thegraywolff

A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Tag: economics

Read : 2020-03-05

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. How political ideas keep economic inequality going” by Christina Pazzanese (The Harvard Gazette, 2020-03-03). “We’ve been accustomed for several decades to treaties without any explicit fiscal or social policy. This has to change.”
  2. Buffet lost $90 billion by not following his own advice” by Lance Roberts (Seeking Alpha, 2020-03-04). Sensational title.

Read : 2020-01-10

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. China’s industrial policy has worked better than critics think” (The Economist, 2020-01-02).
  2. Continents of the underworld come into focus” by Joshua Sokol (Quanta Magazine, 2020-01-07).
  3. What made the moon? New ideas try to rescue a troubled theory” by Rebecca Boyle (Quanta Magazine, 2017-08-02).
  4. Black Britons know why Meghan Markle wants out” by Afua Hirsch (NY Times, 2020-01-09).
  5. The workplace of 2050, according to experts” by Michelle Ma (Wall Street Journal, 2020-01-08).

Read : 2020-01-09

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The economy is expanding. Why are economists so glum?” by Jim Tankersley & Jeanna Smialek (NY Times, 2020-01-08). Economics is called “the dismal science” for a reason…
  2. Major TikTok security flaws found” by Ronen Bergman, Sheera Frenkel, & Raymond Zhong (NY Times, 2020-01-08). Israel-based cybersecurity firm Check Point uncovered vulnerabilities “core to TikTok’s systems” that could allow hackers to “take control of their accounts” and “retrieve personal information from TikTok user accounts”. TikTok claims to have fixed these vulnerabilities as of 2019-12-15. The article does not make clear to what extent similar vulnerabilities are found in other apps.
  3. PBS’s sexy ‘Sanditon’ finishes what Jane Austen started” by Roslyn Sulcas (NY Times, 2020-01-08).
  4. Before the ‘final solution’ there was a ‘test killing’” by Kenny Fries (NY Times, 2020-01-08). A reminder of the Nazi’s mass killing of 70,000 disabled people in Aktion T4, and of 230,000 disabled people after. The “test killing” was followed by the systematic extermination of millions of “undesirables” in the Holocaust. Beware dehumanizing language and behavior.
  5. The World War II ‘wonder drug’ that never left Japan” by Peter Andreas (Zocalo, 2020-01-08). On the origins and outbreak of amphetamines.
  6. I tried ‘kakeibo’ — the Japanese art of saving money — and it completely changed how I spend my money” by Sarah Harvey (CNBC, 2020-01-08). Mindfulness in money and life.
  7. The danger of absolute thinking is absolutely clear” by Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi (Aeon, 2018-05-02).

Read : 2019-09-13

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. No, your kid shouldn’t get a gold star for reading“, by Pamela Paul (NY Times, 2019-08-30). The author argues that the role of parents is to nurture in their children internal motivation for reading. She does not discuss that external motivation can provide scaffolding within which internal motivation can be built.
  2. Everything we know about exercise and depression“, by Brad Stulberg (Outside, 2019-09-11).
  3. When silent films were a force for world peace“, by Ryan Jay Friedman (Zócalo, 2019-09-11).
  4. Improving our relationship with failure“, by Steve Magness (The Passion Paradox, 2019-09-11). Our notion of success and failure is shaped by our expectations, comparisons, and goals. Coach Magness advocates setting process-oriented goals in addition to outcome-oriented ones.
  5. Special briefing: Can Trump reverse a global recession“, by OZY editors (OZY, 2019-08-16).
  6. ECB launches major stimulus package, cuts key rate“, by Tom Fairless (Wall Street Journal, 2019-09-12).

Read : 2019-08-25

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. What companies are for” (The Economist, 2019-08-22). The article raises relevant issues — businesses may not be best suited to addressing and solving all social problems, what is a social goal is not always obvious, the trade-off between stabilizing the status quo and upsetting it — but, in my opinion, misses the mark in analyzing each. If business is not well suited to addressing social problems, and government is gridlocked, what is the answer? (E.g., strengthening local governments at the expense of national ones, ceding more control to individuals and communities rather than to federal entities, etc.) If businesses ought not to pursue certain social goals for lack of information or conflict of interests, could this lack or conflict be addressed? (Let’s be real: Firms already pursue certain social goals behind the scenes, by dint of the products they produce or the lobbying they fund.) Why would corporate activism endanger dynamism? Because of “sheltering” by government? If we as society demand no such sheltering be allowed, would that solve the problem? It seems the bigger danger of corporate activism is it gives an outsize influence (in terms of power and money) to majority interests: Businesses may adopt majority values and goals in the interest of future business. Is majority rule always the best way to solve social problems? (I can think of several examples that suggest, if not prove, the answer to this question is “No”.)
  2. How life became an endless, terrible competition“, by Daniel Markovits (The Atlantic, 2019-09).
  3. Blame economists for the mess we’re in“, by Binyamin Appelbaum (NY Times, 2019-08-25). Appelbaum offers a scapegoat and sacrificial lamb for society’s current problems: Economists.
  4. AI reveals how ‘Old town road’ became the biggest song ever“, by Courtney Linder (Popular Mechanics, 2019-08-15).
  5. In the ultimate power move, Taylor Swift will rerecord — and own — her old albums“, by Michelle Ruiz (Vogue, 2019-08-22). Concerns over the journalist’s highlighting of power aside (I guess all issues come down to a power struggle, in the end, but is it human destiny to continue them, find better ways of resolving them, or something else?), doesn’t it make sense that artists should own their work? Kudos to T-Swift for pursuing what she believes in.

Read : 2019-07-19

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. House approves bill that would more than double minimum wage to $15“, by Jesse Naranjo (Wall Street Journal, 2019-07-18). Two aspects of this bill smack one rudely in the face. (1) “more than double” : Has the cost of living more than doubled these past few months? more generously, this past year? or even this past decade? If the answer is no, then this push by politicians amounts to them admitting that workers have been struggling with inadequate wages for years, i.e. politicians haven’t been doing the very job they now broadcast is important and suddenly want attention and accolades for doing. Should politicians pat themselves on the back for addressing a serious, real-life problem decades late? (2) “Senate unlikely to vote on it” : If (1) doesn’t convince you this bill is political theater, perhaps this quote will. Should politicians pat themselves on the back for pretending to address a serious, real-life problem (decades late)? Related : See the CBO’s July 2019 report on the minimum wage.
  2. Quantum supremacy is coming: here’s what you should know“, by Kevin Hartnett (Quanta Magazine, 2019-07-18).
  3. Tired of procrastinating? To overcome it, take the time to understand it“, by Daryl Chen (TED, 2019-07-15).
  4. What is the difference between IT security and cybersecurity“, by James Stanger (CompTIA, 2019-07-17).
  5. The economist who connected across politics“, by Liz Mineo (Harvard Gazette, 2019-06-13).

Read : 2019-07-15

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Two economists fuel Democratic debate over how far left to go“, by Jacob M. Schlesinger (Wall Street Journal, 2019-07-14).
  2. Making sense of Djokovic and Federer’s brilliant madness“, by Jason Gay (Wall Street Journal, 2019-07-14). This comment rings true: “[T]hese are the golden days”. They will not be with us forever. Carpe diem. And praise to the athletes from whom these blessings flow, for laying their talents and decades of hard work on the alter of the fickle tennis gods, for the rest of us to marvel at and enjoy.

Read : 2019-06-20

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The monopolies of the future will be Chinese — and state-owned“, by Ben Halder (OZY, 2019-06-17). My take-aways: China is home to several State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). These SOEs are large and growing larger fast. (Then again, China is large, so are we surprised that eventually Chinese companies will outnumber American ones in the Fortune 500?) The article alleges that SOEs “benefit from favorable legislation and regulation” — not surprising, given the ownership, but examples would be nice.
  2. The Trilemma“, by Marina N. Bolotnikova (Harard Magazine, 2019-07/08). A long, well written survey of economist Dani Rodrik’s work.
  3. Zip code vs. genetic code“, by Erin O’Donnell (Harvard Magazine, 2019-07/08). A short case study of how to mine data.
  4. Facebook unveils cryptocurrency libra in bid to reshape finance“, by Jeff Horwitz & Parmy Olson (Wall Street Journal, 2019-06-18).
  5. Libra coin? What you need to know about Facebook’s answer to bitcoin“, by Parmy Olson (Wall Street Journal, 2019-06-18). A concise FAQ for Facebook’s libra. At least, what (little) is now known.
  6. The speed freak who transformed running“, by Katie Arnold (NY Times, 2019-06-14). A book review of “Running to the edge”, by NY Times deputy sports manager Matthew Futterman. Love the quote: “They are chasing victory, but also the primal idea of doing what the body was meant to do, doing it beautifully and to its fullest extent, which are really the same thing.”
  7. Why Americans are so skeptical of impeachment“, by James C. Cobb (Zocalo, 2019-06-19). Blame Andrew Johnson, and the convenience of viewing everything in politics as being primarily politically motivated.
  8. U.N. investigator calls for probe of Saudi officials in Khashoggi killing“, by Carol Morello & Kareem Fahim (Washington Post, 2019-06-19). Call of the obvious, or, when politics trumps humanity.

Read : 2019-06-01

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. We already know blockchain’s killer apps“, by Haseeb Qureshi (Hacker Noon, 2017-10-31). Long article, worth reading. Rejecting Vitalik Buterin’s dismissal of “killer apps” for blockchain (that is, use cases for which blockchain technology is vastly superior to existing alternative technologies), Qureshi (a fascinating fellow — see his auto-biographical page) discusses four uses he feels qualify as blockchain’s “killer apps”: (1) anonymous payments, (2) digital gold, (3) very large and very small payments, and (4) tokenization.
  2. Is the future of the economy a doughnut?“, by Matthew Green (OZY, 2018-09-20). Green spends a lot of time ‘doring the doughnut (donut?) depiction. It’s just a mnemonic, dude. Questions: Is “doughnut economics” a novel theoretical framework, or a new application of existing theory, e.g., reassessing utility and payoffs, more heavily weighting the long-term, etc.? In this theoretical framework, is pursuit of sustainability robust to short-term defection (in a game-theoretic sense), by individuals and by countries?
  3. Let’s hear it for the average child“, by Margaret Renkl (NY Times, 2019-05-31). A paean to specialization and an affirmation of blowing off traditional education and values. Catch : Most of the virtues extolled don’t put food on the table, at least directly, in a pure market economy.

Read : 2019-05-30

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. What to do if you’re lost in the woods“, by Beth Skwarecki (Life Hacker, 2019-05-28).
  2. The Splinternet is growing“, by Jeff John Roberts (Fortune, 2019-05-28).
  3. 30 years after Tiananmen, a Chinese military insider warns: Never forget“, by Chris Buckley (NY Times, 2019-05-28).
  4. Gore decries attacks on facts, science, reason“, by Alvin Powell (Harvard Gazette, 2019-05-29). Harvard Class Day speaker Al Gore opines the challenges (American and international) today are more daunting than those 50 years ago, but holds out hope.
  5. Remember the ‘10,000 hours’ rule for success? Forget about it“, by Jim Holt (NY Times, 2019-05-28).
  6. Prisoner’s dilemma shows exploitation is a basic property of human society“, by Emerging Technology from the arXiv (Technology Review, 2019-05-30). The new insight — — is intriguing. But the article errs on several points. (1) In a one-off game of the prisoner’s dilemma, the best strategy is to defect and snitch because it’s a best response, not because it guarantees avoiding the worst outcome. (This latter idea is close to the notion of what some economists call a “prudent strategy”.) (2) Iterated prisoner’s dilemma shows how cooperative behavior might have evolved. Not sure why the authors wrote “must”. Maybe they know something about evolutionary history I don’t. (3) Why do the authors claim that game theorists “had long assumed that a symmetric outcome was inevitable”? I seem to recall a so-called folk theory that, for the infinitely repeated game with common discount factors, guaranteed any discounted payoff vector whose components were all greater than or equal to the corresponding player’s max-min payoff. SUMMARY : To assess whether this finding is truly new, or more an application of known results to a different real-life setting (namely, exploitation), I’d have to read the arXiv paper.
  7. Stephen Curry changed the game by changing every game“, by Ben Cohen (Wall Street Journal, 2019-05-29). Steph is a presence — threat? — that is felt even when he doesn’t hold the ball. Much of the article relies on the plus/minus rating. November 2008 Loyola v Davidson, presented at the end, is an extreme example, and portrays Curry in a incandescent team-first light.
  8. An athlete’s guide to aging gracefully“, by Brad Stulberg (Outside Online, 2019-05-26). Key points : Realize one pursuit is part, not all of who you are ; Look around ; Apply your expertise in one area to others (or in other ways) ; Engage with community.
  9. How our totally average runner broke the sub-five-minute mile“, by Charles Bethea (Outside Online, 2017-03-21). Miler Nick Willis, and his Miler Method boot camp, make an appearance. As do 23,000 high schoolers. Twice.
  10. Magness & Marcus on Coaching“, by Steve Magness (Apple Podcasts).
  11. The cool down: what’s the point“, by Steve Magness (Science of Running, 2019-05-28). Viewing the cool down as promoting the transition from stress to rest. Possible flavours : social, relaxed, long.