Month: July 2016
Looking at the impact of housing costs on living standards among different groups, the report shows from the start of the income slowdown in 2002 to 2015:
- Over half of households across the working age population have seen falling or flat living standards – equivalent to almost 11 million households;
- Two-thirds of the growth in average working age income has been wiped out by rising housing costs;
- More than all of the growth in private renter income has been wiped out by rising housing costs; and,
- The same is true for households headed by someone aged 25-44 who will also have seen all of the growth in average income wiped out by rising housing costs.
The report shows that while London is a standout case in terms of how housing costs have dragged down living standards – the share of income spent on housing has risen by almost a third in the capital since the early 2000s – it is wrong to see this as a southern problem. It finds that the North is catching up with the South – Scotland, the North West and the East Midlands have all experienced sharper increases in housing costs as a proportion of income than the South East and South West.
That is from the Resolution Foundation.
1. Communist Youth League short propaganda video about China, Straussian.
2. “Despite a long-term decline in the size of the working class to just 25%, the proportion of the [British] public who identify themselves as working class has remained stable over time, says the survey. Significantly, it finds that people with middle class occupations who still regard themselves as working class are more likely to be socially conservative on issues such as immigration.” Link here.
Tidy by category, not by location
One of the most common mistakes people make is to tidy room by room. This approach doesn’t work because people think they have tied up when in fact they have only shuffled their things around from one location to another or scattered items in the same category around the house, making it impossible to get an accurate grasp of the volume of things they actually own.
The correct approach is to tidy by category. This means tidying up all the things in the same category in one go. For example, when tidying the clothes category, the first step is to gather every item of clothing from the entire house in one spot. This allows you to see objectively exactly how much you have. Confronted with an enormous mound of clothes, you will also be forced to acknowledge how poorly you have been treating your possessions. It’s very important to get an accurate grasp of the sheer volume for each category.
That is from Marie Kondo, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, a recommended book. Also never tidy the kitchen first, do not keep make-up and skin care products together, and “…the first step in tidying is to get rid of things that don’t spark joy.”
I have a related tip. If you want to do a truly significant clean-up, focus only on those problems which are not immediately visible. This will help you build efficient systems, and prepare the way for more systematic solutions to your clutter problems. You’ll then be prompted to take care of the visible problems in any case. If you focus on the visible problems instead, you will solve them for a day or two but they will rapidly reemerge because the overall quality of your systems has not improved.
Officials announced that they will now offer families up to NZ$5,000 (about $3,500 US dollars) to relocate to another area of the country.
The relocation grant is specifically for Auckland residents who meet the low-income requirements that make them eligible for social housing, or the city’s subsidized public housing program. The move comes at a time when there are more than 3,500 eligible people in the city waiting to be matched to a home. Forty-two percent of those people identified as Māori, according to the city’s most recent quarterly statement.
Here is the full story, via Richard Kuo. Auckland has for some while been the world’s largest and most splendid Polynesian city, but perhaps that will not last forever.
There is a new AER paper by Justin R. Pierce and Peter K. Schott, here is the abstract:
This paper links the sharp drop in US manufacturing employment after 2000 to a change in US trade policy that eliminated potential tariff increases on Chinese imports. Industries more exposed to the change experience greater employment loss, increased imports from China, and higher entry by US importers and foreign-owned Chinese exporters. At the plant level, shifts toward less labor-intensive production and exposure to the policy via input-output linkages also contribute to the decline in employment. Results are robust to other potential explanations of employment loss, and there is no similar reaction in the European Union, where policy did not change.
Here are various ungated versions.
The activities of victims at the time of attack in the Florida cases were distributed as follows: 17.4 percent were related to trying to capture/pick up/exhibit the animal; 16.7 percent involved swimming; 9.9 percent involved fishing; 9.5 percent related to retrieving golf balls; and 5.3 percent involved wading/walking in water.
Here is more information. Staying away from alligators — and golf — would seem to eliminate most but not all of these attacks.
The British public wants the right to work in the EU but they don’t want EU citizens to have the right to work in the UK.
This was from a poll taken in 2014 that presciently illustrated some of today’s confusions and misgivings.
Hat tip: Lones Smith.
1. New Tate Watkins eBook, market-oriented approach to understanding Haiti.
4. First fatality with a self-driving car. The NYT article has more detail: “Neither autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor-trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.”
Chinese Taylor Swift fans hoping to hedge their heartbreak by insuring against the downturns in the pop star’s love life are now out of luck.
Taobao, China’s largest online marketplace, has cracked down on vendors who were offering “insurance policies” on Swift’s reported relationship with British actor Tom Hiddleston.
The Hiddleswift plan offered double your money if the couple split up. According to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency, Taobao vendors had begun taking bets on the pop star’s romantic fortunes last week, with the minimum wager set at 1 yuan (15 cents).
We heard about a lawyer who focuses on cases about malfunctioning automatic garage door openers.
Here is the story and link, via Samir Varma.
That question came up briefly in my chat with Cass Sunstein, though we didn’t get much of a chance to address it. In the Star Trek world there is virtual reality, personal replicators, powerful weapons, and, it seems, a very high standard of living for most of humanity. The early portrayals of the planet Vulcan seem rather Spartan, but at least they might pass a basic needs test of sorts, plus there is always catch-up growth to hope for. The bad conditions seem largely reserved for those enslaved by the bad guys, originally the Klingons and Romulans, with those stories growing more complicated as the series proceeds.
In Star Wars, the early episodes show some very prosperous societies. Still, droids are abused, there is widespread slavery, lots of people seem to live at subsistence, and eventually much of the galaxy falls under the Jedi Reign of Terror.
Why the difference? Should we consult Acemoglu and Robinson? Or is it about economic geography? I can find think of a few factors differentiating the world of Star Wars from that of Star Trek:
1. The armed forces in Star Trek seem broadly representative of society. Compare Uhura, Chekhov, and Sulu to the Imperial Storm troopers.
2. Captains Kirk and Picard may be overly narcissistic, but they do not descend into true power madness, unlike various Sith leaders and corrupted Jedi Knights.
3. In Star Trek, any starship can lay waste to a planet, whereas in Star Wars there is a single, centralized Death Star and no way to oppose it, short of having the rebels try to blow it up. That seems to imply stronger checks and balances in the world of Star Trek. No single corrupt captain can easily take over the Federation, and so there are always opposing forces.
4. Star Trek embraces analytical egalitarianism, namely that all humans consider themselves part of the same broader species. There is no special group comparable to the Jedi or the Sith, with special powers or with special whatevers in their blood. There are various species of aliens, but they are identified as such, they are not in general going to win human elections, and furthermore humans are portrayed as a kind of galactic hegemon, a’ la the United States circa the postwar era.
5. The single individual is much more powerful in the world of Star Wars, due to Jedi and Sith powers, which seems to lower stability. In the Star Trek world, some of the biggest trouble comes from super-human Khan and his clan, but fortunately they are put down.
6. Star Trek replicators are sufficiently powerful it seems slavery is highly inefficient in that world. In Star Wars the underlying depreciation rate, as you would find it measured in a Solow model, seems to be higher. More forced labor is drafted into use to repair all of that wasting capital.
Addendum: Here is Cass on Star Wars vs. Star Trek.