Sunday Links – hours worked, austerity & wealth, groupishness, high school fiction, backscratching by survey

I don’t think minimum wage hikes are going to help here.  A tale of two work-weeks:

Austerity …. NOT.

In sum, federal fiscal policy decisions in recent years added enormously to deficits and have produced the highest levels of spending, deficits, and debt relative to GDP since the aftermath of World War II. I leave it to others to determine whether this can reasonably be termed “austerity.”

 Why the rich live paycheck-to-paycheck

In reality, living within your means (and living well, within your means), should feel a lot more successful than it does, but unfortunately we’re creatures of comparisons.

As we wrote about in a recent blog post, happiness is not related to a set level of spending, but rather positive changes upward every year.

This is long, but really interesting. A scientific approach to finding consensus about climate.  The “trouble” is the policymakers and advocates haven’t been allowed as much influence.  Consensus is difficult enough.

On groupish behavior

Human beings evolved in small bands.  Group identity – and group identity’s tendency to corrupt our sense of justice –  is in our DNA.  Once you learn this harsh truth, though, you can, should, and must compensate for your immoral urges.  Review your judgments of out-group members for draconian harshness.  Review your judgments of in-group members – yourself included – for maudlin absolution.  You won’t make a lot of friends, but you will be a better person.

Should we stop teaching novels to high school students?

To hell with Gatsby’s green light! Maybe the classroom is not the best setting for children to have profound literary experiences. Give the kids something they can relate to, immerse themselves in, and even copy!

Poll of smart people suggests they confidently think their own preferences are correct about the stimulus.

Hold up. Economists answering this question are supposed to ‘take into account’ ALL of the economic consequences? including ‘any’ ‘likely future effects’? Over the timescale of [now to infinity)?

What discount rate are they meant to use? What utility metric? It doesn’t say so I guess they just substitute Their Favorite. But hey, here’s a possible utility-metric that probably coincides at least some with the metric economists (or anyone else for that matter) is implicitly going to use when answering Hopelessly Vague Questions:

“Policies that I like get scored a utility of One Zillion. Policies I don’t like get scored a Zero Zillion.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *