Sunday, November 30, 2014

Wrap Up for November '14

New York Times article about A.D.H.D., explains how a (presently, anyway) psychiatric illness which includes impatient reactions to routine, actually provided benefits for nomadic tribes. This article reminded me of the need for more dynamic local environments, which could be also be expressed in "hunter gatherer" terms.

I'm glad my public school days took place well before today's prescription drug "cures", for I hate to think how my learning patterns might have been altered otherwise. As it was, I still remember being tested to see if my hearing was okay, sometime in first or second grade. My hearing was fine, but there were times when the teacher did not have my full attention! If I had been given a prescription to "focus", who knows whether I would have continued to check out hundreds of non fiction books from the local libraries.

There are many ways to imagine more stimulating (yet still focused) environments at local levels. But most importantly, physical interpretations suggest the experiential outward search, while knowledge based interpretations assist the inward search. The latter suggests more in depth learning for individuals in specific areas, and local economies could create unique imprints and repositories for applied knowledge use. New connections could be generated for the use of tacit knowledge. And, as this paper from Richardo Hausmann and Dani Rodrik suggests, local economies can approach economic development as self discovery.

Tyler Cowen noted an experiment which asks: Is it harder for high-caste men to coordinate? However this is a normal circumstance to be expected, when monetary compensation or equity substitutes for time equity. The lack of ability to coordinate with others is not necessarily problematic for those who do not particularly need to. Rather, the lack of environments where willing participants can choose to coordinate economic activity, is what needs to be addressed.

Perhaps the world is not as connected as it was only recently - Justin Fox:

What might they tell their children, one day? My Dad experienced the Great Depression, so I can think of at least two possibilities. Be frugal. Don't set your "star" too high.

When business people prescribe policy, are they really promoting narrow self interests? This is an important question, which has bearing on the fact both supply side and demand side representatives need a better focus on growth which benefits everyone. (HT Ryan Decker)

How has homelessness  changed? (AEI) 4 charts that expose the invisible side of homelessness.

From Time: "Political competence is the ability to understand what you can and cannot control, when to take action, who is going to resist your agenda, and who you need on your side to push your agenda forward." Walter Isaacson does a great job of touching on these aspects of leadership in his biography of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. I'm about halfway through the book and it is quite an interesting read.

Boston as "poor"? At least according to some indicators from Time:

It's good to see an approach for housing access that isn't just about finance, for a change.

"Landing a job is still heavily based on personal connections." Fortunately it has not always been this way, and hopefully will not be so in the future, either.

Interactive maps for changes in employment, state by state:

Some charts to provide context for the housing market:

If only I had saved a recent article, which spoke of the lack of work availability in Ferguson, and the fact this contributes heavily to Ferguson's recent turmoil. Bonnie Carr recently noted the lack of resources available for mental illness, which doubtless plays a role as well. Let's get the emphasis away from race, and towards the economic and social issues which have led to so much struggle and suffering. Let's hope that in the years ahead: when other cities go through similar problems, it will be easier for these areas to reorganize for a better economic future, than it is in the present.

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