My debate with Kate Waldock and Luigi Zingales on tech regulation

Lots of fire! Here is the podcast link.


I've heard of these economists before. If they don't mention PATENTS at least once, they are uninformed. I'm betting 50% chance they don't.

Ray, they were so far off the reservation that the notion of patents had no plausible place in the conversation.

True, that's why I don't listen to these 'edutainment' podcasts. They have little or no real world relevance.

Bonus trivia: it's hard to find podcasts that you can download and listen to on a old-fashioned standalone MP3 player. While I work out, I listen to just Teaching Company podcasts and I found some Ben Carlson / Meb Faber finance podcasts that are downloadable but nothing else. These days they want you to 'stream' or download from iTunes store which I don't get.

dr. zingales said the drug company paid 1 million american dollars to a doctor to give a lecture!
anybodies know if that's a fact?
or a sociology narrative?

Good job keeping your cool on the podcast.

“Don’t you think that regulation could improve ...” was incredibly frustrating.

It’s a lot of anger in the Zingales guys voice, but even the best written regulation isn’t going to change the world much in this instance.

But I guess that is what you get when you go on a podcast hosted by two very hardcore center left economists-a whole lot of hope about what politicians and their policies can do for the people. Why so many elite center left economist want to turn the US into France or Germany, I’ll never understand!

Center left?

Zingales sounds quite hard left to my ear. He covets as much power as he can get through force.

I think if you read most of what he’s written, you would view him as decidedly center left and not far left.

To me, the difference between center left and far left is what to do about the capitalism “problem”. The podcasts hosts are decidedly in the let’s keep it but reform it severely camp.

The woman from Georgetown seemed ethically and ideologically very similar to Zingales. They’re hard core democrats but I also feel they aren’t stupid like a lot of non economist lefties are....


Perhaps the conversation has shifted so much during this decade that center-left doesn’t mean anything any more. Center left used to mean DLC.

These two were openly hostile to business. They were proposing to break up companies for no reason other than their feels being hurt. They didn’t like how economic gains were distributed (and really were upset when their notions were questioned) and had no problem with proposing and/all mechanisms to adjust the state of the world to their liking.

They sounded very unthoughtful, power hungry, and dogmatic.

If that’s center left words have little/no meaning.

I often see Zingales at supervillain conventions. He's funding 10% of my Death Ray.

@Terry . . . "Why so many elite center left economist want to turn the US into France or Germany, I’ll never understand!"

Because France and Germany are happier and healthier places to live for most people.

They’re much poorer than the US.
Germany and France usually run 75 to 70 percent of US median income levels. Sorry guys but that’s poorer. And for countries that are less diverse and have smaller populations than the US-the only thing you can blame is there economic policy.

Also there’s no way you can argue that median human capital is greater in the US than Germany of France.

They don’t do a good job of inhaling non whites and giving them a meaningful place in their society, especially France.

You can make the urbanism is superior argument and I’m fine with that. But I don’t think any center left economist are even in tune with that Disparity.

But as a raw economic machine,the US machine works better.

It inhales more diversity, takes on more people of extremely low skills and economic back grounds, produces more jobs, much more income for the middle-upper and lower classes as well.

You can say a lot of things about the US. Our people don’t save enough, eat like crap, live in ugly cities with ugly architecture, our suburbs are inefficient and ugly, our way of life is ugly etc. But as a pure economic machine, the US is much better than Germany or France!

You really need to learn the meaning of the word 'inhale'.

You are not wrong, but you didn't mention large differences in working hours between France, Germany, and the USA. Your implicit assumption appears to be that someone in Germany works a similar amount of hours per year as somone in the US, and that is completely wrong.

I looked it up and saw US median income is still well above Australian median income. I was surprised. But I see it's increased by less than 3% in 20 years in real terms, so we are catching up. Also, we don't work as muck. Or at least I don't. I work 37.5 hours a week. I get 3 weeks paid holidays a year and 2 weeks paid sick leave if I need it. Or is it three weeks? I don't know, I'm never that sick. And I get 13 weeks paid leave after 10 years work. That's necessary because how else is someone like a toilet cleaner going to be able to travel around the world?

He’s not wrong, even adjusting for time off income is lower in Western Europe than in the US. But his headline of 75% surely doesn’t take in the fact that Americans work much longer hours to earn that income. In Germany the statutory minimum is 25 paid vacation days per year not including sick days and not including public holidays. You can frame it as Europeans are “buying” leisure time so saying that makes them poorer is a bit like saying I’m poorer because I buy a more expensive BMW rather than just drive a Honda. It is still true that even adjusting for all this you can make more money in the US but you need to make the adjustments first to compare rather than looking at headline numbers. I also do think that the lack of land in Europe also puts some limits on economic growth there or makes growth much easier to achieve in the US.

Working less hours and making 25 percent less in income is a fairly staggering trade off.

What would of been more interesting is if the median income stat was within ten percent of US levels but it’s not....

Germany is poorer than the US and it’s economic machine is inferior, that is without calibrating for free rider issues as well...

+1 economics
makes us feel sorta tingly

Tyler, you failed to respond to so many soft softball pitches.

Google has multiple competitors in search, like Apple's search, Microsoft's MSN Bing search, DuckDuckGo, several anti-corporate search sites specifically to hide identities, not allow tracking, etc. Bing is equivalent to Google search these days, with MS stripping down the ads while Google upped them. Of course Google's not in China, and many other places. Search engines arent hard to create, with lots of open source to start from.

And if profits are so high, then economists at business schools should easily find venture capital, given that's what students go to business school to learn: how to make a business case to get financing. Isn't it?

The problem not solved by competition, but by monopoly znd regulation is delivering great Internet everywhere like AT&T/Bell/Western Electric delivered great voice everywhere at uniform price to two-thirds US land area and 80%+ the population.

If AT&T et al had not been broken up and it had remained a monopoly, it would have installed FiOS to every address it previously served with copper, 80%+ of the population, and would charge probably $50 a month for 25 megabit data plus voice residential, no matter where you have a home.

Verizon has rebuilt half the Bell system, but has shed half the land area, so it probably covers one-third the land area, but 60% the population. It provides FiOS to the densest maybe 25%. No PUC regulator can force Verizon to offer FiOS because economists argue competitors would swoop in if there were demand for high speed Internet, so the PUC must rule no customer demand justifies a government mandate.

Plus, SpaceX and Blue Origin and OneWeb will supply sat high speed, real cheap real soon, easily within 10 years, or 20, and real cheap, like $100, or $150, ... so competitive markets are delivering solutions faster than a regulated Bell monopoly which would not have hit its own 2000 date, probly way in the future in 2010, or 2020, to cover every address in its two-thirds of US land area.

Oh well, at least we can all agree on the need for a tighter taxation regime for the tech giants.


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