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Who Will Save These Dying Italian Towns? - The New York Times
BUT THE FARTHER ONE gets from major cities like Florence or Rome, the more difficult it is to attract weekend tourists. Deep in Sicily, off a terrible road whose signs resignedly warn of potholes, lies the isolated town of Sutera, built around the base of a steep mountain. In 2013, at the behest of its mayor, the town opened its doors — and its empty houses — to survivors of the catastrophic Lampedusa shipwreck, which killed more than 360 refugees. Sutera’s population had dwindled from 5,000 in 1970 to just 1,500, and the mayor recognized the humanitarian and economic opportunity the migrants could provide for his moribund town. To help the refugees, most of whom are from sub-Saharan Africa, integrate into the community, they are paired with local families, and required to take Italian lessons, given to them by the town’s citizens. (The European Union provides funding for food, clothing and housing, which can spur the creation of jobs for both migrants and locals.) Initially, there was some resistance, but that has disappeared with the energy these newcomers have brought to the area. Today, one can find young Nigerians taking their morning espresso alongside the old men, and local childre
italy  migrant  immigration  economics  rural 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
IEEFA Germany: RWE’s coal phaseout compensation demands defy market prices - Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis : Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis
If market price is the benchmark for compensating the early closure of coal assets, then recent deals indicate that Germany’s coal and lignite power plants and mines have very low value, and make a mockery of compensation claims by Germany’s biggest utility, RWE, under the country’s pending coal phaseout plan.

RWE says it wants to be compensated for the premature closure of its coal power plants in line with the most generous pay-outs of the past, a position that ignores the darkening outlook for coal mining and generation, and which pits the company against genuinely affected mining communities for precious taxpayer funds.
energy  fossil-fuel  renewables  economics  finance 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
Liebreich: In Energy and Transportation, Stick it to the Orthodoxy! | Bloomberg NEF
The Orthodoxy Window is maintained by a whole ecosystem of supposed thought-leaders, all trying their hardest to avoid having to think uncomfortable thoughts. Industry bodies trumpeting the world’s vital interest in protecting fossil-fuel- and diesel-engine-producing incumbents; respected analysts who are nothing but oil industry shills; right-wing commentators who talk like libertarians but walk like corporatists; bloggers and Twitterati, whose certainty that the energy and transport sectors can never change is inversely proportional to their knowledge. Pity the general public, correctly wary of wrenching change, threatened by this mob each time they think of peeking outside the Orthodoxy Window...

However, there is much more to do. In too many areas the Orthodoxy Window is still tightly shut. For instance, the majority of people I meet still believe the following: the cost of managing intermittency is prohibitive; demand rebounds to eat all the benefits of energy efficiency; industrial processes are inevitably lumbering, inflexible and fossil-fuel powered; long-distance freight can only be carried by dense liquids; those lacking modern energy services would be better off waiting for a centralized grid, rather than using distributed solutions today; advanced biofuels will never work; the answer to every long-term question is hydrogen; self-driving cars will eat the world; England will never win another football World Cup.
energy  fossil-fuel  renewables  politics  agnotology  economics  oil 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
Are the French hit especially hard by fuel taxes? | World news | The Guardian
The data shows the Netherlands has the highest tax on unleaded petrol in the EU, at 68% of the cost at the pump, while Bulgaria is the lowest at 51%. France’s fuel taxes – 64% on unleaded and 59% on diesel – are among the highest in the EU, but compare evenly with those in the UK.
driving  economics  europe 
december 2018 by juliusbeezer
The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian
The problem is political. A fascinating analysis by the social science professor Kevin MacKay contends that oligarchy has been a more fundamental cause of the collapse of civilisations than social complexity or energy demand. Control by oligarchs, he argues, thwarts rational decision-making, because the short-term interests of the elite are radically different to the long-term interests of society. This explains why past civilisations have collapsed “despite possessing the cultural and technological know-how needed to resolve their crises”. Economic elites, which benefit from social dysfunction, block the necessary solutions.
economics  climatechange  politics 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Francis Fukuyama: ‘Trump instinctively picks racial themes to drive people on the left crazy’ | Books | The Guardian
“Thymos”... comes from Plato’s Republic. It represents a kind of third way for a soul instinctively divided into two competing impulses – reason and appetite – by Socrates. If the former of those two made us human and the latter kept us animal, thymos fell somewhere in between. Most translations of The Republic suggest its sense for Plato as “passion”. For his purposes, Fukuyama takes it to mean “the seat of judgements of worth”, a kind of eternal status thermostat.

The importance of thymos, he believes, is not only that it has been seriously overlooked by other political theorists. Whereas classical economics tried to explain the world in terms of individuals acting to maximise their financial self-interest, behaviouralists, thinking fast and slow, have proved that our rational capacity is often undermined by more intuitive forces. Perhaps the most powerful of these, Fukuyama insists, is the desire for respect...
“You were told Brexit was clearly going to be very costly for the British economy, therefore it would be irrational to support Brexit,” he says. “But what has been proved is not only that a lot of people voting to leave the EU didn’t care about that, [but] they were actually willing to take a hit in terms of their prosperity. The issues were cultural and they were willing to pay a price, it seems, to have greater control of immigration. In general, the mistake a lot of elites have made is that you can have a politics led by economic rationality divorced from these feelings about national identity.”
philosophy  politics  history  economics  Brexit 
september 2018 by juliusbeezer
(Drawing) Rings Around The World: Some simple economics of cycling
One of the benefits of setting out the cycling decision in an economic framework is that it can allows us to estimate the effects of time, cost and comfort, and that in turn should enable us to make better decisions around infrastructure. Right now TfL are really struggling to properly analyse the costs and benefits of cycling infrastructure, apparently because their models don't incorporate any estimates of mode-switching in response to infrastructure changes, so cycling schemes look poor value for money in contexts where few people currently cycle, i.e. where such schemes may be most needed.

But if we can estimate a statistical model of mode choice with three factors (time, cost and comfort), then we can get at the question of how much additional cycling we should expect to see if we change the infrastructure on a particular route in a way that changes one or more of these factors simultaneously. Such a model could be expressed as something like the following:

Pij = axij + byij+ czij

where Pij is the probability of person i choosing to cycle trip j, x is time, y is cost, z is the comfort or cycling level of service, and a, b and c are the relevant elasticities of cycling with respect to each factor. This specification accounts for the fact that infrastructure elasticities will vary by person and by trip, although you could start with some averages.
cycling  economics  urban 
september 2018 by juliusbeezer
Le tourisme à bicyclette engendre une activité florissante
Cet afflux de cyclistes sur les routes de France finit par susciter la convoitise des professionnels du tourisme. Le long des itinéraires, des commerces ouvrent, des loueurs de vélos s’installent, des hôteliers s’adaptent à cette nouvelle clientèle. Sur la ViaRhôna, un itinéraire qui court le long du Rhône entre le lac Léman et la Méditerranée, 65 000 nuitées liées au cyclotourisme ont été enregistrées en 2017, estime le cabinet de conseil Inddigo, qui a publié en mars une étude consacrée à cette voie.
Les touristes à vélo consomment davantage
cycling  travel  france  economics  business  tourisme 
july 2018 by juliusbeezer
MIT study shows how much driving for Uber or Lyft sucks | TechCrunch
The exploitative asymmetry of ride-hailing platforms comes because workers have a certain amount of fixed costs but the platform intermediary can just hike its commission at will and lower the service cost to the end user whenever it wants to increase competitiveness vs a rival business.

“At the end of the day there are a certain amount of fixed costs [for drivers],” says Tluszcz. “You have to buy a car, you have to get insurance, you have to pay for gas… And if you as an intermediary, which those platforms are, are taking an increasing amount of commission — 10%, 15%, now 20 in most of their markets — and then you’re using the price of the trip as a way of beating your competitor… then you as a driver are sitting there with basically all of your fixed costs and your income is going down and frankly the only way to cover your costs is to spend more hours in the car.

“Which is frankly what’s clearly illustrated by this study. These people have to spend so much time to cover their costs when you break it down to an hourly revenue, it’s a pitiful amount. And by the way you have no social coverage because you’ve got to take care of that yourself.”
driving  edgework  business  economics 
march 2018 by juliusbeezer
Why Petroleum Did Not Save the WhalesSocius - Richard York, 2017
A related phenomenon occurred in twentieth-century whaling. Perversely, the very fact that whale populations were being driven to the brink of extinction led individual whalers and whaling nations, who were in competition with other whalers and nations, to intensify their efforts to get as many whales for themselves before the whales were gone (Ellis 1991). This is an intensified version of the tragedy of the commons, where the incentive to overexploit a common resource becomes enhanced the closer that resource comes to depletion. This phenomenon could be called the “depletion paradox,” which is much like the green paradox, where the anticipation of depletion, just like the anticipation of regulation, can spur the processes that lead to depletion. There are many examples of this, one being the destruction of the passenger pigeon in North America mainly by market hunters in the latter part of the nineteenth century (Schorger 1955). Although the depletion paradox can apply to noncapitalist economies (as I explain in the next section), it is important to recognize that the driving force that typically leads to it is the ruthless profit seeking of private interests. In this regard, this phenomenon is closely connected with the tragedy of the commodity...
My most basic aim here has been to explain why the discovery of petroleum and growing use of other fossil fuels did not end whaling. Since fossil fuels provide potential substitutes for the main products of whaling—whale oil most notably—rising petroleum production could have ended whaling. However, to the contrary, fossil fuels allowed for the development of modern whaling technologies, which greatly expanded the capacity to kill whales. Additionally, a variety of other technological innovations, like hydrogenation, allowed for the development of new commodities, such as whale oil–based margarine, that expanded the market for the products of whaling. Due to these changes, most whales that were ever killed were killed in the twentieth century, in the era of plentiful fossil fuels and substitutes for whale products. Tragically, widespread whaling did not end until most whale stocks were driven to commercial extinction and many species to the brink of biological extinction.
economics  environment  business  marine 
december 2017 by juliusbeezer
Mcdonald's Real Estate: How They Really Make Their Money - Wall Street Survivor Blog
Franchising is a model by which fast food chains can expand quickly and efficiently by using the money of small investors. Ray Kroc perfected new franchising techniques, increasing the corporation’s size while maintaining strict control of its products. Around this time is when CFO Sonneborn came up with the strategy that McDonald’s continues to use today.

Instead of making money by selling supplies to franchisees or demanding huge royalties…the McDonald’s Corporation became the landlord to its franchisees.

They bought the properties and then leased them out – at large markups. In addition to that regular income, the corporation would take a percentage of each shop’s gross sales.

Today McDonald’s makes its money on real estate through two methods. Its real estate subsidiary will buy and sell hot properties while also collecting rents on each of its franchised locations. McDonald’s restaurants are in over 100 countries and have probably served over 100 billion hamburgers. There are over 36,000 locations worldwide, of which only 15% are owned and operated by the McDonald’s corporation directly. The rest are franchisee-operated.
business  economics  finance  urban  land 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis – review | Books | The Guardian
Varoufakis comes up with a vivid comparison between money supply and the market in cigarettes in a German prisoner-of-war camp to explain inflation, deflation and interest rates, in terms any teenager – or adult – will understand. In the camp, prisoners received packages from the Red Cross that included food, cigarettes, tea and coffee. Over time, as in prisons the world over, cigarettes became the currency by which other goods were traded. Now and again, the Red Cross would put more cigarettes in the packages, which meant that with more circulating in the camp they were worth less, so more would be needed to buy the same amount of goods – inflation in other words. Conversely, after a heavy bombing raid, prices went down – deflation – as so many cigarettes had been smoked they were in short supply and were worth more. As cigarettes are durable – like shells and precious metals, which have been used as currency – they can be saved, and in time “bankers” emerged in the camp, who would loan cigarettes with interest, ensuring that borrowers would pay back more than they had borrowed. In times of inflation, when the value of the currency was uncertain, interest rates went up, and vice versa.
economics  learning  veroufakis 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
NHS drug spending rises by 8% to £15.5bn in England | News | Pharmaceutical Journal
The costs of NHS medicines prescribed in hospital and in the community in England rose by 7.8% between 2013–2014 and 2014–2015, according to figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) on 12 November 2015.

The biggest rise occurred in hospitals where the net ingredient cost of medicines went up 15.4%. The figure means that the sector’s medicines’ bill has risen by 59.8% over the past four years.

Overall the NHS in England spent £15.5bn on medicines in 2014–2015 — a rise of 19.4% since 2010–2011, the figures reveal.
drugs  healthcare  uk  finance  economics 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
En France et dans le monde, la ruée vers la terre agricole s'accélère - Basta !
Le phénomène est d’abord local : les terres agricoles françaises sont progressivement grignotées par des activités industrielles, la construction de logements ou de zones commerciales. C’est ce qu’on appelle l’artificialisation des terres. « En 2016, 50 000 hectares de terres agricoles ont disparu », rappelle Sabine Agofroy, de la Fédération nationale des Safer. Autre statistique régulièrement mise en avant : l’équivalent de la superficie d’un département agricole disparaîtrait tous les huit ans. Même si la pertinence de ce chiffre est questionnée, la tendance reste inquiétante.
agriculture  economics  france 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Hurricane Harvey raises awkward questions over US energy ambitions
With domestic consumption down slightly and exports surging, US oil import dependency plunged to a mere 25 per cent last year from as high as 60 per cent in 2005. On paper, that sounds like a big step for energy security. But the flipside is higher reliance on potentially vulnerable Gulf Coast infrastructure. On the downstream side, operating refining capacity in coastal Texas and Louisiana jumped by almost a quarter from about 7m barrels per day on the eve of Katrina to 9.7 bpd at the latest count, even as capacity elsewhere edged down, lifting the Gulf’s share of US refining activity to nearly half of the total.

The same dependency on the Gulf applies for logistics. Rising exports and falling imports turned the US into a net exporter of gasoline (including both finished product and blending components) last year. Roughly 90 per cent of gross exports came from the Gulf. The region leads the US surge in virtually all other types of oil exports by a wide margin: as of 2016, the Gulf accounted for 54 per cent of US exports of crude, 68 per cent of natural gas liquids, 86 per cent of diesel and 75 per cent of jet fuel — a much higher share of a much higher total.

One of the unexpected consequences of the US shale boom is the rising co-vulnerability of its increasingly complex and integrated energy system. Even inland plays such as the Permian, the shale industry’s star performer, seemingly out of harm’s way, have become exposed to the risk of weather disruptions at coastal refineries, pipelines and export facilities on which they depend for market access.
oil  energy  us  finance  economics 
september 2017 by juliusbeezer
What ‘Clean Coal’ Is — and Isn’t - The New York Times
Critics note that “clean coal” is a misleading term for any of these techniques. Even a coal power plant that emits fewer pollutants is still a far dirtier way to produce electricity than a natural gas, nuclear, wind or solar plant. In 2014, the Clean Air Task Force estimated that particle pollution from power plants, mainly coal, led to 7,500 premature deaths each year, although that number has been going down over time because of environmental regulations and the retirement of older coal plants in the face of cheap natural gas.
fossil-fuel  climatechange  economics 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece
The International Monetary Fund’s top staff misled their own board, made a series of calamitous misjudgments in Greece, became euphoric cheerleaders for the euro project, ignored warning signs of impending crisis, and collectively failed to grasp an elemental concept of currency theory.

This is the lacerating verdict of the IMF’s top watchdog on the fund’s tangled political role in the eurozone debt crisis, the most damaging episode in the history of the Bretton Woods institutions.
It describes a “culture of complacency”, prone to “superficial and mechanistic” analysis, and traces a shocking breakdown in the governance of the IMF, leaving it unclear who is ultimately in charge of this extremely powerful organisation.
economics  finance  eu  politics 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
There is no place in academia for craven submission to Chinese censorship demands | Opinion | The Guardian
Imagine if the British government could eradicate the miners’ strike from history. Not just by deleting all news coverage but by preventing the academic study of it. Imagine if, at university courses on the history of modern conservatism, all mention of it was banned. Imagine if, on top of that, a major global academic publisher voluntarily deleted all discussion of the miners’ strike from a prestigious journal.

You now have a sense of the scale of what Cambridge University Press had done by deleting more than 300 articles from China Quarterly, following a request from the Chinese government. The decision, which has been reversed and the articles reinstated in the face of a threatened academic boycott, could lead to China blocking this and other related content. To which conflict I say: bring it on.

Coming after the decision by Apple to stop selling, and Amazon’s Chinese partner to forbid hosting of virtual private networks – the tool needed to evade internet censorship in China – the move is part of a widespread and craven acquiescence by western corporations and governments with Xi Jinping’s project.
china  censorship  scholarly  economics  marxism 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
Loire à vélo. L'économie locale dopée par les cyclistes | Courrier de l'Ouest
Les retombées économiques du circuit de la Loire à vélo sont assez énormes. » Nathalie Ferrand-Stip, en charge des itinérances notamment à vélo à l’agence départementale du tourisme de l’Anjou, l’affirme sans détours. « Les touristes à vélo dépensent en moyenne 80 € par jour contre 67 € en 2010 », insiste-t-elle, en reprenant les chiffres-clés d’une étude de fréquentation et de retombées économiques, menée en 2015, sur les régions Centre-Val-de-Loire et Pays de la Loire.
Cette même étude parle de 30 millions d’euros de retombées économiques estimées au cours de l’année 2015. Un chiffre assez vertigineux qui aiguise forcément l’appétit des collectivités locales, des artisans, commerçants et entreprises.
cycling  economics  finance  tourisme  france  Loire 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
How Rich Would Bill Gates Be Without His Copyright On Windows? | HuffPost
And, there is a huge amount of money at stake here. The fortunes going to Bill Gates and other beneficiaries of intellectual property protection come out of the pockets of the rest of us. The clearest case is prescription drugs where we will spend over $440 billion this year for drugs that would likely sell for less than $80 billion in a free market.

The difference of $360 billion a year is a bit less than 2.0 percent of GDP. If we carry this out over the course of a decade we’re likely talking about more than $4 trillion. By comparison, the battle on repealing Obamacare largely boils down to a fight over $600 billion in tax cuts for the rich, an amount that is less than one-sixth this size.
software  economics  copyright  medicine 
july 2017 by juliusbeezer
HOW HISTORY MOCKS THE MODERN ECONOMIST | thedepression.org.au
The earliest writer on husbandry in the seventeenth century admits the fact of competition rents, defends the lord’s actions in taking what is offered him, and treats the farmers’ remonstrances with ill‑disguised contempt.” (E.I.H.) And this raising of rent went on until by the year 1879 the rent of agricultural land, which had for three centuries prior to the middle of the sixteenth century remained fixed at an average of from 6d. to 8 d. an acre, had risen to an average of more than 45s.(pages 179 and 293). But the most striking and important historical evidence on this point is to be derived from the sermons of dauntless old Hugh Latimer, who was burned at the stake at Oxford in 1555. Of these sermons, a writer in the Encyclopoedia Britannica says “It is possible to learn from them more regarding the social and political condition of the period than perhaps from any other source.”...
Where he that now hath it, payeth 16 pounds by year and more, and is not able to do anything for his prince, himself, nor his children or give a cup of drink to the poor. Thus all the enhancing and rearing goeth to your private commodity and wealth.
economics  history 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Book Review: Doughnut Economics | From Poverty to Power
Her breakthrough moment while at Oxfam was coming up with ‘the doughnut’ – two concentric rings representing the planetary ceiling and minimum standards for all human beings. The ‘safe and just space’ between the two rings is where our species needs to be if it wants to make poverty history without destroying the planet...
‘See the big picture’: seeing the economy as ‘embedded’ in wider social and environmental systems
A critique of individualist ‘rational economic man’ that redraws the object of economics as social, adaptable humans
Moving from equilibrium economics to complex adaptive systems
Forget Kuznets: growth won’t lead to falling inequality – the economy must be ‘distributive by design’
Forget Kuznets II: growth won’t clean up the environmental damage it helps cause – the economy needs to be ‘regenerative by design’
Where does growth fit? Need to move from the current financial, political and social addiction to growth, to allowing GDP to adjust up, down, or oscillate, as the economy transforms
economics 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Basic income isn’t just a nice idea. It's a birthright | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian
Once a fringe idea, basic income is now speeding its way into the public imagination. Finland is running a two-year experiment in basic income. Utrecht in the Netherlands is conducting a trial, too. Y Combinator is trying it out in Oakland in the US. Scotland looks likely to follow suit. And cash transfer programs have already proven to be successful in Namibia, India, and dozens of other developing countries, sparking what some scholars have billed as “a development revolution from the global South”. In Brazil, to cite just one example, cash transfers helped to cut poverty rates in half in less than a single decade.

But the success of basic income – in both the north and south – all depends on how we frame it. Will it be cast as a form of charity by the rich? Or will it be cast as a right for all?

Thomas Paine was among the first to argue that a basic income should be introduced as a kind of compensation for dispossession.
economics  land  LandValueTax 
march 2017 by juliusbeezer
Why Robots Will Never Take Our Jobs (unless we want them to)
Basically, landlords are given a government license to sell access to the location, not just the improvements that they are responsible for. Even vacant land has a price, and clearly that can’t be attributable to the efforts of the landlord. Most of the rental price in urban locations is merely locational value.
They don't ask what their costs were when determining what to charge, they ask what their tenants can afford.
Thus, as productivity rises, so do rents. But the reverse is also true. If workers aren't in as much demand, then rents will begin to decline. This will assist workers in their race to the bottom...

Feeding humans with renewable resources can be cheaper than feeding robots with non-renewable resources...

The assumption that this race to the bottom is inevitable in a market economy is incorrect. Even though living standards are still rising, I don't dispute that we are currently in a race to the bottom in much of the world.
However, certain insights from political economy show us how to make reforms that get us out of this race to the bottom. Most notably, a land value tax.

...want a vision of the future? Imagine a child working in a sweatshop, forever. Unless we consciously choose another path.

Automation is good. It is more or less synonymous with economic progress. Trying to halt automation would be like shooting ourselves in the foot, and would solve nothing. We just need to figure out how to achieve a fairer distribution of wealth, by understanding the fundamental power relationships that were revealed by classical political economists, such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo.

Prime locations are one thing robots can never create more of. We all need land, and to live where jobs are. If we share the rents that accrue from access rights to that which everyone needs, but nobody creates, then real wages can finally rise. At that point it could be financially viable for robots to actually start replacing labor.
work  economics  robotics  land 
march 2017 by juliusbeezer
Tech and the Fake Market tactic – Humane Tech – Medium
The Fake Market for content looks like this:

Readers can’t trust the information they’re being provided to make a content decision.
A single opaque algorithm defines which readers are matched with which publishers.
Publishers have no control over their own ad rates or profit margins.
Regulators see the genuine short-term reader benefit but don’t realize the long-term harms that can arise.
economics  web  monopoly 
march 2017 by juliusbeezer
Q&A: The social cost of carbon | Carbon Brief
the SCC is the social cost of CO2, not simply carbon, and it is usually measured in dollars, pounds or euros per metric tonne of CO2. You might see it shortened to SC-CO2, to distinguish it from estimates of the social cost of methane (SC-CH4). We use SCC throughout this article, referring to CO2.
climatechange  economics 
february 2017 by juliusbeezer
On the Necessity of Transforming the Fictitious Commodities into Commons (1): Land | P2P Foundation
“When looking at real estate prices it is important to remember that rising house prices reflect rising land values, not buildings. Buildings depreciate as they wear out. Their replacement price may increase due to the normal inflation rate, and their value may be maintained by investments in repair and maintenance, but buildings do not increase in value on their own. By contrast, land values are what are subject to rising real prices.
economics  land 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
L.A.'s Invisible Riders | Alternet
Last year, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition conducted a survey that used a neat trick to partition the city's two-wheeled community. Half the questioning was conducted via the Internet or mail; the other half of the respondents were approached on the street. One notable result: 42 percent of the street respondents said they rode five days a week or more. Only a quarter of the remotely queried cyclists rode that much.

And the riders who pedal so much more accomplish it with far fewer resources: 40 percent of the street respondents earn less than $15,000 annually (65 percent earn below $35,000), and 95 percent of them own just a single bike.

Nearly half of those surveyed by Internet and mail reported earnings of more than $75,000. The household income of subscribers to this magazine is $112,000, and, on average, four bikes are parked in our garages. If you're a typical subscriber, you plan to spend at least $2,000 on your next bike, but a passionate 4 percent of you say you'll spend $6,000 or more.
cycling  economics  us 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
Paul Mason wrote: “Borrowing money to spend on defence buys you good, high-skilled jobs; enhanced R… – Medium
Paul Mason wrote:
“Borrowing money to spend on defence buys you good, high-skilled jobs; enhanced R&D; resilience in the face of a bad world situation and — if you do it right — rekindles social cohesion. It also demands an industrial policy”

This is often said. However “defence” spending represents rather poor value for money by the metric of capital invested/job created compared with any other sector. Policymakers sincere about minimising unemployment should know this. “Defence” R&D may indeed produce interesting work (the internet…), but if it remains unpublished/classified, as is likely, then again, greater public benefit would be obtained by investment elsewhere.
That said, the autonomy of the Baltic states and of Europe in general is worth defending. You’re surely right to be thinking about military solutions. After all, invading eastern Europe has always gone so well for anyone who’s tried it in the past.
Or maybe the UK should try to avoid appearing like a warmongering blimp-head manoeuvring on the borders of a country whom history grants every right to wariness.
Still, the UK can always resort to selling the exploding fruits of such excellent policy to oppressive regimes around the world. How’s that working out for ya?
war  europe  uk  research  economics  dccomment 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
Arms conversion – The Lucas Plan
The impetus for the Lucas Plan came from the Lucas Aerospace workers who faced losing their jobs, and wanting to produce socially useful products rather than weapons. During the 1980s final phase of the Cold War, the Plan was extremely influential in the disarmament movement, since it showed that, with political will and support, disarmament did not have to mean thousands of workers losing their jobs.

However, theirs has not been the only initiative seeking alternative employment for arms industry workers.
arms_trade  economics  history 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
This Billionaire Governor Taxed the Rich and Increased the Minimum Wage -- Now, His State's Economy Is One of the Best in the Country | Huffington Post
During his first four years in office, Gov. Dayton raised the state income tax from 7.85 to 9.85 percent on individuals earning over $150,000, and on couples earning over $250,000 when filing jointly — a tax increase of $2.1 billion. He’s also agreed to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2018, and passed a state law guaranteeing equal pay for women. Republicans like state representative Mark Uglem warned against Gov. Dayton’s tax increases, saying, “The job creators, the big corporations, the small corporations, they will leave. It’s all dollars and sense to them.” The conservative friend or family member you shared this article with would probably say the same if their governor tried something like this. But like Uglem, they would be proven wrong.

Between 2011 and 2015, Gov. Dayton added 172,000 new jobs to Minnesota’s economy — that’s 165,800 more jobs in Dayton’s first term than Pawlenty added in both of his terms combined. Even though Minnesota’s top income tax rate is the fourth highest in the country, it has the fifth lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.6 percent.
economics 
october 2016 by juliusbeezer
Washington Monthly | Elizabeth Warren’s Consolidation Speech Could Change the Election
The concentration problem—and particularly the idea of “too big to fail” in the financial sector—gets a lot of attention. But the problem isn’t unique to the financial sector. It’s hiding in plain sight all across the American economy.

In the last decade, the number of major U.S. airlines has dropped from nine to four. The four that are left standing—American, Delta, United, and Southwest—control over 80% of all domestic airline seats in the country. And man, are they are hitting the jackpot now. Last year those four big airlines raked in a record $22 billion in profits.. Eighteen billion alone came from fees for baggage and legroom and pay toilets. Ok, the last one was a joke, but what have passengers received in return for their higher costs? Fewer flights and worse service. Airline complaints rose 30 percent just from 2014 to 2015.

The list goes on. A handful of health insurance giants—including Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Aetna, and Cigna—control over 83 percent of the country’s health insurance market.

Three drug stores—CVS, Walgreen’s, and Rite Aid—control 99% of the drug stores in the country.

Four companies control nearly 85% of the U.S. beef market, and three produce almost half of all chicken.
economics  us 
october 2016 by juliusbeezer
Why You Should Blame the Financial Crisis for Political Polarization and the Rise of Trump - Evonomics
the extreme right (think Golden Dawn, or the National Front in France) as the principal political beneficiary of postcrisis partisanship. “Voters seem to be systematically lured by the political rhetoric of the far right, with its frequently nationalistic or xenophobic tendencies,” they write. Overall, they conclude, “the political effects [of banking and financial crises] are particularly disruptive.”

That’s certainly true here in the US as well, where Trump’s presidential campaign in particular exploits an underlying angst that the government is representing well-organized special interests at the general public’s expense. Ironically, much of the support for the Sanders campaign also reflects the same angst. This, rather than the classic debtor-creditor conflict that emerged with the Tea Party and the Occupy movement, is behind much of their backing.
politics  economics  finance 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
Ultra-rich man’s letter: “To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming” – Anonymous
the long-overdue rebuttal to the trickle-down economics worldview that has become economic orthodoxy across party lines—and has so screwed the American middle class and our economy generally. Middle-out economics rejects the old misconception that an economy is a perfectly efficient, mechanistic system and embraces the much more accurate idea of an economy as a complex ecosystem made up of real people who are dependent on one another.

Which is why the fundamental law of capitalism must be: If workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us, the true job creators. Which means a thriving middle class is the source of American prosperity, not a consequence of it. The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around.
economics  business  politics 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
Joseph Stiglitz Says Standard Economics Is Wrong. Inequality and Unearned Income Kills the Economy - Evonomics
Standard neoclassical theories, in which ‘wealth’ is equated with ‘capital’, would suggest that the increase in capital should be associated with a decline in the return to capital and an increase in wages. The failure of unskilled workers’ wages to increase has been attributed by some (especially in the 1990s) to skill-biased technological change, which increased the premium put by the market on skills. Hence, those with skills would see their wages rise, and those without skills would see them fall. But recent years have seen a decline in the wages paid even to skilled workers. Moreover, as my recent research shows, average wages should have increased, even if some wages fell. Something else must be going on.

There is an alternative— and more plausible— explanation. It is based on the observation that rents are increasing (due to the increase in land rents, intellectual property rents and monopoly power). As a result, the value of those assets that are able to provide rents to their owners— such as land, houses and some financial claims— is rising proportionately. So overall wealth increases, but this does not lead to an increase in the productive capacity of the economy or in the mean marginal productivity or average wage of workers. On the contrary, wages may stagnate or even decrease, because the rise in the share of rents has happened at the expense of wages.

The assets which are driving the increase in overall wealth, in fact, are not produced capital goods. In many cases, they are not even ‘productive’ in the usual sense; they are not directly related to the production of goods and services.
economics  politics 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
We should reward peer reviewers. But how?
Prioritizing speed in the review process is fine if the goal is throughput, but is it good for promoting quality science?

The answer is hardly. Rapid reviews can be shoddy, as Elsevier knows well from a case in one of its own journals last year. And given how many problems readers are identifying on sites like PubPeer once papers are published, does pushing for speed really make sense?

That leaves a final kind of incentive that some have experimented with: Money. “We need to abandon the belief that there is only one peer review market that operates entirely on volunteer labor,”
peerreview  economics  attention 
august 2016 by juliusbeezer
Seymour Melman - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Seymour Melman (December 30, 1917 – December 16, 2004) was an American professor emeritus of industrial engineering and operations research at Columbia University's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

He wrote extensively for fifty years on "economic conversion", the ordered transition from military to civilian production by military industries and facilities. Author of The Permanent War Economy and Pentagon Capitalism, he was an economist, writer, and gadfly of the military-industrial complex.
wikipedia  military  economics 
april 2016 by juliusbeezer
(1) Les écoutes coûtent cher, très cher : démonstration en quatre chiffres - Libération
Près d’un milliard d’euros a été dépensé pour les écoutes judiciaires ces dix dernières années. Le chiffre, astronomique, figure dans un rapport publié ce lundi par la Cour des comptes, au terme d’un contrôle approfondi de plusieurs mois. La Cour a adressé à Matignon un référé se concluant par sept recommandations, auxquelles le Premier ministre a répondu.
surveillance  france  economics 
april 2016 by juliusbeezer
What have the immigrants ever done for us? | The Economist
By calculating European immigrants’ share of the cost of government spending and their contribution to government revenues, the scholars estimate that between 1995 and 2011 the migrants made a positive contribution of more than £4 billion ($6.4 billion) to Britain, compared with an overall negative contribution of £591 billion for native Britons. Between 2001 and 2011, the net fiscal contribution of recent arrivals from the eastern European countries that have joined the EU since 2004 has amounted to almost £5 billion. Even during the worst years of the financial crisis, in 2007-11, they made a net contribution of almost £2 billion to British public finances. Migrants from other European countries chipped in £8.6 billion.
immigration  uk  economics 
april 2016 by juliusbeezer
The 1% hide their money offshore – then use it to corrupt our democracy | Aditya Chakrabortty | News | The Guardian
the risk is that all this will descend into a morass of semi-titillating detail: a string of revelations about who gave what to whom, and whether he or she then declared it to the Revenue. The story will become about “handling” and “narrative” and individual culpability. That will be entertaining for those who like to point fingers, perplexing for those too busy to engage in the detail – and miss the wider truth revealed by the leak which forced all this into public discussion.

Because at root, the Panama Papers are not about tax. They’re not even about money. What the Panama Papers really depict is the corruption of our democracy.

Following on from LuxLeaks, the Panama Papers confirm that the super-rich have effectively exited the economic system the rest of us have to live in. Thirty years of runaway incomes for those at the top, and the full armoury of expensive financial sophistication, mean they no longer play by the same rules the rest of us have to follow. Tax havens are simply one reflection of that reality.
finance  economics  politics  tax 
april 2016 by juliusbeezer
Can Matteo Renzi Save Europe from Austerity?
The prime minister’s optimism, though infectious, is not altogether convincing. French President Hollande came into office with solid majorities in both the National Assembly and Senate, his party in control of the lion’s share of French regional governments, and Article 49-3 of the French constitution, which usually allows a president to have his way with parliament whenever he dares to invoke it. Hollande’s reform efforts have nevertheless been timid and halting. A Renzi in firm control of his majority might well prove a less hesitant leader than Hollande, but Hollande has been stymied not simply by want of boldness but also by the balance of power in a Europe dominated by Germany and subject to intimidation by foreign investors.
france  politics  eu  germany  italy  economics 
april 2016 by juliusbeezer
Orion Magazine | No Man's Land
Ownership is different from appropriation. It confers exclusive rights derived from and enforced by the state. These rights do not come from active use or occupancy. Property owners can neglect land for years, waiting for the best time to sell it, even if others would put it to better use. And in the absence of laws protecting landscapes, the holders of legal title can mow down a rainforest or drain a wetland without regard to social and ecological cost. Not all owners are destructive or irresponsible, but the imperative to seek maximum profit is built into the assumptions within private property. Land that costs money must make money.

Champions of capitalism don’t see private property as a social practice with a history but as a universal desire—a nearly physical law—that amounts to the very expression of freedom. The economist Friedrich Hayek called it “the most important guarantee of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not.” But Hayek never explained how buyers and sellers of real estate spread a blanket of liberty over their tenants. And he never mentioned the fact that the concept, far from being natural law, was created by nation-states—the notion that someone could claim a bit of the planet all to himself is relatively new.

Every social system falls into contradictions, opposing or inconsistent aspects within its assumptions that have no clear resolution. These can be managed or put off, but some of them are serious enough to undermine the entire system. In the case of private property, there are at least two—and they may throw the very essence of capitalism into illegitimacy.
land  law  economics 
march 2016 by juliusbeezer
Cahier Economie et Emplois – Atelier Citoyen
Au total, la zone aéroportuaire compte environ 8 300 emplois pour lesquels l’équipement aéroportuaire existant est un atout. L’aéroport constitue un moteur privilégié pour le développement économique régional, il est pris en compte pour le choix des localisations d’entreprises internationales comme Airbus, Daher ou GE.

Par ailleurs, très peu d’aménagements seraient nécessaires autour de l’aéroport actuel pour développer ce pôle économique international attractif.

La Chambre de Commerce et de L’Industrie (CCI) de Loire-Atlantique et les politiques restent dans leur rôle de porteurs d’un projet de création ex nihilo d’une nouvelle zone aéroportuaire à 30 km au nord de Nantes et minimisent les conséquences de ce départ. Le discours officiel est assez confus sur l’avenir de cette zone, il est parfois contradictoire : le foncier et la piste de l’aéroport existant sont tour à tour destinés aux besoins d’Airbus ou au réaménagement en zone d’activité et en extension de l’IRT.
aéroport  economics 
march 2016 by juliusbeezer
“The True Costs of Automobility: External Costs of Cars” | Road Danger Reduction Forum
Anyway, the amount of taxation raised by UK motorists – fuel duty and its associated VAT along with vehicle excise duty contribute around £38bn a year – is £10 billion less than the £48 billion estimated by the report’s authors to be the external costs of motoring.

And don’t forget that those costs do not include the health disbenefits to drivers, congestion, danger, visual intrusion, community disruption (with loss of children’s independent mobility), policing and road building, and parking space costs.

If anything one can argue that they are a significant underestimate.
driving  transport  road_safety  health  economics 
february 2016 by juliusbeezer
Science Bubbles - Springer
Much like the trade and traits of bubbles in financial markets, similar bubbles appear on the science market. When economic bubbles burst, the drop in prices causes the crash of unsustainable investments leading to an investor confidence crisis possibly followed by a financial panic. But when bubbles appear in science, truth and reliability are the first victims. This paper explores how fashions in research funding and research management may turn science into something like a bubble economy.
science  sciencepublishing  fashion  economics  finance 
february 2016 by juliusbeezer
Obama Is Right: Terrorism Has Taken Over Cable News
search of CNN coverage between November 21 and December 21 of this year yielded 427 hits (instances where an individual show mentioned the word at least once) for the search phrase “terrorism” and 404 hits for “ISIS”; the same search for “poverty” yielded only 34 hits. Here are the terrorism search strings compared to the other topics in chart form (note that the anti-privacy CISA legislation, directly related to terrorism, was not mentioned at all):
journalism  attention  war  economics  news  politics 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
Two Undeniable Arguments for a Land Value Tax (and Two Weak Ones) | Progress.org
A land value tax would fix a number of significant market inefficiencies and make the whole economy more productive and robust.

Urbanization has played a big role in mankind’s material prosperity. And the whole point in urbanization is bringing people closer together to allow new types of trade, more specialization, as well as the collision and evolution of ideas. As proximity matters, location matters. Owning location is the right to charge others for participating in an economy – and for local public services.
politics  tax  land  finance  economics 
december 2015 by juliusbeezer
The Swiss Cheese Mafia — ReadThink (by HubSpot) — Medium
Of the 14 cheeses included on the Swiss Cheese Union’s official list of “name-controlled” cheeses, the Union really only supported the production of three: Emmental, Gruyère, and a hard mountain cheese called Sbrinz. Another hard cheese, Appenzeller, would get some love in the Union’s later years, but for the most part, Swiss cheese production was limited to just those three aforementioned types.

Three types of cheese, in a country that used to make more than a thousand types of cheese
food  switzerland  economics 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
China's Troubling New Social Credit System—And Ours | The New Republic
Companies have already begun introducing incentives for consumers to publicly share how they rate. (A government website allows people to look up the scores of others.) High scorers can get better rental cars or book hotel reservations without leaving a deposit. Sesame Credit, a scoring program run by Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, has integrated its scores into Baihe, a major dating site. Baihe users can choose to display their scores in return for more prominent placement in search results. Speaking to the BBC, a Baihe executive justified the move by explaining that a person should have a sense of the financial status of a potential partner. Of course, the score itself—which ranges from 350 to 950—is the product of an opaque system whose details are only known to Sesame Credit and its government overseers.

While it drapes itself in economic language, the Chinese scoring system is less about market relations than about control and risk mitigation. A Sesame executive has already said that certain behaviors, like playing video games all day, will bring penalties. Political and criminal activity (in China they can be one and the same) will also be folded into the SCS, “painting a complete picture of its citizens in data,” according to New Scientist. This nationwide system could then be used to steer citizens toward desired behaviors and to ensure, in the parlance of the communist party leadership, a more “harmonious society.” That this “mega-system” ensures the financialization of everyday life, tying every choice and behavior to one's economic and social standing, is just another irony of China's brand of state-led corporatism.
china  finance  economics  politics  surveillance 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
The Meaning of Marxism - Lana Turner Journal
My thesis is that the object of the early Marx is different from the object of the Marx of Capital and it is upon this basis that an adequate periodization arises. The object of critique and analysis for the early Marx is an inherited concept called bourgeois society. The object of the later Marx was an invented, newly conceived object called the capitalist mode of production. This new concept of the capitalist mode of production involved a shift in Marx’s relation to political economy and what was meant by a critique of political economy...
My version of an early and a late Marx can be traced to the account that Robert Brenner presents of two stories of the origins of capitalism in Marx. There’s an earlier account in which bourgeois society arose out of the spread of commerce from its modest medieval beginnings. In his later work Marx develops another conception - that of the agrarian origins of capitalism unfolding through structural changes in the English countryside, involving the separation of direct producers from their means of subsistence. That separation from subsistence launches a pattern of socio-economic development that distinguishes England from the larger persistence of the socio-economic old regime on the continent.
marxism  politics  economics  history 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
Britain is heading for another 2008 crash: here’s why | David Graeber | Comment is free | The Guardian
I’d like to talk today about the greatest taboo of all. Let’s call it the Peter-Paul principle: the less the government is in debt, the more everybody else is. I call it this because it’s based on very simple mathematics. Say there are 40 poker chips. Peter holds half, Paul the other. Obviously if Peter gets 10 more, Paul has 10 less. Now look at this: it’s a diagram of the balance between the public and private sectors in our economy:
David Graeber debt graph
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Notice how the pattern is symmetrical? The top is an exact mirror of the bottom. This is what’s called an “accounting identity”. One goes up, the other must, necessarily, go down. What this means is that if the government declares “we must act responsibly and pay back the national debt” and runs a budget surplus, then it (the public sector) is taking more money in taxes out of the private sector than it’s paying back in. That money has to come from somewhere. So if the government runs a surplus, the private sector goes into deficit. If the government reduces its debt, everyone else has to go into debt in exactly that proportion in order to balance their own budgets.

The chips are redistributed. This is not a theory. Just simple maths.
graeber  economics  politics 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
The True Costs of Driving - The Atlantic
The report documents that the amount that road users pay through gas taxes now accounts for less than half of what’s spent to maintain and expand the road system. The resulting shortfall is made up from other sources of tax revenue at the state and local levels, generated by drivers and non-drivers alike. This subsidizing of car ownership costs the typical household about $1,100 per year—over and above the costs of gas taxes, tolls, and other user fees...
There are good reasons to believe that the methodology of “Who Pays for Roads?” if anything considerably understates the subsidies to private vehicle operation. It doesn’t examine the hidden subsidies associated with the free public provision of on-street parking, or the costs imposed by nearly universal off-street parking requirements, which drive up the price of commercial and residential development. It also ignores the indirect costs that come to auto and non-auto users alike from the increased travel times and travel distances that result from subsidized auto-oriented sprawl.
driving  finance  economics 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
This study is forcing economists to rethink high-deductible health insurance - Vox
Kolstad and his co-authors looked at the case of a large, unnamed company that shifted more than 75,000 workers and their dependents from a plan with no deductible to one with a $3,750 deductible. When the change happened, workers received a $3,750 subsidy to a health savings account — money they could spend freely on whatever health costs they incurred. The company also gave workers online tools to look up prices for doctor visits, tests, and other services they might need.

Workers' health spending dropped, and did so quickly. Average per-patient spending fell from $5,222.60 in 2012 to $4,446.08 in 2013. That's about a 15 percent decline in a single year — and it held true across all types of health services. Between 2012 and 2014, there was a 25 percent drop in emergency room spending, an 18 percent decline in physician office visits, and a 6 percent decrease in mental health services.
healthcare  economics  finance 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
Onshore windfarms cheapest form of UK electricity, report shows | Environment | The Guardian
ew onshore windfarms are now the cheapest way for a power company to produce electricity in Britain, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Costs have dropped to $85 (£55) per megawatt hour (MWh) compared with the current costs of about $115 for constructing coal or gas-fired plants, its analysis found.

The price of wind, which has fallen from $108 just 12 months ago, compares with nuclear which Bloomberg assesses at $190 – the latter up on a year ago as project delays are factored in to developments.
energy  renewables  finance  economics 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
Solar & Wind Reach a Big Renewables Turning Point : BNEF - Bloomberg Business
For the first time, widespread adoption of renewables is effectively lowering the capacity factor for fossil fuels. That's because once a solar or wind project is built, the marginal cost of the electricity it produces is pretty much zero—free electricity—while coal and gas plants require more fuel for every new watt produced. If you're a power company with a choice, you choose the free stuff every time.
energy  renewables  economics  finance 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
Le rattrapage de la fiscalité du diesel sur l’essence pourrait intervenir d’ici à 2020
Actuellement, le différentiel entre le diesel et l’essence est de 15 centimes d’euro. Depuis cette année, le gouvernement a commencé le rattrapage fiscal, à raison de 2 centimes par litre de diesel, afin de pallier notamment la perte due à l’abandon, à l’automne 2014, de l’écotaxe poids lourds.
driving  pollution  environment  transport  economics  finance  france 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
Volkswagen’s threat to the German model - FT.com
the German economic model. It has been over-reliant on the car industry, just as the car industry has been over-reliant on diesel technology....
To gauge the wider economic impact, one needs a sense of the size of the industry. It is much larger than official statistics suggest because they do not account for the interdependencies across industries. The car industry is by far the largest single buyer of goods and services from other sectors. According to a study published in 2008 by the University of Mannheim, the car industry accounted for 7.7 per cent of gross value-added for the whole of Germany in 2004 — the highest percentage of any country in the world.
driving  environment  pollution  germany  economics 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
How Canada's Tories destroyed the country's memory, and its capacity to remember / Boing Boing
Canada has a new underground of scientists and statisticians and wonks who've founded a movement called LOCKSS -- "Lots of copies, keep stuff safe" -- who make their own archives of disappeared data, from the libraries of one-of-a-kind docs that have been literally incinerated or sent to dumpsters to the websites that vanish without notice. There's an election this October -- perhaps we can call on them then to restore the country's lost memory.
archiving  library  economics  science  openness 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
The Decentralist Perspective, or Why Bitcoin Might Need Small Blocks – Bitcoin Magazine
According to decentralists, the problem of big blocks is essentially twofold. On one hand there is the basic assumption that bigger blocks favor bigger miners – presumably mining pools. On the other hand is the fact that bigger blocks complicate mining anonymously.

The main (though not only) reason bigger blocks favor bigger miners has to do with latency. As the block size increases, so does the time it takes for a newfound block to transmit through the Bitcoin network. That is disadvantageous to all miners, except for the miner that found the block. During the time it takes a new block to make its way through the network, the miner who found the block gets a head start mining on top of the new block, while other miners are still busy mining on top of an older block. So as a miner find more blocks, it gets more head starts. And as a miner gets more head starts, it finds more blocks. Meanwhile on the other end of the equation, smaller miners find fewer blocks and, as a result, have more trouble turning a profit, ultimately causing them to drop off the network. Bigger blocks tend to centralize mining.
bitcoin  economics 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
Self pity, language and the Great British Motorist | Road Danger Reduction Forum
a well organised campaign is orchestrated to present motorists as having the status of an oppressed minority, with little or no opposition, a quick fact check should be in order.

Over the New Labour years the costs of motoring fell dramatically. While some price rises over the last few years may have slowed the overall reduction in the cost of motoring, overall the cost has fallen.
By comparison – and I’m talking about before the current government’s austerity packages were introduced – over the same period other financial problems became worse. For example: a massive increase in the costs of housing, both for sale (pushing a generation into money down the drain in renting, and in renting itself.
driving  economics  finance 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
Jeremy Corbyn and the economics of the real world
As the creator of what has come to be known as Corbynomics, my ideas on what is now known as People’s Quantitative Easing, progressive taxation, tackling the tax gap and other matters caused quite a stir in the Labour leadership race.

They are all policies that, in my opinion, are at the core of tackling the austerity narrative that has dominated the UK political debate.
economics  politics  uk 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
The poisoned chalice | openDemocracy
J.K. Galbraith: There is no “rescue” going on here. There is no “rescue,” there is no “bailout,” there is no “reform” going on. I really need to insist on this, because these words creep into our discourse. They are placed there by the creditors in order for unwary people to use them, but there is nothing of the kind taking place. What is going on is a seizure of the assets owned by the Greek state, by Greek businesses and by Greek households. There is no sense that this has anything to do with the recovery of the Greek economy or with the welfare of the Greek people. On the contrary, the policy is utterly indifferent to those considerations.

LM: Even if that is the case, privatizations are a one-off event…

JG: The evidence is very clear: the creditors are not interested in whether the Greek state gets money for privatizations. This did not interest them. Had it done so, they would have paid attention when the Greek government, in February-March, said that they wanted to have a rational privatization policy rather than putting everything on the auction block at once. They are clearly not interested in that. What they are interested in is whether the assets pass into the hands of German construction companies, international hotel chains, international pharmacy chains and you can go down the list. That is clearly the agenda.
economics  greece  eu  europe  finance 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
In THE CONVERSATION answering to leading academics | Yanis Varoufakis
I represented a small, suffering nation in its sixth straight year of deep recession. Bluffing with our people’s fate would be irresponsible. So I did not. Instead, we outlined that which we thought was a reasonable position, consistent with our creditors’ own interests. And then we stood our ground. When the troika pushed us into a corner, presenting me with an ultimatum on June 25 just before closing Greece’s banking system down, we looked at it carefully and concluded that we had neither a mandate to accept it (given that it was economically non-viable) nor to decline it (and clash with official Europe). Instead we decided to do something terribly radical: to put it to the Greek people to decide.
economics  politics  greece  eu 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
Review: ‘The Economics of Inequality,’ by Thomas Piketty - The New York Times
Let me be blunt: I don’t know how the decision was made to release this “new” Piketty book in its current form, but it’s not at all the book one might have expected. It is, instead, a slightly revised version of a volume first published in 1997, when Mr. Piketty was in his mid-20s.
piketty  economics 
august 2015 by juliusbeezer
potlatch: Governing through unhappiness
Work by Greta Krippner, Martha Poon and others has shown how the rise of finance in the 1980s occurred quite surprisingly, as a result of politicians trying to distance themselves from awkward political choices about the allocation of credit and capital. Equally, one way of understanding the appeal of the Chicago School of economics in the post-Bretton Woods era is that it offered to de-politicise economic policy making, and turn it into a purely technical issue. When normative and social demands are in the ascendency, and trust in formal democratic process is in decline, something has to give: those demands can no longer be channelled effectively into the democratic system. They must either be channelled elsewhere (the market, lobbying, riotting, the private sphere) or they must be neutralised. Either way, politicians can no longer broker them, and nor do they wish to.
economics  politics 
june 2015 by juliusbeezer
Philosophical Disquisitions: Should libertarians hate the internet? A Nozickian Argument against Social Networks
In the remainder of this post, I outline the basic elements of that libertarian anti-internet argument.
As mentioned, the libertarian view I am going to work with is a fairly unsophisticated version of that presented by Robert Nozick in his classic book Anarchy, State and Utopia. Consequently, I must start by outlining some of the core features of the political philosophy defended in that book. As many readers will know, Nozick’s book was written in response to Rawls’s classic A Theory of Justice. In the latter book, Rawls defended an egalitarian model of political justice that supported the redistribution of property (wealth) from rich to poor, provided certain fundamental principles of justice were complied with. This in turn provided support for a big government, collecting taxes and engaging in certain acts of social engineering.

Nozick rejected this view in favour of the robust protection of individual property rights and a minimal state. Central to this view was his conception of individual rights, specifically individual property rights.
internet  theory  philosophy  politics  facebook  google  socialnetworking  socialmedia  economics 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
Coulisses de Bruxelles - Alexis Tsipras cerné par les dirigeants européens - Libération.fr
@JeanQuatremer @Antwan Si l'expérience de QE européenne rassemble celle du Royaume-Uni (d'où plusieurs tranches de QE ont été mis depuis 2008), il comblera le bilan des banques en risque de faillite à cause des investissements mal avisés, plutôt que renflouer l'économie réelle.
finance  economics  greece  eu 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
Krugman’s review of Piketty
Krugman correctly highlights the importance of the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor, but like everyone else (including, apparently, Piketty himself) he misses a subtle but absolutely crucial point.

When economists discuss this elasticity, they generally do so in the context of a gross production function (*not* net of depreciation). In this setting, the elasticity of substitution gives the relationship between the capital-output ratio K/Y and the user cost of capital, which is r+delta, the sum of the relevant real rate of return and the depreciation rate. For instance, if this elasticity is 1.5 and r+delta decreases by a factor of 2, then (moving along the demand curve) K/Y will increase by a factor of 2^(1.5) = 2.8.

Piketty, on the other hand, uses only net concepts, as they are relevant for understanding net income. When he talks about the critical importance of an elasticity of substitution greater than one, he means an elasticity of substitution in the *net* production function. This is a very different concept. In particular, this elasticity gives us the relationship between the capital-output ratio K/Y and the real rate of return r, rather than the full user cost r+delta. This elasticity is lower, by a fraction of r/(r+delta), than the relevant elasticity in the gross production function.

This is no mere quibble. For the US capital stock, the average depreciation rate is a little above delta=5%. Suppose that we take Piketty’s starting point of r=5%. Then r/(r+delta) = 1/2, and the net production function elasticities that matter to Piketty’s argument are only 1/2 of the corresponding elasticities for the gross production function! --Matt Rognlie
economics  piketty  agnotology  commenting 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
The Real Story Behind the Oil Price Collapse - Truthdig
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy, world oil production rose from 85.1 million barrels per day in 2005 to 92.9 million in 2014, despite the continuing decline of many legacy fields in North America and the Middle East. Claiming that industry investments in new drilling technologies had vanquished the specter of oil scarcity, BP’s latest CEO, Bob Dudley, assured the world only a year ago that Big Oil was going places and the only thing that had “peaked” was “the theory of peak oil.”

That, of course, was just before oil prices took their leap off the cliff, bringing instantly into question the wisdom of continuing to pump out record levels of petroleum. The production-maximizing strategy crafted by O’Reilly and his fellow CEOs rested on three fundamental assumptions: that, year after year, demand would keep climbing; that such rising demand would ensure prices high enough to justify costly investments in unconventional oil; and that concern over climate change would in no significant way alter the equation. Today, none of these assumptions holds true.
energy  oil  economics 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
Anti-Greek media propaganda will come back to haunt Germany – A dire warning from 2011 | Real-World Economics Review Blog
“The Greeks are very well aware of the antagonistic articles in the German media. If the mood in the country turns, old claims for reparations could be raised, from other European nations as well. And if Germany ever had to honor them, we would all be taken to the cleaners. If we follow public opinion here with its cheap propaganda and not wanting to pay, then eventually the old bills will be presented again. (This is a very mild translation, the German version is: Wenn wir hier der Stimmungsmache folgen und den dicken Emil geben, der die Zigarre pafft und nicht zahlen will, …: My own translation: If we follow the cheap propaganda and play the bully puffing his cigar and not wanting to pay, …)”

It is ironic that this warning has been aired in a medium that has recently put itself at the top of those who are bashing the Greek government and its people, to the point of declaring them mentally insane
greece  germany  finance  economics 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
The Reckoning: An Analysis of Wellcome Trust Open Access Spend 2013-14 | Wellcome Trust Blog
The second key finding is that the average APC levied by hybrid journals is 64% higher than the average APC charged by a fully OA title. This higher average fee is despite the fact that hybrid journals also enjoy a revenue stream from subscriptions.
openaccess  economics  journals 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
Co-operating for gold open access without APCs | Eve | Insights
Consortial and co-operative modes of funding gold OA, however, do not come with these drawbacks but are susceptible to ‘free riders’. In this article, the theoretical backdrop to these models is addressed and the range of current offerings evaluated. Noting that classical economic incentives do not seem to operate in a world of inter-library loans,
openaccess  digitalhumanities  economics  dccomment 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
1600 milliards de dollars : le coût astronomique d'une décennie de guerre contre le terrorisme - Basta !
Depuis les attentats du 11 septembre 2001, les Etats-Unis ont dépensé au moins 1600 milliards de dollars dans la lutte contre le terrorisme, au Moyen-Orient, en Amérique du Nord et aussi en Afrique, a révélé un rapport du Congrès. Avec 350 000 personnes tuées, le coût humain de l’invasion de l’Afghanistan puis de l’Irak est aussi extrêmement élevé. Ces centaines de milliards de dollars ont principalement bénéficié à l’industrie de l’armement et aux sociétés militaires privées. Et pour quels résultats alors que le Moyen-Orient continue de sombrer dans la guerre, le terrorisme et la pauvreté ?
war  economics  iraq  afghanistan 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
Yanis Varoufakis: How I became an erratic Marxist | News | The Guardian
How could Marx be so deluded? Why did he not recognise that no truth about capitalism can ever spring out of any mathematical model, however brilliant the modeller may be? Did he not have the intellectual tools to realise that capitalist dynamics spring from the unquantifiable part of human labour; ie from a variable that can never be well-defined mathematically? Of course he did, since he forged these tools! No, the reason for his error is a little more sinister: just like the vulgar economists that he so brilliantly admonished (and who continue to dominate the departments of economics today), he coveted the power that mathematical “proof” afforded him.
marxism  economics  varoufakis  mathematics  agnotology 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
Greece Is Playing To Lose
Varoufakis rejected any extension of the troika program. This created an unnecessary new deadline of February 28 for the withdrawal of ECB funding and consequent collapse of the Greek banking system.

Greece’s idealistic new leaders seem to believe that they can overpower bureaucratic opposition without the usual compromises and obfuscations, simply by brandishing their democratic mandate. But the primacy of bureaucracy over democracy is a core principle that EU institutions will never compromise. The upshot is that Greece is back where it started in the poker contest with Germany and Europe. The new government has shown its best cards too early and has no credibility left if it wants to try bluffing.
greece  economics  varoufakis  dccomment 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
Paying the bills - Scholarly Communications @ Duke
questions the claim that a particular publisher must recoup $17,500 to make a single monograph OA. Martin’s concern is that the publisher in question may be “double-dipping” by demanding the full-cost of the publication as an up-front OA charge and selling print copies as well. It seems that the OA charge could be reduced by the amount earned through print or e-book sales, just as journal subscription costs ought to come down as author’s select “open choice” options. The fact that neither reduction is occurring, at least in a wide-spread way, is a sign that we need to ask much harder questions about the actual cost of production as we make this transition to supporting OA on the production side.
openaccess  economics 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
The Pentagon Budget Is Bigger Than It’s Ever Been | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community
The $534-billion base military budget — which doesn’t even include all that money Washington spends on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria — is bigger, adjusting for inflation, than it’s ever been... Any budget that exceeded caps set by Congress was supposed to trigger a round of automatic across-the-board reductions — cuts to everything. The Obama administration’s request for the Pentagon busts those limits by some $38 billion.
us  military  economics 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
An interview with Naked Capitalism’s Phil Pilkington on our book ‘Modern Political Economics’ – Part A | Yanis Varoufakis
The essence of the economists’ inherent error is that they erred into thinking it is possible to tell a credible story about how values and prices are formed in complex (multi-sector) economies that grow through time. For decades economistsstruggled to produce such a narrative. But all their best laid plans for piecing it together crashed on the shoals of indeterminacy. Put simply, their mathematical models could not be solved. At that point economists did one of two things: Either they accepted that it could not be done, or they introduced hidden (and sometimes not to hidden) assumptions that ‘closed’ their model at the expense of credulity (e.g. an assumption that the economy comprises a lone Robinson Crusoe-like figure, or a single commodity, or that all exchanges occurred in a timeless universe and at a flash of a fleeting moment). The former scholars were forgotten by history, as their papers never saw the light of day. The latter built up careers, sometimes radiant ones. Alas, their economics were riddled with only thinly disguised ‘tricks’ the purpose of which was to disguise economics’ ‘inherent error’.
economics  theory 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
An interview with Naked Capitalism’s Phil Pilkington on the state of economics (and our Modern Political Economics): Part B | Yanis Varoufakis
The moment you introduce creativity and a capacity to subvert the rules that supposedly govern our behaviour, the whole theoretical edifice collapses. To illustrate this further, take again theory T.

Suppose Jack and Jill are negotiating and both are rational enough to know T. So, Jill expects Jack to expect her to behave according to T. Because she is human (i.e. not an automaton) she has the ‘right’ to ask a ‘subversive’ question that no algorithm can ask: “What will Jack think if I behave in a manner that T has not predicted (something I can do since I know what T predicts)? Is there no significant probability that Jack will panic, thinking that I am irrational (since I have diverged from T), and choose to yield to some of my demands more readily?”

There is, I wish to argue, nothing irrational about this question. Which means that it is possible that Jill will rationally diverge from the bargaining behaviour that theory T prescribes as the uniquely rational behaviour of Jill.
economics  psychology  theory 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
The Emperor Has No Clothes : Review of three books on the state of economics | Yanis Varoufakis
Varoufakis, Halevi, and Theocaratis have blown neoclassical economics to bits. However, stating the obvious stupidities and shortcomings of neoclassical economics will do nothing to weaken its hold. Unless, that is, a significant number of students and economists ally themselves with working men and women: teaching them, writing for and with them, becoming one of them in their own workplaces.
economics 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
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