Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wrap Up for December '15

From Eduardo Porter, saying what needed to be said in "Imagining a world without growth"
Whatever the ethical merits of the case, the proposition of no growth has absolutely no chance to succeed. For all the many hundreds of years humanity survived without growth, modern civilization could not. The trade-offs that are the daily stuff of market-based economies simply could not work in a zero-sum world.
And he continues:
Economic development was indispensable to end slavery. It was a critical precondition for the empowerment of women...Zero growth gave us Genghis Khan and the Middle Ages, conquest and subjugation. It fostered an order in which the only way to get ahead was to plunder one's neighbor.
Why have so few remained optimistic, about the kinds of growth which matter most for the world? For instance, future growth in terms of knowledge use, could also take place without undue strain on the environment. Physical aspects of growth would be less problematic in developed nations, if more populations had the options of physical infrastructure and assets that are strong, mobile and lightweight.

Fossil fuels could be utilized more effectively, with transportation design which improves time use options for the activities people want to do, and for those which they generally have to do. By way of example, fewer fossil fuels and expensive transportation requirements would be needed in central areas for living and working, with more traditional transportation infrastructure at the peripheries for activities that don't have the same daily deadlines. These patterns would reflect the fact that many individuals wish they didn't have long commutes to work, whereas they enjoy long trips using traditional transportation, when they are not in a rush for daily work needs.

Development economics is taught quite differently in developing countries. Chris Blattman explains, "It does not seem to be poverty, but exclusion...Another possibility that I find quite plausible: the shame and injustice of exclusion, not poverty, is what leads so many to rebel." I would only add, exclusion is not just a reaction from neighbors or strangers, but can also come from one's own immediate and extended family.

Another example, how the not so efficient non tradable sectors continue to crowd out more efficient tradable sectors, especially in environments of tight monetary conditions.

Peter Boettke highlights a lecture from Mary Morgan, who wrote "The World In The Model", in 2012:

Chris Blattman notes an important issue for field experiments, regarding publishing difficulties in the years ahead. Many of these individuals will generate important work which needs to be preserved in the future, and I continue to hope that knowledge use systems would be one means for doing so.

Not everyone wants, needs or can otherwise procure a driver's license. It may be a while before environments in the U.S. reflect this reality.

Finland's basic income experiment

"These are dangerous times for the study of the past." Paul Bartow (AEI) "The growing threat of historical presentism"

George Selgin with Russ Roberts on monetary policy and the Great Recession:

It is becoming more difficult for non profit hospitals to compete with for profit hospitals.

Simpler ownership options are especially needed. This is a higher percentage than I expected, which would prefer ownership:

Given the importance of better services definition in the near future, women especially need more representation.

Roger Farmer now supports Scott Sumner's NGDP futures markets proposal, although he is not "sold" on a level target:

An important post from Scott Sumner: Lower interest rates are contractionary

Lars Christensen explains why so many oil exporters have chosen to float their currencies this year, and why doing so is the best option for all concerned:

Steve Randy Waldman makes a well reasoned argument, as to why it is not so easy to redistribute land value. Also, from his post:
We encourage people to take on highly leveraged, undiversified exposure in homes with promises that they are good "investments" meaning they will increase or at least retain their values over time...Much of the work we have to do if we wish to increase housing supply is to deemphasize the housing as investment narrative in favor of the housing as consumption good.
Stop the war on drugs. The opposite of addiction is human connection.

Nick Rowe considers an argument made by Vincent Geloso, regarding variations in output and NGDP:

Happy New Year, to all of my readers!

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