Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Something I said 3 years ago

"The notion that I got from reading the original quote (from the interview, excerpted below) was more about how it could be a metaphor for an economy. That is, the more dynamic an economy becomes, perhaps there is a threshold at which it is TOO dynamic...goes too fast to allow a economic actor to react rationally to it (and it just becomes a series of random success stories).

Furthermore, I could see how the dyamicism introduced by global free trade could potentially, POTENTIALLY, push the rate of change beyond this threshold.

I think economic models must always be careful to figure in some real flesh constants related to the human lifespan (and, though obviously frought with hard to define numbers, constants matched to life STAGES...say, the "3 different phases of an adults work life/career")."

DC: Evolutionary psychology portrays us as having impulses that took form long ago, in a very pre-modern context (say, 10,000 years ago), and now these impulses are sometimes rather ill-adapted to our contemporary world. For example, in a food-scarce environment, we became programmed to eat whenever we can; now, with food abounding in many parts of the world, this impulse creates the conditions for an obesity epidemic. Given that our world will likely continue changing at a rapid pace, are we doomed to have our impulses constantly playing catch up with our environment, and does that potentially doom us as a species?

SK: In fact, we’re not playing catch up; we’re stuck. For any evolutionary change to take place, the environment has to remain more or less constant for many generations, so that evolution can select the traits that are adaptive and eliminate those that are not. When the environment undergoes rapid change within the space of a generation or two, as it has been for the last couple of millennia, if not more, then evolution can’t happen because nature can’t determine which traits to select and which to eliminate. So they remain at a standstill. Our brain (and the rest of our body) are essentially frozen in time — stuck in the Stone Age.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hillary Clinton Drags Taliban Leader's Body Through Streets Of Kabul

Just to reiterate, we'd have been a lot better off with Hillary than Obama.

Hillary Clinton Drags Taliban Leader's Body Through Streets Of Kabul
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN—As members of the international press looked on, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rode on horseback through the streets of Kabul Monday, dragging the mutilated remains of Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Jalil through the dirt behind...


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Macroeconomics? In America, that means Study the Rich

In 1994, as we created economic models in grad school, this fact was explained to me (that "we U.S. economists" really only need to be concerned with the spending patterns of the rich, since that spending accounts for most of the US economy).

us-economy-is-increasingly-tied-to-the-rich: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

Monday, August 9, 2010

Krugman: Crumbling Infrastructure

Remember that bridge in Minnesota....

Paul Krugman at NYT Op-Ed page: America Goes Dark
"With infrastructure and education crumbling, we’re on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Companies Not Restoring 401(k)s

Daniel Gross reports on the sweet benevolence of business:

The 401(k) Travesty

"Recent government data suggest an economy in confusion. Growth and consumption are slowing, but savings are rising, up to 6.4 percent of personal income. The savings rate, in fact, has been climbing for three years, as Americans have been hoarding cash to protect themselves against the struggling economy....."

Hugely profitable companies that won't restore the 401(k) match they ditched in 2008.