Only in Europe, an entire parking lot covered in acorns could be... empty of squirrels. We do have squirrels in Europe, of course. But they are smaller, a lot fewer in number, red instead of gray, and very, very shy. I see them around my parents' house all the time, where they like to steal our harvest of hazelnuts. Why none of them would hang around this parking lot on the banks of Snagov lake, where acorns are literally strewn about, I can't say. It sure looked like squirrel heaven.
ENTER THE WORLD OF THE STARSHIP TROOPERS You are Corporal Julian Penn. A seasoned combat veteran, you lead your squad of Mobile Infantry against both Bug and Skinny forces. The success of your command is as vital and perilous as any Bug War missions faced in Robert A. Heinlein's legendary story. From victory against monstrous aliens to overcoming your own troops' flagging morale, your decisions hold the key to victory -- or defeat.Uh-huh.
output = residual * [labor ^ (1 - alpha)] * [capital ^ (alpha)]where the variable alpha is the fraction of the economy's output that accrues to capital, and 1 - alpha is the fraction that accrues to labor. In advanced economies, this tends to be around 30% capital to 70% labor. This formula has some nicely realistic properties. For instance, if you double both your labor and your capital -- basically cloning your workers and your factories -- you double your output. In the jargon, it has constant returns to scale. Another nice thing is that this formula shows diminishing returns. Adding more capital or labor to a larger base gives you less output bang for the buck, which is also realistic. Finally, see that term I called the residual? That's better known as total factor productivity, or TFP for short. It's the fudge factor that wraps up technological advances, increases in efficiency and organization, and that secret Chemical X into a nice numeric bundle. Total factor productivity is where the cutting edge of economic growth happens. Notoriously, Soviet total factor productivity is calculated to have been stagnant or negative from 1970 on. This is usually thought to have been a major contributing factor to the demise of the Soviet Union. Allen, of course, has a contrary explanation.
Serbian Education Minister Ljiljana Colic has ordered schools to stop teaching children the theory of evolution for this year, and to resume teaching it in future only if it shares equal billing with creationism. The move has shocked educators and textbook editors in the formerly communist state, where religion was kept out of education and politics and was only recently allowed to enter the classroom.
The net national costs of social transfers, and of the taxes that finance them, are essentially zero. They do not bring the GDP costs that much of the Anglo-American literature has imagined. Accordingly, differences in those costs play almost no role in either the rise or the deceleration of social spending's share. No Darwinian mechanism has punished the bigger spenders.Readers of The Economist know that one major theme in the Anglo-American literature is that welfare kills economic growth. It's widely used to explain Eurosclerosis (as opposed to, I dunno, core-periphery issues in EU policy), and it's become something of a conservative-libertarian shibboleth in the United States. "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch", or TANSTAAFL, a phrase the influential Missouri-born science fiction author Robert Heinlein countrified from the writings of the economist Alvin Hansen. Turns out there might actually be a free lunch. Lindert's regressions are pretty good, unlike a lott of ideologues I could name. I suspect much of the silence has to do with Lindert's interpretive framework, which follows Albert Hirschman's little book, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, and is rather different from the simplified models of public choice theory and class interest that many people, either consciously or unconsciously, use. There's some food for thought for this US election year as well. As Lindert comments,
Nor is the puzzle strictly international. Within the United States since the 1960s, social transfers have taken a rising share of state product, and the variance in their generosity has also risen -- and has been positively, not negatively, correlated with the level and growth of state product per capita. How can the generous states, like Connecticut, New Jersey, and California get away with giving out more generous welfare and other transfers year after year? Why haven't they grown more slowly than other states? Why haven't businesses deserted them, leaving them with fewer firms and more welfare families?Like I said, I'm surprised at the lack of commentary Lindert's book has received on the Internet. More on it later.
Trying to sleep on the concrete floor of the humid, open-air plaza outside the domestic wing of Benigno Aquino, Jr. International Airport while waiting for its doors to open at 2:30 AM. Recommended if you want to precipitate a spiritual crisis. The phrase, "she has a great personality", is a culturally universal signifier for "not very physically attractive at all". I do not have a great personality. My grandmother's tomb. It's in a fairly new cemetery that has all the good taste and restraint I have come to expect from the Philippines. But my father designed it, and he is a man of parts. A simple, graceful, portrait-sized lotus above the sarcophagus -- my grandmother was a Buddhist -- and repeated in the ironwork of the windows. Watching the working girls leave the lobby of a ritzy Makati hotel at four in the morning. I am hard to shock, but Jesus they looked young. But not.I did get a great haircut at that hotel. Even in NYC, it's hard to find someone who will cut it properly, I think maybe because of cognitive dissonance in the old-time barbers. The dilemma of being an ethnic guy with white-boy's hair. Yes it has a wave. No it won't stay up if you cut it that short. Yes I part it. No I don't want my name shaved on the side of my head. Gel? Are you talking to me? Anyway. Now that I'm back, I could discuss Lampe and Palairet on comparative Balkan economic history, or the recent American editions of Luljeta Lleshanaku and Edvard Kocbek, or that cheerful and really safe reactor complex across the Danube at Kozloduy, or some other such thing that is thematically appropriate for this blog. On the other hand, pies! And football! Packers on Monday Night, oh yeah. Are you ready for some football? I certainly am. PS read Bad Mama.
"This is yet another grim reminder of the length to which terrorists will go to threaten this civilized world."In my eyes, it was unnecessary to say this, especially as the carnage was still going on. The implication -- vote for me, if you don't want this to happen in the US -- is clear. Tact is not one of Bush's strong suits, to put it mildly. The situation required him to react as a president, not a campaigner. That's what upset me so. Leave the above sentence away, proceed with
"We mourn the innocent lives that have been lost, we stand with the people of Russia, we send them our prayers for this terrible situation",and it would have been OK. But putting it into a campaign, using the horror and the tragedy to scare his people (a very questionable strategy in any case) into voting for him, is despicable. YMMV.