Monday assorted links

1. Which is the greatest Jane Austen novel?

2. The most joyless magazine Laura Barton has ever seen.

3. Summer reading lists, by politicians and professors.

4. Review of Beach Boys 1967 – Sunshine Tomorrow.  I recommend the release.

5. The Manitoba Guaranteed Income Experiment: “Using hitherto unanalyzed data we find an 11.3 percentage point reduction in labor market participation, and nearly 30 percent of that fall can be attributed to “community context” effects.”  And this: “Never before or since the Dauphin experiment has a rich country tested a guaranteed annual income at the level of an entire town. A community-level experiment accounts for the fact that people make decisions in a social context, not in isolation.”

6. In urban China, cash has become obsolete (NYT).


5) Any ungated version?

The rest of the abstract cites "care work, disability and illness, uneven employment opportunities, or educational investment" as the most common explanations for reduction in labor market participation. Assuming these respondents are being honest, it is possible that the overall societal benefits are positive despite the drop in employment. None of these are necessarily permanent labor force drop outs. Wishful thinking certainly.

I agree. I would also like to see some kind of "happiness" level - for the utilitarians in the house.

Let's also see a happiness level for those who are the mules pulling the cart. Of course those taking a nice hay ride will be happier.

If my parents are elderly and sick, it may be better for everyone involved if I pocket a UBI and take care of them in their home. Less overall burden for taxpayers who do not need to subsidize their nursing home and more personalized care for them.

I'm sure the social disincentive to work exists, but there's a (significant?) number of people who might make all of us better off if they are not officially in the labor force.

"Less overall burden for taxpayers"

That seems to be a doubtful proposition. And there's nothing to prevent people from taking the UBI and playing video games all day long.

I was asking for the full spectrum happiness report, but I don't expect it to break into the mule and free rider dichotomy.

Most people wake up with "first worries" other than tax rate. Family problems. Health problems. Job problems. Drug or behavior problems somewhere in the family.

If everything else works for you, you are very blessed. But go ahead, say you are sad in life because tax.

You are an idiot.

This sudden UBI craze is bad news. UBI is a very seductive idea that should be taken behind the woodshed and shot in the head.

"overall societal benefits are positive"

LOL, no.

Among the most consequential, Mincome’s average treatment effect (the difference between changes in Dauphin and changes in the Manitoba control) for singles is a 16.2 percentage point fall in household participation in the labor market. Among young people there is a similarly large treatment effect, at 18.6 percentage points. Dual-headed households appear less sensitive to Mincome. For this group, the equivalent treatment effect is 7.4 percentage points. Thus, the overall experimental effect on labor market participation is disproportionately driven by changes in young and single-headed households.

Most young people (<30) were not taking care of mom & dad who were not even that old yet ("Malibu surfer" effect or school is more likely), and subsidizing single people--especially single mothers--is foolish. It's clear that the authors seek to undermine a strong work ethic ("From our perspective, a desirable anti-poverty policy ought to be organized around the objective of reducing toil"), which is what happens when young and single people drop out of the labor force.

Given that the change in labor market participation was primarily with people who have low work experience. I'd love someone, anyone, to acknowledge exactly what a UBI is creating. It may be *happiness* or a giant thumbed nose to capitalism or whatever ignorant idea I read espoused of it. But mostly it just creates people who don't and will never know how to do anything.

Maybe that's good for the people who do in so far as their income would, in theory, rise. But if you thought class-ism was bad now just imagine a world where an entire segment of society is paying for another that literally cannot do anything.

Good arguments although the same could be said about almost any government funded social program. They create dependents, people become reliant, and some of the impetus to work harder or smarter is removed. And yet, as a society we have a general sense that everyone should have some of the basic necessities of life. So until the libertarian Utopia is built we will always have that trade off.
There are undoubtedly a subset of people who receive temporary help when they need it who will later go on to greater and better things. It's hard to distinguish ahead of time who will be disincentivized and who will take the breathing space to get back at it.
It would seem that UBI has a high likelihood of disincentivized a large number of people. I'm not giving up on the possibility that it ALSO seems well designed to help people in the second category achieve their goals compared to the myriad transfer programs that we are currently ignoring as the baseline. The good thing is all we have to do is keep watching these experiments to have our answer.

“Never before or since the Dauphin experiment has a rich country tested a guaranteed annual income at the level of an entire town. "

Alaska has an "guaranteed annual income" ate the level of an entire state.

I assume you are speaking of the Permanent Fund annual dividend? The payment isn't an guaranteed income, is only a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars per year-round resident depending on the fund's income and is paid annually. It is more like a tax refund than a guaranteed income.

Alaska has a permanent guaranteed annual dividend that runs between $1,000 to $2,000. Meanwhile in 2016 Alaskan per capita income was, some $55,000. The Alaskan dividend is hardly large enough to gualify as an income that someone can live on in one of the most expensive states in the US.

"One of the most expensive states in the US"

Is that true? I wonder, how much of the expensiveness is driven by that annual extra income? At least the price level adjustment is what I find most problematic with any basic income utopia. Income differences (as well as status) would pertain in the long run, leaving those who in the meantime took the most leisure out of it, the most vulnerable.

I thought of the Alaskan dividend as an example mechanism to move infrastructure projects away from the voters nimby-Braincells into those responsible for yimby- and optimism.

"“One of the most expensive states in the US”

Is that true? I wonder, how much of the expensiveness is driven by that annual extra income?"

Alaska was the most expensive state in the US for basic living expenses before there was any oil money. It's remote and a good chunk is Arctic tundra.

"The families in the treatment groups received an income guarantee or minimum cash benefit according to family size that was reduced by a specific amount (35, 50 or 75 cents) for every dollar they earned by working."

Should be noted that this is different from the most recent proposals for a guarantee of basic income

Incentices 101: The details matter a lot.

Thanks for this comment


3. I enjoyed this bit on the absurdity of these lists:

On his own site's list:
"There is nothing summery about either our guiding theme or our individual choices; the thing is miserable midwinter reading in all but name."

Seriously, "Strategic Vision" by Zbigniew Brzezinski is one of the books on the Politico list. Gimme a break.

And this person is actually reading Proust! (I'm finishing "Proust and his Banker", slowly, and it is getting a bit bogged down in detail, not unlike Proust's opus)

Eddie Glaude, professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton "... I am [reading] Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time"

Bonus trivia: Proust was rich, speculated wildly, gave away most of his money to his many lovers, got poor, then at the end of his life got rich, despite or because of his stock brokers, and wrote about his feelings in his magnus opus. His real life experiments formed the basis of his famous book ("write what you know about" say literature professors). At one point in 1911 Proust was worth $7in today's money (he ended up with well over $20 M) and had half of it in speculative derivatives. Probably practiced unprotected sex too.

2. "Raising Kids With Conscience . . . Share Joy!" I'm reminded of the meme that liberals don't have a sense of humor, that surmised from liberals' concern with homophobic or racist speech ("can't liberals take a joke?"). On the other hand, this magazine (The Green Parent) that's being panned seems more like satire than serious journalism. I mean really: The Green Parent. Ho ho ho, the Jolly Green Giant!

Stop picking on liberals.

Yeah! If we ignore them it's better for them and us.

Regarding liberals' lack of sense of humor and progressives do not "get" jokes, they require a modicum of intelligence which is genetically lacking in the typical, idiot

Both sides have idiots with horrible senses of humor.

The right tends to be inclined towards really lowbrow vulgar humor (including the racist jokes), the left gets really moralizing and sanctimonious and not funny.

The happy medium seems to be when the center left makes fun of the far left - like in Portlandia.
Making fun of the right just seems gross, like picking on retards.

nothing sanctimonious here

"Participants who provide qualitative explanations for work withdrawals typically cite care work, disability and illness, uneven employment opportunities, or educational investment"

This probably implies that a) they weren't getting much work or decent work to begin with, b) its probably more sociallly optimal for those with reasons 1,2 and 4 to drop out at least momentarily.

Pretty strong caveat to not include in the post.

What would you put on the survey? "Lazy"?

#2: The phrase 'Unintentional Comedy' invented for that photo.

@ #6 - no cash in China? The curse of WeChat! GM K. Rogoff rejoices and says "I told you so, over ten years ago".

How can it be joyless? It teaches how ro reignite the PASSION and awaken the JOY by raising a HAPPY kid. Also, teaches to get kids into COMEDY and create a LOVE nest and bake LOVE. I do not know what people can do with so much happiness.

Apparently the men get large tattoos. As a substitute for being manly, obviously.

Don't they need to be manly to stand the tattooing process?

"Don’t they need to be manly to stand the tattooing process?"

Plenty of women get tattoos. Have you met any women?

I never met a tattooed woman. I guess they exist, but I have never seen one of them. My grandfather used to say only criminals sport tattoos. Even not believing it to be iterally true, I always thought some stoicism was necessary to have big tattoos applied on one's body. In men, one calls it manliness. Unless Americans are ruining tattooos, too.

Tattoos are so common in the US that face tattoos are the last boundary, the only thing to mark the outlaw.

So that is what Ameruca has come to. It is very rare to see someone from a proper background sporting a tattoo.

It was probably Complacency that allowed the spread.

But why habve Americans become complacent? I can not imagine such a thing happening to Brazilians.

"So that is what Ameruca has come to. It is very rare to see someone from a proper background sporting a tattoo."

Some of you guys need to get out more. Plenty of women from "proper backgrounds" in their 20s and 30s have tattoos -- just in places that would typically be concealed by formal business attire.

I'm not sure about that. I have seen both manly and unmanly -- whatever these actually refer to is fuzzy around the semantic edges -- men with tattoos.

At one time, it was only the manliest of men who got inked: pretty tough soldiers, sailors and dock workers. Going further back into prehistory, of course, it seems all of the males of our species were inked.

I think what has changed is that even geeky metrosexuals are now sporting tats.

But then there's this guy:

"I can't get a job!"

/gets 45 jobs offers/

"These jobs suck!"

Green parents impose their eating habits and lifestyle on kids who really want to eat meat, drink regular milk, have candy on Halloween, and have some junk food once in a while with their friends - like all kids. This leads to very unhappy kids who hate their green parent(s) and want to leave home as soon as possible. The parents should focus more on what really matters, like having actual conversations with the kids, playing with them, helping with homework, and standing up for them, and not imposing a strict diet.

" unhappy kids who hate their green parent(s) and want to leave home as soon as possible. "
Maybe it means they will work extra hard fo leave home as early as possible and never have to come back. Maybe it is socially useful.
"Family, religion, friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business. When opportunity knocks, you don't want to be driving to a maternity hospital or sitting in some phony-baloney church. Or synagogue."

Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion: a brilliant mash-up.

"5. The Manitoba Guaranteed Income Experiment: “Using hitherto unanalyzed data we find an 11.3 percentage point reduction in labor market participation,"

Which is why an EITC is superior. If you just give people money they will work less, National GDP will drop, and then the country won't be able to afford the UBI. Granted, you'll still likely see a drop in work with an EITC, but it shouldn't be nearly as severe.

I'm betting that a UBI won't work, but if I'm wrong, the way we can find out is by slowly changing the EITC until it effectively becomes one.

Nominal GDP per worker in the U.S. is about $118,000. To the extent you believe that wages reflect the marginal product of labor accurately, there are a lot of workers in the lower income ranges who could drop out of the labor force and not impact GDP by that much.

Assuming that when they drop out they become neutral and not negative.


I read the "Joyless Magazine" piece without much ... joy.

At first the snarky comments were funny, then dreary. I don't care too much about bearded metrosexuals and their hobbies but dammit, when there are big glossy magazines devoted solely to cooking with cast irons skillets, not to mention a hundred magazines about Hunting Whitetails or Muscle Cars, why shouldn't the urban recycling crowd -- of which I am technically one by virtue uh of recycling in a city -- have their goofy glossy mag too?

File under smh.

I recycle in a city, but I would never read such a magazine.

I'm glad you linked to the Beach Boys 1967 article, since it is a direct counter narrative to the one I've forged for myself over the years. To my mind, the Beach Boys dropped off a cliff in 1967, and Wild Honey was a lugubrious, overdense, overdrugged mess. "Smiley Smile" (with the exception of the somewhat tolerable song "Vegetables") was evidence of Brian's growing mental illness. "Heroes and Villains" is not a "nuclear disaster", but merely a good bridge looking for the rest of a song.

But I am impressed by this guy's impassioned defense of the post "Good Vibrations" Beach Boys, and Tyler's endorsement of the new CD releases. So I'm going to go out and buy them and listen closely and see if it changes my mind.

(By the way, if you're planning to catch any Brian Wilson or Mike Love-led Beach Boys shows this summer, avoid Brian and catch Mike Love and his band. Brian is being accompanied by a bunch of superannuated hacks who think they're too good to play Beach Boys classics, and Brian's falsetto "ghost" is not that good. Mike Love, however, has much of the crackerjack band that accompanied the Beach Boys 50th anniversary tour a few years back --plus the secret ingredient of any great Beach Boys performance: Jeffrey Foskett, who takes Brian's falsetto parts and does an absolutely sensational "Don't Worry Baby".

1. Persuasion. “Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands.”

2. The Oprahfication of women's magazines. Blech!

5. Our focus in these studies is so often skewed towards the wrong metrics. Human capital is valuable beyond labor participation.

#6 - China leapfrogged credit cards, now Western countries will most likely leapfrog QR codes and go direct to NFC. QR codes have been a funny little transition period, like human drivers using Google Maps to navigate instead of just letting Google do the driving directly.

Persuasion is Jane Austen's greatest novel. Her most interesting character is the heroine of Mansfield Park.

DAB - I strongly agree. If the real world of Jane Austen's day were something we had access to, those who read "Persuasion" before entering that world - remember, a real world where people care about each other and go through life together - would recognize the world better than those who had read one of the other 5 novels. That being said, "Pride and Prejudice" is a work of art that shows forth more, or at least as much, love for humans as/than any novel that followed it, "Sense and Sensibility" is one of the most kind and compassionate novels ever written, which is an important thing in the cruel world we live in. Then there is "Emma" - a novel whose heroine seems more real even than the heroines of Chekhov and Tolstoy, so for that reason alone it is a "greatest novel" for any novelist, any novelist at all... And as for "Northanger Abbey" : one imagines one of those comments young people inscribe in each other's high school yearbooks, but with a slightly more mature perspective, and with a plot for people who care about other people but who want to hear stories, too. No, I will not criticize "Northanger Abbey". And yes, the most interesting character Jane Austen described in her all too short career was, in fact, the heroine of Mansfield Park. So I agree, and I think Jane Austen would too: Persuasion was her greatest novel,in my humble opinion, for the reasons given at the beginning of this comment (an accurate portrait of a fellow human is the greatest compliment an artist can render to God) and her most interesting character is, as you said, the lovable heroine of Mansfield Park.

4: "Though often framed as the band’s discovery of R&B, Sunshine Tomorrow ..."

I once read an entry in a music encyclopedia that said that some critics consider the Beach Boys to be the greatest rock band that was uninfluenced by black music.

Those critics must be the same dunces who talk about the Beach Boys discovering R&B around 1967. One of their first big hits in 1963, "Surfin' USA" is simply Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" with the lyrics changed to be about surfing. I'd say that they discovered R&B well before "Sunshine Tomorrow".

"Sweet Little Sixteen" is not R&B, is it?

I knew a guy once who listened to the Beach Boys LP. He didn't recommend it. So I didn't listen to it.

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