Sunday, May 25, 2014

Highly Linkable

Two short videos lead us off. Work is a means not an ends. The world we live in is wonderful; be happy.

I want to go to there.

I want to go to then.

Tradesports is back, baby. Can't keep a good man down for long it seems.

I'd like for us to think hard for a moment about hard-boiled eggs. Next, please quit trying to make me feel guilty about foie gras.

Turning now to the item du jure in economics: Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century". There will be more soon, much more (including something about how, oops eeps, looks like his data may have had spreadsheet issues). For now just a few points with which I heartily agree: Landsburg says income inequality is something to celebrate. Cass Sunstein takes an Alfred E. Neuman approach to the issues Piketty raises (note, I do NOT heartily agree with the FDR conclusion at the bottom of the piece). But let me recast Sunstein's argument a little more clearly.

For those who reflexively agree with Piketty’s worldview, a question.

In which world would you rather live:

  1. A world (starting from where we are today) in which the rich however defined (e.g., top 5%, top 1%, top .01%) see their wealth grow at 5% per year while the rest of society sees its wealth grow at 2% per year, or
  2. A world (starting from where we are today) in which everyone sees their wealth grow at 1% per year?

How you answer this question says a lot about how personal envy ranks for you versus your love for others. I am not saying this is the choice we face. I am saying if it were, which would you choose?

Russ Roberts offers a great, short lesson in economics specifically regarding GDP and government expenditure. A snippet:
Here's the fallacy. Suppose I want to know your income for the year. I ask you and you tell me you made $50,000 in salary. Another way I can get to that number is to add up everything you spent money on--food, rent, clothing, entertainment, savings and so on. As long as I count everything, I get to the same number, $50,000.
Suppose I find out you spent $5000 on entertainment. It would be very wrong to say that without that spending, your income would only have been $45,000.
Read and understand this post from Scott Sumner, and you will have a better grasp on current monetary macroeconomics than quite a large portion of the economics-commentary professional class.

Climate Alert! A really small change might happen to the Earth in 100 years. So, panic now? No.

Scott Lincicome at Cato discusses two trade policies that make domestic gasoline prices higher than they would otherwise be.

Here is a sports-statistics lesson applicable and important in a wide range of fields from medicine to business: "...the complexity of a stat should not be its selling point. If a stat tells you something, but you can't act on it, it's no good." read the whole thing.

Not good at investing? Blame your caveman ancestors. Hint: Your problem is you don't and are not built to understand risk well.

Information technology and networks are all busted (HT: Barry Ritholtz). Have a nice day . . . for the record, I'm not as jaded and pessimistic as this piece, but I think there is much truth here.