UK Employment Probably Hasn’t Fallen You Know

Employment in the UK has fallen at its fastest rate in four years amid growing evidence that a slowing economy is taking its toll on the labour market.

Hmm, well, not so fast there.

From the ONS:

The number of people in employment declined by 58,000 to 32.75 million in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019.

Well, OK, but:

The number of part-time workers fell by 164,000 to 8.54 million in Quarter 3 2019, while the number of full-time workers increased by 106,000 to 24.21 million.

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The Importance Of Bananas In Socialism

The importance being that of course they don’t have any. Even Cuba, a tropical island fer cryin’ out loud, is not replete with the freely growing tropical fruit.

All of this was well known in Germany and was even used as a marker of the difference between the two ruling systems.

That such a basic commodity was a luxury good in East Germany tells you all you need to know about that system’s manifest failings.

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Vaclav Smil’s Growth – He Gets The Economics Wrong You Know

One of the joys of being a public intellectual (ahem) is that publishers send you freebie books. As the MIT Press has just done with Vaclav Smil’s “Growth” for which I thank them.

In which we find this:

“Although economists have a long history of ignoring energy, all economic activities are, in fundamental physical (thermodynamic) terms, simple or sequential energy conversions aimed at producing specific products or services.”

No, they’re not. And if you start off like this, as he does in his consideration of the economy, you’re not going to get to the right answer either.…

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Delhi’s Smog Pollution Is The Result Of Peasant Farming

There’s a solution to Delhi’s horrendous smog pollution and it’s not the one you are thinking of. Forget about all those attempts to ban cars, or diesel etc. Instead they should be throwing peasant farmers off their land.

Like tens of thousands of farmers in India’s northern states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, Satish, whose farm sits on the outskirts of the rural Haryana village of Gharaunda, had recently cleared his fields of old rice crop stubble to make way for wheat by setting it alight.

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Can you explain “behavioral economics” and “nudge approach” in a simple way?

An answer at Quora:

Simple way? People are weird. We can exploit that.

Slightly less simple way. Human psychology has some known twists in it. We’re really pretty good at working out the costs and benefits of something out to 15 to 20 years ahead. We’re not so good at 40 years out. This is known as “hyperbolic discounting”.

There’s good reason for it for us humans. Through the process of evolution very few adults then lived more than another 20 to 30 years.…

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The Latest, Greatest, Idea – Inflation Inequality

So, the idea is that we’re underestimating how many poor people there are because poor and rich face different inflation rates. Yet we use the common inflation rate – the CPI – to upgrade benefits and the poverty line. Clearly, this is about the US and nowhere else, given that everyone else uses a percentage of median income as the poverty line:

But just how much bigger the percentage of people living in poverty is becoming may have been underestimated by the official census, according to a new report by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University.

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Can We All Agree That George Zimmer Is An Ignorant, Know Nothing, Fool?

George Zimmer has done well in business. This does not seem to translate over into having the first clue about economics, inequality, or the tax system.

If Donald Trump really wants to make America great again, he’d do what our country did when it was at the height of its economic stability and equality: increase the top income tax rate to 90%.

Instead, what we have now is a tax system put into place for present-day robber barons – one that enables the interests of a small number of powerful industries to dominate national policy, for the benefit of only themselves and to the detriment of working people.

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The Trussell Trust Gets Causality Wrong With Food Banks

The truth of the matter is that it’s the invention of the Trussell Trust which has led to the rise in the use of food banks. Not, as the Trussell Trust claims, a rise in the need for aid to the poor, but the development of an efficient technology for providing aid to the poor.

Think on it for a moment. Before mobile phones did people desire to communicate with their friends? Sure they did as the existence of public phone boxes proves.…

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Oh Dear, When Physicists Do Economics

Another one of those lovely examples. When physicists decide to come and do economics. The argument here being that look, look, we can prove it! Without redistribution attempts a market economy will inevitably end up in gross oligarchic inequality. Because, you know, our mathematical model says so.

Hmm, well, yes. Except numbers without theory aren’t all that useful. And what’s going wrong here being that our physicists aren’t even interested in the theory. Sigh:

If you simulate this economy, a variant of the yard sale model, you will get a remarkable result: after a large number of transactions, one agent ends up as an “oligarch” holding practically all the wealth of the economy, and the other 999 end up with virtually nothing.

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To Explain Why Expansionary Austerity Works

The current mantra is that austerity never does work. That the very idea of expansionary austerity is simply wrong.

That is, we should never try to get out of recessionary times by cutting spending – it doesn’t work.

The problem with this is twofold. The original work by Alesina et al never did say what it is said it did. And further, we’ve examples of that expansionary austerity working.

Here from Alesina’s paper:

This paper summarizes the results of a large recent literature
on multi year Öscal plans for deÖcit reduction (austerity).

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