I did a post like this a few weeks ago, and will continue to irregularly- here are some interesting pieces, with a block quote sample. For all of them, go read the whole thing.
First, Rodger Malcolm Mitchell rightly points out that in most debates, people are just talking past each other. He concludes,
There lies deep within us, the fear that if we listen too closely, our own arguments will be demolished. So we resist listening, lest we are forced to admit we are wrong, and our world will come crashing down…
What’s the solution? Courage. Have the courage to see your treasured beliefs proved wrong. Have the courage to evaluate the other guy’s side. Have the courage to listen, and perhaps to come to an accommodation. Any fool can close his mind and shout louder. It takes real courage and intelligence to listen, truly listen, to the other guy’s side.
Next, Maxine Udall has a great take on David Leonhardt’s article about the costs of motherhood- the benefits of motherhood are largely ignored in our society (and our economic measures):
But what about all that non-market work women are cranking out? The stuff for which they don’t get paid? Child care, child birth (production of the future units of economic production for those of you who like to think of children as durable goods)….how about mother’s milk that builds bodies and immune systems 40 different ways? None of that shows up in GDP…
The irony here, at least from my perspective, is that we’re surrounded by men (and some women) obsessing about the welfare of our grandchildren, especially the possibility that we will saddle them with an unbearable tax burden that can only (apparently) be relieved by increasing income inequality and decreasing taxes on the rich. Yet the people most likely to have a profound and lasting positive effect on the parents of those grandchildren and, by virtue of it, a profound and lasting positive effect on the endangered grandchildren, are forced to accept a 20% reduction in market wages, to struggle to find affordable, high quality child care, to be penalized for requiring flexibility in work hours, to (until 2014) face lack of health insurance if they work part-time.
Emmanuel Saez updates (pdf) his tax data with 2008 estimates, and finds:
Perhaps surprisingly, the fall in top income shares from 2007 to 2008 is less than during the 2001 recession, in part because the Great recession has hit bottom 90% incomes much harder than the 2001 recession (Table 1), and in part because upper incomes excluding realized capital gains have resisted relatively well during the first year of the Great Recession.
econfuture says economists “just don’t get it” regarding structural unemployment:
Why are economists so reluctant to seriously consider the implications of advancing technology? I think a lot of it has to do with pure denial. If the problem is a skill mismatch, then there’s an easy conventional solution. If the problem’s a lack of labor mobility, then that will eventually work itself out. But what if the problem is relentlessly advancing technology? What if we are getting close to a “tipping point” where autonomous technology can do the typical jobs that are required by the economy as well as an average worker? Well, that is basically UNTHINKABLE. It’s unthinkable because there are NO conventional solutions.
Naomi Klein says that the capitalist view of nature as a machine should be laid to rest:
And this is surely the strangest twist in the Gulf coast saga: it seems to be waking us up to the reality that the Earth never was a machine. After 400 years of being declared dead, and in the middle of so much death, the Earth is coming alive.
The experience of following the oil’s progress through the ecosystem is a kind of crash course in deep ecology. Every day we learn more about how what seems to be a terrible problem in one isolated part of the world actually radiates out in ways most of us could never have imagined.
That’s all for now…I’ve finished a book on wage theft in America, and hope to post some thoughts on it by Monday. Happy weekend!