Monday, August 13, 2018

Not Only the EU but the USA Should have More than One Currency

I quote Arnold Kling about a quote of Paul  Krugman

The quote:
fiat currencies have underlying value because men with guns say they do.
Don’t peek at the answer, which is below the fold.
Hint 1: You may have read the essay by following a link from Marginal Revolution (but I came across the essay earlier from a different link).
Hint 2: I find much to agree with in the essay.

The writer is not otherwise known for libertarian dog-whistling.

Before I looked I guessed an MMTer like Simon Wren-Lewis.

But I agree with Paul Krugman that this is not a problem. On the other hand I think competitive private currencies (also) would be more stable. The problem that I see is people in developed countries  trust Government currency to much and so horde it in a down turn exacerbating the problem, making it so when one bank fails rather than strengthening competing banks it weakens them.

I also think the USA and the EU are too big to each have a single currency. That is because mismanagement by a single central bank, like in 2008 can significantly, hurt the world economy too much. The USA could have 4 or five regional banks and currencies.

Florida Number One in School Measure

Is Florida number one in education? I don't think that there are significant differences between states in education quality, but this is fun for us who live in Florida.
Nevertheless go Florida! We're number one.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Do Workers Get The Same Slice of the Pie They Always Have

I think I saw this same argument from Dean Baker who is considered more left but who I consider willing to look honestly at the data but I cannot find the Baker post.
Her is Scott Winship on the same: 

Workers Get The Same Slice of the Pie As They Always Have

Of the issues Scott mentions I think Dean mostly talked about this: 
Use net GDP to compute productivity rather than GDP, so that income taking the form of depreciation--which does not go to workers or owners but will simply affect future productivity--is excluded from productivity, and

 According to both of them, growth in inequality is mostly about wages. That is CEO's and people like LeBron James, plus on the lower end of the top 20% computer technicians and MD's pulling away from the lower 80% of earners.

I found the Dean Baker post here. The title is: The Struggle to Explain Things That Didn't Happen: The Non-Existent Shift Away from Wages

Also see  6839117979693056

Friday, May 25, 2018

Bryan Caplan's Case Against Education and Effective Altruism

Bryan Caplan was interviewed by Rob Wiblin of Effective Altruism and they got me thinking about how much schooling the charities we support try to provide.

I think we should push for breath over depth.

1 year of schooling for all before we go to 2 years for some.
2 year of schooling for all before we go to 3 years for some.
3 year of schooling for all before we go to 4 years for some.

And the some beyond 4 years should be small, maybe only the 10% should continue beyond the 3rd grade.

Perhaps cut that in half after 12 years and only 5% go to University.

Then perhaps half of those go on to graduate school because these are the students who could greatly help push science and technology forward. 

Schools in the first 3 years should focus on reading, writing, arithmetic, basic algebra, basic general science and skills that are useful in life and in demand in their country. For us being outsiders knowing what skills are in demand is difficult. If the demand is for basic manufacturing workers teach those skills that would help with that, if agriculture focus or tourism focus on those skills, trading skills might be important (that is how not to be scammed).  but we should not assume that we know. Of course that brings up a point maybe the best thing is to give them cash and make some education available at a low price and let them buy what they see as valuable.

The problem people point out with having students stop going to school so early, is the late bloomers. You would miss out on maximising the production by missing the late bloomers.

I am one of those who would have been left behind  because I am to this day very bad at spelling grammar, I was barely advanced even here were we push everyone to higher (I failed 1st grade twice and 2nd grade once).

But that might not be so bad because, that is where the great auto-mechanics, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs come from.

Some random related data points that support my idea:

  • Even with the system that we have, the most impressive artist I have know was an electrician.
  • My son's boss is a plumber who just graduated high school, he started a business and is a millionaire at about 30 years old.
  • My grandparents went to school for just 1 year and ran a successful barber shop, speculated in real-estate were not ignorant and sent there son to Brown University.
  •  Immigrants are often ill suited for running service businesses but are forced into it and make a lot of money.
  • School completion in not important for  entrepreneurs.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

On Government Charity Nothing Happens until and if the Bond Market Turns on US T-Bills.

The Niskanen center has has a post: The Free-Market Welfare State: Preserving dynamism in a volatile world

 My comments:

Seems to me that in the USA we spend more than enough money on what I call Government charity, but that we spend it very inefficiently. For example if we changed Social Security to be like the government part the Australian pension system, where everyone over some age gets the same amount of money we could use the savings to help the non-old low income people. Maybe greatly increase the EITC. Also ideally Medicare would pay out less to providers.

But for now any politician who proposes such will be destroyed by the AARP.

We also waste a lot of money on administration in schooling with little evidence that it helps educate better. (And of course our Defence spending is ridiculously high but that is not Government charity.)

Cut all those and we might be able to do a UBI and good healthcare scheme.

But the political reality is nothing happens until and if the bond market turns on US treasury bills.

Monday, April 9, 2018


Here is Arnold Kling on what he calls Legamorons which are laws not meant to be enforced.

many laws are the legal equivalent of oxymorons – legamorons, if you will. A legamoron is any law that could not stand up under widespread enforcement. Laws against marijuana use are a prime example. Rigorous enforcement of these laws on middle-class college campuses would cause a furor.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Medical Treatment of King Charles

Swiped from here.

On February 2, 1685, England’s King Charles II was struck by a sudden illness. Fortunately his physicians were the best of the best. To reassure the public they were kept abreast of the King’s treatment regimen. King Charles was made to swallow a toxic metal; had blistering agents applied to his scalp; had pigeon droppings attached to his feet; was prodded with a red-hot poker; given forty drops of ooze from “the skull of a man that was never buried”; and, finally, had crushed stones from the intestines of an East Indian goat forced down his throat. Sadly, despite these heroic efforts, he passed away the following week.
Why did the doctors go this far?
Prof Robin Hanson – Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University – suspects that on top of any medical beliefs the doctors had a hidden motive: it needed to be clear, to the King and the public, that the physicians cared enormously about saving His Royal Majesty. Only extreme measures could make it undeniable that they had done everything they could.
If you believe Hanson, the same desire to prove we care about our family and friends explains much of what’s perverse about our medical system today.
And not only what’s perverse about medicine – Robin thinks we’re mostly kidding ourselves when we say our charities exist to help others, our schools exist to educate students, and our political expression is about choosing wise policies.