Friday assorted links


1 News next week. India sees a massive tax revolt.

Pour les autre's.

Per my understanding , these are indirect taxes which anyway exist in a byzantine system where there are currently entry taxes (Octroi) on goods arriving at certain cities et and a whole patchwork of varying Sales Taxes . I think its a move to a uniform Value added tax system .The only losers may be some corrupt local tax officials.

That was my (extremely casual) take too. My 3-minute literature search suggests that a GST and VAT are very similar; a GST is more likely to try to tax services symmetrically with goods, and exact implementations of a GST including what is deductible and what is not will probably vary from country to country. But I imagine the same could be said of VATs too.

My understanding is that GST is a common label for a VAT (which describes how the tax works, each step in the chain 'pays' tax on the value they add). Implementation details vary widely between countries.

Sure. So the gst would be in addition to all the fees.

No, it would replace the current Sales Tax.

The GST has not been introduced yet; as the HSBC note points out, What the upper house of India's parliament did was to vote for an amendment to the Constitution to enable introducing this tax . There are still a couple of more steps to take before it comes into effect and if all goes well this should take about an year. It is a big "if". The consensus between political parties on the constitutional amendment took ten long years! My economist friends say that if eventually GST sees the light of day, it will be an interesting study in federalism: we have Indian states voluntarily surrendering their powers of taxation to enable a single indirect tax for the nation. The authors of the Constitution must be rolling in their graves.

#2: Seven easy steps? How about one step: build a huge state-sponsored doping programme? Funny, one of the examples mentioned was UK track cycling... I think we all know how they won so many medals...

Yes, the UK's 'magic wheels' - #2 - TC: "Along these lines, countries can beat the system by focusing on their comparative advantages. " - CNTRL + F + "drugs" and no hits. The USA has a big advantage in Big Pharma and undetectable PEDs (L. Armstrong being the poster boy). Time to use it.

I'm 99% sure the US is already using its advantage in PEDs. The biggest dopers in the world are the US track and field team. Most of them don't get caught because their chemistry is two steps ahead of WASA's ability to detect. So drug testing doesn't find them. It's only when an insider squeals that the top dopers such as Marion Jones (and Lance Armstrong) get caught.

Meh, I'm skeptical of this claim. The US Olympians in strength sports seem pretty natty to me, at least wrt steroids. I suspect the US Olympic doping is primarily in endurance compounds and stimulants. Just look at the US Olympic team in weightlifting. They don't look like the NFL or NBA - that's what an athlete on steroids and HGH looks like. They don't look like the Bulgarian weightlifters either.

My reaction to "the communist countries boosted their medal totals with big investments in training and rewards for the top athletes" was, "does 'big investments in training and rewards' " include damage to one's body caused by massive doping?

This would be a fine objection if there was some evidence of damage. Maybe there is for women, especially the young women, but it's not like people are dropping dead.

The reasonable objection is that we have some attempt to keep things fair, and they're circumventing that. I'm interested in the success of the people, not their doctors.

Here's my 2012 response to Tyler:

I can read 6b as a good defense of moderation, balance. That is, if I focus on trade-offs for "minimizing coercion/maximizing individual liberty."

I guess it comes down to "public libraries, good or bad .. discuss."

6b was very persuasive, although I'll admit that I was already on his side.

6A. "Council is heavy with real estate and finance executives'.(WSJ)
Will certainly help if America were to build a Great Wall.

#3: personal impression from France: wine is a must for eating. In some places a wine pitcher is include in the plate price. This wine is usually very bad and almost sure of being a cheap import. If you ask for other wine, there's no option even if you want to pay for're offending the restaurateur by saying the wine is not good. So, the client expects plenty of wine in not so fancy places and the restaurant owner expects a client that is happy for a mediocre wine but at a low price. The expectation of wine being a must in every meal makes the quality go down horribly. If you settle for drinking wine 3-4 days a week you can pay for quality, but I still haven't listened someone to say this in France.

#4: Piketty beats Trump.....MR back to normal.

Regarding your trailing thought .. it looks like my confidence in voters might have been a good call. In the end, after flirting with all kinds of things, they will be sensible.

@#3 - CRAV is apparently a budding French wine terrorist group, if this story from 2007 is to be believed:

Blood red wine will flow!

My experience in France is very different.

Yes, wine with a meal, especially dinner, is, if not universal, extremely common.

But in lots of visits - lots - I've never had a pitcher of wine - good or bad - put on the table without the choice of skipping wine altogether or ordering a different bottle. I can't imagine a proprietor being insulted because I want to spend a little extra to get something I like better.

Yes a strange comment. Never had forced wine with a meal in France. Could it be that Axa was on an organised tour? And foreign wine is pretty rare in my experience, local table wine is usually so cheap that any imported is usually higher quality, otherwise why bother.

French wine quality remains the most variable of any country, even when compared with Italy though.

5.2 The violence of the "Wild West" US is vastly overstated. Today an episode like the gunfight at the OK Corral would make the Daily Arizonan and the local TV news but would be unlikely to be remembered for decades and be the impetus for many articles, books and movies. For the overwhelming majority of western Americans in the nineteenth century life was a dull, boring daily regimen of back-breaking labor.

"The violence of the 'Wild West' US is vastly overstated." Maybe it means the system worked after all. Interesting enough, most Brazilians who sympathize with the militias (and are not supposed to be taking a cut from their profits) point literally to America's so-called Wild West as their model. Oversimplifying the matter a little, in Brazil, the left defends the favelas-ruling drug barons because they represent the poor (?!) and the right defends the militiamen because they "provide a service" (?!) for the guys they extort money from, they are kinda private citizen's armies and at least they are not public workers like cops, teachers and other bums, so there's it. Who defends law-abiding citizens? Good question, if you learn the answer, you tell me, there will elections late this very year and I am looking for candidates.

Isn't the fact that this one shoot-out is remembered evidence of it being unusual?

Three killed in local gang shootout? We call that every Friday night in Chicago. In the old West, that was the single most famous bit of violence they could lay their hands on. Unlike what we've seen in movies, gunfights were rare, and never "draw duels" (there is literally not one single substantiated instance of two men facing each other and quick-drawing pistols). Most violent deaths were either in the commission of crimes, or between drunks in a saloon (like Wild Bill Hickock). The whole "gunfighter" thing was made up by cheap novelists and re-popularized by filmmakers. The level of violence was rarely very high compared to modern times, and then only in boom towns for a short period before the ordinary folks organized to stop it. Any major city mayor would kill for an old west murder rate. - "adult residents of Dodge City faced a homicide rate of at least 165 per 100,000 adults per year ... Oregon, 1850-1865, which had the lowest minimum rate yet discovered in the American West (30 per 100,000 adults per year)"

The murder rate of Chicago today is 15.65 per 100,000.

So is the former wrong, and do you have any evidence it is wrong?

(I'm hoping your comment is sanely meant and not linked to any of that "The past was much safer and more orderly, unlike the present which is dangerously violent because of Democracy" neoreaction gibberish.)

The population of Dodge City, Kansas in its heyday of 1876 was 1200 souls, which, on the basis of the quoted homicide rate, translates to two per year.

American West = violent but very thinly populated?

#5: Are Americans really supportive of vigilante justice? Color me skeptical. Seems like a real unsupported assertion.

I was also struck by this: I feel like many Americans have a 'If they fuck up, fuck em' attitude. I think this is likely correct, but it's also a distortion. My perception is Americans have pretty harsh attitudes toward people who flout or violate rules and wind up harming other people, not merely those who "fuck up." When you blow through a stop sign and hit somebody because you weren't paying attention, that's fucking up. When you blow through a stop sign and hit somebody because you were nine beers deep on a Friday night, that's a different story. The former makes you an idiot, the latter makes you a villain. That's an important distinction that the author is casually eliding.

Whoops, I smuggled 45lbs of heroin into the country. Whoops, I beat the shit out of my wife. Whoops, I shot a convenience store clerk over $200. Whoops, I blew up my house for the insurance money and killed 4 people. Whoops, I molested my nephew.

This isn't fucking up, this is being a fuck up. Totally different. Ya, fuck em'.

Right. I also think the author's right, though, that Europeans just have different attitudes about malicious crimes in general, though. E.G., you murder somebody and get sentenced to "life" in prison in impression is unless you shiv somebody while you're in the joint, you can get out in 15 or so years on parole. To me, that seems like a kind of misplaced compassion, to put it charitably.

Well, although in the long run we will all be dead, we can nonetheless assess some of the differences re: punishment and deterrence in the US and Germany, over time. Let's see how well lenience works out for the Germans.

It's silly to compare punishments for violent, fatal crimes as why us levels of severity are stricter. The point of the post was that non violent crimes in the us carry such a high penalty that it incentivized non violent offenders to resist arrest to the utmost of their ability, even if this means violence against the officer or bystanders.

Are violent crime punishments too lax in Europe? Maybe, but that's irrelevant to the point that extremely strict punishments for non violent offenses in the us leads to greater police officer vulnerability.

Sorry, first sentence should read "as why strict us punishments are better"

If only the average American got what the American system dishes out on average.

Most people who are the object of this "fuck 'em" attitude have done no huge wrongs, but, having started from a shitty place, failed to overcome all 5 or 10 of their major barriers as compared to your 1 or 2.

6: When NPR reported on Trump's economic advisors, they called Navarro "Steve Navarro". I was wondering what caused them to make this mistake; maybe they'd read that tweet by Judd Legum: "Trump's new 13 person economic advisory council includes no women, four guys named Steve".

Does it mean they can defeat creationists?

"The USA is a very young nation"

What a cliché. The US is one of the oldest nations in the world and role model for most other Western countries including Germany. The key dates for the US are 1776 and maybe 1787 and 1865. Germany on the other hand is called "die verspätete Nation" (= the late nation) because that's exactly what it was: Very, very late.

That's just being hyper-technical. German confederation in 1871 merely converted Prussia plus a lot of small to middling Germanic states into a Prussia-dominated confederation. Prussia existed long before that, and was the dominant power among the German-speaking peoples. (Austria, of course, had recently fought a war with Prussia and was tied up with the vast Austro-Hungarian Empire -- full of non-Germans -- so there was never a serious possibility of them joining the confederation.)

"...Prussia existed long before that"

But not long after.

OK. But then we can say that the American Revolution merely converted a lot of small to large English colonies that had been around for a while into a confederation.

I'm not being hyper-technical at all. Germans did not think of themselves in terms of Germans (as in Germany as a nation) before around 1815-1848. Before that there simply was no "Germany". There was the Holy Roman Empire which was something completely different. And Austria was very important. Until the Battle of Königgrätz in 1866 the Habsburg Monarchy dominated this party of the world for centuries.

"Prussia existed long before that"
This is misleading. Prussia was a very young kingdom, founded only in 1701. 1866 was key for them. No one expected them to actually win against the Habsburg Monarchy but they did.

Ever heard of Poland? Or the Netherlands? Or Italy?

Just because there isn't a nation-state established doesn't mean that people don't feel that way. And just because the people feel like a nation, doesn't mean that they immediately get one. Just look at Poland.

Also it wasn't called "Holy Romand Empire" but "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" for the most part from the 1500s on.

Indeed. And any analysis of policing in the U.S. without reference to race is absolute bunk.

It's a cliché indeed although it doesn't disprove the other points he's making.

On that cliché: Nation is a fuzzy concept that has changed over time. Also since nation-states have different paths of coming into existence, the definition of what defines a nation differs as well. Germans tend to compromise for the "verspätete Nation" by integrating old heritage as far as the Battles against the Roman Empire into the concept. We don't pay much attention to things like continuity of the state because we have seen several states come and go.

That being said: The US is one of the oldest existing states in the world and I don't really get why the author's point (that it's a young nation) proves anything with regard to police brutality. Quite the opposite: Younger states often have the ability to abolish outdates laws and learn from past mistakes.

On no 6 - that Wolfers guy has amazing hair! I had no idea.

As for Trump's economic advisors, I am not familiar with them in order to critique his choices, but Wolfers' assertion of there not being economists above undergraduate levels of education there strikes me as being exactly the point and not something in Trump's disfavor, given his concern for Main Street as opposed to Wall Street. Wolfers' attitude is also transparently in favor of his guild as the only authorized priesthood for the mystery cult of the sacred economy.

That seems a bit unfair, to me. Would-be presidents, and actual presidents, have many advisers spanning many topics. One would expect a defense advisory council to consist mostly of military experts. Same goes for any number of topics. Why would we not expect, and desire, an economics advisory council to consist mostly of practicing economists?

Your attitude seems transparent, also, from your choice of the words "priesthood for the mystery cult of the sacred economy".

I'm an Economics major too, but Economists are not the only ones who can opine productively on economic matters. Why do we put civilians in ultimate authority over the military when the military men's obvious training would make them the best decision makers for military issues? Because technical knowledge is one thing and should, of course, be employed, while other factors must also be taken into consideration which the narrow specialists might not integrate into their thought processes. Also, an advisory council is just the tip of the spear for funneling and digesting ideas for the head honcho. There are many other experts, some very narrowly specialized, which offer their input from within their respective institutions.

I was quite pleased with my choice of words as being adequate for lampooning Mr. Wolfers.

Trump doesn't need people to "opine" on economic matters. He needs economic advisors who can say things like "perhaps some of your supporters will like the idea, but we tried lots of different ways, and they all say that your plan puts a hole in the budget and causes a recession."

But Trump will never hire someone who would say that to him.

#5 We have to invent a word to define the concept 'Tyler listing the links to two otherwise unrelated topics in the same line'


Portmanteau of the Day!

#4 - On Piketty: "Using a sample of 19 advanced economies spanning over 30 years, I find no empirical evidence that dynamics move in the way Piketty suggests. Results are robust to several alternative estimates of r-g" - too small a time frame. Remember the Piketty hypothesis (it's not proven but plausible): r/g grows during peacetime, and decreases during war time. So if your 30 years is 1914-1944, you might get a different result than say 1946-1976.

Are you tired? Are you just so tired? You know what would help? There are plenty of other sites with all the links you prefer, like Stormfront. Ok, bye bye then.

Lol, I am black, mate.
Guess you don't understand irony.

Hard to know your race on the internet. Important fact I need for me to get the irony.

I thought Thomas' message was pretty clear. I'm guessing that you (msgking) are being a tad too sensitive. (I usually like your contributions, to be clear about my own biases.)

Yes I get that, but if he's a white guy like some others here, his comment could have easily been a sorry racist dig. Irony is tough on a comment board, especially without emojis. I do now see his intent.

Even if you are green, it is a weird comment.

Perhaps another way to boost your medal count might be to not only be a large nation, but be one with a racially and ethnically diverse population?

If one assumes that top-level athletic talent in any particular sport is not evenly distributed among races and ethnicities, then wouldn't having top-level athletes in a large number of sports correlate positively with racial and ethnic diversity?

"If one assumes that top-level athletic talent in any particular sport is not evenly distributed among races and ethnicities, then wouldn’t having top-level athletes in a large number of sports correlate positively with racial and ethnic diversity?"

Not really. If some races are more athletic than others (and don't be coy, you mean Blacks are more athletic of course), then it is not diversity that correlates positively but having more of the more athletic races which would correlate with more medals. So why isn't Nigeria the powerhouse of the Olympics? I think it probably would be if it was as rich as the US and so could better support athletes.

Diversity might be the right word here for once, or close. You'd expect Nigeria to be great at the 100m but how many medals is that worth? Long-distance running needs people from the rift valley instead. Swimming favours short-legged giants, maybe it's the Neanderthal blood. Does sailing still require a trust fund?

Proving that Drumpf™'s supporters are right! The Jews do control the financial system. The Donald is amazing.

A libertarian who wants collectivists to find him thoughtful is like a chicken trying to earn the respect of Colonel Sanders.

Tyler is a piece of shit. And so is his face.

Donald, concentrate on Hillary!

Ray (#42),

Russia attempted to implement Piketty for 70+ years way back in the 20th Century. Venezuela the this century.

How did they work out?

Quick. Say one thing smart about either Piketty or Russia. No checking Google. Ideally something which shows that you actually know something about either.

#2 Last time I was surprised when Nigeria could strategize and come from nowhere to win the World Scrabble Championship.

This time the Nigerians seem to pin their hope in Rio on, of all things, table tennis.

In 2014 Aruna was ranked number 30 but reached the World Cup quarter final, only to be beaten by the champion Jike Zhang. He was named Star Player of the year 2014.

"2014 Men's World Cup Highlights: ARUNA Quadri vs ZHANG Jike (Quarter Final) "

He got a standing ovation at the end.

#5 - "mediocre white men". Ooooh. Awesome de rigeur academic self loathing. Pretty fierce from a poseur with a Prince Valiant wig.

5b. "I think most US citizens would generally agree with the sentiment that a 'real American' does not take any shit, stands up for himself and would rather take someone's life or give up his own than have someone tread on him or his rights ('My home is my castle', 'From my cold, dead hands')."

Bullshit. We (Americans) are a nation of mostly pussies. You get into a fight, with a 100 people standing around, 99 would gladly hold your coat, only one would have your back.

Remember the Stanford swimmer who was on top of and probably raping a passed out girl...the strangest thing about the incident was that two strangers stopped to investigate and later chased down the swimmer. Then I read it was two foreign students from Europe and it made sense. Americans just don't do that. I know it's anecdote but it's reflective of our society here.

You see people cutting in line here and nobody says anything. Try that in Europe and they'll force you to get back. Europeans are tougher. We're just bullies who pick on the weak with our weapons, armor, tanks, and drones.

The German officer is also wrong about why American officers use their weapons more often. They are trained that way, accept no risk - take no chances with their own lives, poorly trained (if at all) and are just very mean people with high school degrees. I would go as far to say they are not regular people you can talk with. They are so cold here. You can't even relate to them. It doesn't help either that they all look like they are juiced up on roids.

I think a lot of Americans do not understand that "does not take shit" does not imply a need to be an asshole. For those instances where "not taking taking shit" cannot be resolved with headphones, leaving, ignoring, or such things, sure, there are times where some people really just need to get their face reshaped somewhat.

The point is that "does not take shit" does not require bullying people. And in any situation where that does not apply, perhaps some few members of the community need to be beaten with their pedestals.

A country were cops taser 6-year old girls and gun down unarmed and non-dangerous citizens nearly every day of the year it seems, but where an army officer (David Voigts) can stand up to power, and march countrywide to expose massive abuses originating from within the state against innocent civilians, both for purposes of involuntary experimentation and also social control.

What can i say. When you life in a country where "maybe there's a conspiracy originating from within the government" is synonymous in most circles with "you're probably ill and need your head checked" - well, for the few who are less thoroughly brainwashed, there are some remaining number who will be on top of that stuff. And no, they are unlikely to cut in line. Unless they need to.

Like, terrorism is dumb. But to call people "cowards" for taking on the most powerful empire in the history of the planet, for using asymmetric strategies rather than lining up a la death squad in front of US military assets - all the while sitting safely thousands of miles away and never even going to be within 1000 miles of action - man there could hardly be anything more American than that.

Make it not so.

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