Wednesday assorted links


1: It's very clear that the word "collusion" has lost all meaning in the past 26 months, so sure, might as well throw it around MLB, too...

@#1 - the MLB collusion rebutted by simple economics (team revenue sharing means marginal value of players diminishes) is echoed by the WSJ story the other day that says in NFL football the value of kickers is underrated, but team owners don't seem to care, the Chicago Bears excellent kicker was fired and replaced by a mediocre kicker who choked. Reminds's Superbowl time and I don't even know who is playing?! Wow, how times have changed.

Ray, you are still a week to early for the Super Bowl teams. League championships are this coming weekend so there really is no way that you could know today who will be playing.

Free Agency is really more finance than economics. Many teams can't spend big because of poor cash flow. This issue has been looked at in great depth for soccer. The Swiss Ramble looks at this issue for English Premier League teams (he is a great resource for those wanting to know more about the finance issues of European soccer).

'Felon' hasn't lost its meaning though.

Neither has "proof".

‘I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or people in the campaign.’
Rudy Giuliani

Trump has the best legal advice. The best.

This is a modest statement making the mere claim that he doesn't know everything about everyone.

Not being able to rule out a hypothesis is not proof of that hypothesis. You and many other weak minded people seem to think it does, hence the CNN headlines.

He was mis-conscrewed.

Same bullshit as Hillary's emails.

6. That was a good read, but I feel like it lost its way, or I lost my way, at the end. We never really got to good news for less educated workers, or more rural regions .. but suburbs are gentrifying so .. ???

Maybe the message is that "the youth" have moved not just geographically but culturally ..

Have moved or are being moved?

Yup, lots of interesting observations that he was trying, but not succeeding, into tying into a coherent theme.

People are staying put more often because they've decided they're fine staying in their rural towns ... yet people are not staying put because the young people are migrating from the rural towns to the cities?

He doesn't even seem aware that the kids are getting married later. You go to the city for college, stay after to work/have fun, then marry and go to the suburbs. Marrying later means the suburbs get older.

Don't most suburbs still count as urbanized areas? I'm thinking that the rural counties that he's describing are the ones containing places such as (to use MA as an example) Great Barrington and not the ones containing Framingham.

"Rural counties had aged twelve years in the second half of the twentieth century, thanks to the emptying-out of the young; cities had aged an average of only two. I should have ended with 'Marrying later means the cities stay younger.

Why? Because the kids who used to move to cities for school, only to leave for the suburbs or for home, were now staying there "

I took that for the suburbs not being the city, but I guess the math works if the suburbs are neither the city nor rural.

I thought he lost his way before then. This common sleight-of-hand drives me crazy:

"Why? Because the kids who used to move to cities for school, only to leave for the suburbs or for home, were now staying there – perhaps because cities are safer than they used to be, perhaps because wages are higher there, perhaps because opportunity is greater. That’s great, said Autor, but it is not clear there is a similar set of opportunities anywhere for less-educated workers of any age."

The problem is that sometimes 'city' is used to mean the core city (excluding suburbs) while at other times it means the metro area (including suburbs). When he compares the aging of rural to cities, he's obviously meaning 'metro area' but then he immediately uses city in the first (suburb-excluding) sense.

Here's what generally happens. Young people move to cities and stay until they've married and their first kid is nearing school age. Because the age of marriage and child-bearing has gone up, so has the age of the city-suburb transition. And note that this doesn't necessarily affect employment, since they remain within commuting distance. In fact, their job may have been in the suburbs from the get go (as with 'Googlers' living in San Francisco). A move to the 'burbs may actually mean a shorter commute for work (but longer trips for nightlife).

None of this means, though, that core cities are growing relative to their suburbs. The population 'market share' of captured by core cities relative to their suburbs remains far below where it was in the mid-20th century (and, in many instances, is still shrinking).

4. I'd be terrified too. I agree with Cowen's view that we need to place more emphasis (less discounting) on the future. The thing about Cowen's book is that he isn't predicting the future, he wants to make the future. There is a huge difference. I have often ridiculed economists as today's soothsayers. Cowen is not a soothsayer. Historians are on the opposite end of the time spectrum, and are often accused of rewriting the past. Here's an essay about Francis Fukuyama about rewriting the future:

"I agree with Cowen's view that we need to place more emphasis (less discounting) on the future. " Tyler wants more GDP generally, just not now specifically ;-)

Sacrifice current consumption today for greater investment today and achieve greater production tomorrow. Not a profound idea. Of course, who will sacrifice current consumption today is a thorny issue not directly addressed by Cowen. China's policy has been sacrifice current consumption today (by the Chinese) for greater investment today and greater production tomorrow. Is Cowen suggesting we adopt the China model?

I was thinking of more topical polical hits to GDP..

"Sacrifice current consumption today for greater investment today and achieve greater production tomorrow." So you're for a low capital gains tax then, correct?

A higher capital gains tax might actually discourage consumption since there is a greater cost to taking profits instead of reinvesting them. In fact the ideal tax policy might be one where we have a high tax now but promise a low tax in the future.

"promise a low tax in the future."

[hysterical laughter]

"Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, but never jam today."

"Does scientific progress affect culture?"

Betteridge's law of headlines.

A better avenue would seem to be demanding that MLB change its revenue-sharing structure to weaken some of the perverse incentives it creates against spending money on players: The salary-dampening effect of the luxury tax has gotten most of the attention, but equally important would be reducing the amount of NFL-style shared money that allows teams to sit back and rely on collecting central fund checks.

That'd be a fun return to the late '90's when about eight big market teams made the playoffs every year. Oh wait, that wouldn't be fun at all; the late 90's sucked for anyone who wasn't a Yankee fan.

Wouldn't it just make more sense to put in minimum player spending requirements of some kind, like the NFL has? If you're a Player's Association representative, the problem is not that no one wants to spend $45 million per year on Manny Machado; the real problem is a team like the Pirates doesn't spend more a dime more than they take in via revenue sharing because they don't have to. Getting rid of revenue sharing won't necessarily change that; on the contrary, they'll probably spend even less.

Agreed re salary floor for MLB. And +1 to Cowen for linking that terrific article.

The article is garbage and factually wrong. It's entire premise is completely false.

The topic was interesting, the article itself was not particularly good.

#5 Will China have death camps in the moon? I am sick and tired of seeing English speaking alleged news outlets behaving propaganda mongers for Peking's savage regime.

Aren't you American? Please ask your President Trump to make a nuclear strike on their bloodthirsty regime. What are you waiting for?

I did not write that. I have been impersonated.

That's strange, I too have been impersonated.

#4 "that IHE book review seemed to get lots of traction once Tyler tweeted it out to his 121,000 Twitter followers."

Brazil's President Captain Bolsonaro has more than three million Twitter followers.

But how big are his hands?

They are huge. He has gone through special operations training.

1.What is a celebrity economist worth to his college or university? How would one measure the worth of the celebrity economist? Celebrity baseball players have value to their teams, but more value to the sport of baseball - baseball is a media driven business. Sometimes MLB doesn't seem to get it, while the NBA does. Back to celebrity economists. Is their worth to the college or university measured by the total tuition paid by their students? By the total donations from like-minded philanthropists? By the qualifications (SAT scores, GPA, etc.) of the students drawn to the college or university because of the celebrity economist's presence? Or by the celebrity's economist's contribution to knowledge?

If you believe that, then the teams shouldn't play players: the league should. The simplest proposal would simply allocate some negotiated share of total revenue to the Players Association and then let them have the headache of allocating the money among its members. At that point, personnel decisions regarding trades could be made without regard to salaries at all.

2. 'Does scientific progress affect culture?' Will I be able to read this by tallow light on vellum, with text written by scribes?

5. No, as also reported by the Guardian - 'The appearance of a single green leaf hinted at a future in which astronauts would grow their own food in space, potentially setting up residence at outposts on the moon or other planets. Now, barely after it had sprouted, the cotton plant onboard China’s lunar rover has died.

The plant relied on sunlight at the moon’s surface, but as night arrived at the lunar far side and temperatures plunged as low as -170C, its short life came to an end.

Prof Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University, who led the design of the experiment, said its short lifespan had been anticipated. “Life in the canister would not survive the lunar night,” Xie said.'

That's one of the reasons why Mars is a much more likely candidate for habitation. It has a day/night cycle similar to the earth, ice near the surface, and temperatures even occasionally rise above freezing.

And an atmosphere!

As an aside, if you are a board game player: Terraforming Mars is excellent.

Mars has an 'atmosphere' too thin to be of any real use, but thick enough to create dust storms and make it harder to land spacecraft.

Mars has massive swings in temperature from night to day. The Viking lander site saw temps move from -17C during the day to -107C at night. The atmosphere is too thin to provide much in the the way of a heat blanket. But atmosphere is also a two edged sword - while it may trap a little heat, it will also act as a conductor of heat, so that -107C wind will cool you down.

In contrast, the moon is in a vacuum, so temperature means a very different thing. A simple parasol will keep the heat off you during the day, and small heaters will keep yoh warm at night since you live on the ultimate thermos bottle. The biggest problem on the moon would be shedding heat.

And if yoh don't like the surface, there are millions upon millions of square feet of living space in lava tubes, and they have a constant temperature of -10 to -20C. No radiation or micrometeorites, either.

Lava tubes on the moon are almost certainly the easiest places to inhabit other than Earth, and they are only 3 days away from us.

"Mars has an 'atmosphere' too thin to be of any real use ..Lava tubes on the moon are almost certainly the easiest places to inhabit other than Earth"

Interesting, but I'm not sure I agree with the conclusion. The atmosphere on Mars is about 0.5% of what Earth's is. That could be potentially useful. There have been plans to use the CO2 in the Mars atmosphere to manufacture rocket fuel.

Furthermore, Mars has a much higher gravitational field than Luna (38% vs 17%). It's indeterminate how much of a gravitational field animals and plants need. But certainly Mars is closer than the Moon.

#5. It's hard to feel like the Chinese are horrible horrible people when they are doing stuff like this.

You are very mistaken. Here in Tennessee, a state in the southeastern part of the United States, we understand the threat of the Red Chinese to god-fearing free people everywhere. You need to be educated better.

You are even more mistaken. Here in Parana, a state in the southern part of Brazil, we understand the Chinese to be friendly people who interested in trade and selling useful goods to all peaceful people.

Hey, those Nazis are awesome with their zeppelins and Olympic Games hosting.

5. Commercial enterprises in space bring to mind Weyland-Utani Corporation and Carter J. Burke.

"You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage."


I'd travel to deep space to see Ripley in her underwear, provided there are no aliens or Carter Burkes.

You're dogmeat, pal!

If we are using movie references to formulate policy, then all EPA employees are like dickless from Ghostbusters, interfering in things they don't understand while sneering at the people who do.

Does scientific progress affect culture? Birth control pills, reduced child mortality, internal combustion engines, wireless communications, NO THESE THINGS DO NOT AFFECT CULTURE WHAT ARE YOU CRAZY?

"Does scientific progress affect culture?"

Of course not! said the MTF transsexual as he popped more progesterone and stopped reading to dilate his cloaca. No effect. None.

The terrifying part of debating Tyler is not what he knows, or his debating style: It's if he takes the debate as seriously as he takes any interview, and has dedicated 400 regular person reading hours to figure out everything that you could ever consider putting forward. I only know only a handful of people I'd expect could put forward a better argument in a debate judged by an intellectual audience, and all of them have a 9+ figure net worth.

If they beat you at debate, then just punch them in the face. Libertarians are usually physically weak nerds with nasally voices.

Toxic masculinity?

2: Fascinating stuff, but isn't this what anthropologists do? Also (I haven't read the paper, only the abstract), I'm wary of drawing conclusions about a society's values and concerns from it's folklore. Because a society's current folklore might reflect its current values and concerns, or might reflect the ones from 500 years ago, or most likely a combination. So it would see hard to draw conclusions about a society, current or past, from its folklore. Except of course for those elements that have stayed stable all along, maybe beliefs in reincarnation or filial piety. (But is there any society that lacks folklore about filial piety?)


It is hard for me to believe that an incremental win is worth the same to every team, and that therefore a player's MRP is the same. Increased attendance, a bigger broadcast audience, and generally more local enthusiasm, is worth more in NY or LA than in Pittsburgh or KC. That translates into more incremental revenue.

Besides, all that WAR business is only slightly useful in deciding how many wins a player is worth to a specific team. A free agent might add to an area of great strength - not many incremental wins - or shore up a weakness - more wins. Scoring the tenth run increases the probability of winning much less than scoring the fifth run.

a bigger broadcast audience, and generally more local enthusiasm, is worth more in NY or LA than in Pittsburgh or KC.

No, it's not. Try getting a motel room in St. Louis when the Cardinals are in town.

But both motel capacity and audience size are functions of population. Increasing your audience by 5% is worth more in NYC than in St. Louis.

Alt-acs should write about and debate about nothing because they aren't minimally equipped to do so. They are only capable of making glib statements persuasive to people who already believe the premises they assert without evidence or logic.

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