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It seems that a big wrench in all this beautiful research is the rigidity of labour markets. I would dearly love to work a high paying job for ten hours per week. But that's not an option. It's kinda hard to intuit peoples' preferences based upon the choices they make when the number of choices is so tiny. Perhaps you could present your insights about labour rigidity in a future post...
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The explanations I've read so far in this thread apply only to physical goods; none addresses the fact that even ebooks cost more to download from Canada than from the US. Example: "The rent is too damn high" by Matthew Yglesias can be downloaded in the US for $4 USD but costs $5 CAD. (To get the US rate you need an American credit card, which is how they enforce the discriminatory pricing.) How can they get away with this? Incidentally, Ryan Avent's "The gated city" is very similar to "The rent is too damn high" but it sells for $2 in both the US and Canada (in either currency) and is available in more open formats such as epub with no DRM. Go figure. Also, Frances, I have a crush on you. Do you have any money for a postdoc?
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You truly lead an interesting life. Take a vacation. Try not to be associated with any new disasters for a couple weeks and see how you feel.
Hi Nick. I haven't read all the comments; apologies if someone has already tried this explanation. Suppose Germany is more productive than Greece at producing ANYTHING. If you want, you can even assume that Germany is EQUALLY more productive than Greece at producing anything so as to remove concerns about comparative advantage, but that extra assumption may not be necessary. Suppose further that Germany can produce enough of everything to satiate demand in both Germany and Greece. In a fiscal union, no one would ever buy anything from the Greeks because there's always a German who can undercut any Greek. Greeks still need to consume, so the effect is that all the money would flow from Greece to Germany as Greeks buy goods more cheaply in Germany than they could ever be produced in Greece. Eventually there's no money left in Greece, so the Greeks can't buy anything at all. (Poverty, starvation.) Moreover, if ever a Greek happened upon a stray Euro, he would have every incentive to spend it in Germany. By contrast, if Greece and Germany had separate floating currencies then Germans would accept Drachmas in payment for their goods only if there was something worthwhile to buy with them in Greece. In order to induce a German to buy something in Greece we require a favourable exchange rate between Drachmas and Deutschmarks to compensate for the extra cost of the under-productive Greek economy. The result is that the exchange rate adjusts so that Greek goods and German goods have equal "price". To Greeks, the expensive Deutschmark removes incentive to spend their money in Germany. If ever the Deutschmark becomes just a hair too expensive, it will be cheaper for Greeks to spend their Drachmas in Greece. The result is that Greeks can still sell their goods, implying that Greece has a functioning economy. (Poverty, starvation averted.) Any thoughts?
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Yay! Down with lawns! I can feel an uprising of free-thinkers about to reach critical mass and blow the top off this stupid cultural norm. The tipping point will be reached any day now. Any day...
I like thinking about this topic. "Exercise, companionship, time outside in the sun--these things do increase happiness. We sacrifice them to put in hours at work--slaves to blind faith." Why do we do this? How do you suggest we change our behaviour? Many people are wage-slaves because if they weren't then their basic needs would no longer be met. I'd love nothing more than to quit my job and exercise out in the sun with companions. But no one is willing to feed and house me in exchange for that service. For most people, being a wage-slave is the only choice we have. What we should be asking ourselves is not, "Why do we work?" but, "Why must we work so much?" In the 1950s economists were predicting that gains in productivity would allow people in the year 2000 to survive working only 10 hours per week. Mathematically, there's no reason why that can't be. Why hasn't it happened? "Even worse, we fail to allocate enough money to meet the basic needs of all people. It makes no sense, if you look at the science of what makes people suffer or be happy, to ever have one person's toys trump another person's necessities." Oh come now, Hummingbird. If only it were that simple. I know your family donates lots of wealth to charity. Yet you STILL value some of your toys (e.g. your beautiful solarium) over the needs of starving children in India. How happy and fulfilled would you really be if you gave away every dollar beyond that which is needed for bare survival? How motivated would you be to earn your next dollar if your morals force you to give it away? ...and as for that business about faith moving mountains, leave it to your father to bend over backwards to legitimize a religious tagline by transplanting it into an empirical observation of history. Very cute.
That was hilarious. Greta had tears streaming down her face as I read her this entry aloud. And that's the second time she's read it. In addition to laughing, I slapped my forehead a few times. Hard. I object to your description of your new toilet as "boring" and "not remotely entertaining." You and I both know that it's the opposite. Your toilet has TWO levels of flush! It's hyper-efficient! It's seat glides gently down instead of crashing into the rim and cracking the porcelain like the average toilet. It rocks. Never let me catch you bad-mouthing the toilet again.
Get a dog. Preferably a big dog. Something with lots of energy that requires lots of walking. A border collie, say. Maybe name him Shaky. Walk him twice a day for an hour each time. It's a great way to get exercise.
Spot on. I couldn't agree more. Now it remains only to change our culture and convince the rest of society of the superiority of this momentous insight. I'm sure they'll jump all over it.
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2011 on What Does Dad Need? at Hummingbird Homemaker
My feelings and experience with a blog are EXACTLY like yours. I also use it as a diary -- with the online part forcing me not to half-ass the entries. I also love it when people comment. Yet I almost never receive comments -- especially not from people I know! The irony is that when I see a new entry from Hummingbird Homemaker my first reaction is, "Oh great. Another esoteric 10000 word entry from the Hummingbird. (Sigh) Life is too busy for me to waste time on this. Perhaps I'll read it eventually." Maybe we could agree to visit each other's blogs and thus artificially inflate our stats and egos. Pretty pathetic. Oh, but you're doing a great job. Keep at it! :-)
Toggle Commented Jun 18, 2011 on The Rorschach Title at Hummingbird Homemaker
The link to the xkcd image appears to be broken. Please fix it so we can see what your house is like!
Very nice. I'm all for minimalism. I'm very impressed that you've been able to do so much (i.e. so little) with that huge house of yours. Good on ya.
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