Monday, April 12, 2010


The economic optimism train continues! It looks like James Surowiecki is on board with his tickets, and Daniel Indiviglio is considering taking a day trip, though he’ll dither until the moment the train leaves. Oh by the by, money going to venture funds is down 31% in the first quarter (as the article notes, not necessarily a bad thing.) Oh by the second by, there’s a report out by the Pentagon that we might see peak oil around 2015. (I thought there had been a lot of new discoveries recently, but WTF do I know?)

Bootlegging in Peshawar.

Detroit’s prosperous side.

Mexican drug wars reporting.

Five ridiculous tax loopholes/exemptions. A lot of these are small potatoes, but cumulatively it adds up and wastes a lot of America’s time on figuring out how to exploit the tax system to greatest advantage.

Health care reform retains its ability to surprise me--apparently, drugmakers are releasing data on how much they pays doctors/professors to do its bidding as a result of the bill; it starts in 2013. Hadn't seen this reported previously. Good job legislators!

Ah, California high-speed rail troubles. Well, foreign investors are interested.

When bubbles turn out OK: railroad edition. A critical difference between this bubble and the housing bubble, however, is that the reason that time was different was that railroad was a genuinely new technology whose implications couldn’t be predicted, whereas houses have…I believe…been around for centuries. Speaking of bubbles, here’s a piece on the Chinese property bubble.

Jill Lepore on Henry Luce and Harold Ross.

On the Greek bailout—the next dominoes to fall (i.e. the PIIGS).

Really neat: how Europe burns trash, without emissions, and turns it into electricity. Of course, there's no way this could ever happen in the good old U.S. of A.

Ezra Klein drops some truth:
…. consider the way elites have treated the decline of journalism jobs and the decline of manufacturing jobs. Both sectors are fundamentally suffering from the same thing: A technological revolution that has made the large, well-paid workforces of yesteryear into a competitive disadvantage in the modern economy. But where the decline of manufacturing was greeted with sanguine talk about "retraining," the decline of journalism has been greeted with something akin to grief.

People notice that. Now, this isn't to accuse anyone of heartlessness. But "creative destruction" isn't easy to explain, and it's not very comforting to the destroyed. The problem, however, is that it's a very comforting concept to the people watching the destruction. It's a license not to worry about the death of aging industries. And the massive bubbles of the past decade or two made it easier to ignore the country's economic problems, because the massive expansion of credit made people who weren't getting ahead feel more like they were, which blunted the sort of polling evidence and popular anger that could have gotten more elites worried about all this.

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