Monday assorted links

1. Local concentration and monopsony.

2. Better-looking children achieve more schooling.

3. Noah on the Chilean miracle.

4. Fukushima: “We estimate that the increase in mortality from higher electricity prices outnumbers the mortality from the accident itself, suggesting the decision to cease nuclear production has contributed to more deaths than the accident itself.”

5. Costa and Rucker on Trump impeachment.

Comments

Those articles about Trump raging over something and Republicans feeling anxious have run every day since the election. They're a joke.

I tend to agree. Overall, this whole "moral signaling" strategy to try and get rid of Trump is a very bad choice in my opinion. People know Trump is what he is and that was taken into consideration before 2016. The main factors at play here are who is Trump being compared to (Dems are making the best possible case for Trump) and how people perceive the results of Trump's policies (also not unfavorable at this point).

Trump compares to Nixon without the genocide thing.

I thought Trump was committing genocide on the Kurds, by neglecting them?

And the Uighurs and the Hong Kongers. Maybe the Catalans too and the Yellow Vests.

I do trust all the concepts you have introduced on your
post. They're very convincing and can definitely work.
Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for starters.
May you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the
post.

I'm shocked. Analysis true: Trump wins reelection but without the massive landslide that Nixon won in 1972.

Same scenario. The idiots run a an extremist lunatic.

lol @ massive landslide for Nixon! How’d that turn out for Tricky Dick?

“One idiot is one idiot. Two idiots are two idiots. Ten thousand idiots are a political party.”
― Franz Kafka

He’s a Russian asset intent on destroying America. America is a deeply flawed totalitarian state that oppresses racial minorities which do not exist because races do not exist. Trump is oppressing a group that does not exist because Putin has video of him peeing on a Michelle Obama doppelgänger.

America is a disgustingly unequal society of rapists and toxic masculinity, but Trump is making it even worse.

Lol!

You got the mouse 🐁 nailed!

Too bad he's got Trump nailed, exaggerating only degree.

Nah. He had to imitate extreme TDS. He did a good job.

I am a very stable genius! Republicans like you are human scum! Sad!

Don’t forget that Amerikkka is a hello sh cesspit of white supremacy and toxic rape culture (and yet millions would come here if they could).

Well that's the game. The objective is free stuff. You win the free stuff by intimidating the government, the people, semi-public institutions and private companies. You do this by demeaning and making up hate objects to blame for your inability to support yourself or your bad habits. Nobody has ever seen an actual white supremacist but plenty of people will jump at the chance to vent their spleen and call someone a white supremacist. It is an orgy of left wing hate with one goal; to get more free stuff.

oh ya the free lunch we teach kids at a very early age how screwed they are: “New Jersey school district proposes banning students with lunch debt from field trips, prom” [The Hill]. “Under the policy, students with a negative balance will be able to get a hot meal, but not a la carte items. The if debt goes over $75, high school students will be prohibited from going to school dances including prom until the debt is fully repaid.” • Train ’em up young.

The main factor is whether Trump committed a substantive crime or not. The current accusations are pretty weak, but on the other hand Trump isn't popular.

Crime? They don't need no stinking crime. Orange Man made them cry!

Soliciting prostitutes is a crime. Firing the head of the FBI for investigating pee tapes is a crime.

Treason is a crime.

True! But don't forget campaign funding violations, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and collusion with a foreign government to manipulate a US election.

Obama is out of office, so too late to impeach. Maybe criminal charges?

Fan fiction is another forum.

They ran before the election, too. Trump was "destroyed" on a daily basis by this or that event.

5. The thing to remember about the latest impeachment fuss is that Trump dared to expose the practice where the useless sons of Washington get juicy positions in some shady influence peddling scheme.

No wonder many denizens of Washington are torn about it. They have useless sons as well.

Trump had no choice since Kushner and Ivanka have been openly selling their businesses in hotels and fashion as part of government.

Kushner and Ivanka were successful do so well before Trump decided to run. Hunter Biden, not so much.

Keep polishing that knob. Maybe he will give you the job full time.

da best ya got? Knob polishing?

Signed, random grade 7 boys

well to be fair, with Trump, it's more of a button than a knob

Maybe he's a re-transitioned trans, you hateful bigot.

Everything you just typed is bull shit.

Thank God for small mercies. You were brief with the lies.

2. More schooling in what? Okay, I ruined Cowen's very funny joke. We know that many of Cowen's posts (all of them?) have multiple sometimes conflicting meanings. It's what makes this blog fun. Today we have the paid family leave blog post followed by more schooling for the attractive kids blog post. I think the order is backward: after all that schooling, family leave necessarily follows.

(4) If you really want to talk about slaughter, compare the deaths due to the accident at 3 mile island (0) vs. the deaths caused by the "No Nukes" movement in the 1980s, which put an end to the US Nuclear industry and led to building coal-fired generators instead. Coal mining is one of the most dangerous professions, both in terms of immediate hazard to life and in long-term hazards due to inhalation of dust. Emissions from coal-fired plants include pollutants such as mercury, which retard child brain development. And then there is the contribution to CO2 emissions and climate change. Elizabeth Warren must have attended the Springstein No Nukes concert and stopped giving serious thought to the issue ever since, because she's still advocating the end of nuclear power generation in the US despite the inevitable carbon based power replacements that would result. It would be extremely difficult to rely on only intermittent solar and wind power for the nation's grid supply; the difficulties of power storage multiply when intermittent sources grow to become a majority of the power supply. We need nuclear power for non-carbon baseload power.

Coal company executives to parents of dead children and widows of dead miners: "the tree-huggers made us do it."

No one put a gun to their heads, no.

But the environmental movement ensured the incentive structure would kill off nuclear power in the US, which has been a remarkably successful effort. New York will turn off its remaining nuclear reactors this year and Diablo in California will be turned off as well.

Trading nuclear for fossil fuels is what actually happened although now it’s largely being displaced by natural gas instead of coal.

No, the lack of appropriate scaled incentives for renewables, the de-/lax- regulation of coal and gas, and the continued massive subsidy for fossil fuels - not to mention the refusal to meaningfully attack demand - is what caused the coal then gas booms. Not tree huggers.

Nuclear deserved to die. It should never have been born.

You’re factually incorrect but I get the impression facts have nothing to do with your view of the world. So natural gas is the equilibrium with some coal added in.

You’ve managed to eliminate nuclear power in the US, so you’ve achieved your desired equilibrium of natural gas and coal.

Congratulations !

Nuclear was a zero emission technology back in 1950 it was readily available and practical in 1980. Throughout the 80s and 90s massive investment in solar would have required massive outlays of capital for minimal power generation. Solar benefits, massively, from the fact that much of its technology piggybacks on the global R&D behemoth that is silicon chip production. I do not foresee any way by which solar could have leapfrogged a few decades of silicon technology that the chipmakers had to do the hard way.

Regardless, it is exceedingly idiotic to make the perfect the enemy of the good. Throughout the time when climate change was an "existential threat", solar was not politically viable while nuclear was. Somehow, even in Germany which had one of the most aggressive solar policies with a blanket closing of nuclear plants, they still were building gigawatts of coal capacity in ... 2018. Even if we ignore the mass of wasted investment and take recent German claims to stop building coal at face value, one of the most solar friendly countries on the planet was still doing things like opening a new 1.5 gigawatt coal plant in Moorburg in 2015 and a 750 megawatt coal plant in Lunen in 2013.

Per standard models each of these plants will emit enough pollution to kill more people that have ever died from nuclear power causes in the western world.

Nuclear power required greens to put people, the planet, and basically everything they claim to care about ahead of ideology. Instead they opted to have people die.

Nonsense. "opted to have people die." nonsense. Anti-environmentalist industry spin, plain and simple.

Just actuarial data.

Coal in the US kills about 5 people per TWh. Moorburg puts out 13 TWh annually. Barring divine intervention, we should expect 65 people to die each year for as long as Moorburg operations.

The nuclear power plants closed which Moorburg's generation replaced, would have killed about 0.5 people per year per actuarial data.

Thus far, German policy of closing safe nuclear powers while opening deadly coal power plants has likely killed somewhere north of 250 people to date.

But that's okay, they were likely old, sick, or helpless children with asthma. It's cool. At least we can rest assured that killing all those people while pumping obnoxious amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere was the right call.

Nuclear company executives to parents of dead children and widows of dead miners: "the tree-huggers made us do it.

Fixed!

Milton Friedman killed nuclear power.

First, he argued that government should never force customers to pay higher rates for electricity to fund building new capital. Rates should only pay returns on old, existing capital.

All the costs of new capital must be paid for by investors who get nothing until the capital is selling power at a lower price than existing old capital in a competitive market.

Shareholders must bear 100% of the risks of new capital failing to compete at a lower price than old capital.

Nuclear advocates argue government must bear all the known risks, plus. 100% of unknown risks because investors know from history that any investment that requires 50 years plus to pay off the capital cost is at 99% risk of loss of at least 50% requiring a government bailout, the worst for investors being the Federal Constitutional wealth redistribution bailout: bankruptcy.

The only nations with significant nuclear power generation built the capital under state socialism. France took over 90% of the energy industry and then built nuclear power with 100% government workers.

The US committed to pay for nuclear power capital by government taxing of customers by way of setting electric rates and preventing customers from finding alternative electric suppliers.

Milton Friedman argued customers should be allowed to find competing electric power suppliers, and Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter and others agreed with Friedman that electric power should be cheaper, and less reliable, thus PURPA was passed by Congress, along with other supporting laws in 1979.

Not a single nuclear power plant investment was approved for funding with rate payer taking the risk nuclear power would be cheaper than every technology developed in the next 50 years, until the big government socialist Obama promised government bailouts for 4 new nuclear power plants, AND the conservative GOP legislators and regulators approved forcing customers to pay higher electric rates for the nuclear power before any power was ever generated by nuclear power.

Besides, all nuclear advocates demand government bailouts in government insurance, plus government pick the losers stuck with the cost of the bad government reactor design that produces 30-50 times the amount of dangerous weapons material than must be disposed of safely so no terrorists can get to it ever in a thousand years.

No one supports a free market nuclear power industry.

If you did, you would allow "spent fuel" to be sold globally to the highest bidder, including Iran, Inndia, the Islamic State, the DPRK, instead of demanding only government ownership, paid for by charging taxes on electric power users.

Trump knows that socialism is the only method of improving nuclear power so it can compete with coal, which can't compete today, so Trump has blocked Bill Gates building a much improved nuclear reactor in partnership with China socialists.

Bill Gates is the only advocate of nuclear power to get his rich friends to put their cash at risk building new nuclear technology. All the rest of the new work is being done by socialists.

Conservatives advocate nuclear power as the best, but never invest their own money. Why haven't the Kochs invested a few billion designing and building reactors that burn 99% of the nuclear fuel, generating almost no waste? Obviously such designs would have zero chance of over power.

By the way, what happens to "baseload" power when demand for electricity falls below baseload? A big bank of light bulbs get switched on? Nuclear power requires storage just the same as wind, solar. Or else the grid becomes unstable.

This entire comment is lunacy and mental illness. Word salad stream of consciousness.

I support institutionalization if the family consents.

"mulp" == duck, bullshit is coming

2. Better-looking children achieve more schooling.
---
I take exception to that, on the better looking part.

1. Local concentration and monopsony.
---
Would you like fries with that?

There is likely a subtle specialization of labor that the authors had to ignore. But the effect should be the same anyway.

2. they get more regurgitated worms as well

5. Kenneth Starr has been quoted as saying impeachment is not appropriate for the president's conduct and that censure would be the better alternative. Starr said. “Impeachment has become a terrible, terrible thorn in the side of the American democracy and the conduct of the American government since Watergate.” It wasn't clear whether Starr was referring to President Clinton or President Trump, but Starr's buddy Bill Barr favors shutting down the Democrats in the House, locking up Adam Schiff, and all Democrats, if necessary.

Starr went on to say that he prefers long term open-ended partisan investigations with plenty of leaks, which consume a lot of taxpayer money, rake low-level players over the coals mercilessly, and ideally eventually serves as a perjury trap, which then leads to impeachment.

Ken Starr transformed Clinton into a perjurer? That's a novel approach. Hillary learned how to get around that with her standard reply, "I don't recall."

"We don't need no stinking crime! He made us cry."

You're going to cry again in 2920

Five more years.

Note to left-wing lunatics. Perjury (lying under oath) is a crime. Name Trump's crime.

If Trump is still being elected president in 2920 then he really is our God-Emperor.

I undertsand, dick, that you are too young to remember ken starr

The U.S. Congress has become the world's greatest investigative body.

2) Former person (long ago canceled), Satoshi Kanazawa, claimed there was decent evidence that better looking people (particularly males) had higher than avg IQ's. That would explain this.

We've evolved where both 'good looking' and smart are both signs of good genetics.

He gave two explanations for this. That was one of them. The other was simply high status males (read: higher IQ) selecting beautiful women over many generations, so that eventually the two traits become paired.

That was the theory of the late Daniel Seligman, who said, "If you want to see good looking young women, go to the campus of a selective college." This was at a time when there was still a stereotype of beautiful airheads and unattractive "bookworms".

Yeah, my first thought was 'did they control for IQ?' It is incontrovertible that there is a relationship between facial structure/proportions and mental development/abilities.

There is a gender bias between boys and girls, many of the correlations are weak, although this is to be expected in social science research. It would have been more interesting to further quantify facial features with measures of symmetry. Beauty literature suggests symmetry is a strong reflection of attractiveness and perhaps evolutionary sophistication. Standard Deviations were quite large with the IQ tests, suggesting baseline variability in intelligence to begin with, if I'm understanding the study correctly.

The correlation for males was around .37. Hardly weak for the social sciences. That means good looks are about as good a proxy for IQ as knowing their educational attainment.

And difference doesn't imply bias, although I'm not 100% sure how you're using the word.

In my tiny little pea brain, correlations between .2 and .4 are considered moderate, doesn't imply causation anyway. The spread of baseline IQ scores was too huge-it confounds the study, not much control for its effects.

But you're probably right anyway. +1 for D.

"Bill Barr favors shutting down the Democrats in the House, locking up Adam Schiff, and all Democrats, if necessary."

I've never seen him say this, or do anything to suggest it, but if so, good luck to him.

Hysterical liberals don't need no stinking facts.

#3: A take I am inclined to temperamentally approve of. Is it true? IDK.

Contra Smith, Pseudoerasmus seems to be harping on the non-miraculousness of Chile's "economic miracle", as "Economic Complexity" remains low. See - https://twitter.com/pseudoerasmus/status/1118475263858368512 / https://medium.com/@pseudoerasmus/to-explain-myself-on-twitter-my-view-of-chile-is-simply-this-fc44ddd93ce3.

That seems a bit ill advised to me, given that you have Brazil, Mexico and Panama roughly converge in 2009 with developed nation "Economic Complexity", which is by the way, also roughly Romanian, Croatian, Belarusian, Slovakian "Economic Complexity", while New Zealand Canada and Australia fail to converge.
(Reference figure: https://i.imgur.com/ug92swv.png)

4. There were no deaths from Fukushima apart from deaths related to the misguided forced evacuation of an unnecessarily large area when the weather was bad. Over 25 workers received radiation at a level that will raise their lifetime risk of getting cancer by one percent but that would occur around 2035 to 2040 when they would not die of the disease.

3. Smith wrote: "In terms of wealth, Chile is actually LESS unequal than the United States (measured by wealth Gini coeffcients)."

Chile = 0.78
U.S.= 0.80
That's essentially identical wealth inequality, not less for Chile.

Chile's GDP per capita at $23,000 has grown 3.4% a year on average since 1990 but only 1.0% per year over the past five years. The U.S. GDP per capita at $55,000 has grown 1.5% a year on average since 1990 and 1.4% over the past five years.

5. "...said one veteran Republican senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly describe the consensus."

A reported can find an anonymous source to candidly describe the consensus to be whatever they want it to be. This is merely op-ed, dressed up to be appear to be more than that.

(4) seems premature given that the Fukushima reactors are not cold yet.
See, the concern over nuclear plants is not about what has happened so far, but over what could happen. This idea that you can generalize from the handful of accidents so far is based on false assumptions about probability distributions and risk exposure. You could be in the next Nassim Taleb book.
Nuclear power may be worth it, but some people clearly downplay the risks.

Wow you made a bad argument.

"This idea that you can generalize from the handful of accidents so far is based on false assumptions about probability distributions and risk exposure."

That's true.

"but some people clearly downplay the risks."

And then you do generalize, by assuming the risk is higher than current statistics indicate. So you commit the very fallacy you warn against.

When planning for a potentially disastrous event, you try to err on one side of your model rather than the other. When uncertainties are extremely large, you should be extremely conservative. This is not a margin where you can just collect data and optimize.
Put another way, a slow trickle of people dying in a predictable and common way really is preferable to a small chance of a sudden and unprecedented disaster of unpredictable size. It is not a simple matter of multiplying things out in terms of quality-adjusted years of life.

Okay, when modeling power risk how should I look at something like a state sponsored drone attack simply breaking all the solar panels in one go? After all solar panels are dispersed generation that cannot be hardened against attacks.

Similarly, how should I price in something like Hurricane Ivan spawning 120 tornados that trash all the solar power in a major area and require more replacement panels than exist in national stocks?

Or how should I price in the terrorist risk that comes from moving large quantities of toxic acid on rail cars near populated areas to etch silicon?

If we want to talk about fat tail risk, fine. But why is nuclear special? The doomsday scenarios for solar are just about as bad and, frankly, far easier to come by. Losing power for days and months is a death sentence for a lot of people, and it is going to be worse if we start closing down the fossil fuels infrastructure that serves most emergency generation.

Yeah nuclear generates long lived waste. But so does solar. Cadmium, for instance, is quite toxic, used by the ton in solar power, and never decays. Yet I never hear anyone talk about the risks of long term storage (which are worse than for nuclear fuel waste) there.

Nuclear is, hands down, the safest form of power generation in the United States. With literally thousands of reactor-years of experience we are not seeing anything even hinting at major risks; solar, on the other hand, kills at least a few people every single year.

Maybe solar's time has really come, the numbers have looked better, but let's not kid ourselves. If solar does displace nuclear, it should only be after killing every coal and most natural gas plants on the planet.

Making coal plants and oil burners pay for their health externalities would help keep existing nuclear power plants operating. The same goes for a carbon price. But neither of these are enough to get new nuclear power stations built because of the low cost of new renewable capacity which is particularly bad for the economics of inflexible generators that mostly meet baseload demand, such as coal and nuclear.

For example, here in South Australia today rooftop solar is likely to be meet 50% of all electricity use in about half an hour. It was 56% at noon on Saturday and 64% at noon on Sunday the week before. No one is going to look at rooftop solar going from meeting almost 0% of noon demand to almost two-thirds in about 8 years and think that's a good place to spend 8 years building a nuclear power plant.

Ehh, a lot of the time delay in nuclear power construction is pure bureaucracy. Further, again, we focus our nuclear regulatory efforts on 500-year level events, yet we are willing to ignore all such events for solar.

How frequently do storms like Yasi hit Australia? How resiliant are rooftop solar installations to high winds? What happens when your tropical storm starts spawning tornados? Solar has the advantage that it rarely all gets hit at the same time, but on the flip side solar has the disadvantage that it is completely unhardened and mostly unhardenable.

Right now we are still pricing solar off a gird where fossil fuels can provide load balancing, rapid peak demand, and overnight baseline. We are pricing solar for typical conditions (and not say what happened in Puerto Rico where the largest solar installation was completely trashed by a single storm).

I mean seriously, how many solar panels are being sold with any sort of explicit cost of disposition when they have outlived their useful life?

In the vast majority of cases, we have not been pricing solar power at real costs over a full lifecycle. We have been doing that for decades with nuclear.

Again, maybe the numbers will work out that solar trumps nuclear at all times forever forward ... but that is not the world we live in. We live in a world where Germany has been building ever more coal plants, where the single biggest reduction in power generation pollution (of all types) has come from natural gas, and where we are letting people die rather than go after the worst power plants first.

If you have good numbers on the full lifecycle costs of solar, particularly ones that include mitigation cost for 500-year level events, do let me know. I would love to read them.

Scratching my head on this. Are you thinking that our coal generators suddenly start making big bucks when cyclones come through? Yeah, nah, that's not what happens.

Even if a town suffered a Cyclone Tracy situation, that town is not going to be consuming much electricity until the homes get rebuilt. Along with larger and new rooftop solar systems as they pay for themselves in about 7 years without subsidy and even in tropical Australia most houses manage to average more than 7 years without a roof ripper coming through.

You also seem to think Germany is increasing its coal consumption. We're the world's largest exporter of coal so we pay attention to things like this and their coal consumption is down by about a quarter from its peak in around 2013.

As for disposal of rooftop solar, well, solar inverters are valuable enough to be accepted for free by recyclers. Bits and pieces such as racking, clamps, and cables are worth money since they're just aluminium and stainless steel or copper cabling.

If you strip a solar panel of its valuable aluminium frame then it becomes electronic waste which costs around $520 a tonne to go into landfill. That's about 8 US dollars a panel. Since solar panels contain less toxins than dirt we do have the issue of what to do with that dirt. (Technically regolith.) If you want, I suppose I could go north and photograph some nice rolling hills. They're made of coal ash. Occasionally they destabilize and blow ash into town, but as luck would have it, it turns out it's never the fault of the company that's paid to prevent that from happening.

Any way, you'd need about 4 gigawatts of solar panels equal the size of one of those low hills. All the solar panels in Australia would add up to about 3 of them.

Under what circumstance is the (now rather easy) problem of cooling the Fukushima reactors neglected in the next fifty years? Total breakdown of Japanese society? Seems like there are much larger problems in that case

Can you describe the catastrophic long-tail event that you have in mind? Millions of lung cancer sufferers would like to know.

I find it interesting that in discussions of Fukushima the risk of death by tsunami is never mentioned, despite 22,000 deaths.

Deaths by tsunami: 22,000
Deaths by Nuclea accident: 0

Yet the discussion is all about nuclear safety.

What about the safety of living in the tsunami zone? Not an issue unless the discussion is about "climate change".

Everyone here knows where the bad places to live are, because tsunamis occur regularly in the same places (about once in 30-40 years). But they keep rebuilding there. Why? They like living close to the sea. Granted some time has passed, but they know 100% another is coming and they have a pretty good idea when (the 2011 tsunami was predicted by a Japanese seismologist, or rather, he said, "the next tsunami [in this location] is overdue"). Only the Gods knows exactly when but where is not much in doubt.

If you appease the Sea Gods by getting rid of the Evil Nuclear power plants then they won't send the Tsunamis. It is known.

#3: One of the commenters said that Noah's data looked only at labor earnings inequality and ignored capital earnings, which are much more unequal. Of course, capital earnings are probably more unequal in just about every country -- but maybe especially so in Chile?

4. Beyond doubt the situation will be handled better in future, somewhere other than Japan. The Japanese just aren't that capable, amirite? I read a scathing Forbes piece earlier this year on the subject of the Fukushima evacuations. The writer said the displaced faced greater bullying at school. Case closed.

The Japanese guidelines for evacuation follow the U.S. EPA's guidelines, although the EPA states that in the case of harsh conditions people should not be evacuated as they were. Those evacuees were also forced not to return to their homes for months and years - a major government screw up.

5. Interesting article. To quote from it directly:

Republican senators are lost and adrift as the impeachment inquiry enters its second month, navigating the grave threat to President Trump largely in the dark, frustrated by the absence of a credible case to defend his conduct and anxious about the historic reckoning that likely awaits them.

Now, why would Republican Senators feel there was "no defense" as so many commenters above say there was "no crime?"

I think it's the low information news cycle:

A) Some entity, say the FBI, says that Trump did something suspicious, but they can't indict him because he's a sitting President.

B) Low information voters, after a while, think hey, nothing came of that, there must have been no crime.

C) Real shills say "exonerated because no indictment! .. and no impeachment because any possible impeachment would be partisan."

The problem is that people in groups B and C don't really understand what happened at step A.

TDS and wishful thinking.

The Dems are right about one thing - if he isn't impeached he will be reelected.

They are right about that!

In 2019, "TDS" means understanding what just happened.

Especially this past month.

Demonstrations and unrest require hope. There were no demonstrations in Kiev in 1948 despite lots of grievances. The improvements in Chile have made people impatient for more.

2, If you cannot accept your physical body and appearance, you are mentally ill.

4, Fukushima was a design problem. They put the back up generators in the basement. Ever hear of floods?

3. Chile's greatest achievement, however, is in efficient higher education spending. At about $9,800 per university student per year, Chile outshines the $15,600 OECD average and makes a laughingstock of the wasteful USA and its economically damaging and unsustainable $30,000 per student.

#3: if US students were killed on a protest, no one would still call it a miracle.

In any case, it is an economic success. It's OK to be stingy while getting out of poverty, but being stingy after development makes no sense. Budgets are not more important than people. It's curious that the German Schwarze Null is criticized, while Chilean leaders with the same fetish for balanced budgets are praised. So, if it's really an economic success, it's time to open the purse (prudently) for universities, public transport or whatever else the people wants.

If Chilean development is real and they can afford a welfare state, why not? Because it's not OK for US economists? Noah Smith is not enough self-aware of treating Chile as US backyard. It may be, but at least keep up the appearances.

Relax, Chile is not taken by the communists. But if they can afford a welfare state at the level of Portugal or Greece, it's fine. It's not the end of the world.

With a 19% VAT and about a 6% average tariff rate but only a 25% corporate tax rate it is easy to see why Chile out performs the USA with its masochistic tax policy for domestic industry.

#2
I have spent much of my life teaching at reasonably good schools. The students who succeed in getting admitted to such schools tend to be well above average, intellectually speaking (in “intellect” I include not only intelligence but also characteristics such as organization and willingness to work that affect academic success).

In my possibly biased observation, the female students at such schools are not only smarter than average, they are better looking as well. That raises an interesting question. Assuming my observation is correct, why would there be a positive correlation between intellect and pulchritude?

It's amazing what vast tracts of land can do for a woman's attractiveness...

TMC
October 28, 2019 at 2:20 pm

We've evolved where both 'good looking' and smart are both signs of good genetics.

D
October 28, 2019 at 2:36 pm

He gave two explanations for this. That was one of them. The other was simply high status males (read: higher IQ) selecting beautiful women over many generations, so that eventually the two traits become paired.

Roger Sweeny
October 29, 2019 at 2:02 pm

That was the theory of the late Daniel Seligman, who said, "If you want to see good looking young women, go to the campus of a selective college." This was at a time when there was still a stereotype of beautiful airheads and unattractive "bookworms".

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