Economics Roundup

Back in the saddle next week. In the meantime, here are some thoughts on Economics.

Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahnemann described his first brush with Economics this way in his Book, Thinking, Fast and Slow:

One day in the early 1970’s, Amos handed me a mimeographed essay by a Swiss economist which discussed the psychological assumptions of economic theory…I can still recount its first sentence: “The agent of economic theory is rational, selfish, and his tastes do not change.”

I was astonished. My economist colleagues worked in the building next door, but I had not appreciated the profound difference between our intellectual worlds. To a psychologist, it is self-evident that people are neither fully rational nor completely selfish, and that their tastes are anything by stable.Our two disciplines seemed to be studying different species.”

Guys like Kahnemann are turning Economics on its head. It’s about time. Some previous posts:

Generation 1099, February 2011

Employment as we have understood it for a hundred years is fading away. It is being replaced by what Bush II’s speechwriters called “The Ownership Society.” With each passing year, fewer and fewer us are formally employed and more of us work for ourselves (almost 1/3 of the workforce already), either as full-blown entrepreneurs or as independent contractors.  It may feel scary, but on the whole, this could become a very, very good thing.

Economics is Broken, August 2012

Economics in our time is a philosophy dressed up in equations. That does not imply that economics is worthless, only that is should not be trusted to deliver precision or provable certainty.

Preparing for a Post-Jobs Economy, November 2013

Imagine a country in which everyone can feed themselves, pay for a minimal place to live, and get access to health care. No matter how ill, damaged, or even indolent they may be, their children have an opportunity to earn an education and develop their talent if they so choose. Those who choose to work hard can live a lifestyle we can scarcely imagine. The wealth available to those who are particularly successful is spectacular.

Those who don’t work hard or succeed, for whatever reason, still survive reasonably well. Their children will not be precluded from opportunities to develop their talent by their parent’s failures.

Notes from a Libertarian Paradise, February 2014

The people in Belize are no different from Americans. However, no one in Belize is building the next Google because they are still trying to get reliable access to the Internet. There are stark limits to what private entrepreneurial activity can accomplish without the power of an effective government.

Porn and the Future of Labor, November 2014

The porn business is dying. The forces destroying established business models in the industry offer some lessons about the future of other businesses in an age of accelerating technological dynamism.

A Fourth Era of Capitalism, October 2015

Social capitalism is an economic order in which social and political forces come together to cause market transactions to more competently incorporate formerly “external” costs. Industrial capitalists paid no price for polluting a river or destroying a forest. Under social capitalism, an increasingly equal distribution of power across a society provides methods to force those costs to be factored into market mechanisms. Under social capitalism, the division between labor and capital blurs to near-irrelevance. Meanwhile, an expanded commercialization of nearly every valuable resource leads to a sort of “commodification of everything.”


Were we better off as a country in an era of relative middle-income equality? Establishing some common ground for comparison among eras is as difficult as making comparisons across cultures. In the end, as in any assessment of values, subjective factors will tend to prevail. We can, though, establish a few empirical markers. One of the simplest comes from comparing our almost mythical imagination of 50’s middle class buying power to our present experience.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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49 comments on “Economics Roundup
  1. 1mime says:

    This is an interesting exchange on NateSilver 538 on:

    I think it’s balanced and interesting…..

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Mime, sorry to reply to a link with another link, but . . .

      I recently read an article in TIME Magazine that says Baby Boomers are becoming more socially isolated, which bodes badly for all of society, because that generation so renowned for its social activism might as a result become less engaged and less involved in making the world a better place. Of course, “a better place” means different things to different people, but, hey, I can’t fault someone for their good intentions. 🙂

      It reminds me of Lifer’s writings on the importance of social capital, and it may be the case that the Boomers themselves are responsible for the erosion of social capital, and now they have fallen victim to this phenomenon.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m past the “boomer” generation, actually, part of the “great generation” (so they tell me)…But, the problem of social isolation is real and I think it affects more than these two age groups. I believe the pace of our lives, our dependence upon technology, our responsibilities – all tend to crowd our available time to “socialize”…Gone is the front porch and even sidewalks are going missing.

        Good article, Tutta. Very thoughtful.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Is this satire? The Boomers withdrawing from the political process would be a great thing for society.

        Of course I’m aware that there are many Boomers doing great things and making a positive difference.

        On the overall though, the BB’ers contribution to the politics of America (and thus, just about everything else) is a significant net negative.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        And frankly, any isolation the Boomers are experiencing is entirely self inflicted, the inevitable result of refusing to come to terms that a) they are no longer the dominant political force, and b) they (overall) reject the values and ethics of the group that IS the dominant political force.

        It’s every young generations birthright to mold society into their what they think it should be.

        This is appropriate both from a realist perspective ( because the younger generation will always have more numbers and more energy) and from a moral perspective (because theyre the ones that will be around 40 years from now).

        While of course every citizen of any age has the absolute right to be politically active in order to affect the cha ge they seek, the simple fact is that if ANY older generation that rejects the values of the younger one will inevitably find themselves socially isolated.

        The Boomers had their time, and their parents had to fall in line or be isolated. Now, it’s the millenials turn, and the Boomers options are to participate in the society we are creating, or remain isolated. And in a few decades, it will be our childrens turn to shape THEIR world as they see fit, and our options will be the same: fall in line, and participate in the society they want, or be isolated.

      • 1mime says:

        There is wisdom and truth in what you say, Rob, but I also believe there are those who are older who not only respect what is important to the younger generation, but who have wise counsel to share.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Interesting view, Rob. I was born in 1966, which I think makes me part of Generation X.

        I consider myself rather socially isolated, and I prefer to keep a low profile so as not to draw attention to myself. I recently made the tentative decision, just after turning 50, that this will be my coping mechanism from now on – continue to keep a low profile and do my own thing quietly while I let the high-tech kids run the world.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, you’ve mentioned being a bit isolated because you are your husband’s main caregiver. What about your kids and grandkids? Do you keep in contact with them?

      • 1mime says:

        Yes. Daughter close by, helps as she can but works and has busy family. Sons live hours away so contact/help more limited. I utilize an agency for helpers but it is hard to keep people given the complexity of my husband’s care. This complicates my ability to get out but I try… Under these circumstances, you have to “schedule”socialization. Admittedly, I’ve never been a “groupie” but I do enjoy interesting, fun company and get away as I can. You’ve been there so you understand the challenges.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Rob, I agree Boomers have often crossed the line and gone a bit too far when trying to make the world a better place, better as they see it, and sometimes you just have to tell them NO, but I grew up with them as my mentors — teachers, older cousins, etc — and they were incredibly inspirational to me.

      • vikinghou says:

        I am a Boomer (1952 model). My biggest regret about my generation is that we failed to realize the social justice goals we espoused during our youth. In fact, in several respects, I’d say we have contributed to a regression of social justice. Rolling back the Voting Rights Act is one example.

        It’s true that we aren’t growing old gracefully. We were the Pepsi Generation that would stay forever young! It turned out not to be true and we’re mad as hell! 😉

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Tut, Mime, Rob – I don’t get this generational stuff. Is it just shorthand for a group of understandable traits that you’all get and I don’t? I don’t see a builtin difference in the generations. My kids are me. My grandkids are me. Well, except for a granddaughter who is a supercharged me.

        I see differences in pre/post automobile generations. Then there are differences pre/post white flight, suburban bedroom communities, freeways, birth control pill, Vietnam War Generation. And also the inexpensive air conditioner and Xbox/PSx generation.

        I ask, unafraid of humiliation.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t really have an answer for ya, unarmed….I’m a “senior” who feels I “get” where most of the millennials are coming from…or, at least I try. I confess I have less patience with many of my own generation, but the feeling is probably reciprocal so there is that.

        The only problem I see is that we have stopped having civil discourse, and are too often forming relationships based upon political and religious beliefs without tolerance for anther point of view. That didn’t used to matter as much as it does today….

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Unarmed, I just use the generation labels already assigned by others. I personally think that to have been born as late as 1964 does not really make a person a baby boomer, but since generations are defined as 18 years long, that’s how we end up with the birth year range of 1946 to 1964 for boomers. Maybe “generation” is not the best term.

        How about the pre-internet versus the internet generations? The analog versus the digital generations?

        I am proud to be well-versed in both the analog and the digital worlds.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        It seems that the reason boomers are becoming socially isolated may be that they are setting home commenting on lifers blog. And playing Freecell.

        Tut, as a early boomer, I can see why the Baby Boomer group could be useful as shorthand for a bulge in the birthrate, people who were born after the war, on the cusp of suburban life, while unions and manufacturing was still in fashion. It was a particularly unique time in our history. It seems to me that this group should be a smaller group, maybe limited to four or seven years after the war. For conversational shorthand at least. By the way, congrats to you for bridging the analog to digital divide. As you say the pre/post internet is a meaningful way to divide history.

        Mime – You say “The only problem I see is that we have stopped having civil discourse, and are too often forming relationships based upon political and religious beliefs without tolerance for anther point of view. That didn’t used to matter as much as it does today….”

        It seems to me that you are seeing the delineation of these beliefs being redefined and becoming more pronounced. Remember the Democratic Party had some of the most backward thinking people until the Southern strategy of the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement opened its arms and said come home. So I think the intolerance you think is new, is not. Its just that the Republican party has become of late, the sin eater, gladly accepting the hateful and intolerant of our society.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t remember the vitriol being as commonplace among the general population as it is today, Unarmed. Sure, there were political figures and community hot shots who were always roiling the scene, but, mostly, the rest of the population was hunkered down – working, raising families, doing their thing. Media is an easy target to blame but I think fairly so, as it’s impossible to escape. I also believe people have become less patient and more reactive. And, as you noted, the Dems of old became the Repubs of new and no longer kept their religious or racist views to themselves. All of these things morphed into a society that is having trouble finding common ground….IMHO

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        I’m at the boomers’ leading edge. Like viking, I regret my generation’s extreme veer away from a stated (some of us shouted) drive for social justice.

        I do feel, though, that the political swing to the right was possible because of the 60s and 70s; some rightist political strategists recognized an opportunity when it slapped them in the face. They’ve built on that for 40 years.

        But I do not understand how that reaction got us to voter suppression. That should make all Americans gag.

      • 1mime says:

        Do you think that the conditions surrounding the eventual push to suppress voting rights was orchestrated into a larger narrative, or, coincidental?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Mime, I think voter repression by the Rs is caused by statistics; they looked forward and determined they don’t have the demographics to maintain their influence.

        Lacking any form of ethics, some decided to make it very difficult for subsets of voters to actually vote. I hate that.

      • 1mime says:

        I think that Repubs saw they could achieve two goals: reduce numbers of antagonistic voters and perpetuate their racist beliefs.

        Hint: I’m not feeling very charitable about the GOP these days…….a condition which promises to get worse as this campaign progresses….

      • 1mime says:

        Bobo – hope things are starting to coalesce for you…been thinking about you.

    • 1mime says:

      Speaking of “age”, the good state of LA has some definite age parameters in mind for…..strippers….in SB 468….The guys said it was a joke; the females in the legislature were not amused…..But, they got even…..Only in LA…

      A little humor? or not! for your weekend.

  2. 1mime says:

    More evidence of utter stupidity or calculated risk by Republicans that doubling down on ultra conservative positions will motivate and appeal to their base….

    • antimule says:

      Strange thing to do, considering that Trump won by pretty much ignoring social issues.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      What I’d like to see is a solid 8-0 or 7-1 or 6-2 decision by SCOTUS striking this down. At WORST, you’re looking at 6-2, which would be a massive smacjdown considering the short staffed nature of the court

      • 1mime says:

        More doubling down on inflammatory issues to mobilize their base. I don’t think the issue has been appealed yet but if so, I hope the opinion is unanimous. You can bet your knickers that if the GOP wins it all, Roe v Wade is history, as will so many other individual protections. Lots riding on this election…

      • 1mime says:

        Gov. Fallin surprisingly vetoed the bill. Something about “how it was probably unconstitutional and would be expensive to litigate”……wish we in TX were so lucky….the Attorney General’s budget for suing the federal government must be robust.

  3. tuttabellamia says:

    A late response to the suggestion on the previous thread that voting should be mandatory:

    I am totally opposed to the idea. The solution to voter suppression is not voter coercion. Perhaps it hasn’t registered that calling for mandatory voting is the same as criminalizing NOT voting. The last thing we need is another reason to fine people or send them to jail.

    That said, it would be interesting to see the consequences of voter turnout in the 90% range. It would result in a complete revamping of our typical election results.

  4. moslerfan says:

    For those interested in economics, check out There’s a lot of stuff on the social aspects of the economy, very few equations. Chris, you might consider posting or cross-posting there. Your outlook on economics as expressed in the referenced posts would be a valuable complement to the other perspectives there. (I thought about using the words “conservative” and “liberal” in that last sentence, but decided that wasn’t the real issue.)

  5. Rob Ambrose says:

    Well, now THIS should be interesting. Trump surrogate walking back wall and deportation schemes.

    Apparently, Trump meant a VIRTUAL wall this whole time, and a RHETORICAL deportation.

    Next, he’ll be claiming he only wants to metaphorically kill terrorist family members.

  6. Xiristatos says:

    Well you know, there’s alwaysw gonna be atleast someone missing the “good old times” when the economy was great by their definition.
    But at present it’s a completely different story: Whenever the economy is working greatly, the current elected GOP officials hate it and want to do everything to ruin it simply to smear President Obama, and whenever the economy IS somehow in ruins, they will of course blame Obama for it.

    And as you said in your 2014 midterm elections summary, Republicans touted a “booming” economy for their mandate. Since you guys live in a country where one party is the only adult right now and the other one is the party of obstruction, compromise seems impossible with shitheads like Paul Ryan in the lead.
    These House Republicans are absolutey disgusting repulsive human beings that simply should have never gotten any political future. The Kochs just won’t goddamn die.
    They just want to burn the whole country down for their own asses.

    So I’m not sure whether I should be surprised that many Republican insiders suddenly decided to support their by far most toxic nominee in modern history, Donald J. Trump.
    At first, they did whatever they could to deny him the nomination… it failed. And now all the sudden, he’s our man now, BRUH!

    The media narrative of the GOP suddenly uniting faster than the Dems is one of the most pretentious myths I wouldn’t even put on Bernie Sander’s most insane supporters. Trump is toxic to many congressional candidates, and they should know it. If they embrace him, they will be exposed as the subhumans they truly are. If they distance themselves from him, his vile supporters get even more angry.

    I can bet you that most traditional Republican voters would stay home because his rethoric has been that offensive. Also, the Republican leaders already desperately try to cover up Trump’s insensitivity by making him look “presidential”, but they can’t even do THAT. NO ONE who is viewed as a racist/sexist/etc. will EVER be able to brush it off in merely six months.

    But even having the most toxic nominee at the top of their ticket sure didn’t stop these operatives from continuing their vote suppression garbage. These stupid voting restrictions still make the rounds, and registered voters still get unlawfully purged. Now while those procedures are horrendous, they’re not mass scale enough to completely overthrow the outcome from the top, but in a close race they might have an effect, which this one does NOT look like at all. But obviously they’re all stupid. Officials and campaigns are watching, as I have said before, but nothing stops these desperate dumbasses from harrassing voters.

    Trump alone has all these disgusting dirty tricksters on his side I already mentioned before. They always try misleading voters by giving them robocalls with wrong information, or just straight up annoy them with the message at a wrong time simply to make them too angry to vote for their candidate. Considering how terrifying Trump really is, the latter tactic would not be enough to make voters stay home, so the former seems more executeable. And with all this they keep making up stupid propaganda smearing against Hillary Clinton, and they have done so ever since 2013… to no success of course, so that’s not an option

    But that just shows how aggressive these shitheads are in their brazen attempts to lower vote turnout.
    Oh, and you know that J.J. Rendón guy I mentioned in your last blog post? I said I only made the raw assumption that he’d still work for Trump in the end. Well, after reading this ( ), I think I can safely say he’s just a bullshitter right there behind Trump’s back (read ass). He is called the “Karl Rove of Latin America”, if they’re both complete shitheads that is. Rendón claims out of 27 campaigns he assisted he only lost two. Of course it shouldn’t be a coincidence that many of these winning campaigns could have won even without his “help”. I said before that he has hired a hacker for the Mexico elections in 2012, who is now in prison, and I’m willing to be he would look for another one.
    I know this kinda thing would not have a huge effect at all if Hillary Clinton does everything correctly. I heard she has technology officers looking for potential cyberattacks, which I hope is true.

    But since there’s already so many bullshitters calling for Hillary Clinton’s head and making up crazy bullshit about her for YEARS and having hackers try to mess with campaigns being nothing new whatsoever, having Rendón popping up his shithead will add nothing new whatsoever, just another extra bullshitter. I think we can all agree with that, right?

    It seems that with this comment I mostly repeated some points from my last one, but I do feel stuff like this is worth being talked about as we get into the General Election. I know it’s not all that dramatic stuff (and obviously, nothing new whatsoever), but atleast raising awareness of that kinda shit avoids nasty surprises, right?

    Should you have read my comment, I give you my many thanks.

    • 1mime says:

      Here’s the nasty surprise, Xiris – Hillary Clinton is struggling. There are any number of “reasons” but they mostly reside right here in America. The comment that “this is Hillary Clinton’s campaign to lose” is looking prophetic right now. She is vulnerable.

      I am becoming more and more concerned about Sanders decision – and it is a conscious one as DNC leadership have tried to reason with him to no avail – IF Sanders continues his attacks on H, stirring up potential voters with his vitriol and alienating them from supporting the eventual Democratic nominee – he will achieve his personal goals, but killed the overarching goal of winning back the Senate with the presidency, thus controlling the nomination to SCOTUS – which is huge.

      Here’s the first of many astute articles on the damage Sanders is doing to the Democrat’s chances to sweep the General.

      • Creigh says:

        Hillary Clinton’s weakness is related to the fact that she doesn’t understand the problems as the electorate sees them. There are two candidate running who do. Unfortunately one of them is running purely for ego gratification.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree that Clinton doesn’t “articulate” the problems well, but I disagree that she doesn’t understand them. Sanders is to be commended for his laser focus but Clinton will be more effective in addressing the problems themselves. That’s one reason why she did so well in KY in the coal country is because she told the miners the truth and shared her plan to help them. She is much more pragmatic in her solutions and that matters.

        Trump couldn’t understand the working man’s problems if he tried. He knows what the problems are, and is falsely using them to reach a sector who needs very much to be acknowledged. That’s legitimate; his feigned interest is not. Watch how quickly he moves to the center away from the people he used to win primaries because now he doesn’t need them for the next leg of the race.

      • Xiristatos says:

        You worry too much. WAY too much.

        Those “Hillary is struggling” articles are full of shit. She entered the race as such a dominant frontrunner, no viable potential candidate on either the right or left side wanted to run against her just to lose, which is why this current field is full of egomaniacs, frauds, and shitheads. If you actually paid attention to the race and NOT the overhype-prone mainstream media, you’d clearly see this election is a joke.

        Oh sure, Sanders may keep acting like the shithead that he is, and next thing you know, once he’s out of the race, he’s out for good and his threats were all empty to begin with.
        Those rabid batshit supporters of his? They’re far less in number than they want you to think, they can’t hurt Clinton.
        The many sane left ones know what’s up for them, so OF COURSE they will come out to vote. With all that I do hope they do all their GOTV efforts right by giving voters the right informations and locations and stuff so everything goes right. But I’m sure it will work out as well (if not better) as it did in 2012, a much MUCH more seemingly closer race, with a rather weakened incumbent Obama, and a sudden surge of Mitt Romney.

        This election? In GOPLifer’s own words, electoral juggernaut Clinton who has gone into this race with more organization and political acumen than any non-incumbent running for office, while the right side has a bloated egotistical reality TV show host who brags about polls SHOWING THEM TIED IN ARIZONA AND GEORGIA.

        Look, I can see how you’re feeling right now, and trust me, I always fear something could go wrong, but it’s always important to be reminded that everyone’s in this, and they have one obvious crystal clear enemy: That second coming of Adolf Hitler. I can’t do much here from Germany other than encourage people online to help others get out to vote and about all the stuff they can win. Now YOU are in a VERY great position to help your fellow buddies vote. Are ya in?

      • 1mime says:

        “If you actually paid attention to the race and NOT the overhype-prone mainstream media, you’d clearly see this election is a joke.”

        Xiris, I am going to save your quote for a later time…..I can assure you, I do pay attention to this race and politics generally, and that includes all the news – not just that which reinforces my own views. I have been a HRC supporter long before your first post, but I do not gloss over her weaknesses even as I recognize her many strengths. I want Hillary to win, but I do think she is going to have a tough time getting there. This is a most unusual political atmosphere and I think there will be many more surprises before it’s over. You can count on me continuing to post links to those which I feel are important and relevant to this blog and feel free to comment.

        IMHO, no single candidate is more important than the party they represent. That includes Clinton, Sanders and Trump. My allegiance is based upon what principles and policies a party stands for. I used to vote “the person” – of whatever party – and I still do so on the local level. At the national level, there is absolutely no way I can support this Republican Party. My personal views are at odds with too much of their platform.

      • Xiristatos says:

        That’s ok of course. Better be safe than sorry, but my word still stands that you can guys help get out the vote. It doesn’t matter who, just whoever wants to, as many as possible.

        I’ve got a little news site for you that you’re probably gonna enjoy a lot.
        It’s a very independent site and the articles there are very fun to read. They’re mostly written by one guy, with others occasionally contributing to it as well. New articles come every day and it’s always worth it to anticipate them. I do believe that for regular covering of this election and other stuff, you can technically go with this site alone and be all fine with it.

        Of course, I’m not stopping you from doing it your way, it’s just a news outlet you’d most probably enjoy.

      • 1mime says:

        I’ve added the Daily News Bin to my email feed to try it out. A cursory glance through their story list shows that it mostly hews left. I am a registered, active Democrat, but I follow many sources – not one source. As for helping GOTV – been doing that for more years than you’ve likely been alive, Xiris. I have been involved in politics since I was 14 and I am now 72. I can assure you, I am interested and I am aware of what’s going on. I have run a campaign, served in office, and have participated in many local and state level campaigns as a volunteer. GOTV is just a small (but important) part of what anyone who is interested in politics does. The more difficult part is studying the candidates and the issues and informing people so that they become active, knowledgeable participants in the process. Sort of like the analogy of giving fish to hungry people vs teaching them “how to fish”.

        Keep up the good fight.

      • Xiristatos says:

        Now that’s the spirit, bro!

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