Photo of the day

These are pretty cool.  A gallery of dogs caught in mid-shake (via Behold):

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“Shake Series” Bloodhound 1 (l) Bloodhound 2

Carli Davidson

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Capitalism does not care about your grandchildren

I’d never heard of Jeremy Grantham (“environmental philanthropist and legendary fund manager”)before a friend posted this, but wow am I a big fan now.  This is a great interview and this is the best part:

Capitalism does millions of things better than the alternatives. It balances supply and demand in an elegant way that central planning has never come close to. However, it is totally ill-equipped to deal with a small handful of issues.

Unfortunately, today, they are the issues that are absolutely central to our long-term wellbeing and even survival. It doesn’t think long-term very well because of high discount rate structure.

If you’re a typical corporation anything lying out 30 years literally doesn’t matter. Or, as I like to say: QED, your grandchildren have no value. And they usually act as if that was true, even though I’m sure they are actually very kind to their grandchildren.  [emphasis mine]

My favourite story is about the contract between the farmer and the devil. The devil says, “sign this contract and I’ll triple your farm’s profits”. But there are 25 footnotes, as there always is with the devil. Footnote 22 says that 1% of your soil will be eroded each year, which is actually horrifyingly close to the real average over the past 50 years.

The farmer signs and makes a fortune on a 40-year contract. And his son then signs up for the next 40-year contract and makes a fortune. And his son then signs up for the third and final contract. He still does very well, and in the final 20 years the family has accumulated enormous wealth, but the soil has gone.

It’s the same story for all his neighbouring farms and everyone is out of business. My sick joke is that at least he will die a rich farmer when all the starving hordes arrive from the city.

Every graduate who took Econ 101 would probably sign that contract. There is no single theory that is used in economics that considers the finite nature of resources. It’s shocking.

But not as shocking as the pathetic waste of space over the last 50 years given to “rational expectations“, which allows a whole generation of bankers and central bankers to believe that the market is efficient. None of it applies to the real world, or to messy human beings, many of whom are a little crooked when they have to be. It’s been a disaster and a complete waste of time.

Capitalism is great in the confines where it is effective, i.e., transparent and efficient marketplaces.  The mistake so many people make is in thinking that since capitalism is often great it is always great.  There’s a number of places where capitalism leads to decidedly sub-optimal or perverse outcomes.  Long-term environmental policy is obviously one great example.  And health care is another.

Don’t blame the NRA, blame the Senators

Alright, not really, blame the NRA, too, but I’ve just read too many columns, etc., suggesting that Republican (and a few Democratic) Senators voted against the gun legislation because they feared the NRA.  I honestly don’t think your typical GOP Senator “fears” the NRA at all.  Rather, they have simply bought lock, stock, and barrel, into the NRA’s twisted and delusional ideology in which the only solution to gun violence is more guns and any regulation, no matter how sensible, is an affront to sacred individual rights.  Now, the NRA certainly helped create this crazy world, but this was not at all a matter of Senators caving to NRA pressure.  Or being “bought and paid for” by the NRA.  This is a matter of non-nonsensical and obscene NRA values simply taking over the activist heart of the Republican party.

Mama’s, don’t let your daughters grow up to be Representatives

So among the more interesting MPSA papers I wanted to listen to, but did not get the opportunity to attend was this Lawless and Fox paper on political ambition among college-aged females (Lawless and Fox have literally written the book on gender and political candidacy).  In short, by the time women are in college they already have substantially less interest in running for office than do men:

Gender1

 

So, this pervasive gap is already set at the age of 21, well before children, marriage, etc., for most.  So, not the easiest to determine exactly the source, but part of the blame– parents:

gender2

 

Interesting indeed!  I have not read the whole report, yet, but I will as I am assigning it to my Fall Gender & Politics course.  I’ll report back with more then.

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