Friday assorted links


Lamarckianism! Will your genetic destiny, like a certain bad German!

I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this blog.
I really hope to see the same high-grade content from yyou in thhe future as well.

In fact, your creative writing abilities has
encouraged me to get my own site now ;)

"Instead, they hope to start a conversation about single-use plastic bags"

I'm pretty sure a conversation is not their hope.

And now they will be single use, instead of getting re-used in one a hundred ways. Net loss for recycling.

Those bags are as embarrassing as if emblazoned on them was, "Trump 2020."

I use the plastic bags to bring home the groceries and re-purpose them to pick up after the pooch. The excess bags are placed in recycle bins at one of the chain drug stores.

When they outlaw plastic bags, I'll need to fish out the NYT from the train sta. garbage can.

Ha! Because the NYTimes is so shitty! Oh man these libs and their lies.


No joke, man. .

It's either that or I sell the pooch to the Main Street Chinese take-out place.

While traveling in my motorhome I sometimes enter and shop in jurisdictions that ban plastic and paper bags. I only discover this when I get to the checkout register. Upon being informed I say too bad and leave all the goods without paying and walk out. What did they think I was going to do with the stuff???

And the poor hourly workers who had nothing to do with the ordinance get to void the sale and put all the stuff back before it melts and they have to throw it out. That will show those stupid hourly workers!!!

How is that punishing the worker? It's not like he's insulting them or taking a shit on the floor. Re-stocking shelves is just that much worse than being a cashier?

Well, it certainly punishes the store owner, who likely also had zip to do with the ordinance.

Besides, I'm not sure I believe the story. I live in a very liberal city, and you can bring your own bag, or pay ten cents for a paper one at the store.

How many places ban bags outright?

It is true. Typically in Californian cities.
Pay 10 cents for a paper bag? You are aware it is a tax not the cost of the bag. It is a tax inflicted on you by the very same people who continue to spread the environment and climate scares for the express purpose of getting voters to acquiesce to giving up their wealth and their freedom.

Store owners and all businesses within a city, county or state have considerable access to politicians. If they do not use their access to stop these loony laws then they should bear the brunt of the anger of the public and their clients. I think it is an excellent way to get the attention of the politicians.

Plenty of stores in the U.S. have supported the bans because they can charge for re-usuable bags at the check out stand.

Why should an hourly worker care whether they spend a bit more time restocking shelves? The loss in productivity is a management created problem.

"Why should an hourly worker care whether they spend a bit more time restocking shelves?"

Basquiat spinning in his grave.

Anon is creating work! Where's mulp when you need him?

"That will show those stupid hourly workers!!!"

They ought not vote for nanny politicians then.

Interesting. You've obviously thought this through and are way ahead of me. I just put the stuff in the shopping cart or store basket and take it out to the motor home, figuring it saves putting it in a bag and taking it out of the bag.

LOL! Because Chinese people eat dogs! You are on a roll my brother!


Koreans, too. And, if you travel in France and a number of other countries, you can order barbecued "Secretariat."

It's why I only buy, take-out General Tso's Chicken, despite the likelihood that it's pigeon.

Also, ever notice there are no stray cats roaming heavily oriental neighborhoods?

After my time in Vietnam I avoid all oriental restaurants. But yes I know they all eat dogs not just Chinese.

Not a particular fan of dog doo-doo but what's the obsession with it? Never see anybody out picking up squirrel, rabbit, goose, gopher, deer, crow, rat or feces of other wild animals. Added up, the excrement of those critters must be just about as significant as that of little Lassie. It might be the right moment to recognize that all animals, not just those that live in the cul de sac, must be outfitted with diapers.

the new yorker gotta tote bag with new yorker on it in big letters
sounds like same concept
to shame totebag toter

The conversation should go something like this: Less than 1% of the plastic in the oceans comes from the US, Canada probably even less. Ocean plastic comes primarily from developing countries that can't afford the much better waste disposal techniques of the US (and Canada). Thus, plastic bag and plastic straw bans in the US and Canada are misguided as a means for combatting plastic in the oceans. Plastic bag bans are particularly bad because many people re-use those bags for other purposes, such as for holding dog poop and household trash. Bag bans have led to higher sales of (non-shopping) small plastic garbage bags, offsetting the hoped for reductions in plastic. One has to use re-usable shopping bags so many times as to be impractical and unhygenic* to gain any net environmental benefit due to the high carbon cost of manufacturing such bags. (*Unhygenic because germs collect in those re-usable bags after repeated use.) Thus, there is no good basis for plastic bag and straw bans, and we should view such efforts as akin to religious ritual. The First Amendment precludes governments from requiring that people participate in mandatory religious practices.

There is a boat arriving on our shores filled with the trash we shipped to the Philippines for disposal. Probably originally collected in Vancouver.

Bury it in Canada.

I agree with this 90%, but I also know that US bans have reduced plastics found in the wild, gumming up flood control, etc.

So it's not nothing, even if it isn't highest bang for the buck.


Even if most of the plastic in the world (99%) doesn’t come from the US, all the plastic garbage in the US sure as hell comes from the US. And it’s an eyesore, gets everywhere, and gets eaten by local fauna.

Glass is also a major issue, IIRC.

Bans seem like overkill. How about a $1 tax on glass and plastic one use items?

Mickey D's banned styrofoam clamshells ages ago, what's wrong with banning plastic straws and bags? They are easily substituted.

Citation needed. You mean that you are unable to imagine situations in which a substitute would not be "easy". I suggest that is because of your lack of imagination, rather than because you have actually investigated the issue comprehensively.

"what's wrong with banning plastic straws and bags?"

Well, its stupid [straw bans are based on a totally made up stat invented by a teenager] for starters and does nothing for the environment.

Do you think people picking up dog or cat poop will not buy small plastic bags as replacements?

Disabled people like straws, it makes their life easier. Stupid disabled people.

Many dog poop bags are biodegradable, and even the ones that aren't are smaller and less of a problem than store bags.

There are other ways to make straws besides plastic.

Oh you're on our team? I'm sure you are just fine with the regulations mandating wheelchair ramps and Braille signage and subtitles on all visual media and the like.

By the way, run those reusable bags through the washing machine now and then.

No, toss them in the garbage that goes to the landfill. It has the added benefit of annoying environmentalists.

Haha! Take THAT people who want the environment to be clean!

There is virtue signalling in a terrible nutshell:
"We have good intentions never mind the fact that it creates inconvenience for at best trivial benefits!"

Nature doesn't give a damn about your ridiculous human idea of a "clean" planet.

Right, anti-virtue signalling is so much better.

Exactly! Why the hell do we care about any of it? The earth is a big place and God gave us dominion over it. These tree-huggers are pathetic.

Environmentalism is just another contemptible religion of the last man (

Amen. Screw that crap.

The dreaded plastics bags don't throw themselves in the Ocean, roadside, Bambi's forest. People that throw the bags in the Ocean, etc. are the problem.

That crowd generally illegally enters the USA and they all vote Democrat.

No, the conversation should go like this - what are we trying to do? Simple: reduce litter, especially wind-driven litter, in the environment. That's probably why, in my ruby-red state, among the first cities to enact bag bans were a windy western town where the damn things festooned the barbed wire and the mesquite trees all the time; and a coastal resort town, that's trying, against ingrained cultural habit, to look pretty for vacationers, 'cuz the Riviera this ain't. By which I mean, the Redneck Riviera this ain't. (Though we of course have a town called Riviera, thanks to a land speculator straight out of David Mamet.) My own city was relatively late; we just wanted them out of the lake. As a veteran of many a cleanup day, I can attest that bottles would have been an even better step, but sometimes you start with what's easy. Which this was. A few old men probably had to drive ten or 15 miles out of their way to honor their vow to shop somewhere else to get as many plastic bags as they could, but old men love nothing better than a drive ...

But no worries, local preferences on this issue were overridden everywhere by the state supreme court after ... lemme look it up - ah yes - the merchants of Laredo sued.

Oh, yeah! Wikipedia funfact: "Because of the heavy Democratic allegiance in Webb County [Laredo], Republicans virtually never offer candidates for county office."

It’s the demographics of Democratic Laredo that leads to high levels of litter. Where people don’t behave like animals, litter is a minimal problem. But litter and liberalism go hand in hand.

#1 "Intangible Factors" is spot on. It's ridiculous to think things like reliability, customer service, soft-skills, and persistence are intangible factors now as opposed to a simple baseline of what to expect....but here we are.

#3 And just like that, their mark of shame turned into the newest hot trend.

#4 I'm reminded of GATTACA.

"Five fingers or six, it's how you play"
"That piece can only be played with six fingers"

hows it make u feel
when u listen to this 9 fingered piano picker?

1. IP pretty much explains it, doesn't it? Of course, many businesses apportion a good part of their incomes to IP in order to avoid taxes; absent tax avoidance, I suspect the labor share would rise substantially. I mean, how much work gets done in a file drawer in Ireland? Globalization, and the ability to produce goods in lower cost places, increases potential profits, profits that can be apportioned to that file drawer. Kling is right, but likely for the wrong reasons.

#6 -- I found the graph of markups really unsettling. Even if market concentration is not the explanation, no competing explanation seems like very good news to me.

The worms are back! In the day, many eons ago, we had the worm runners digest, a half comedic journal based on teaching worms a trick, then grinding them up and feeding them to other worms. Someone thought they found a relation.

7. From the link: "The length of papers published in top tier journals has tripled in the past 40 years, expanding to such a degree that readers often struggle to finish them. The American Economic Association is attempting to address this issue with the launch of a new journal. The American Economic Review: Insights features latest top-notch, but brief, economics papers in the field."

I don't wish to be too optimistic, but is "brief" code for not filled with questionable, mind-numbing data and horribly written economics jargon?

This may come as a shock, but at one time economists could actually write coherent sentences, not only coherent sentences, but something close to literature. Then along came the nonsense about establishing proof of causation with data, of everything, and writing took a back seat; no, no seat. It's true, I have criticized advocacy economics. But advocacy economics dominates the field; it's impossible not to notice. Pretending that economics is all science, based on questionable, mind-numbing data, can't beat a well written argument. Sorry, but it's true.

Let's hope so! Also, I wish more law reviews would stictly enforce word limits.

#4. I believe it, but this is likely highly dependent on developmental processes starting in the fetus. The brain and the body develop together and the brain grows the brain areas needed to control the extra finger based on sensor feedback from the limb as it is developing. Consequently, an adult human given an extra limb probably would not be able to control it so easily, they might be able to grow some extra neurons to control it, but it's never going to work as well as if they were born with it.

I only skimmed the article but it seems to me that the tests they performed were only adequate to suggest that in some very unrealistic (very simple) situations 6 fingers were as good as or better than 5. It is very, very strange (maybe I should re-read it?) that keyboard/typing skills weren't tested. Maybe we'd agree there is some number of fingers on a hand which would lead to serious problems. Since they're not arguing that these people have evolved 6 fingers to "out compete" us 5x2ers, I kinda understand their choices; but what about 1) reaction times, 2) digit strength 3) hand span. Would larger forearms be necessary? and then how about the obvious fallacy that 12 fingers (say) requires no more neural support than 10? Bigger brains? Faster conduction? Larger birth canals? Their conclusion that the "extra" finger shouldn't be "arbitrarily" amputated neonatally makes assumptions about the population of infants with this 'deformity'/augmentation. Well, of course any surgery is a risk, but growing up with 6 fingers in the land of 5 probably reduces attractiveness to the opposite sex. And how well do such hands function during sexual encounters? No, no, don't tell me. Anyway, the sample size is minuscule, and their conclusion is proportionately tame, as it should be.

Indeed, their video game seemed designed to give advantages to 6-fingered people.

I think that's okay, to show how far the advantages of having six fingers might go. But it would've been good to see how they did at tasks that were neutral or designed for five-fingered people, such as typing.

Kling's "intangible factors" is a euphemism for rent seeking.

Economists have a model of 19th century factory work because that approached perfectly competitive free markets in labor. Kling and others want to obfuscate the presence and nature of rent seeking, at least in the private sector, and thus promote the view that rent seeking in the economy represents labor share and that labor share has not really decreased.

I thought Kling was embrassing Keynes!

"I feel sure that the demand for capital is strictly limited in the sense that it would not be difficult to increase the stock of capital up to a point where its marginal efficiency had fallen to a very low figure. This would not mean that the use of capital instruments would cost almost nothing, but only that the return from them would have to cover little more than their exhaustion by wastage and obsolescence together with some margin to cover risk and the exercise of skill and judgment. In short, the aggregate return from durable goods in the course of their life would, as in the case of short-lived goods, just cover their labour costs of production plus an allowance for risk and the costs of skill and supervision."

I look at ROIC as purely labor cost.

I see entrepreneurs as low wage workers 99% of the time, 0.9% upper income workers, 0.01% multimillion income earners.

Economists since Reagan have redefined"wealth" is price not cost of assets, so iif you pay workers $10 billion to build a factory you own, you own $50 billion in wealth if your corporate market cap is five times labor cost of capital, but the same $10 billion factory is a wealth destroying $100 million if you are GM. Eg, Gigafactory 1 vs Lordstown.


So what Kling is saying is that the declining labor share is a result of labor's inability to negotiate for a larger share of the joint output of labor and capital.

What, I wonder, does he think causes this?

Maybe he's saying we should stop calling Uber transportation service providers "workers" or "labor" and more properly call them "entrepreneurs" or "capitalists".

You can not drive for Uber if you are simply a worker with a government licence to drive. In fact, Uber would be happy to get the government out of licensing drivers. Instead, the number 1, 2, 3 priority for Uber is you are a capitalist. A good capitalist. If you have a bicycle, you can't "work" for Uber. If you lack a smartphone, you can't work for Uber. (Customers without smartphones are not wanted by Uber, but accepted reluctantly, ie, customers need to be capitalists.) If you have a 20 year old car which you sometimes get running by your own labor, you will not be given contracts by Uber.

So, basically, to say labor share is falling simply means Uber "drivers" are not labor, but capital. Uber "driver" income is counted as capital income. Ditto the workers fixing your home network, assembling your media center and getting your computer working, mowing your lawn, ...

Thanks for the link to my review. Larry

Thanks for writing it; the review was a pleasure to read!

1. In Illinois, labor gets all. Amazing what labor cartels can do.

6. Where 2 or 3 are gathered, there is a market.

Comments for this post are closed