Economics @ ITT

What If Black America Were a Country?

Posted in economics by ittecon on October 14, 2014

If black America were a nation-state, how would it stack up against other countries? How would it fare on standard measures of national power and weakness?

via What If Black America Were a Country? – The Atlantic.

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Pay This Bench Money or It Will Poke You with Spikes

Posted in economics by ittecon on June 12, 2014

Conspicuous Consumption: A(nother) Cautionary Tale

Posted in economics, environment by ittecon on January 27, 2014

Unfettered capitalism is a road to extinction, and, sadly, not just a metaphor.

At first the frenetic pace of the killing didn’t matter: there were so many seals.  On one island alone, Amasa Delano estimated, there were “two to three millions of them” when New Englanders first arrived to make “a business of killing seals.”“If many of them were killed in a night,” wrote one observer, “they would not be missed in the morning.”  It did indeed seem as if you could kill every one in sight one day, then start afresh the next.  Within just a few years, though, Amasa and his fellow sealers had taken so many seal skins to China that Canton’s warehouses couldn’t hold them.  They began to pile up on the docks, rotting in the rain, and their market price crashed.

To make up the margin, sealers further accelerated the pace of the killing — until there was nothing left to kill.  In this way, oversupply and extinction went hand in hand.  In the process, cooperation among sealers gave way to bloody battles over thinning rookeries.  Previously, it only took a few weeks and a handful of men to fill a ship’s hold with skins.  As those rookeries began to disappear, however, more and more men were needed to find and kill the required number of seals and they were often left on desolate islands for two- or three-year stretches, living alone in miserable huts in dreary weather, wondering if their ships were ever going to return for them.

“On island after island, coast after coast,” one historian wrote, “the seals had been destroyed to the last available pup, on the supposition that if sealer Tom did not kill every seal in sight, sealer Dick or sealer Harry would not be so squeamish.”  By 1804, on the very island where Amasa estimated that there had been millions of seals, there were more sailors than prey.  Two years later, there were no seals at all.

via Noam Chomsky is right: It’s the so-called serious who devastate the planet and cause the wars – Salon.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.

Why Are American Health Care Costs So High?

Posted in economics, Policy Issues by ittecon on September 20, 2013

Well,

Crack Addicts Make Surprisingly Rational Decisions

Posted in economics by ittecon on September 18, 2013

And now for something completely different. File this under Economics of Crime or The Marketing of Poor Social Policy.

“There is a belief, for example, that crack cocaine is so addictive it only took one hit to get hooked, and that it is impossible to use heroin without becoming addicted,” he said. “There was another belief that methamphetamine users are cognitively impaired. All of these are myths that have have been perpetuated primarily by law enforcement, and law enforcement deals with a limited, select group of people—people who are, in many cases, behaving badly.”

Hart’s work to understand addiction and addicts tackles common misconceptions about several forms of drug addiction and addicts. He conducted similar studies around methamphetamine addicts in the past, as the Times article points out, and “found that when he raised the alternative reward to $20, every single addict, of meth and crack alike, chose the cash. They knew they wouldn’t receive it until the experiment ended weeks later, but they were still willing to pass up an immediate high.”

via Crack Addicts Make Surprisingly Rational Decisions, Fascinating Study Reveals | Alternet.

A Free (Rigged) Market is Good for Everyone Except 99% of Americans

Posted in economics by ittecon on September 16, 2013

A nice piece by Paul Buchheit.

Free-market libertarians go to outrageous exremes to convince themselves and others of the infallibility of the market. Even when opposing evidence smacks them in the face, they conjure up sound bites that seem vaguely convincing but are in reality meaningless. Here are some examples.

via A Free Rigged Market is Good for Everyone Except 99% of Americans.

Good Times at the Top

Posted in economics by ittecon on September 12, 2013

Of the gains made by the top 10 percent, almost none went to the 90-95 group; in fact, the great bulk went to the top 1 percent. The bulk of the gains of the top 1, in turn, went to the top 0.1; and the bulk of those gains went to the top 0.01.

via Good Times at the Top – NYTimes.com.

The Incredible Shrinking US Labour Force

Posted in economics by ittecon on September 6, 2013

Over the past three months, the U.S. economy has averaged 148,000 new jobs per month. That’s actually a slower pace than the previous six months. Yet the unemployment rate keeps dropping precipitously, reaching 7.3 percent in August — the lowest since December 2008. The reason? Between July and August, 312,000 people dropped out of the labor force. But because the official unemployment rate counts only those workers who are actively seeking work, the unemployment rate fell.

via Three reasons the U.S. labor force keeps shrinking.

Why We’ll Be Better Off if the Walmart Protests Fail

Posted in environment by ittecon on September 5, 2013

I am not generally a fan of ad hominem attacks, but this Vedder is quite the wanker is the epitome of what is wrong with economics today.

The American economy has shown anemic, sputtering growth for several years—largely because businesses, investors, and consumers have been angry and fearful of public policies constraining their ability to operate efficiently and profitably.

That, in part, why I’m hoping that Walmart workers’ national protest movement will be a monumental failure.

via Why We’ll Be Better Off if the Walmart Protests Fail – The Daily Beast.