jm + economics   24

Dark forces, Brexit and Irexit
The EU have made it clear, as they have to, that there will be no frictionless borders between the union and the UK. Brexit will be dislocative.  As smaller irish companies start to go to the wall post Brexit expect the calls for “something to be done” to start to include Irexit [an Irish exit from the EU a la Brexit]. But this way madness lies. [...]

we export more in education services than in beverages ; we exportthree times or more manufactured goods than food; we export six times more in chemicals and related; value added by industry or by distribution and transport is more than 10 times that of agriculture. Seeking Irexit on the basis that it would be good for agribusiness is seeking to amputate a hand for a broken finger.
agribusiness  ireland  irexit  brexit  economics  eu  politics 
11 weeks ago by jm
ECB forcing Ireland to pay the bondholders was like a hostage situation | David McWilliams
At the time, many of us citizens thought the State was being craven in the face of the EU but it is now clear that Trichet’s ECB was prepared to let the Irish banks go to the wall, prompting a new bank run in 2010. This is like a hostage situation. The ECB was saying to the Irish government: you managed in September 2008 to prevent a bank run with the guarantee (which should always have been temporary and conditional) but now we are going to threaten you with another bank run – because we are still funding your banks and you must pay all the bondholders and add the cost to the national debt of the country. So the implicit threat was: “We will close the banks, cause a bank run and you will be left to pick up the pieces politically, socially and economically.”
banking  ireland  politics  ecb  eu  bondholders  jean-claude-trichet  economics 
january 2016 by jm
Tim O'Reilly vs Paul Graham: fight!
'In his essay on Income Inequality, Paul Graham credited me for pre-publication feedback. Because he didn’t do much with my comments, I thought I’d publish them here.'

... 'Mostly, I think you are picking a fight with people who would mostly agree with you, and ignoring the real arguments about what inequality means and why it matters.'
inequality  silicon-valley  tech  paul-graham  tim-oreilly  piketty  politics  economics  wealth  startups  history  work  stock-options 
january 2016 by jm
New study shows Spain’s “Google tax” has been a disaster for publishers
A study commissioned by Spanish publishers has found that a new intellectual property law passed in Spain last year, which charges news aggregators like Google for showing snippets and linking to news stories, has done substantial damage to the Spanish news industry.

In the short-term, the study found, the law will cost publishers €10 million, or about $10.9 million, which would fall disproportionately on smaller publishers. Consumers would experience a smaller variety of content, and the law "impedes the ability of innovation to enter the market." The study concludes that there's no "theoretical or empirical justification" for the fee.
google  news  publishing  google-tax  spain  law  aggregation  snippets  economics 
august 2015 by jm
Angela Merkel told a sobbing girl she couldn't save her from deportation. It was a lie. - Vox
Argentina has, as a matter of constitutional law, effectively open borders. There are no caps or quotas or lottery systems. You can move there legally if you have an employer or family member to sponsor you. That's all you need. If you don't have a sponsor, and make your way in illegally, you're recognized as an "irregular migrant." Discrimination against irregular migrants in health care or education is illegal, and deportation in noncriminal cases is exceptionally rare. Large-scale amnesties are the norm.

Obviously Argentina is not nearly as rich as Germany or the US or the UK. But it's considerably richer than three of its neighbors (Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil). And yet it doesn't try hard to keep their residents out. It welcomes them — as it should. "One could have expected catastrophe—an uncontrollable flow of poorer immigrants streaming into the country coupled with angry public backlash," Elizabeth Slater writes in the World Policy Journal. "That hasn't happened."

Angela Merkel clearly expects catastrophe if she lets people like this weeping young Palestinian girl stay in Germany. That catastrophe is simply a myth; it wouldn't happen. What would happen is that Germany's economy would grow, its culture would grow richer, and that girl and more like her could see their lives improve immeasurably.
argentina  immigration  angela-merkel  germany  eu  migrants  deportation  economics 
july 2015 by jm
'Can People Distinguish Pâté from Dog Food?'
Ugh.

Considering the similarity of its ingredients, canned dog food could be a suitable and
inexpensive substitute for pâté or processed blended meat products such as Spam or
liverwurst. However, the social stigma associated with the human consumption of pet
food makes an unbiased comparison challenging. To prevent bias, Newman's Own dog
food was prepared with a food processor to have the texture and appearance of a liver
mousse. In a double-blind test, subjects were presented with five unlabeled blended meat
products, one of which was the prepared dog food. After ranking the samples on the basis
of taste, subjects were challenged to identify which of the five was dog food. Although
72% of subjects ranked the dog food as the worst of the five samples in terms of taste
(Newell and MacFarlane multiple comparison, P<0.05), subjects were not better than
random at correctly identifying the dog food.
pate  food  omgwtf  science  research  dog-food  meat  economics  taste  flavour 
may 2015 by jm
How Paul Graham Is Wrong
If 95% of great programmers aren’t in the US, and an even higher percentage not in the Bay Area, set up your company to take advantage of that fact as a strength, not a weakness. Use WordPress and P2, use Slack, use G+ Hangouts, use Skype, use any of the amazing technology that allows us to collaborate as effectively online as previous generations of company did offline. Let people live someplace remarkable instead of paying $2,800 a month for a mediocre one bedroom rental in San Francisco. Or don’t, and let companies like Automattic and Github hire the best and brightest and let them live and work wherever they like.
business  remote-work  economics  silicon-valley  bay-area  vcs  matt-mullenweg  automattic  work 
december 2014 by jm
Inside a Chinese Bitcoin Mine
The mining operation resides on an old, repurposed factory floor, and contains 2500 machines hashing away at 230 Gh/s, each. (That’s 230 billion calculations per second, per unit). [...] The operators told me that the power bill of this specific operation is in excess of ¥400,000 per month [..] about $60,000 USD.
currency  china  economics  bitcoin  power  environment  green  mining  datacenters 
august 2014 by jm
Alex Payne — Bitcoin, Magical Thinking, and Political Ideology
Working in technology has an element of pioneering, and with new frontiers come those would prefer to leave civilization behind. But in a time of growing inequality, we need technology that preserves and renews the civilization we already have. The first step in this direction is for technologists to engage with the experiences and struggles of those outside their industry and community. There’s a big, wide, increasingly poor world out there, and it doesn’t need 99% of what Silicon Valley is selling.

I’ve enjoyed the thought experiment of Bitcoin as much as the next nerd, but it’s time to dispense with the opportunism and adolescent fantasies of a crypto-powered stateless future and return to the work of building technology and social services that meaningfully and accountably improve our collective quality of life.
bitcoin  business  economics  silicon-valley  tech  alex-payne  writing  libertarianism  futurism  crypto  civilization  frontier  community 
december 2013 by jm
Bitcoin Mining Operating Margin
"The graph showing miners' revenue minus estimated electricity and bandwidth costs." -- down to -694% right now, oh dear
bitcoin  via:peakscale  economics  mining  profit  revenue  charts  electricity  bubble 
october 2013 by jm
Being poor changes your thinking about everything
Very interesting research into poverty and scarcity, in the Washington Post:
The scarcity trap captures this notion we see again and again in many domains. When people have very little, they undertake behaviors that maintain or reinforce their future disadvantage. If you have very little, you often behave in such a way so that you'll have little in the future. In economics, people talk about the poverty trap. We're generalizing that, saying this happens a lot, and we've experienced it.
poor  poverty  society  economics  scarcity  washington-post 
september 2013 by jm
High home ownership can seriously damage labor market, new study suggests
Interesting -- a healthy rental market is needed to allow sufficient labour mobility. This matches what I heard and saw from friends and coworkers in the US, anecdotally
science  home-ownership  rental  homes  usa  economics 
may 2013 by jm
The Why
How the Irish media are partly to blame for the catastrophic property bubble, from a paper entitled _The Role Of The Media In Propping Up Ireland’s Housing Bubble_, by Dr Julien Mercille, in the _Social Europe Journal_:
“The overall argument is that the Irish media are part and parcel of the political and corporate establishment, and as such the news they convey tend to reflect those sectors’ interests and views. In particular, the Celtic Tiger years involved the financialisation of the economy and a large property bubble, all of it wrapped in an implicit neoliberal ideology. The media, embedded within this particular political economy and itself a constitutive element of it, thus mostly presented stories sustaining it. In particular, news organisations acquired direct stakes in an inflated real estate market by purchasing property websites and receiving vital advertising revenue from the real estate sector. Moreover, a number of their board members were current or former high officials in the finance industry and government, including banks deeply involved in the bubble’s expansion."
economics  irish-times  ireland  newspapers  media  elite  insiders  bubble  property-bubble  property  celtic-tiger  papers  news  bias 
april 2013 by jm
The Excel Depression - NYTimes.com
Krugman on the Reinhart-Rogoff Excel-bug fiasco.
What the Reinhart-Rogoff affair shows is the extent to which austerity has been sold on false pretenses. For three years, the turn to austerity has been presented not as a choice but as a necessity. Economic research, austerity advocates insisted, showed that terrible things happen once debt exceeds 90 percent of G.D.P. But “economic research” showed no such thing; a couple of economists made that assertion, while many others disagreed. Policy makers abandoned the unemployed and turned to austerity because they wanted to, not because they had to. So will toppling Reinhart-Rogoff from its pedestal change anything? I’d like to think so. But I predict that the usual suspects will just find another dubious piece of economic analysis to canonize, and the depression will go on and on.
paul-krugman  economics  excel  coding  bugs  software  austerity  debt 
april 2013 by jm
How Kaggle Is Changing How We Work - Thomas Goetz - The Atlantic

Founded in 2010, Kaggle is an online platform for data-mining and predictive-modeling competitions. A company arranges with Kaggle to post a dump of data with a proposed problem, and the site's community of computer scientists and mathematicians -- known these days as data scientists -- take on the task, posting proposed solutions.

[...] On one level, of course, Kaggle is just another spin on crowdsourcing, tapping the global brain to solve a big problem. That stuff has been around for a decade or more, at least back to Wikipedia (or farther back, Linux, etc). And companies like TaskRabbit and oDesk have thrown jobs to the crowd for several years. But I think Kaggle, and other online labor markets, represent more than that, and I'll offer two arguments. First, Kaggle doesn't incorporate work from all levels of proficiency, professionals to amateurs. Participants are experts, and they aren't working for benevolent reasons alone: they want to win, and they want to get better to improve their chances of winning next time. Second, Kaggle doesn't just create the incidental work product, it creates a new marketplace for work, a deeper disruption in a professional field. Unlike traditional temp labor, these aren't bottom of the totem pole jobs. Kagglers are on top. And that disruption is what will kill Joy's Law.

Because here's the thing: the Kaggle ranking has become an essential metric in the world of data science. Employers like American Express and the New York Times have begun listing a Kaggle rank as an essential qualification in their help wanted ads for data scientists. It's not just a merit badge for the coders; it's a more significant, more valuable, indicator of capability than our traditional benchmarks for proficiency or expertise. In other words, your Ivy League diploma and IBM resume don't matter so much as my Kaggle score. It's flipping the resume, where your work is measurable and metricized and your value in the marketplace is more valuable than the place you work.
academia  datamining  economics  data  kaggle  data-science  ranking  work  competition  crowdsourcing  contracting 
april 2013 by jm
Austerity policies founded on Excel typo
You've probably heard that countries with a high debt:GDP ratio suffer from slow economic growth. The specific number 90 percent has been invoked frequently. That's all thanks to a study conducted by Carmen Reinhardt and Kenneth Rogoff for their book This Time It's Different. But the results have been difficult for other researchers to replicate. Now three scholars at the University of Massachusetts have done so in "Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff" and they find that the Reinhart/Rogoff result is based on opportunistic exclusion of Commonwealth data in the late-1940s, a debatable premise about how to weight the data, and most of all a sloppy Excel coding error.

Read Mike Konczal for the whole rundown, but I'll just focus on the spreadsheet part. At one point they set cell L51 equal to AVERAGE(L30:L44) when the correct procuedure was AVERAGE(L30:L49). By typing wrong, they accidentally left Denmark, Canada, Belgium, Austria, and Australia out of the average. When you run the math correctly "the average real GDP growth rate for countries carrying a public debt-to-GDP ratio of over 90 percent is actually 2.2 percent, not -0.1 percent."
austerity  politics  excel  coding  errors  bugs  spreadsheets  economics  economy 
april 2013 by jm
21 graphs that show America’s health-care prices are ludicrous
Excellent data, this. I'd heard a few of these prices, but these graphs really hit home. $26k for a caesarean section at the 95th percentile!? talk about out of control price gouging.
healthcare  costs  economics  us-politics  world  comparison  graphs  charts  data  via:hn  america 
march 2013 by jm
What Happens to Stolen Bicycles?
'Bike thievery is essentially a risk-free crime. If you were a criminal, that might just strike your fancy. If Goldman Sachs didn’t have more profitable market inefficencies to exploit, they might be out there arbitraging stolen bikes.'

Good summary, and I suspect a lot applies in Dublin too -- flea markets and vanloads of stolen bikes being sent to other cities for reselling.
via:hn  economics  crime  bikes  theft  goldman-sachs 
august 2012 by jm
Why I'm Voting "No" to the Fiscal Compact
Cormac Lucey's reasons to vote against the proposed Fiscal Compact in the upcoming referendum
fiscal-compact  ireland  europe  eu  cormac-lucey  economics  bailout 
march 2012 by jm
Does Online Piracy Hurt The Economy? A Look At The Numbers - Forbes
'The data simply doesn’t suggest that piracy is causing any serious economic harm to the US economy or the entertainment industry. Heavy-handed approaches to preventing piracy are wrong-headed and reveal a dangerous level of short-term thinking on the part of both lawmakers and industry leaders. Worse, the impetus to crack down on piracy is based largely on industry data that wildly inflates the problem.'
piracy  forbes  filesharing  politics  sopa  economics  law 
january 2012 by jm
Why should we stop online piracy? - opinion - 19 January 2012 - New Scientist
'There's no evidence that the US is currently suffering from an excessive amount of online piracy, and there is ample reason to believe that a non-zero level of copyright infringement is socially beneficial. Online piracy is like fouling in basketball. You want to penalise it to prevent it from getting out of control, but any effort to actually eliminate it would be a cure much worse than the disease.' Good description of 'dead weight loss' and the consumer pressure on the industry that illegal competition poses
piracy  new-scientist  slate  sopa  filesharing  dead-weight-loss  economics  music  movies 
january 2012 by jm
an ex-Skype employee dishes the dirt on their buyout and acquisition
some incredible stories -- pretty mind-boggling stuff, I'm amazed people stuck around
skype  startups  legal  share-options  shares  economics 
june 2011 by jm

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