Monday, December 28, 2009

Robin Hanson interprets U.S. domestic policy in terms of national status anxiety.

Friday, December 25, 2009

China at Copenhagen:
China's strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world's poor once again.
India doesn't come off looking much better. The moral of the story is not to try very hard to mitigate global warming; the collective action problem is intractable. Time and money are better spent anticipating and adapting to future climate change. This is a good start.
To put it another way, since the Treasury can issue bills that are exactly like money, it is now the Treasury that is in charge of monetary policy. And whatever one may think of the policy it chooses to follow, we should be holding the Treasury responsible. If you’re worried about “exit strategy” and the possibility of inflation in the near future, then perhaps you should congratulate the Treasury for its policy of financing more of its debt long-term. If you’re worried (as I am) about the persistence of a weak and potentially deflationary economic environment, then you should be critical of the Treasury’s policy. By increasing its maturities the Treasury is essentially following a tight-money policy exactly when a loose-money policy is needed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This blog post is destined to be worked into somebody's science fiction novel.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Razib on the bail-outs:
The financial sector is systemically important for a healthy economy. But a sense of virtue is systematically important for a healthy society. Bailing out the former has resulted in pulling the rug out from one of the perceptions which has buttressed the latter; that those who do well do so because they do good.

Related: The Harvard-Goldman Filter. We'd have a different country if it was the MIT/Stanford-Google/Intel filter.

Also related: bailing out AIG was really about bailing out Goldman and some big European banks.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bananas? Molasses. A complaint to the WTO about European banana tariffs that was filed in 1993 has now been resolved. The deal involves a reduction of tariffs that will take 2017.
New report offers grim assessment of plug-in hybrids: "they'll need decades and billions of dollars in incentives to flourish unless gasoline prices rise above four dollars a gallon." Better batteries please!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Health-care costs: To hope or not to hope in pilot programs.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Yesterday I discovered ZIPskinny. It's main feature is census data at the zip code level. Mmmmh, tasty data.