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swing, Card, Kindle, Krugman^n

* Bananas at Sahara Mart have jumped to 79 cents a pound, but apples are down to $1.99.
* Whee, swing dance! Finally I've learned some more lindy hop variations.

More news and links
* Civilians have too many rights and can't be forced into hardship positions, so reservists may be called up based on their civilian jobs to fill posts in Afghanistan.
* More on Card joining NOM, including his call to overthrow the government is Prop 8 didn't pass, and his attempt to actually argue how gay marriage would hurt his marriage. (Commendable in a way, since most opponent mumble incoherent at that point.)
* Cheap shots: Republicans less popular than Venezuela Or China. Or France.
* Chavez has problems, but Colombia is worse, yet not reported on as much.
* How the Kindle might transform reading books. Friends snarked that it read like a Thomas Friedman essay or some 1996 gush about the Web, but I'm not sure it's wrong.

Krugman, the Dismal Scientist
* Banks are reporting profit because the market value of their debt is going down -- because creditors think the bank is likely to fail.
* Bush admin torture sought to establish link between Iraq and 9/11, which of course was non-existent. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in a month. 6 times a day! And with 'real' waterboarding, e.g. water dumped into the nose and mouth, beyond what passed for safety guidelines. Petition for a special prosecutor.
* Since 1995, European productivity allegedly lagged that of the US. Half due to Wal-Mart, half due to financial services. Perhaps we'd like to reconsider. A comment adds that in-house software development is 'investment' in the US but 'expense' in Europe. Same activity, different accounting.
* Notes that conservative economist Greg Mankiw says we need inflation.
* Texas: rich or poor? -- posting for the links and numbers; he doesn't really make a case for median vs. average income, and cost of living would seem to matter, and be higher (at least in housing) than in NJ. OTOH, the numbers do mean that employers in NJ (or NYC) are willing to pay that much for the labor there, vs. what Texans can command.

Krugman columns, not blog posts
* False hope
* The Irish model
* Tea parties and the craziness of the GOP (And the tea party sponsors)
* If banking isn't boring, someone's stealing your money.
* America the tarnished (finance, not torture. That I have to say that...)
* Obama: hypnotized by capital markets


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2009 06:13 am (UTC)
The Krugman stuff is interesting. I hadn't heard of the idea of a carrying tax on money, but I think it makes a lot of sense. And I've been saying for a while that I don't see an easy way out of this mess without a fair amount of inflation.
Apr. 23rd, 2009 06:25 am (UTC)
I annoy Ai's friend when I do this, but I like thought experiments where I think of money as energy or food, not just fiat currency. Let's go with grain, quite possibly the oldest money. Well, post-agriculture, we'll ignore the hunter-gatherer carrying trade in ochre for the past 100,000 years. Anyway, so you can't really carry large amounts of grain around easily, and there's spoilage and such, so you get a central granary which gives you receipts and you trade those. Yay, from commodity money to representative money in one step! But wait, what's happening to the money supply?

Well, lots of complicated things, since on one end you eat it and on another end you grow it. Ideally that's probably near a steady state, though you've got bad years where the crops fail so people trade receipts for grain and live but the economy tanks. Well, live if the granary didn't try to do fractional reserve banking, which would be a *bad* idea in this case. But, back to normal times... some grain's going bad due to life and cosmic rays. And you've got to pay someone to inspect the walls and make sure rats aren't into it, and pay guards to guard it, and what are you going to pay them in? Grain, of course. So either there's a regular fee, or else they charge you a percentage of your deposits.

Though is that inflation or deflation? Money's going away, so seems like deflation, but the incentive is to convert wealth from grain (taxed) to other forms of wealth, and that's like inflation.

Of course, other forms of wealth may need their own guards and maintenance, so maybe you shrug and suck it up. I think the main point is to attack the notion of depositing wealth and voila, by the miracle of compound interest you get wealthier via no work whatsoever, though that's really more to the question of property and ownership.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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