Paul Krugman on who benefits from bubbles:
… in several years during the last decade the top 400 accounted for more than 10 percent of all capital gains income in America. Just 400 people!
And when you think about financial regulation, you similarly want to bear in mind that when asset prices rise, a tiny handful of people get a large chunk of the gains; I don’t know this for sure, but I’d bet that they somehow end up bearing a much smaller share of the losses when the bubble bursts.
India’s make-work program to help a stranded rural poor:
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, as the $9 billion program is known, is riddled with corruption, according to senior government officials. Less than half of the projects begun since 2006—including new roads and irrigation systems—have been completed. Workers say they're frequently not paid in full or forced to pay bribes to get jobs, and aren't learning any new skills that could improve their long-term prospects and break the cycle of poverty.
Workers in the rural employment program aren't allowed to use machines, for example, and have to dig instead with pick axes and shovels. The idea is to create as many jobs as possible for unskilled workers. But in practice, say critics, it means no one learns new skills, only basic projects get completed and the poor stay poor—dependent on government checks.
Sao Paolo is now one of the most expensive cities worldwide; also, it appears South America might be tending more in a Brazilian direction—see a Peruvian presidential candidate trying to brand himself as such.
The complexity of moving to the cloud.
The spiral in health care costs: pet insurance edition.
They invented a computer program that can understand and produce “That’s what she said” jokes.
Witold Rybczynski on density and American cities.
Looks like PayPal is entering the mobile payments market.