Thursday assorted links

1. Sex Pistols to feature on a range of credit cards.  “Virgin Money said it was “time for consumers to put a little bit of rebellion in their pocket””  And: “Most of the cards have a representative interest rate of 18.9% APR.”

2. “…the [Gates] foundation now spends more on global health every year than the World Health Organization.”  Bravo I say.  The rest of the piece reads like something out of Atlas Shrugged.

3. Let this intelligent oven cook for you.



The economics profession has failed when an organization as well informed as Vox continues to compare, in the old school parlance, "stocks" and "flows"...who cares what the relative size of the Gates Foundation endowment is to the GDP of anything?

"as well informed as Vox"


I would think the average writer (editor?) at Vox has taken a college economics class, and more likely than not passed it. I am not saying they are as well informed as the average commenter on MR ;-)

Who is to say the average commenter at MR has any idea of what he or she is talking about?

Does't mean they are still not better informed than the average Vox writer.

Wait I'm confused. So why do we compare the stock of debt to GDP all the time?

Because we have to pay interest on the debt (a flow variable) out of GDP, more specifically out of the part of GDP that the Federal government collects in taxes. We don't have to pay the Gates Foundation...

in re: #3 if you're the kind of person who would bake a steak, may god have mercy on your soul and perhaps you should stick to eating out. let intelligent chefs cook for you.

Agreed. Don't buy cooking devices made by people who don't cook, and especially don't buy cooking devices made by people who don't cook for other people who don't cook. Twice damned.

It works all right to sear the steak with direct heat then finish it in a medium oven. The only problem is that unless it is a particularly thick cut, or numerous pieces, there is no reason not to keep it simple with a skillet or grill.

yea, the ones pictured in the link would have been fine with about 5 minutes total in a hot pan. if you can afford double-cut porterhouse you can afford to just go to a steakhouse and not smoke up your kitchen.

If I can afford to pay $20 for a steak, then I can afford to pay $75 for it? I guess not everyone here is an economist.

“Virgin Money said it was “time for consumers to put a little bit of rebellion in their pocket."

Well I, too, wish to be a rebel, mostly so I can be just like all the other rebels. But, is image sufficient, or must I actually rebel against something?

Perhaps it's possible to be a highly conformist rebel, but is it possible to be a rebel without actually rebelling? What, exactly, is rebellious about putting a Virgin Money/Sex Pistols credit card in my wallet?

Nothing against the Sex Pistols but they started nearly 40 years ago....They do not anyway constitute any kind of modern rebellion.

Hell, the 'Sex Pistols' of my generation, NWA or Nirvana, started almost 30 years ago.

What's great is that you can get your mohawk and tattoos and voila, you're aggressively counterculture. In ways approved by the counterculture. And, by extension, the culture. Here's your cubicle.

As my favorite lyricist John S. Hall wrote, "I want to be different, like everybody else I want to be like / I want to be just like all the different people"

The Pistols, or at least Malcolm and Johnny, would have been all for it, if Virgin cut them in on the action. They were first rate poseurs and put it right in our faces: The Great Rock & Roll Swindle.

That Vox column seemed a little harsh on the Gates foundation (although I think that was a reflection of their attempt to stay neutral). It is a little odd to criticize someone for giving too much money to charity, and thus becoming important to those charities. Why yes, the person who funds 50-90% of your operations probably wants to have their opinion listened too.

I also have found that the quality of vox, or perhaps the balance of vox, has gotten significantly worse over the past 3-6 months. There started off projecting a teacher tone (i.e. the explainer cards), but have continued those tones onto subjects where professional opinion is far less settled. I am fine with the drift from center-left to leftist publication, but have the decency to stop writing like you have a monopoly on the facts.

They're under the same pressure as most New Media outlets these days, namely to keep churning up page visits with as much new content marketed as attractively as possible. Quality unsurprisingly starts to slip, although they're not exactly the Huffington Post or the like yet.

I appreciate the competitive pressure they're under, but I die a little inside when they publish click-baity crap, especially when they start jumping on the social justice bandwagon. I know that they know their economics, or at least Klein and Yglesias do, so it does get my goat a little when they publish something that makes me think, "Come on guys. I know this is crap, you must know that this is crap. Don't demean yourselves like this."

Oops I'm not supposed to say "you guys" anymore. Vox says that's offensive.

I've been microaggressed!

You have to look at the author of Vox articles. I really like about half of them, but a couple are just bad.

"but have the decency to stop writing like you have a monopoly on the facts"

That would only be possible if they actually believed that they dont have a monopoly on the facts.

They made them up, why wouldn't they have a monopoly on the facts?

Prove it, with citations.

“[Zach] Beauchamp wrote Vox’s 26-card ‘explainer’ on Israel and Palestine and he thought — until a random internet person corrected him — that there was a bridge connecting Gaza to the West Bank.”

Their famous mistake! God that one will follow him for many years.

Anything else at all?

Here are 46 more examples:

I thought they were way too negative. Sure, it'd be nice if the world of public health wasn't entirely dependent on the generosity of private institutions to get anything done. But when that is the case, the solution isn't to criticize the large institution and talk about how you're not sure if they have ANY positive impact on word health. Rather, criticize the system that leads to a public health sector where private institutions have so much power.

Additionally, they offered no concrete reasons for criticism. How can you spend that much column space criticizing the Gates Foundation without offering anything in the way of actual criticism?

The closest they got to an actual issue was disagreement over the Gates Foundation's support for strong IP rights. This is an area where you can have valid disagreement, and if you think strong IP is bad for the developing world's health, it's reasonable to worry that the Gates Foundation's primary role in funding that could keep folks from airing their true feelings on strong IP. The (unexplored) irony, of course, is that the Gates Foundation is a thing only because of strong IP, albeit in the software world.

So ya. Pretty weak offering.

Vox is the gay version of Gawker.

Gawker is not a straight version of anything.

I had the same reaction as Tyler to the Vox piece. The best part is when it says that the Gates foundation has "little oversight or accountability". If you ask me, one of the key appeals of being a billionaire is the ability to spend your money with "little oversight or accountability".

We must nationalize the Gates Foundation as soon as possible!

They are just following the NYT standard for journalism. When reporting on the private sector, it is customary to describe it as "shockingly unregulated" or something similar.

O'Sullivan's Law in action. I didn't think it would take just a few months though.

Vox was always left-wing and a terrible news source.

> If you ask me, one of the key appeals of being a billionaire is the ability to spend your money with “little oversight or accountability”.

Great for all the billionaires, sucktastic for everyone else subject to their capricious whims.

Carnegie spent his money a lot more wisely, and left a much greater legacy, than LBJ did with the Great Society. We were all better off when the WASP elite spent their own money than when their successors spent other people's.

All those libraries he founded - terrible, just terrible. Didn't he know that it takes a village to make a library?

> Carnegie spent his money a lot more wisely, and left a much greater legacy,

Stating your opinion as fact isn't a convincing form of argumentation.

No but stating a fact as a fact often wins.

What did Carnegie do that helped you personally?

Are you going to use Medicare?

Well...after I get that Carnegie Mellon degree in December, I think he will have done quite a bit for me personally.

Carnegie spent his money a lot more wisely.

Carnegie bought 7,000 church organs. The only thing wise about that purchase was his reasoning: "To lessen the pain of the sermon."

I need a church organ more than I need a vaccine for malaria.

I mean in most parts of Brazil malaria risk is low. Unfortunately, the incessant drone of church sermons is near universal.

My point exactly. Give a Third World child a vaccine and it will live, and he will still die eventually; give a bored Brazilian a church organ, and he will play a requiem-and annoy his neighbors.

Curt F. June 11, 2015 at 2:10 pm

I had the same reaction as Tyler to the Vox piece. The best part is when it says that the Gates foundation has “little oversight or accountability”.

What they mean is that Gates is spending the money and not people like them. That is why they like the government to spend money. Because it is spent by and for middle class White leftists with useless non-STEM degrees like them. It follows their priorities. They are happier with older organizations they have taken over. Like the Red Cross which has, so far, managed to spend millions in Haiti and build six houses.

Gates just needs to hire some more Diversity Officers and announce that he will be spending more to support transgender puppet theater in Nepal or something.

Those assholes don't have STEM degrees!! Burn the fools! Hahaha.

They're incapable of STEM degrees, that's why they fall victim to economic fallacies.

Haha. There is a reason economics is not grouped with the STEM fields. Dismal science.

The first guiding principle of the [Gates] Foundation is that it is 'driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family..."

Lulz. The punchlines write themselves.

1. Better be careful - the amount of irony in such a card might be sufficient to create a black hole.

2. Good for them. If there are any potential philanthropic billionaires out there, I urge them to back a foundation that gives grants only to people trying to duplicate experiments for verification. There's a lot of bang for your buck there!

Duplicating/verifying positive experimental results is critical and under-funded in modern academia. I'm not sure if your comment was seriously getting at this or criticizing the practice, but I would love for there to be funding to independently verify results from medical trials.

Duplicating/verifying positive experimental results

Is known as denialism is certain circles - like the Democrat party.

What a waste of time. It's never worth confirming findings. We must believe every experimental finding forever, no matter who sponsored the research or how the study was designed. Libtards.

Andreas Lundh, MD, from the Nordic Cochrane Centre, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues found that company-sponsored trials were more likely to report favorable efficacy results (risk ratio [RR], 1.24; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14 - 1.35), safety profiles (RR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.54 - 2.27), and conclusions (RR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.20 - 1.44) compared with non–industry sponsored studies.

Sorry, that exclamation point made it sound like I was being sarcastic, but I meant it. I really do wish a billionaire would fund this, because it's vitally needed - and the existing system of science has a bias towards supposedly new research at the expense of duplicating those results.

> the amount of irony in such a card might be sufficient to create a black hole.

Not so much. The sex pistols were a manufactured corporate band, nothing rebellious about them.

Now, Mercedes co-opting Janet Joplin for their most effective commercial ever, that is implosion level irony.

Do you think Janis was singing that song ironically? I don't. She drove around in a Porsche for crying out loud.

She bought that porsche used for just over half the original price. So no, I don't think she was singing ironically.

I don't think Michael McClure was writing ironically either. Janis just wrote the music, he wrote the words. Cool dude. Google him.

John Arnold, the former hedgie from Houston, is doing just that - being extremely "results oriented" with his foundation giving. Naturally this causes must angst for the "feel good" non-profits which seem to serve mostly as a source of ego cuddles and employment for social science majors.

I like what the Arnolds are doing with obesity and diet research in particular.

#1 - Looks like material for an updated reissue of the good Professor's excellent In Praise of Commercial Culture. Lydon is apparently worth $15M

#3 - "Yes, I'd like this filet mignon well done, please." "I'm sorry Urso. I can't do that."

Now that's what I call a well-behaved computer

Re #2 - some people are just never happy - especially when they're pet project isn't being funded.

To be frank, I can not stand Bill Gates since he sent me an e-mail promissing me a car if I sent 1000 e-mails promoting Windows 8 and he didn't keep his end of the bargain. I don't care if he is curing lepers with his touch, I want my car. He is wasting my prize money on vaccines for poor children who will end up dying one day anyway. He is history's worst monster.

So, you're parents are antivaxxers? All of us are gonna die too.

It's completely different. They didn't waste my prize money with vaccines, they used the government-issued ones. I am a public good because I make everyone's lives worth living, so it's just fair that the expenses be shared by all tax-payers (although the fact that the Brazilian government managed to make the immunization program work decently-just contrast with virtually any other Brazilian state program- never ceases to amaze me: my life is truly a miracle).
When they accepted those vaccines, those African babies became accessories to deceptive advertising, grand theft and mass spamming and, sooner or pater, they will have to face the consequences of their acts..

"paying most of its grants out to rich countries and prioritizing infectious diseases (such as HIV/AIDS and malaria) over major chronic killers such as obesity, cancer, and diabetes."

How dare they give most of their money to rich countries to curb diseases which affect poor countries. They should be giving Liberia money to cure obesity!

#3 The June oven is missing humidity (what is known as a combi oven, popularized by Rational). Too bad. I was interested for about 10 seconds.

what customer, being marketed to as 'someone who can't cook', would pay to plumb in what would effectively be a combi toaster oven?


"Temperamental Rice Cooker Forces Woman to Learn Korean"

"The voice-activated rice cooker only speaks Korean"

#2) Somewhat related: Ford Foundation shifting to focus entirely on inequality:

Let the hate flow through you.

The Ford Foundation passes the Jan audit! That would make this comment about exactly 100% right:

"That is why they like the government to spend money. Because it is spent by and for middle class White leftists with useless non-STEM degrees like them. It follows their priorities."

Ford gets a pass on nationalization, because it's already being spent as desired.

A wise man once said "socialism is the religion of self-deification."

Well ideally a 100% white, middle class leftist collective of workers would simply seize the foundation directly, skipping the whole nationalization part. But whatever.

Here is a quote. You get to guess who said it: "Capitalism has shortfalls. It doesn't necessarily take care of the poor, and it underfunds innovation, so we have to offset that." And no cheating, you silly!

Nobody ever mistook Gates for apologist for capitalism!

Sometimes, the difference between a monopolist and a capitalist is hard to see. John D. Rockefeller was just as much a capitalist - or not a capitalist, as one prefers - as Gates.

Hopefully they measure their results at improving the lives of the poor. I wonder what they will find as the most effective countermeasures.

As have all charities, since the beginning of time, by definition. What the Ford foundation is really doing is shifting its rhetoric towards the buzzword du jour. Market[ing] in everything.

Comments for this post are closed