Tuesday assorted links

1. “And moreover, the moment that anyone expresses outrage, he will call them a “mood affiliator…””

2. “You can say anything you like about sex nowadays, but the moment the topic turns to fiscal policy, there are endless things that everyone knows, that are even written up in textbooks and scholarly articles, but no one is supposed to talk about in public.”  That is David Graeber, in one of the most bizarre pieces I have read of late.

3. Yeti sightings are down.

4. Will the Cadillac Tax boost wagesIs Spotify hurting the music industry?

5. Knausgaard on Houllebecq does not disappoint.

6. The arms race for anti-drone weapons.  And Google wishes to enter drone delivery.

7. China’s covert radio network.

Comments

Your generosity in giving the first link to what was arguably quite a rude piece risks creating a moral hazard, I think! :)

Second!

"From the Universe among Nations
Shines brightly that of Brazil.
From the Universe among Nations
From the Universe among Nations
Shines brightly that of Brazil."

Where the nuts come from.

For what is worth, we call "Brazilian nuts" "Pará [Brazilian state] nuts". Maybe they come from there (Bolivia is a bigger selling anyway), but the guinea pig we call "little-pig-from-India" and it is neither a pig nor from India or Guinea, it is all a deception. Wake up, sheeple!!

"Where the nuts come from" is a quotation from the old comedy favourite "Charley's Aunt". It is not unheard of, however, for people to tease their Brazilian chums with the line.

Never heard of this play before. Seems interesting. Thank you.

Adam, too many words. Not in your comment, but in your post. Rude is fine, but I found it hard to find an argument in all of that. I think there might be one, but it is to diluted in all the text.

If I wanted to argue your side of it, I'd say that when people make "This is horrible, but it was effective" type arguments, then they are not truly separating the normative from the positive. That's because people normative judgements seep in from any endorsement, included ones like "it was effective". This is why Ghenghis Kahn is still a sort of hero.

Is that the argument you are making? Because I am not sure it applies all that well Tyler's post.

It was probably a case of trying to make too many arguments at once.
-The is-ought divide is overrated to the point of being fetisihized
-In economics an ought is almost always implied whenever people think they're speaking factually (this is what you were saying I believe)
-We need to take responsibility for the political implications of our rhetoric

Hmm there were supposed to be paragraph breaks between each -

I agree with you that the is-aught gap is more of a tautology than some people seem to think. That is, it is logically very sound, but it means less than it might have, had it been less solid. I also agree that Cartesian foundationalism is a failed project, and I think it is interesting that you link it to the habits of modern social scientists.

And of course I agree that seemlingly factual statements usually imply an ought -- that is indeed what I tried to say above. Still, context matters, and a wonkish blog like this is a good place for people to try and take such statements at face value.

As much as I hate Ghenghis Khan, it is still true that he really was an effective leader, and it should be possible to discuss that fact even though he was a monster. More importantly it should be possible to discuss the fact that Hitler was an effective politician, etc...

Sounds like we basically agree. And maybe I was overreacting to the wonkishness in that regard. I had originally intended to just vent privately, but then saw a few too many "benefits of the one-child policy" pieces floating around for my comfort.

I particularly like your (boiled down in the comment) 3rd point. There *is* a time when one *ought* to speak of *ought* instead of merely *is* (although critics might argue, "there *ought* to be a time..."?)

One of the benefits of Cowen's moral obtuseness is that he'll gladly link to someone deconstructing him out of anger. I don't believe Adam would do the same, making the normative position seem somewhat less warm and generous though it aims to give off a different impression.

I appreciate his generosity and I hope I would do the same.

"Normative" /=/ "warm" and "generous"

Christ.

If I make the inherently normative statement that serial killers are bad, am I being insufficiently warm and generous to serial killers?

excellent comment, I've now tweeted it, thanks...

you're still much too kind. it seems far more likely to me that Tyler is linking in order to present you as an object of ridicule than it is that he is linking out of any sense of generosity or kindness.

I've never seen any indication that Tyler works that way. Indeed, how often has he ever publicly ridiculed anyone?

No, Cowen just wants to popularize the term Mood affiliation so he can become popular as the guy who coined it.

Gotta get in on that bias term money train

Hahahaha!

moodaffiliation.com appears to be available for registration.

This is/ought applies to what I call carbon theater, doesn't it? Economists publish reams of papers on carbon trading or carbon taxes, as the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration moves upward at a smooth pace. At what point does the seeming action of discussion become counterproductive in a real pragmatic sense?

We've reached peak Knausgaard and, at this point, anyone who pretends to enjoy his tedious exercises in self-aggrandizing prolixity is just signaling. Or mood-affiliating. Or something.

For Christ's sake, the guy is laughing all the way to the bank, where I bet he expects a satisfying dry handjob from Franzen. Which he will then subject to intense scrutiny in a review of only 10,000 words.

Well said. I've never read him nor Rowland, the Harry Potter author. If you want a good read, try non-fiction, or the MCO chess book.

He writes non-fiction, bro

I like it, but I haven't read his books yet so maybe that would burn me out

Cliff: here is a piece of advice, his books suck. I also gave in to the hype (thanks Tyler :( ), but i was really disappointed. The books (or the first book, because i couldnt read more than 100 pages) while intriguing at first becomes oh so boring after just a few pages...So in some sense i think this Knausgaard is freaking genius because to make 6 best seller books out of his relatively uneventful life, is in deed truly an achievement!!!

To each his own. I like his books very much. A Time for Everything is spectacular.

Not everything you dislike is at a peak.

The fact that he can publish an unconscionably long travel piece in which he spends most of the time talking about how bad of a traveler he is *and* an unconscionably long book review in which he spends most of the time talking about how he hasn't read the author before -- all in a single calendar year -- makes me think, yes, we've reached Peak Knausgaard. I hope the Paris Review publishing an excerpt of the latest translation this summer was less an homage than it was a requiem.

He can't escape the dull banality of his own mind - give it a few years and he'll either be forgotten or fawned over only by the two-bit literati who litter the streets of New York with their own banalities.

Yup. I haven't read his novels, but with his NY Times travel piece I figured now's my chance to sample his writing. I read the entire first half, which was a waste of time. But I figured that he'd said, honestly, that he wasn't meant to be a travel writer and so to speak wrote the article under duress (or because he was paid for it, whatever). So maybe he does better when writing in other genres.

I gave up on this book review after about five paragraphs. At least I didn't see any passages that seemed to be parodies of Scandinavian angst-ridden art, which his travel piece was riddled with. Although, come to think of it, the whole schtick about not reading great novels might fall into that category, or maybe it's more like an idea from a bad Woody Allen movie.

It's an insightful review once it gets started. A good (actually, even a mediocre) editor would have struck out the first four paragraphs. They add no value. You wouldn't accept them from an unknown reviewer, and you shouldn't accept them from Knausgaard. But NYT book reviews have gotten increasingly amateurish and "book reporty" in recent years, and many reviewers now open their reviews by drawing attention to themselves with some personal anecdote.

Or perhaps people like different things. Not such a revolutionary concept. Tyler likes Knausgaard. I have enjoyed his NYT pieces, but doubt I'd want a full book (or 6 full books) so haven't attempted to go down that road.
Sorry it aint the funny pages for you.

2 & 3 are clearly related. I expect Graeber's next article should point this out. Why wouldn't the damaging effects of austerity trickle down to yetis? Can you find a more marginalized population than ostracized snow monsters? I'm surprised he hasn't gotten deep enough to realize the role reverse vampires and saucer people are playing in this conspiracy. Though, I'm pretty sure he already knows too much.

I'm with Adam! Or let's examine the positive aspects of Germany's pre-war policy of killing the mentally impaired!

You could go that one step further - the Holocaust led directly to the success of Germany's Rhineland capitalism, all those successful middle-sized companies and even the European Union.

It is interesting that the one-child policy led to more investment in children, but it does not excuse the massive and pointless infliction of pain and suffering on most of China's population. If ever you need a poster-child for stupid, morally obtuse, cruel government intervention, just picture an eight-month pregnant woman being dragged, crying, to have an abortion against her will.

As the Left doesn't care about women's choices, perhaps it is better to say it is like saying Apartheid improved outcomes for the slower, dumber, White children. So it did.

As the Left doesn’t care about women’s choices

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Rights_Are_Human_Rights

You are citing one of Hilary's SuperPACs as evidence of this?

From back in the day when she was still listening to her husband and triangulating. Before she decided she did not need the White working class vote?

Interesting. But I don't think that says what you think it says.

Bejeezus, you right-wing clowns are all the same. I provide direct evidence that people on the left do actually care about women's issues and you somehow twist it into the Big Lie.

Next you can explain how Obama's support for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is actually patriarchy in disguise, all those Republicans who voted against it were the real feminist, right alongside Sarah Palin's Real Americans.

It was a big deal when Hillary made that speech, and unexpected. Bill Clinton did not want her to say the things she said. She did it anyway.

I'm no Hillary fan, but her position on women's issues goes back the Nixon administration.

The Republicans' goes back to the Bronze Age.

The Original D November 4, 2015 at 1:37 am

Bejeezus, you right-wing clowns are all the same. .... I’m no Hillary fan, but her position on women’s issues goes back the Nixon administration.

I like to think I am a different sort of right wing clown, but no matter. Hilary's position on women's issues goes back longer than that. It goes back to trashing a 12 year old rape victims for laughs. It goes back to her trashing the rape victims her husband left behind him. Yes, she has a record on women's issues. A vile record. If you think she takes forced abortion seriously, what did she do about it as Sec. of State? She had the bully pulpit. What did she do? What did she say? You have to go back to some electioneering stunt in 1995 to find a quote. When she wasn't in a position to do a damn thing.

The Republicans’ goes back to the Bronze Age.

You seem to think this is a criticism. I don't think pandering to delusional lesbians is a worthwhile object, myself.

Every decision, even the most morally repugnant, has some positive and some negative outcomes.

The more morally repugnant the decision, the more likely than the positive is outweighed by the negative.

However, you have to get very morally repugnant before the positive goes all the way down to zero.

Even the Holocaust put casual anti-semitism out of fashion in polite Western society, paving the way for the assimilated American Jewish middle class.

It's probably better to think of this as the 'silver lining in every cloud'. I think given the choice most American Jews would rather the Holocaust never happened and casual anti-semitism was a bit more in fashion. If indeed it would be, many kinds of racism have had to go underground in the recent era. I don't think you needed the Holocaust for this to occur.

Feels over reals.

World War II was a nightmare for all involved, but after it was over the US benefitted tremendously in terms of economic development.

Your life is probably quote a bit better than it otherwise would be because Hitler chose to execute millions. Am I supposed to feel guilty for acknowledging that?

but after it was over the US benefitted tremendously in terms of economic development. -

How? Growth rates were somewhat more rapid during the period running between 1949 and 1973 than they were prior to 1929 or after 1973, but that was true all over the occidental world.

The idea WW II had any economic benefit is one of the most insane arguments in economics. Rationing, mass conscription, half a million Americans killed, millions more injured, an enormously wasteful shift to production of military resources...

That's why I said after the war. America stood alone as an economic colossus.

You also said: "Your life is probably quote a bit better than it otherwise would be because Hitler chose to execute millions. " This is just crazy.

It's true the US had more postwar infrastructure than the rest of the world (we entered the war with 39% of world industrial capacity), but that only made us relatively better off when compared to the rest of the world, in absolute terms, we were much worse off. Economics is positive sum!

Similarly, Maoism lowered not just Chinese but also (to a lesser extent) American living standards. Who knows what contributions a free China might have made to human progress?

I would not support a one-child policy in any country that does not have its back against the wall, and now that China is not in that situation, sure.

I think though that everybody who enjoys great personal opportunity is just being glib when they say that such a policy is always bad, never the lesser evil. What if the earth's population were 23 billion, and you didn't have the happy accident of declining birth rates in developed countries. Would one child still, then, be as horrible as genocide?

No one compared it to genocide except you.

If is such an interesting word. If the Earth was invaded and the aliens told you to press a button on their special machine which would inflict a slow and painful death on every Jew on the planet, or otherwise they would destroy the entire planet, would you do it?

Well for one thing, we have not been invaded by aliens and so the question is beside the point. Some idiot on the internet wrote something claiming that a story like Cold Equations is written so we can vicariously push a girl out the air lock. There is no rule that says the story has to go that way. If you want to search endlessly for examples where forced abortion makes you feel alright about your priors, please be my guest. We do not live in that world.

2. Terrifying. "If the government pays off its debt, what it’s basically doing is transferring that debt directly to you, as mortgage debt, credit card debt, payday loans, and so on." Sounds like MMT, which seems to be the new social-democratic Marxism. As much of a tragedy will ensue if anyone actually tries it, one suspects it may never be discredited without an object lesson on the scale of other Marxist experiments like North Korea.

Yes, Graeber has jumped the shark when he says: "That’s where money comes from. Obviously if nobody took out any loans at all, there wouldn’t be any money. The economy would collapse." - I think a 'narrow banking' advocate would disagree. What might collapse is the fiat banking system, not the economy, if nobody took out loans.

Not only that. It's clearly wrong to anyone with any knowledge of history. Civilisation operated for thousands of years without debt-based money.

Even his own Neo-Chartalists often talk about the Medieval Kings "Crying Down" the value of types of coins. That's an inconvertible commodity currency system.

Graeber's exchanges with Brad DeLong lead me to believe that while he's not stupid, he petulantly doubled down on a lot of basic factual errors in his book.

His comment in the article about money requiring loans (see Ray just above) makes me...further question whether he's done his homework, to put it lightly. If nobody took out loans, there would still be money, it just wouldn't be "multiplied" by a fractional-reserve banking system. A market system doesn't require one, though it does seem to make things more convenient.

The multiplier fractional reserve understanding of banking is just wrong. Banking has never worked that way. Until about 100 years ago, many countries had no central bank, but their commercial banks still managed to loan plenty of money into existance.

Greenspan is a Marxist?

He supported tax cuts to prevent paying off all the public Treasury debt because zero outstanding Treasury debt would be bad for the economy.

"...At the same time, we must avoid a situation in which we come upon the level of irreducible debt so abruptly that the only alternative to the accumulation of private assets would be a sharp reduction in taxes and/or an increase in expenditures, because these actions might occur at a time when sizable economic stimulus would be inappropriate. In other words, budget policy should strive to limit potential disruptions by making the on-budget surplus economically inconsequential when the debt is effectively paid off.

"In general, as I have testified previously, if long-term fiscal stability is the criterion, it is far better, in my judgment, that the surpluses be lowered by tax reductions than by spending increases."

Testimony of Chairman Alan Greenspan
Outlook for the federal budget and implications for fiscal policy
Before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. Senate
January 25, 2001

After that testimony I realized he's basically just a Republican in sheep's clothing.

Greenspan does not endorse MMT. His statement there refers to the speed of the disruption, not any objection to any particular debt level per se.

Also, he said they should cut taxes rather than spend. Anti-Marxist.

"He supported tax cuts to prevent paying off all the public Treasury debt because zero outstanding Treasury debt would be bad for the economy."

The quote you give doesn't demonstrate that he thinks that. He is objecting to shocks at TallDave says.

Anyway, the amount of outstanding government debt needed to back the money supply is small. It's much smaller than the actual national debt in the US or most developed countries.

The 'national debt' needn't even be eliminated regardless of balanced budgets or long term surpluses. Marketable debt securities could be issued in the quantities desired, and be entirely offset in net terms by having the borrowed funds sit in a SWF. Even a modest long-term rate of return ought to allow the SWF to stay well ahead of the borrowing costs of a country with zero net debt and a large reserve of assets.

That's true too, I hadn't thought of that.

#1 I'm very curious to know the author's attitude toward abortion.

2. Debt shifting (from public to private) as the result of a government surplus (austerity) has a nice conspiracy ring to it (especially when it's added that rich people own most of the debt), but the prediction at the end of the piece (another housing bubble orchestrated by the Conservative government which results in lots of private debt - because houses will cost more - followed by another financial crisis) seems to come from, well, left field. Is there a straight line from government surplus (austerity) to higher private debt to a housing bubble to a financial crisis? Sure, we (the U.S.) ran a short government surplus in the late 1990s when Clinton was president, which came to a quick end when GWB was elected and passed all those income tax cuts. Am I to believe that Clinton caused the housing bubble and the financial crisis because he created a government surplus. That's not a very convincing conspiracy. A better conspiracy would include GWB and all that public debt.

If there's a government surplus, that's austerity? A sane perspective would be that austerity would be the government declining to spend on non-essentials, like more aircraft carriers, space probes, research on lesbian weddings, NASCAR advertising by the Army and so on, over the horizon. Then taxes would be lowered to match government spending. But life doesn't work that way.

rayward: the 2001 recession and the post-9/11 wars never happened. Only "all those income tax cuts". And you're nuts. Both conspiracies are idiotic.

One is a good piece, if somewhat overwrought. I agree that the "Delphic oracle" approach to so many of the articles here can be frustrating, but I also concede that that's part of the point. Still comes across as rather bloodless.

2. I find it odd that Tyler considers an explanation why economies are zero sum to be bizarre.

What I find bizarre is the fact that economists have eliminated the requirement of zero sum in economics.

It's like the zero sum requirement prohibits the free lunch, which made economics before Reagan too dismal.

Note that Greenspan effectively made the same argument circa 2000 when he support tax cuts to prevent reducing the Federal debt to the public to zero by about 2010. Just think if the tax cuts had not taken place and instead of $10T in debt by 2008 the Treasury only had $1T outstanding - where would savers looking for safe assets park their cash? Greek bonds? GE Capital bonds... GMAC bonds... Puerto Rico bonds... Mortgage bonds...

Clearly when you reject the zero sum rule you can argue for lots of cash savings to drive up asset prices instead of paying wages. But that merely creates a different form of debt if not exactly debt. If you inflate the price of a GE share of stock, the rate of return goes down just as if you inflate the price of a GE bond that finances consumer spending. But the idea is that you can cut labor costs to drive up profits and the rate of return without reducing GDP from the level it would be without reduced labor costs.

Economists invented a way to create "savings" without work, central banks that "print money" by seeking out borrowers who do not need to work or put up real assets, thinking that that will increase GDP without increasing the work done, because paying workers costs too much and the current economic theory is reducing labor costs will lead to rapid GDP growth.

If economies are zero sum, lower labor costs reduces GDP, which is clearly something that seems bizarre to today's economists, but that was well understood in the 60s.

And that is what I see as bizarre.

"Zero sum" means there is a winner and a loser. If A plays a game of basketball with B, either A wins and B loses or B wins and A loses.

Voluntary trade is not zero sum. When A trades with B, both A and B expect to be better off. Now that Kobe is old, A doesn't want to play basketball anymore; s/he would rather ride a bike. Now that Lance Armstrong is no longer competing, B doesn't want to ride his/her bike; s/he would rather play basketball. Both A and B are better off if A swaps his/her basketball for B's bike.

Economists have not "eliminated" the "requirement" of zero-sum. It was never there to begin with. In fact, the only thing required is the expectation that exchanges will *not* be zero-sum.

If you feel you live in a zero-sum world, where the only way to succeed is to make everyone else fail, I feel sorry for you.

"It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail."--Gore Vidal, attributed

"If you feel you live in a zero-sum world, where the only way to succeed is to make everyone else fail, I feel sorry for you." It's mulp. He inhabits another plane of existence, which only casually bares a resemblance to ours.

If the tax cuts had not taken place, there would still be a 0.0000% chance of there being only $1 trillion in debt in 2008. Fags still often pretend the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the 2001 recession never had any fiscal impact.

Yeah, gay people are always saying that stuff in discos

Why don't people see the yeti any more?

Cell phones? If you say you saw one now, people would ask then why didn't you take a picture? UFO siting are down.

They died out, obviously. This happens to species all the time.

The cheap price of photos is my answer too.

Our grandchildren will grow up in a world where ghost stories are unrelatable.

We are all atheists now.

As pointed out over at xkcd a couple years ago.

I think XKCD is wrong about that. Judging by recent stories, all of the UFO's have taken to hovering around the ISS.

A line graph with a lengthy, smarmy, caption that both makes the joke and pedantically explains the joke for you. Oh what a "comic" xkcd is.

#2 “You can say anything you like about sex nowadays, but the moment the topic turns to fiscal policy, there are endless things that everyone knows, that are even written up in textbooks and scholarly articles, but no one is supposed to talk about in public.”
Does it mean Playboy will publish fiscal policy scholarly articles? A friend of mine wants to know.

Playboy did a famous interview with Milton Friedman. February 1973 I believe. Jeanette Larson was on the cover and Cyndi someone was Pet of the Month.

Or so a friend told me.

A friend of mine read the interview.

Found it.

http://www.ilpaesedicuccagna.it/L1/L2/L3_Playmates/1973/Wood/Wood.html

https://thefaintofheart.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/the-1973-interview-with-milton-friedman.pdf

That's good too. :-)

#3 I blame global warming ...even mythical creatures are becoming extinct

How loud are these drones? If they are anywhere close to leaf blowers I predict huge blowback. Who wants to hear high pitched whines flying overheard at all hours? At least with cars you can choose to live away from heavily-trafficked streets.

I think the bigger impact will be the end of over-the-air television. Since the conversion to digital, I am subject to frequent loss of signal and usually I can hear an airplane when that happens. Drones are smaller but if they're closer they could cause the same thing. If there's enough of them, over-the-air television will be unwatchable.

Get a better antenna.

I already have the second-largest antenna Radio Shack sold. I think it's about 7 or 8 feet long. It's huge. I live just west of San Jose, and I can only pick up a few San Francisco stations. The conversion to digital has been terrible for me -- I lost about 3/4 of my stations even after buying the big antenna. If it was a plot by the wireless companies to get rid of over-the-air television, it seems to be succeeding. When the drones arrive, that will be the end.

4. Will the Cadillac Tax boost wages?

"Employers will choose cheaper insurance plans to stick beneath the Cadillac tax threshold, and then they'll move the money they would have spent on insurance over to wages. The result: America's health care spending falls, and its paychecks swell. No wonder economists love it. But why wouldn't companies just pocket the money instead? "

It appears as if the author of the Vox article believes that the Obamacare Cadillac Tax will permanently boost the profitability of all companies that would be affected by the tax. And furthermore that the employees would accept a straight cut in total compensation. It seems unlikely that those conditions would last any length of time. If a company can permanently boost it's profitability by cutting insurance costs without any effect on retaining staff, surely most companies would have already done so. And indeed, I'm certain there are plenty of examples of it happening, but at some point, cost cutting starts effecting employee retention.

"The government would still take a cut of any wage bump - Even if economic theory plays out as predicted — and all premium dollars cut get transferred over to wages — workers still would lose money."

Well yes, that was clearly intentional on the part of the Obamacare architects. But the bill is chock full of taxes, this is just another, and relatively minor one.

1 - It is not clear to me what the author wants to do about the is - ought divide other than take a poll to decide when it is obviously inapplicable because Human Being Something Something. I do appreciate that he points out how normative positions are required in any cost - benefit analysis.

Overall I would reframe most of his argument into something like "economists and perhaps marginal revolutionaries in particular are a bit too fond of provocative cutesyness in rhetoric". I would cosign that kind of criticism. The whole bit about is - ought is a bit of a mess that kind of sounds like 'we should make no effort to separate discovery of fact from value weighted judgement", which seems not so great to me.

Since we seem basically in agreement on two out of the three points I was trying to make, I'll respond to the one we disagree on (or clarify in any case since it seems it was muddled):

The is-ought thing was a trivially true observation Hume made about formal logic. But he didn't say "we never can get to what we ought to do from our observation of what is," he cried foul on philosophers who assumed a relationship between is and ought without specifying what that relationship was.

The thing that frustrates me is when someone explains a situation, then goes on to say "we ought to do X about it," and some kid fresh off of reading a post summarizing Hume shouts "No ought from is bro!" As if it is actually a fallacy to jump from some understanding of the situation to what we should do about it. Yes, philosophers should (ought?) to flesh out that relationship in their systems of thought, because it's simple intellectual sloppiness not to, given that elucidating a system is their whole task.

But these very specific points don't have much bearing on real world discussions, where advancing arguments within a given social context has _clear_ normative implications.

If the fixation on the is-ought distinction merely means "philosophers should specify the relationship, and everyone else should actually draw out the normative implications of what they're saying to put them explicitly in play," then that's fine. If it means "we don't have to care about normative implications when we're talking about matters of fact," that's just foolish.

Ok right. It's just for all this is MR and the internet, my experience of most arguments out in the world is that many times the normative implications are assumed to be obvious but are not obvious. Anthropogenic global warming is real and the result of development. Okay. The ought is not clear. Should we live in huts? Should we impose a carbon tax that is not going to solve the problem but is "a step in the right direction?" Should we invest in technologies to live in a warmer climate? I worry when people start telling me the ought is obvious. But, yes, with regard to the single child policy, a person operating from a framework in which choice is important at all will have a hard time coming up with an argument from utility that makes it all cool.

#6...They might try using drones large enough to swallow smaller drones.

#4. It is happening, you can see it happening at my company, which recently eliminated a popular health plan, I suspect due to the tax, and replaced it with a HDHP. But there are many confounding factors.
The problem is that the reduction in benefits has had the effect of causing some high-value employees to leave, and it's not just the health plans - there have been a number of other changes. However, salary raises are made at the end of the year, so first of all there has been no time for people to know if they will be compensated with higher wages, and secondly, some of the people who would be most likely to get compensated may have simply moved on. People who stayed, well, they may not be as good negotiators or as aggressive about seeking maximum compensation. Thus the company can afford to not raise their salary *as much*. They were always going to be the people whose salary would lag because they aren't going to threaten to move on if they don't get raises.
But, over time, if the company wants to attract the high-value employees, they are going to have to recruit them at competitive salaries.
I think what you would want to look at is not to track individual salaries over time, because that would make it hard to see due ot the above effects. You would want to track average compensation levels for a particular type of position. That would account for new hires getting paid more as they replace older employees.

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