Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our future

Here's an interesting article about Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, two possible choices for New York Federal Reserve president. It's a pretty interesting look at the two gentlemen. A WSJ blog gives more information.

Greg Mankiw writes a memo to President-elect Barak Obama. Hopefully Obama listens to Kling (and many others) on the auto industry.

Some advice for those seeking jobs in academia.

Prof Glaeser says that we need better teachers to improve our education system. I think there's much more to the issue. Also, Prof Glaeser doesn't say how we should attract better teachers--some data, for example, shows that better teachers often work at private schools, where they get lower pay. So, if pay isn't a good enough incentive, how do we attract teachers? Either much larger pay, or we should take a look at the incentives of teachers. My bet is that teachers are concerned with their work environment, their freedom in the classroom, and job security. The government has done a number of things to dissuade teachers from staying in their field. (h/t Thoma)

Still on education, Charles Murray argues that we should get rid of four-year BAs.

For those that follow oil prices and the industry, Mike Shedlock provides a wealth of information. Personally, I thought it was hilarious that Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez "predicted" $100/barrel oil, with no qualifiers. Firstly, price tends to increase in all goods--we call this inflation, and it's especially true in prices tied to the dollar--so with no time qualifier, Chavez's "prediction" is basically self-evident. Secondly, not even Chavez could "predict" how oil would skyrocket (proving him right, by technicality), then plummet again (making him still sound ridiculous).

Lastly, in a paper about the ancient history of economics, Gavin Kennedy talks about the origins or bargaining. Now that's economic history!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just a few more things on my mind.

This mention of growth of the Chinese hat industry sticks out at me, only because I happen to know a guy who heavily invested in hat factories in China, buying up a few factories back in May or June. He must be doing very well, now!

Here's an interesting article pointing out that helping developing countries (in particular, countries to the south of us) is beneficial to the United States, due to positive impacts on trade. It's a point that most people outside of Economics haven't understood, it seems.

While I don't agree with everything the Economic Policy Institute believes, I think their post-election letter, Wall Street rescue plan, and their agenda for "Shared Prosperty" are interesting reads.

Monday, November 3, 2008

For students of Economics

The Economics Help blog poses a question--is Economics irrelevant if there is no scarcity? The answer seems to be yes. It's an interesting thought question, certainly.

And, some links about how a degree in Economics can help you.

2.79 Quintillion.

That's Zimbabwe's inflation rate. Yowza! That's 2,790,000,000,000,000,000%. I didn't even know what came after quadrillion! That's just a ludicrous number. I half expect the Cato Institute to update the page with, "Just kidding!" Oh, and the link goes to a new blog in the econoblogsphere, Crisis Talk. When they linked their source on the 29th, it was 10 quadrillion percent.

The WSJ shows that states in which housing prices have fallen are voting for Obama, and states in which housing prices have risen are voting for McCain. I wonder if the economy as a major issue drove states to vote for Obama, or if states predisposed to voting for McCain have more responsible lenders.

Robert Shiller at the NYT talks about Greenspan's self-admitted mistake. Though Greenspan says that their models did not predict the housing bubble, Shiller points out that people hinted at it, but the warnings were ignored. Contrary views are unpopular, and when you're a policy maker, you are less likely to want to risk your job with contrary views.

Mark Perry at Carpe Diem quotes an energy economist who claims that oil will go down to $20-25. It's around $66 now, and it was $140 not too long ago. I find it difficult to believe it will go down to $20.