Thursday assorted links


Did Mr McKenzie think to do some actual research where tipping is not the norm? I've not been impressed by the service in US restaurants as compared to Australia, where tipping is rare.

In order for the incentive argument for tipping to work, there would need to be evidence that customers actually adjust their tip amount based on the quality of service. While there's obviously no direct way to measure it, one might at the very least be able to track, inter alia, average tipping rates and standard deviations therefrom at a sample of restaurants, or average tipping rates and standard deviations therefrom from a sample of restuarantgoers at a sample of different restaurants.

Personally, I pretty much always tip ~20% by just doing a rough "move the decimal, double the amount, round it" calculation, and quality of service just affects whether I round up or down. At that margin, there's no real incentive in place, so the necessary premise to the incentive theory of tipping wouldn't work if I'm representative of most customers.

Tipping works best if you adjust your tip for quality of service at a restaurant you frequent enough to be remembered at.

Which for me is 2, maybe 3 restaurants, where the whole thing is complicated by the fact that servers/bartenders often comp drinks and such. But for the run-of-the-mill customer is that number greater than even 1?

Only if you also get the same waiter each time.

When I delivered for Domino's Pizza in college, it was common knowledge among the deliverers if a customer was an especially good or bad tipper, and this knowledge was passed on to new drivers even before they'd gone to the house. "Ah, you're headed to 3334 Lynn Street (or whatever), you're going to get a big tip!"

Absolutely. If you take a run with 3 pies, company policy was always to deliver them in the order they were received. Every driver I knew, always prioritized good tippers and de-prioritized bad tippers.

One efficiency loss from tipping that I've observed & that is often neglected in these types of studies: in places like Japan and New Zealand, where there is no tipping, you can depart promptly when you are done with the meal. Just head over to the cash register, pay, and get on your merry way. In the US, the same basic transaction involves a lot more steps and time: 1. Flag down a server and let them know you want the check; 2. Wait for the server to bring over the check; 3. Once the check is delivered, waste more time trying to flag down to the server again to take back the check with your card; 4. Wait for the server to bring back the check again; 5. Calculate the tip and sign off. What takes 3 minutes in Japan can end up taking 30 minutes in the US.

Note that this is a loss for everyone: customer wastes time, server has additional work that doesn't benefit anyone, restaurant can't turn over tables as quickly.

Re: in places like Japan and New Zealand, where there is no tipping, you can depart promptly when you are done with the meal. Just head over to the cash register, pay, and get on your merry way.

That isn't because of tipping though. There are places in the US where you can also pay at the cash register, leaving a tip either by credit card on by cash on the table.

The problem in the US is that tips are not shared among staff, even though they usually do not vary by service quality of individual server.

Huh? I think they generally are shared. It happens at the end of the shift in the back, and not in a jar in the front, but they're shared.

I don't have any studies to back this up, but my sense is that the little dance at the end is a direct consequence of tipping culture. It's basically the server's closing argument for a generous tip (personal message on check; emphatic parting wishes, etc.). Also, at restaurants where the tip is important, it's more awkward to calculate the amount at the register, and you'll probably feel less guilty about leaving a small tip because the server will not immediately see the amount.

"What takes 3 minutes in Japan can end up taking 30 minutes in the US."

30 minutes? At most of the places I frequent the waiter leaves the check before the meal is done. You can then either go directly to the cash register or give the waiter your money the next time they come by.

You can't "waste time". Time isn't a commodity like dish soap or newsprint.

#6. "The nation’s debt office sold 100 million euros ($113 million) of the securities at a yield of 2.35 percent. By contrast, investors are demanding a yield of 2.66 percent to lend to the U.S. government for 30 years."
Amazing what seven years of austerity can accomplish.

Remarkable. Irrational. Who would "lock-in" investable money at 2.35% for 100 years? Think Interest rate risk and by 2116 most of us will be dead.

Not like you can't resell them.

If you try to sell an 89 year 100,000 USD bond, you've going to have a hard time...

Depends on the price.

An easier time than if you try to sell a 100 year bond, for which there are apparently buyers.

Who would “lock-in” investable money at 2.35% for 100 years?

The same people who "lock-in", let's say, German Bunds at negative rates- or, in other words, people who expect to book capital gains by flipping the bonds at some point either to the central bank or a greater fool "long" before maturity. William Gross wrote a bit about this, and the consequences, the other day.

The US should consider issuing 100 year bonds. It's crazy that we're in a period of the lowest interest rates on record and we're not refinancing the national debt into longer-dated securities.

100 million euros is nothing in the bond markets, Irish or not. That's a rounding error to PIMCO, WAMCO, Blackrock, etc.

IOW, it's too small to be a signal of anything.

and, (wish there was an edit button) the duration of the Ireland 100 year is about 38, slightly less than double the US long bond (duration 21)

So, although the maturity is more than 3x longer, from a price risk standpoint, it's only 90% riskier.

5. This was accomplished with a stick (rather than a carrot) by cutting reimbursement for readmissions. When in doubt, readmit. Not any more. This isn't as simple as it may seem. Hospitals and physicians are responsible for providing health care for patients; the readmit rule doesn't mean that hospitals and physicians are shirking that responsibility, but achieving it in a more efficient manner. How? By greater reliance on home care for follow up, by greater reliance on technology (e.g., telemedicine) to monitor patients at home, by more effective treatment of patients before they are discharged. The stick merely provided the incentive to use alternate methods that were always available but not used because readmission was the easiest (and most costly/profitable) method.

Excellent point. Not just home care, but increased use of skilled nursing facilities post-discharge. Lot of gaming going on and not at all clear that the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program has either reduced total cost to Medicare or improved patient outcomes particularly with respect to low-income patients.

Exactly. That readmission chart is interesting, but doesn't necessarily reflect the total cost of a Medicare 'event'.

My 91-year-old mother was admitted for congestive heart failure in 2014. That 30-day number was like a mantra the doctors and nurses kept reciting. As a result, she wasn't discharged for 4 days, even though she was medically stable after the first night. They sent her home with an oxygen concentrator even though her O2 levels were low but within the desirable range (she never used it, but Medicare paid a daily charge for 6 weeks). And there were several visits to her home from a physical therapist and nurse over the next couple months.

Overall, that 30 day rule may be a good thing, but there are too many variables in play to say for certain.

Yeah. Of course if you target a particular metric with an incentive, that will change the metric. However, that is not the same as targeting health improvement.

#2 was ruined by the incorrect use of "begs the question". I can't take a writer seriously if they misuse this term.

That begs the question.

Why, if it's just an aside in an otherwise good article? Yes, I'm calling the question.

Your comment was ruined by the fact that you are wrong.

The point is that the argument "Donald Trump is popular because of media attention" assumes its conclusion: he only gets media attention because he is popular in the first place, so this argument doesn't explain why he is popular.

Dan is correct- Gurri does properly use the phrase though, stylistically, I would have opted differently.

I don't share ASK's enthusiasm for Gurri. He seems like a typical thinker trying to fit Trump into his preconceptions. There are multiple reasons for Trump's rise, but a large factor is the disgust of many Republican voters with their party's fear of opposing the Obama regime. Of course, the GOPe will not recognize that fact and the left (as usual) wants to characterize the GOP voters as crazy. That's a hoot considering the Democrat race has Grandma who should be in prison, and Grandpa who is a loony socialist who thinks evil corporations are preventing the people from receiving all those great free things.

He covered all these points and agrees with you.

(But I have a hard time understanding voters anger at the GOP for not opposing Obama. How many times do they need to vote to repeal Obamacare? And how many times do they need to shut the government down? People need to realize that our system has checks and balances, and being ideologically pure isn't that helpful if you lose your seat and your majority.)

Scanned the article once and looked back again and you are not correct; his take is that Trump's rise is part of a long-running current. Not buying it. As far as repealing Obamacare, the Republicans could have defunded it, but they so afraid of government shutdown theater, that they are unwilling to stand firm.

They also could fly a Boeing into the White House, I guess.

@Rich, I think it's possible to see the Trump phenomenon as part of a long-running current. It's the death rattle of the white working class, which formed the absolute bedrock of the Democratic Party between the time of Andrew Jackson and LBJ, but now finds itself utterly in the wilderness and despised by all.

so afraid of government shutdown theater, that they are unwilling to stand firm

There's also the inconvenient fact that it doesn't generally work as a political strategy. Newt Gingrich (and John Boehner) demonstrated that in the nineties. John Boehner learned it again in 2013.

You might notice that the Republicans maintained or increased their majorities after each "shutdown".

"and the left (as usual) wants to characterize the GOP voters as crazy."
Their answer to "disgust of many Republican voters with their party’s fear of opposing the Obama regime" being Trump...

Can an outsider become Amish? Defining "Amish" may be tricky, but the answer is definitely yes. (I know people who did, including my parents.)

6. A 100-year-bond seems like an interesting experiment in trust. I guess you could always sell it, but do you trust the Irish government not to run too high inflation or to be stable enough to make the payments for the next century?

On the upside, something similar in the US would be a great way to lock in tax-favorable income for your heirs!

Britain paid some 100 year WWI bonds in 2014, so that is probably fresh in investor memory.

FWIW, I think I would prefer an index stock fund over 100 years.

I'd prefer an index stock fund over 100 years too; but the bond will retain more price stability. For example if you want to sell the bond in 2-3 years, its value won't have changed much; whereas the value of your index-tracker could easily be double or half what you paid for it.

Andrew, this is not really true-

"For example if you want to sell the bond in 2-3 years, its value won’t have changed much"-

-if you are talking about a 100 year bond with 97 years to maturity. Such long bonds can be viciously volatile over a period of weeks and months. Just checkout any chart of the US 30Y constant maturity if you don't believe me, and that volatility is higher with a bond like the one under discussion which is even longer by a factor of 3.3.


"Yale’s 367-year-old (perpetual) water bond still pays interest"

I didn't know the US had any Consol Bonds. It's fantastic that Yale got hold of it.

Good stuff if you're an aristocrat! All the advantages of rent without the work of having to deal with tenants.

I think 2 was ruined by touching bases with Obama derangement and false equivalence.

If you were asked "which is the pragmatic party?" how hard would it be?

(The fact that one side, overwhelmingly one side, floats periodic "pragmatism is bad" memes should make this question dead simple.)

And yes, pragmatism and representative democracy are bound.

It is a trope on the left that Republicans are "ideological" while Democrats are "pragmatic". Liberals are just doing the obvious good things that only an idiot who is blinded by their beliefs would oppose.

Republicans denounce this definition of pragmatism (duh) but that doesn't mean they are less interested than Democrats in implementing policies that actually work. They just disagree with Democrats about what will work, as well as what goals we should work toward.

"Trope" can be substituted for "consensus," in an attempt at rhetorical judo.


So, what would be a more "pragmatic" approach for the House Republicans to take? Compromising with Democrats more often and passing moderate bills? But what if they think the country would be better off without those bills?

As a moderate, I certainly approve of moderate bills which do not satisfy the fringes of either party. This is kind of the crux. We have RINOs not DINOs. When we say "the ___ party eats its own" we can fill that one out too. It is false equivalence to say that both parties equally oppose moderation, pragmatism.

Maybe when the Republicans recognized that moderation, pragmatism, was a game they couldn't win, they reinforced this push away from it.

Strange that it leads to Trump the negotiator ... but of course he describes negotiation as "you talk, and you get everything you want." That only work when you are with very poor opponents.

BTW, I think we've circled to the flaw in the Gurri piece. If one side more than the other says "what if we don't want the democratic outcome?" ... question answered.

For example, I don't think that Republicans believe that the country is better with government shutdowns. I think they do believe that instigating a shutdown increases their long-term chances of eventually implementing policies that they believe do make the country better off. See also refusing to hold hearings for a SC justice (and losing both union and contraception cases in the short-run).

Anon is simply defining moderation as "small movement to the left", when, in reality, the middle of 10 and -10 is 0, or no laws being passed. Mathematically, the Republicans are maintaining moderation when they refuse to pass a law which moves the country to the left. Of course, the same could be said of Harry Reid who, in tow with Senate Democrats, blocked hundreds (362) of house bills from ever coming up for a vote, but when the meme is that the Republicans are the only ones obstructing, and that such obstruction is extremism, why let facts get in the way?

Thomas, you are a person who thinks this is true: "anyone who doesn’t support a global wealth redistribution to solve climate change is a ‘denier’."

How on earth can I talk to you about moderation, and the middle?

"For example, I don’t think that Republicans believe that the country is better with government shutdowns."

In a two-party negotiation, either party can completely yield to the other one. We could have a discussion about the reasonableness of each party's position, but we can't even get to that point in the discussion because the left is so inclined to lie about the nature of two-party negotiations and the media is absolutely complicit. I had the pleasure of speaking on the air with my state's public radio because I had an idea which simply hadn't occured to the host and the two professors speaking: if negotiation between POTUS and Congress fails, it is because both sides are unwilling to yield to the extent required by the other - both parties share blame, it isn't simply the Republican's fault by definition. This must have come as a shock to them and I'm sure it will come as a shock to some of the leftists here.

"Thomas, you are a person who thinks this is true: “anyone who doesn’t support a global wealth redistribution to solve climate change is a ‘denier’.”
How on earth can I talk to you about moderation, and the middle?"

Not once has there been any effort by the left to address climate change in a way that didn't increase the size of the governmet or include wealth redistribution. There is no appetite for carbon-free nuclear power, 'terraforming', or any other idea which does not directly assault capitalism. I'm simply approaching the issue of global warming with honesty:

1. It is overwhelmingly likely according to the research. (I am not a scientist and cannot comment on the validity of the research)

2. It is probably being gamed by environmentalists and anti-capitalists who want to pursue their 'solutions' to climate change independent of climate change actually existing,

3. It is probably one of the better places for a researcher in a related field to direct their efforts if they value money and prestige.

People like me are the opposition to action on climate change because we perceive the action to be corrupt. We are therefore called deniers. Not that we deny the science. Just that the proponents are consequentialists like everyone on the left so a little lie here or there is a small price to pay for the destruction of capitalism. As you know about Climate Change, "This changes everything". As you know about the left, lying, I mean Grubering the public is justifiable.

It's not uncommon to find oneself in unsavory company when one opposes the educated by virtue of their dishonest motivations. People also widely support equal pay for men and women. That the pay in unequal because the work is unequal is a considerably more nuanced opinion than that held by either a. the left, and b. the sexists. So when I find myself in the company of sexists because I oppose equal pay legislation which addresses a thing which exists, but is presented in a fundamentally dishonest way, I am not surprised.

What do you say when conservative economist Greg Mankiw supports a carbon tax? (Pigou Club, with Tyler Cowen as one signatory.)

If one accepts that carbon produces an externality, than a carbon tax is a great way to handle it.

What do you say about natural gas and nuclear?

The Republicans probably wouldn't support it for a grab bag of reasons but mostly because of the business lobby and because they (rightly) don't trust Democrats to stop at a tax.

I think a carbon tax is something pretty moderate but as you say, opposed as if it were liberal. A moderate, pragmatic, solution would use it, and not fear a hypothetical slippery slope.

(A carbon tax would apply to natural gas much less than other fuels. There are lower hanging fruit than nuclear. LED lighting has probably "added" a nuke-equivalent by reducing that much demand. And we don't need to stock iodide pills in California schools because we use LEDs.)

"Just that the proponents are consequentialists like everyone on the left so a little lie here or there is a small price to pay for the destruction of capitalism."
Ha ha ha.
"when one opposes the educated by virtue of their dishonest motivations."
Pol Pot, I mean, Trump will solve it.

Thomas - "Not once has there been any effort by the left to address climate change in a way that didn’t increase the size of the governmet or include wealth redistribution."

a) cap and trade isn't wealth redistribution, it's internalizing the external costs imposed on others and allowing the lowest-cost emissions reducer to make the reductions. (This might appear like redistribution, but if the prices/quotas are set right, this implies negating the earlier negative redistribution which allowed emitters to get away without facing the full social cost of their activities, hence leading to "overproduction" of emissions.

b) a carbon tax which is revenue neutral is often proposed, but not by those on the right (indeed, a decent share on the left would rather that these taxes be used to fund various social priorities)

c) well, the right isn't exactly proposing anything ...


I am a small government conservative, but if 1) global warming will have the disastrous consequences predicted and 2) government action can indeed prevent these consequences, then I would think it is worth major government intervention.

The problem is, I'm not convinced on either of these points. The evidence just isn't there. There may be a "scientific consensus" that warming is happening, but there is no such consensus about how much the earth is going to warm, or what the consequences of that will be. Plus, it seems clear that attempting to reduce carbon emissions enough to stop it is futile. Great effort in Europe to reduce emissions has produced only meager results, and developing nations (led by China) are never going to sign on to this anyway. However, any attempt to reduce carbon emissions comes at a great cost.

Therefore, I'm in favor of doing nothing.

"(and losing both union and contraception cases in the short-run)"

Garland would not have been confirmed yet under any circumstances.

The 4-4 "loss" only affirmed the case as to the 9th Circuit, its otherwise not a decision on the merits nor precedent in any of the other circuits. Its arguably better than having Garland on the bench for a true 5-4 loss.

I would not characterize the party that raises the minimum wage to $15--with no historical basis for having any idea what the effect might be--as pragmatic. I also would not characterize as pragmatic the political party that bombs Libya because Bernard-Henri Levy says we should, evades legal review by characterizing bombing as not constituting "hostilities" for legal purposes, and blames everything on the British when the place collapses. Saying "F*** it, the other side are irrational racists not worth talking to, so let's do whatever we want" is not pragmatism.

It is odd that you chose examples so far from legislative negotiation. For the most part. The stepwise increase to $15 in 2022 was such a negotiation. A choice in representative democracy.

I chose exactly two examples, one legislative, one executive; one federal, one state. There can't, mathematically, be a "most part" when there are only two examples. And given the Democratic domination of the California legislature, neither is an example of negotiation with political opponents: both are examples of unilateral Democratic decision-making.

Just curious, how is "Democratic domination of the California legislature" not democracy?

Huh? Can you not read? I said it's not an example of negotiation. Go back and read each word; we'll wait.

(I am being mild. I actually think it is deranged to think a political party bombed Libya. That was a political calculus of a President, with which his party did not fully agree.)

He should have only bombed half the targets he wanted, then he could be a moderate.

Maybe that's already what he did. Had he bombed half as many targets, you could equally make the same claim.

2. The 9/11 attack on America was Bill Clinton's fault; the debacle in Iraq was Obama's fault; the financial meltdown was Barney Frank's fault. Now, Mr. Gurri tells us that Donald Trump is Obama's fault or Sanders' fault or the media's fault. Of course, we've heard this line of reasoning before: Hitler was the Jews' fault.

#1 Lot of public policy implications in this one. Not least the success of closed communities. Part of a much larger pattern. Always had the hugest sympathy for Anabaptist and Tolstoyan types and their voluntarist approach to communism. So ironic that the Soviets killed all the Tolstoyans and that the Chinese today persecute privately-ordered communist communities. One suspects that a Sanders administration would similarly persecute the Amish. All you feeling the Bern ought to go live a socialist life instead of trying to stuff it down everyone else's throat. Nothing stopping you.

Why would a Sanders administration persecute the Amish?

If Sanders was actually a communist in the Stalin/Mao mode, he would not be anywhere as successful as he has been. "Socialist" is more of a brand than an accurate descriptor for him.

The same reason Obama persecutes the Little Sisters of the Poor. Somehow I don't think a guy who can't tolerate multiple brands of deodorant is going to turn pluralist when it comes to unpopular religious groups.

Well then.

There is a yawning gap between Obama's treatment of the Little Sisters of the Poor and the persecutions of Stalin and Mao, so my point still stands.

The Amish are tolerated because they are rare and disconnected from the avenues of power.

If we had 10 million Amish instead of around 300,000, would we still tolerate them?

They have currently built themselves exemptions to insurance mandates and Social Security. Would that be tolerable if their numbers grew?

The Amish remind me of the ultra religious Haredi Jewish groups in Israel. When they were rare, it was easy to subsidize them. Now that they are starting to slowly take over, it's becoming a serious issue for the stability of Israel's future. Their special status is becoming untenable.

Are the Amish really being subsidized? I'm not an expert, but it sounds to me like they work hard and live modestly which is usually a good way to avoid dependence on handouts.


At some point, a group with exemption from social security is going to look pretty good to the Federal government, when benefits start to exceed dedicated revenues.

Closed societies that don't bother outsiders are easily tolerable. It's when they try to impose their laws on the rest of us that people object.

If 10 million Amish tried to ban the internet in Ohio, and staged suicide buggy-bombings to get their way, the rest of us would object. Similarly, if Al Qaeda had restricted itself to mosque construction and publishing, the US would never have invaded Afghanistan or Iraq.

#2. The left has been casually and derisively dismissing low and middle SES white voters for years. We've been told, by the left, that low and middle SES whites, especially conservatives, are racist, sexist, stupid, and that they "cling to their guns and religion".

The list of contradictions related to race and sex by the left is immense and people are tired of it. People are tired of how the left "fucking loves science" but dismisses IQ, dismisses microeconomics, dismisses nuclear power, dismisses stats on muslim opinions, dismisses gun statistics, and claims that anyone who doesn't support a global wealth redistribution to solve climate change is a 'denier'. Donald Trump is a response to the rampant lies from the left - the underlying philosophical foundation of which is nihilism and consequentialism. No one with principles, for instance, could really claim that insitutional policies which explicitly discriminate in favor of minorities and women isn't institutional discrimination. We could have an honest, public discussion about the merit of affirmative action or decreased evidentiary requirements for rape trials. Instead we get Gruber'd.

Thomas - Please do tell, defend the perspective in which the "left" is incorrect with regard to any of the things you consider them as hypocrites for with regard to "loving science".

Honestly, it seems to me that with regard to the issues you mention, the right operates at a level of grade 10 or perhaps 1st year sciences, whereas the positions on the left which stand contrary to them are defined by significantly more nuanced thinking.

MUST the left draw strong conclusions about the results of standardized tests when we all know that socioeconomic equality and cultural differences are a strong relevant factor in standardized test outcome?

MUST the left accept introductory economics logic which ignores that the real world is more complicated?

MUST the left prefer nuclear over the provision of incentives for renewables such as wind and solar?

MUST the left exaggerate stats on Muslims to the point of hysteria when in fact we are not particularly threatened relative to a long list of thinking that basically no one cares about?

What conclusions should the left draw about gun statistics, given that the government is legislatively banned from researching the subject?

And finally, the "left" (and I use scare quotes because in fact this includes a lot of moderates) does not as a group advocate for a redistributionist approach to AGW, rather, for to uphold the rather right-wing principles of personal and collective responsibility where those who cause the damage should play an active role in mitigating against further costs - in fact, there are a diversity of proposed policy approaches, many of which do not include lifting a finger to do anything about the world's poorest who had nothing to do with causing the problem and are liable to face the highest vulnerabilities and direct costs as a result of AGW.

Yes, they hate the new left's identity politics and grievance mongering, and the absurd extent to which political correctness has taken over public life, but when pushed on it, they're also extremely wary of the right's libertarian "F--k you, got mine!" free market stance. They've been buffeted by extreme ideologies from both sides for years and now they see a pragmatic guy saying what they're thinking, unafraid of offending the hypersensitive fairies on the left, nor prostrating himself to the free market shibboleths on the right, and to boot his boorishness is a like a breath of fresh air after all these stuffed suits focus grouping their "principles" six ways from Sunday.

#2...I don't know why Trump is winning other than he's running against a ghastly group of other choices. Maybe some GOP party leaders have vastly overrated the stature of these other candidates. If Trump had insulted Bob Dole in a presidential debate he'd have a pen in his neck. Cruz needs to be pulled off of Trump in one of the remaining debates to have a chance.

readmission rates are easily gamed. in NYC, all hospitals now use of "obs" units, which deflect some or all of the cost of readmission to the patient:

additionally, given that most tertiary (complex) care is done at referral centers (steering profits to "flagship" hospitals), patients are more frequently getting re-admitted to other hospitals that are closer to home. this gets tracked in some states/locations, but not all.

All of McKenzie's calculations seem to assume that the federal minimum wage is the only one that applies.

But over half of the states have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage and for the most part they are the most populous states and also the states with the highest per capita income.

Maybe a comparison of states at the federal minimum wage to those with higher minimum wages might provide better analysis.

There have been numerous studies comparing the impact of minimum wage employment in regions next to regions with higher minimum wages. Most, but not all, report no significant difference in minimum wage employment in such regions.

#5 - the biggest story of the lot - got on comments? Let me be the first for the record to say this is big news, if true, and shows the hospitals were gaming the system prior to Obamacare with readmissions and/or early premature discharges from the hospital (which would require readmissions later).

6) Sounds like people aren't expecting 10% returns any more. Should we assume that the risk-adjusted long-term discount rate is somewhere in the range of 1-2% after accounting for expected inflation? This is not far off the rate of return on many forms of natural capital.

3) In China, it's practically insulting to give a tip. Like ... "I already got paid to do my job, do you think I have to be paid a second time to give OK service?" Servers will practically chase you down the street to force the tip back into your hands if you try ... you might even try to explain specifically what you thought was amazing about the service and why you thought they deserve it. This will not likely change anything.

There's an old story about a rich man driving through town in a horse and carriage and throwing a "bao zi" into a pile of shit when observing some guy that was hungry. Somehow ... apparently this is linked to the notion of it being insulting for a wealthy person to think that they can exact superior service for tipping. However, there is little doubt that the wealthy person can access higher quality service by just going to a more expensive restaurant.

In a fair few other cultures where tipping is socially prohibited, I've found that even a tiny tip leads to virtually immediate recognition by the servers, and painfully slow service turns to immediate service and good recall on whatever details about how you might like things. However, you have to be careful in a sense, because some people will be similarly insulted by the notion that you can hold monetary carrots over their head and demand greater servility than others - it seems to me that this is mostly in the middle range of quality and confidence of the server, the less confidence being prone to servility and the more confident being willing to deliver that extra service with a smile and a flourish, without any need to feel servile in so doing. Then again, sometimes they might come to expect it, wil return to normally poor service, and then get pissy if you don't leave a tip ... in which case probably time to find a new cafe/restaurant.

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