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mmm... I'm also a bit suspicious of subjective measures. What they don't give you is internationally comparable measures. They can give you a directional pointer, i.e. a poor value tells you something is wrong, but they don't necessarily give you a measure that has value at the margin. If we think about GDP vs SWB what stands out is the weighting. GDP is weighted by income, SWB is weighted equally for each individual. So only median income is strictly comparable. But note that in SWB forward looking measures will be included that completely fail in GDP. Health and a sense of security count heavily in SWB, but NOT AT ALL in GDP. (In fact worse health and security result in amelioration measures being counted as an increase in GDP.) Note measures of future capacity - are completely missing here. We do not include natural resources or capital in our measures of current production or well being. But to gain a complete picture of "how we are doing" they are crucially important. So in summary, I think it must be possible to do much better than either GDP or SWB.
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Read Stumbling and Mumbling. Iconoclasts have great value. Chris Dillow has consistantly and persuasively pushed the idea that equality of opportunity is a false God. We need to care more about (relative) equality of outcome.
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Links for 10-21-14 at Economist's View
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Ohio is a marginal state, so perhaps that has something to do with it. If he was in, say Texas, the incentives are quite different.
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observer, pgl "Prices for Venezuela’s oil, which accounts for 95 percent of the nation’s exports," Don't I remember hearing somewhere about "Dutch disease"?
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So Kansas City and St Louis would suprise many I suppose - but not much else.
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Of course the fact that Bezos is an AH doesn't help with remaining objective about this.
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I sort of wonder what Casey Mulligan's students think of him. Anybody with experience out there?
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STR Nobody is arguing that Amazon does not provide a useful service. But it does increasingly use its market power in egrarious and anti-competitive ways (you could mention the Kindle in the same theme).
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Laff, my view is not specific to Amazon - I've often said, "Owners of standards should not implement them" - because it gives them an unfair advantage (i.e. monopoly or monosony power). I realise this is hard to implement, but we need to break down vertical integration where it is not in the public interest (as for instance has been done very effectively with telecom).
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"Job destruction rates rise appreciably, but job creation rates remain about the same." Question - was this ever really true? I have struggled to find long term figures on this - but this general argument from here (Ed Lazaer) - I thought was the standard story of labour economists: http://www.realdailybuzz.com/rdb.nsf/DocView?Open&UNID=639d703c200eb2df85257d390082bfc0 "The low levels of churn in recessions mean that workers get stuck in the wrong jobs and produce less than they could in a better labor market. One might expect that hires would fall and separations would rise in recessions, with the opposite occurring during booms. Not so. There are lots of hires in booms but also a large number of separations; and in recessions there are lower levels of both hiring and separations. Believe it or not, hires and separations move together, not in opposite directions. There is a reason. Separations fall during recessions because quits fall and layoffs level off. When the labor market is strong, quits are generally high. In the good years that preceded the recent recession, quits exceeded layoffs — by about 1.2 million per month. Workers quit to move to better jobs when the labor market is strong. In a recession, however, quits decline and layoffs rise initially. During the worst month in the recent recession, for example, layoffs exceeded quits by almost 900,000. Eventually the number of layoffs also declined — but quits did not rise because hiring was slow. Thus, as was typical in this and previous recessions, separations declined along with hiring. Because hires are so large and variable, net job creation depends in large part on what happens to hires. It is impossible to generate job growth by reducing layoffs because once that channel is exhausted, nothing more can be done."
Toggle Commented 3 days ago on Not So Creative Destruction at Economist's View
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This WHOLE argument is wrong headed. It is not the recession that boosts productivity, it is the recovery. People don't have to be pushed out of old jobs, they can be pulled into new ones. (Not to mention that new people are joining the work force, or leaving old jobs all the time, not just in recessions). Firms can go broke, not just because demand falls, but because they pay high enough wages to find decent workers.
Toggle Commented 3 days ago on Not So Creative Destruction at Economist's View
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Amazon shouldn't be private at all. It is in effect a utility and a retailer. It would be better if the utility (i.e. the software and the web-site) were made public and the retailer broken up (so that Amazon became just another user of the Amazon market place).
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Bloix - I wonder if Mankiw's book makes a big deal about the "law of one price"?
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I wish people would argue about this a bit better. Some of the most important aspects seem to be missed in the narrow concentration on how the pie is currently divided. The truth is that there are wider issues involved in this debate. 1. Natural Resource limits - this is absolutely critical to the argument. To what extent is "growth" (I don't like the implicit assumption that every dollar of GDP is of equal value, it isn't) only made possible by unsustainable overexploitation of natural resources. To the extent that non-labour resources matter, the economy is a zero sum game. 2. To what extent are monetary policy and fiscal policy alternatives, and to what extent are they complements. Can we indefinitely rely on increases in private credit to expand the money supply, without at some point reaching excessive levels of leverage? Might it not make more sense to increase the net level of private financial wealth via government debt. 3. To what extent is the willingness to take on risk a function of wealth. To the extent that it is, are we restricting the entrepeneurial capacity of the economy if wealth if very unequally distributed. (Note: this argument applies to education, as well as other investments.)
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i.e. Fred what ever way you wrap it up, this is rich people getting to allocate resources as they see fit, and other people not having a say.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Links for 10-17-14 at Economist's View
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Yea, but it is wrong. The very wealthy don't have some special clue as to what is the best way to help other people. Why for instance should Bill Gates spend so much of his wealth combatting problems in the third world, when the majority of voters in the US are against foreign aid? (Note I'm not personally against foreign aid, it is just that I wonder why gets to Bill Gates to give foreign aid a high priority when other people don't.)
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Links for 10-17-14 at Economist's View
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"Staying in office for several terms enables leaders to appoint allies to electoral and judicial bodies and to build patronage networks that turn out the vote...." Institute compulsory voting and "getting out the vote" becomes irrelevant. Seriously, I may hate Australia's current leadership, but their democratic institutions are worthy of serious consideration by other countries. They sort of stumbled into compulsory voting (if you like seeing voting as a duty rather than a right) but it has served the country well.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Links for 10-17-14 at Economist's View
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Think about it - about 9000 people have died from Ebola in Africa and two in the West. How many will die from the (apparently very mild) influenza varieties that will spread in the world during the northern winter? Many, many more. But almost everybody has experienced getting the flu and getting better, hardly anyone has that experience with Ebola. That is what makes it scary.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Links for 10-17-14 at Economist's View
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P.S. The Wonkbook post didn't point out the inaccuracy of this perception. Which is really a bad mistake.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Links for 10-17-14 at Economist's View
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From Wonkbook - Ebola is scarier when you don't know how it is spread "Despite those fears, people are pretty optimistic about the ability to fight the disease in the United States. About 80 percent in the Harvard poll said a person in their community would be likely to survive Ebola if it was caught immediately." (Um... the deathrate is between 70 and 80%). That is in fact WHY it is so scary.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Links for 10-17-14 at Economist's View
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I saw a programm on German TV about 5 years after the reintegration, that said that East Germany was a land of renters and employees, and described the reintegration as a "takeover". If they did what the Czech Republic did and gave everybody a share of the assets, it would have been much better. And honestly the discounted (for depreciation) value of assets from before the war is just about zero anyway. The "owners" hadn't been investing in their property during that time.
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Of all the transitions in the East, I think the method that the Czech Republic decided upon (for all its undoubted shortcomings) was easily the best.
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Anne, "I have repeatedly pointed out on Economist's View that the West German integration of East Germany was a profoundly successful, profoundly humane development program of a scope that should show just how much change in well-being can be expected in the lives of millions of poorer people in less than a generation." and I think it was badly bungled, because of the mistaken belief that assets from before the second world war could and should be returned to their "rightful owners".
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Matt, if I was you I would really fear Gods. One of them has it in for you.
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P.S. Not have text books would have the advantage of ensuring that the students attended lectures and stayed awake during them.
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