The economics behind the Goldman-Facebook deal and why the Facebook hype will fade http://rushkoff.com/2011/01/07/facebook-hype-will-fade/
Wie der amerikanische Steuerzahle Facebook subventioniert http://cot.ag/hrAgHa
Banks should Capitalize on Growing Number of Financial Transactions over Social Media Platforms http://cot.ag/eTYvHm
Farmville vs real farms http://www.idea.ideabing.com/2010/09/11/farmville-pitted-against-real-farms-no-winner-yet/
An economist is like an alchemist, but less messy. — More quotes by Terry Pratchett http://www.kasinomics.com/quotes/
The New York Times Blog features an interesting article about the different average heights between North- and South Koreans, and Europeans and Americans. The author Tara Parker-Pope writes about the relevance of height statistics for economic performance:
While the conditions for North Koreans are troubling, Americans have a similar height gap to worry about, and it also appears to be due to a lower standard of living, poor health care and inadequate nutrition. Last summer, the journal Social Science Quarterly reported that Americans are, quite literally, falling short of Europeans. In 1880, Americans were the tallest people in the world. But by 2000, American men, at an average height of 5-feet-10.5-inches, ranked 9th, and women, at about 5-feet-5-inches, fell to 15th. Several Northern European countries rank the highest in height, with the Dutch coming in first, at just over 6 feet for the men and 5-feet-7-inches for the women.
The height gap between Americans and Northern Europeans can’t be explained by an influx of short immigrants. Experts say the United States takes in too few immigrants to account for the disparity, and the height statistics cited in the article include only English-speaking native-born Americans, and don’t include people of Asian and Hispanic descent.
The real answer may be that Northern European countries do a better job of spreading the wealth and taking care of their children.
It would be interesting to run a simple regression on the prediction capability of average male height on GDP/capita. A short search on the internet only gave this small graph.
Why Karl Rove should call himself a libertarian is a mystery, given that the Bush Administration, which he served as a central adviser to, has greatly expanded, not reduced, the goverment impact on American citizens. In Art Diamonds Blog, another example is given for Mr. Rove’s hypocricy: Rove criticizes McCain for not having understood Schumpeter.
Schumpeter is, besides Smith and Mises, probably the most quoted economist among libertarians, even though few people have bothered to read his works. Libertarians, and Rove as well, often quote the notion of the destructive and innovative power of capitalism, bringing to the front new solutions and technologies. Schumpeter argues that innovation often comes from outside an established industry – and that should give readers a clue why Roves defense of the American Energy Policy is so mistaken.
Rove argues, blatantly with Schumpeters words, that the American Energy Companies should not be held responsible for investing in alternative energies because a) they know better than government b) they already invest in alternative energies c) the market produces the best energy mix incorporating both costs and possible profits.
Surely Schumpeter would have easily dismissed such a short-sighted argument. In modern terms, there are number of reasons why we would not necessarily expect the market to work perfectly. Oligopols reduce competition and allow excessive rent-seeking – something quite visible in most energy markets in the world. Regulatory capture prohibits internalizing potential risks and external costs into the decision-making process. Path dependence makes it difficult to switch a network technology from one alternative to the other.
None of these have to do with government interference – no, that’s not true. All of them have to do with government interference, but not necessarily with too much government interference.
Oligopolies in network technologies (energy, transport, communication) are difficult to break up, the European Union can sing plenty of songs about their efforts to break up the Energy-Quadropoly in Germany. Regulatory capture is particularly difficult if the administration, as under Karl Rove, is heavily tilted towards an industry and does not encourage regulators to intervene. Path dependence can only be reduced by subsidizing alternatives – heavily!
What the American Libertarians need to learn is that there is little hope for the market to magically bring about alternative energies. It needs an approach on several levels:
On the demand side, give incentives to consumers to use less energy, save energy or buy alternative energies. Government-supported renovation programs to make houses up-to-date with heat- and electricity-standards can help. Lower taxes on fuel-efficient cars are good incentives. These instruments do not prescribe a certain behaviour, but simply encourage another market framework.
On the supply-side, it helps to pay a higher reimbursement to providers of alternative energy, something which has been running successfully in Germany and has drastically increased the share from Wind- and Solar-Energy.
On the network-side, it is crucial to separate the various stages: from production to transport to distribution of energy. This can only be done by a tough regulatory agency.
It is difficult to acknowledge this, but libertarians who like the market, need to empower the goverment to create a market framework which works. This is in fact what Schumpeter was skeptic of, that a government could be too weak to harness the destructive force of the capitalism. Schumpeter actually argued that capitalism will eat itself because bureaucracies would be too weak.
Karl Rove seems to be unaware of that position of Schumpeter.