Economics @ ITT

Pay This Bench Money or It Will Poke You with Spikes

Posted in economics by ittecon on June 12, 2014

Pay This Bench Money or It Will Poke You With Spikes | Geekosystem.

 

Capitalism gone wild.

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Paying with cash costs Americans $200 billion a year

Posted in economics by ittecon on October 11, 2013

I rarely use cash.

A new study by Tufts University, The Cost of Cash in the United States, puts that price tag at $200 billion a year for both American consumers and businesses. For the average American family, the cost of cash is about $1,739 a year.

via Paying with cash costs Americans $200 billion a year – TODAY.com.

We’re Addicted to Economic Growth and It Will Be the Death of Us

Posted in economics by ittecon on October 7, 2013

I think the American people right now have been so focused, and will continue to be focused on our economy and jobs and growth, that if the message is somehow were going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody is going to go for that. I wont go for that.

via Were Addicted to Economic Growth and It Will Be the Death of Us | Alternet.

Beats by Dre: More Disproof of a Rational Actors

Posted in economics by ittecon on September 13, 2013

In 2008, Monster, a tech company known for overpriced cables and zealous litigation against Rhode Island mini-golf courses, teamed up with Dr. Dre, the legendary hip-hop artist and producer who helped bring Snoop, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar to the masses. Just five years later you can look around any playground, subway train, or suburban mall to see the result, and it starts with a lower-case b: Beats by Dre headphones have locked down the market.

via Beats by Dre market share: How the headphones company conquered the market. – Slate Magazine.

Big Unemployment, the New Normal?

Posted in economics, employment, macroeconomics, Policy Issues, Regulation, Taxation by ittecon on July 9, 2013

I tried to respond to a post by Don Peppers responding to this article, but LinkedIn limits the character count. I quote Don’s post here for context.

It’s common knowledge that LESS government, LESS regulation, and LOWER marginal tax rates will all improve employment. Unfortunately, the politics of envy is irresistible to some, and there are very few politicians on either side of the aisle who will vote for less of anything related to the government.

It may be common knowledge that less of these things might increase employment, but this favours a local maxima at the expense of a global maxima. It is the typical short-term benefit with a long-term detriment. Still, this argument and its subarguments are specious. I won’t even give any more attention to the dubious official unemployment figure definition and methodology.

Less government is a vague term. What government? Fewer dog-catchers? Interesting how, ad reductio, this becomes an argument for anarchy.

As for regulations, business favours regulations that shield it from the public and markets; intellectual property “rights” come to the top of my mind. Government (or a quasi-government acting entity) are necessary so as not to devolve into a situation where warlords rule. Afghanistan comes to mind. I could imagine a football match with no rules or regulations. Even rugby and UFC have rules, as do wars.

In economic terms, the lower marginal taxes argument is patently false (without even delving into marginal verse effective territory). Laffer’s concept is not false in and of itself, but it fails on two accounts. First, we can agree that at some point lowering marginal tax rates will create positive incentives, but it doesn’t follow this is true at all levels. Empirically, we can easily determine that we are below that point. On a practical level, this not only means that a reduction with not have positive effects; there will be negative effects. Second, the primary driver to hiring is demand for products or services (or at least the prospect thereof). A marginal tax rate of zero has no impact if no one is purchasing what I am offering.

Should one person always stay at home? An economist considers

Posted in economics by ittecon on June 3, 2013

For an economist, the central question is not whether this creates a good role model for your children or upsets the power dynamic in the relationship; rather, it is simply whether this arrangement is more efficient. In fact, as the Atlantic story notes, economists have considered this question and basically argued that, yes, specialization in the household is efficient.

via Should one person always stay at home? An economist considers. – Slate Magazine.

Corporate Hunger for Profits Has Devastated American Life—and the World

Posted in economics, environment, externalities, International Economics by ittecon on May 20, 2013

The damage caused by the relentless corporate drive for profits has become more clear in recent years. In the most important areas of American life, devastating changes have occurred:

Health Care: Almost half of the working-age adults in America passed up doctor visits or other medical services because they couldn’t afford to pay. The system hasn’t supported kids, either.

via The 4 Big Ways That Insatiable Corporate Hunger for Profits Has Devastated American Life — and the World Along with It | Alternet.

What If We Never Run Out of Oil?

Posted in economics, environment by ittecon on May 6, 2013

[B]urning [methane hydrate] produces carbon dioxide. Researchers view it as a temporary “bridge fuel,” something that can power nations while they make the transition away from oil and coal. But if societies do not take advantage of that bridge to enact anti-carbon policies, says Michael Levi, the director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations, natural gas could be “a bridge from the coal-fired past to the coal-fired future.”

via What If We Never Run Out of Oil? | Mother Jones.

Should smokers pay more for health insurance?

Posted in economics, environment, externalities, Policy Issues by ittecon on March 29, 2013

The answer, should you want to know, is an unqualified yes.

Like lots of people who enjoy their vices, smokers like to invoke their constitutional right to light up. I don’t dispute that. So feel free to get lung cancer, American freedom fighter, but don’t forget that the rest of us are sucking up your second-hand smoke and helping foot your considerably heftier medical bills.

via Should smokers pay more for health insurance? – latimes.com.

The Future of Shopping?

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 27, 2013

I am keeping my eyes open to technology that is facilitating (though not perfecting) information symmetry.

As Amy enters Danella, a sales associate greets her by name and walks her to a dressing room stocked with her online selections—plus some matching shoes and a cocktail dress. She likes the shoes, so she scans the bar code into her smartphone and finds the same pair for $30 less at another store. The sales associate quickly offers to match the price, and encourages Amy to try on the dress. It is daring and expensive, so Amy sends a video to three stylish friends, asking for their opinion. The responses come quickly: three thumbs down. She collects the items she wants, scans an internet site for coupons (saving an additional $73), and checks out with her smartphone.

via The Future of Shopping – Harvard Business Review.