because one does not produce more than labor can buy in the long run. "

I don't think you totally grok this whole complexity thing. If the economy is a 'cloud' (and it is), then the proper statement to make is, "Cutting wages will result in the economy taking that input and mutating in response to it. The form that this mutation takes is unknowable to some level of detail."

If the 'cloud' aspect of the economy makes supply-side economics an unprovable folly, it also makes 'demand-side' predictions equally foolish. Dumping money in the hands of people with a 'propensity to consume' will certainly have an effect, but that effect is likely to be surprising and different every time it's tried. Complex systems are like self-programming machines - they make their own rules and algorithms and they process inputs through them recursively and mutate in response. That response will include the changes in the system from the last time such a trick was tried, and will be very sensitive to initial conditions.

Brooks does observe a real trend, the rise in importance of skills for value transference in what is increasingly a value transference economy, where the money is less in creating value and more in transferring value from others to yourself. "Social skills" are going to matter more.

But the reason that "our vocabulary describes the skill set required 30 years ago" is that our official ideology(the kind that gets published in the NYT) is still based on the assumption that the in "the economy" people are paid based on the value they create. If it's about "creating value," why should these skills matter so much? Another thing to remember is that, contra libertarian assertions, value transference is by definition a zero sum game. If you have 10 people trying to sell something to someone, and you teach them all how to be better salesmen, you don't get anymore value. You get value from value creation. Which is why public schools should continue to put more emphasis on chemistry than on "social skills."

"Another thing to remember is that, contra libertarian assertions, value transference is by definition a zero sum game."
-Then why would anyone trade at all?

Ask options traders.

I love me some time decay

Every trade is zero sum at some superficial level. Not a very useful concept since very trade is also not zero sum at higher resolution.

"Another thing to remember is that, contra libertarian assertions, value transference is by definition a zero sum game."

Then it's a good thing that trades are not 'value transference'. They are the result of an asymmetry of value, I value a good less than I value a certain amount of dollars.

You value that good more than you do the same number of dollars. So you give me the dollars, and I give you the good. We have not 'transferred value' in this transaction - we have moved a good from a lower value use to a higher valued use, creating value in the process.

An extreme example: I have a million bottles of water, and you have a hundred dollars but you are dying of thirst. Your hundred dollars has very little value to you in that context, and a single bottle of water has very little marginal value to me. So if I trade you a bottle of water for your thousand dollars, you have certainly gained in value and so have I. Whether the trade is fair or just is another question, but there's no doubt that the trade created value for both of us.

#3 - good legal brief; price discrimination is good. Two damaging legal decisions in the USA, and aped by most other western countries (which take their lead from the USA) are: (1) Robinson-Patman act, which formally outlaws price discrimination (RPA however is not really enforced anymore, it had a heyday decades ago), and, (2) the Sup. Ct decision(s) that allowed grey goods (parallel imports) into the USA, thereby weakening price discrimination. It makes no sense that a Third Worlder should pay the same amount for anything as a First Worlder, for the same reason it makes sense to have speeding tickets 'means based' in Sweden, so the richer you are, the bigger your fine.

>> It makes no sense that a Third Worlder should pay the same amount for anything as a First Worlder, for the same reason it makes sense to have speeding tickets ‘means based’ in Sweden, so the richer you are, the bigger your fine.

Except the prices for good and services aren't meant to punish anyone. It makes perfect sense for first world governments to prevent companies from charging their citizens higher prices than those elsewhere in the world. Or at least not outright assisting them in the effort.

If the market is such that finding a global price doesn't drop the first world price much (because they have such a high willingness to pay compared to the third world, so it's better to keep the price high than get the additional purchases from the third world), then so long as the money from the third world is flowing into a first world company and paying first world employees which is taxed by the first world government you can most certainly argue a benefit to the first world nation.

If a company can sell a book at $100 to the first worlders and an additional copy at $5 to a third worlder, it'll do so. Remove arbitrage and that's $105 dollars in the first world after trade. Add the ability to arbitrage and the company will just stop selling the book at $5 and force everyone to buy at $100.

Even if the company in question is taxed by /some/ first world government (which is by no means guaranteed) all first world governments don't share taxes with each other.

Maybe you could argue that letting an Irish company price discriminate against Americans for the benefit of Indians is an easy way to provide foreign aid to India, but that's so convoluted we'll never even get credit for it.

I'm speaking of a world with a single first world nation and a single third world nation; assuming the cow is a sphere for simplicity's sake. In a world with America, India, and Ireland then it only makes sense for America to ensure that this company can price discriminate if some of the profits flow to America or if there's a reciprocal agreement with Ireland

How do the incentives work out for the politicians ultimately deciding whether to allow, assist, or inhibit cross-border price discrimination? My strong suspicion is that the incentives to politicians are much more important for understanding what actually happens than the incentives to different countries.

If I'm understanding correctly, grey goods, such as foreign textbooks, are the cost of a company profit maximizing through price discrimination. If you believe in the value of price discrimination, you should believe in the value of grey good trading.

The publishers would like to eliminate, or at least reduce, the grey market through legal mechanisms (i.e. making it a black market instead). The question is whether it makes sense for the higher price country to legislate that way.

Haiti is an astonishingly terrible place. All the Haitians would be better off if they were evacuated to an underpopulated African country and the land was handed over for spare parts to the Dominican Republic.

Senegal opened its doors to Haitians in 2010. Not a lot came.

How many could actually afford to leave?

How does the DR keep them out?


The DR does all it can to discourage immigration. There is a lot of severe discrimination in the DR against Haitian immigrants. The vast majority of them are stuck in the absolute lowest-rung jobs. Recent changes in the DR's immigration policy means that many children born of Haitian descent but in the DR are not DR citizens, nor are they [provably] Haitian citizens, but completely stateless.

Anti-Haitian sentiment in the DR goes as far back as Trujillo who had thousands of Haitians killed in 1937 in the "Parsley Massacre".

#4 What's so odd about that decision? People (some people, anyway) were astounded when Pat Tillman turned down a big contract and left the NFL to join the service. Not everyone measures life in general and success in particular in dollars and cents. Thank goodness. The Puritan ethos of maximizing income regardless of what it costs doesn't fly with a small but sensible minority.

Yeah but if the Cardinals had negligently killed Tillman and then covered it up, they could have been held liable, unlike the Army.

How sure can we be that Zenaida Tan is really a superior teacher ("invisible skills") and not the individual whose name is attached to the observation that lies 4 standard deviations above the mean?

Well the obvious answer is to measure her performance next year.

>NFL star quits after one season

"Star"? No. But thanks for linking to hype.

Many cloud problems turn into clock problems over time. Every clock problem started out as a cloud problem, even telling time.

The problem that has remained utterly cloudy is governance. In that domain the cloud is just getting darker.

I think you have to be right, because logically, a "clock problem" is made up of indivisible "cloud problems". No, I didn't read the article, so I probably have no idea what I'm talking about.

How does #3 play out on a societal level? If price discrimination generally leads to lower prices for poorer people it reduces their incentive to work harder and earn more. This might lead to a system where a good costs X% of my income, no matter how much I earn. That looks like a major market distortion to me that cannot be efficient and welfare-enhancing.

Grey markets keep price discrimination (which benefits buyers and sellers, by definition) from becoming the tragedy of the commons you are describing.

It seems gray-market arbitrage would mostly eliminate price discrimination, bringing us back to non-discrimination with an added indirection and the associated efficiency loss. Not an attractive proposition.
(I'm afraid I fail to see the commons in this context.)

It costs money to put a product out there and people tend to have absolute caps on their willingness to pay rather than relative ones (or at least a WTP that doesn't increase with their income 1:1). In a perfectly price discriminatory world you're still going to see the poor person able to buy less stuff thanks to production costs, and since someone earning 10x more than you isn't going to be willing to pay 10x more for a product, those with higher incomes will still end up with more wealth.

#7: Chalk one up in the 'negative feedback' column

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