Morning Ed: Money {2016.04.28.Th}

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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55 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:

    Naked Restaurant: As long as I’m the only person who’s fat we’re good. All the servers should be smoking hot model types. Yeah…Yeah, I’d pay a premium to eat at the restaurant, but not if some naked “Paul Proudhon” is working in an open kitchen. Just sayin!

    Meth: Taxable income associated with the dollar value. Take the average. It IS income and IS taxable, but if it’s seized, you might not have to declare it. Shesh, the guy should have just sold the meth and gave cash or gold.

    Stay at home dads: No mention of the number of stay at home dads who’ve given up seeking employment and thus are no longer in that 5% rate.

    Moving rich: Even with capital controls, you’re not going to significantly impact the mobility of these people. Policy planners would do well to consider that.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Apparently in the early days of the porn industry, people were paid in cocaine rather than money. This seems like a bad deal. Porn was of questionable legal status at the time, cocaine was definitely illegal, and the average person would have to engage in two illegal activities to earn their wages.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to LeeEsq says:

      wHat!? Is this a real thing or a Grandpa Simpson quote?Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to j r says:

        I think it might be a real thing @j-r or at least a very deeply held urban legend. I would check Legs McNeils book The Other Hollywood an oral history of porn. While I haven’t read it yet (on my to read list) that would be a good start for that kind of info.

        This wouldn’t suprise me anyway, as you are taking two counter culture groups and combining them with a money source (illicit as it is.) Seems natural to me. if a little stupid.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I am not sure why it is so controversial that gains of absolute economic growth can be psychologically canceled out by unequal distribution. This seems to be common sense to me. I wonder how much of it is ideology. Libertarians and right-wing economists argue that the way to increase wealth is through absolute wealth alone. Liberals argue that you need some kind of resdistrubition. I also wonder if economists count wealth differently than the average person. This is the income vs. more goods and services division. The fanatical obsession of the economics and business seems to be driving down costs. This includes most wages. A year or so ago, I read a book on the history of liberalism. A section covered the battles between the modern liberals and Hayekian economics. The Hayek crowd sneered at the modern liberal belief that wages need to go up. As long as prices went down, faster than wages, people got wealthier.

    The problem is that this does not happen evenly. Sometimes prices just go up and remain sticky. Or the prices of some goods go down but not others.

    I graduated law school in 2011 which was a very bad year for law school grads. I did much better than many of my contemporaries (if better=employment that requires a bar license) but am still feeling lots of punches from the law school crash. Most of my jobs have been freelance projects (luckily long-term). My one associate position ended in a lay-off. I can’t judge what my experience level is. I’ve been working for four years but my experience level seems to be seen as more like one or two years. All the money in the Bay Area seems to go to tech.

    My girlfriend has a much better credentialed education than I do. She went to super-elite undergrad and super-elite grad school and it sometimes amazes me about how much easier this makes things for her. Recruiters just go to her and assume she can do anything regardless of her actual experience. When I talk to recruiters or staffing agencies, the results are more “We are impressed by your resume but can’t help you right now. Best of luck.”

    I don’t think you can guarantee equality of outcome but the extent to which the game seems rigged is shocking. Everyone wants to help the Harvard and Yale grads because it is easy to help the Harvard and Yale grads. Everyone else gets the role of the dice.

    I realize that some of this reaction could be from being laid-off and looking like my best option is starting my own firm and hoping that it is successful but feeling fucked in ones career and economics is not fun.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Liberals argue that you need some kind of resdistrubition.

      What kind of redistribution are you talking about? It matters.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      A section covered the battles between the modern liberals and Hayekian economics. The Hayek crowd sneered at the modern liberal belief that wages need to go up. As long as prices went down, faster than wages, people got wealthier.

      Maybe you should actually read some Hayek instead of some partisan take on Hayek.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to j r says:

        If I understand it correctly, the wage issue was not about keeping them low, but preventing them from becoming artificially high. I.E. If wages went up (faster than inflation), but worker productivity remained flat, or declined, then that is a problem.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Not sure exactly what this is a reference to, but I’m guessing it has to do with the Phillips Curve. In which case this wasn’t any sort of ideological argument about where wages ought to be, but rather a technical question about the relationship between employment and inflation.

          For a good amount of time, the Phillips Curve relationship held and inflationary fiscal and monetary policy increased employment by boosting aggregate demand. Eventually, though inflation expectations outpaced the increase in aggregate demand and stagflation arose.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      “Libertarians and right-wing economists argue that the way to increase wealth is through absolute wealth alone. Liberals argue that you need some kind of resdistrubition.” Redistribution does not increase wealth, it just moves it around.

      “I also wonder if economists count wealth differently than the average person. This is the income vs. more goods and services division.” Of course they do. More income or more goods/services at a lower price both generate wealth. Individuals may or may not see the cost reduction as an increase in wealth because they may not notice the savings, having spent it on something else.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Damon says:

        “Redistribution does not increase wealth, it just moves it around.”

        I think the argument is that it’s more important to increase Overall Average Happiness than it is to increase overall wealth, and that increasing overall wealth in an unequal manner actually causes a decrease in Overall Average Happiness.Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to DensityDuck says:

          That may be, but happiness and wealth are two different items. And where’s the calculus of the negative happiness factor of me having some of my wealth taken and given to someone else?Report

          • Avatar Bert The Turtle in reply to Damon says:

            The calculus is right here, in the economic concept of Marginal Utility. In general, if I earn an extra dollar a day, it’s of less use to my overall wellbeing than it would be to the average person living in Sudan. But that’s an obvious case, it becomes trickier when you try to apply it within the confines of a single country.

            To be clear, I’m not disagreeing with the idea that a rising tide lifts all boats. On the whole, I tend to think that expanding the economy and improving everyone’s well being (even if it isn’t equally improved for everyone) is better than just attempting to get an equal portion of a smaller pie. But I also don’t think it has to be a binary decision; why can’t we do a little bit of both?Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to Bert The Turtle says:

              Correct me if wrong, but the “happiness index” is a stand alone value. And marginal utility doesn’t account for me earning 100 dollars and having 20 of it taken and given to you. It does account for you getting an add’l 20 bucks though.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      A section covered the battles between the modern liberals and Hayekian economics. The Hayek crowd sneered at the modern liberal belief that wages need to go up. As long as prices went down, faster than wages, people got wealthier.

      This is obviously correct. If the price of goods is and services are falling while nominal wages remain the same, then real wages are increasing. It’s real wages, not nominal wages, that determine standard of living. During times of hyperinflation, nominal wages tend to skyrocket, but real wages and standard of living generally decline.Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    I think the naked restaurant maybe isn’t on the first date list.

    OTOH if your date suggests it, that is definitely a signal.Report

  5. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Inequality-
    Of course people are unhappy with an inequality that doesn’t correlate with a perceived level of merit.

    It makes the world seem arbitrary and capricious, eroding trust and the legitimacy of rules.Report

  6. Avatar j r says:

    Before people start running with the inequality link, please read it:

    Why did is the relationship between income growth and happiness different in the two sets of countries? It could be because the Latin American countries are on average poorer than the more advanced economies, or because they are much more unequal. Our data did not present unequivocal answers. What we can say for sure is that it’s a fallacy to equate GDP with well-being. It’s not a foregone conclusion that growing the economy will make for a happier people.

    Report

  7. Avatar Kazzy says:

    As someone who is pretty comfortable being nekkid, I’m all for nude restaurants! More things should be done nude. It can be pretty refreshing.Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Naked restaurant – I would be fine with going, but I probably wouldn’t order fajitas or any flambé dessert.

    Getty v Google – I think there was (or maybe still is) an ongoing European case or cases regarding Google’s news aggregator, sued by various media companies on similar grounds as interfering with the media companies’ copyrights.

    Tax treatment of drugs in lieu of wages – The barter income tax regulations are, for realz, Topic 420 on the IRS website.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Kolohe says:

      That’s not the regulations on paying people wages in bartered currency. It’s about setting up bartering marketplaces, which is a little different.

      I know the guy who paid people in chickens. And then had to provide the IRS with a person qualified to appraise chickens (and the video of said chickens) in order to prove that he was paying the right amount of taxes.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Kolohe says:

      My reading of IRS pup 525 suggest that it’s taxable income, and should be reported at fair market value. OTOH, had it been pot instead of meth, I think one could make a pretty fair case for it being a non-taxable holiday gift, given that last Wednesday was the 20th.Report

  9. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Using Wood & Glue To Build Skyscrapers

    @chip-daniels You might like this idea.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      *snicker* one of my friend’s quotes got on Archer.
      “It would cost more to renovate this dump than to build a house out of money.”
      (He… actually ran the numbers on that one. And then proclaimed that “it wouldn’t be up to code, anyway. It’d work in Japan…).

      So that’s today’s building challenge, for any engineers wanting a bit of fun estimating:
      How much does it cost to build a house out of money?Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Thanks!
      I’ve seen this idea in the trade magazines, and its very exciting. As with all things, there is an inertia in the industry, but this really looks promising.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Not sure if we’d be building mile high skyscrapers with wood, but those laminate beams really are hella strong, especially if you use farmed trees purpose grown for it. I could see using it for anything under a given (engineering safe) height.

        I’d be curious to see a building like that respond to an earthquake.Report

    • Avatar Francis in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      It’s articles like this which lead me to believe that a relatively low carbon tax would be enormously effective in forcing companies large and small to analyze their energy use and eliminate waste.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Francis says:

        I agree.

        And it would keep me employed, because it would drive the need for the kinds of analysis that pay my mortgage!

        Seriously though, the kind of analysis that led to the development of the device represents hundreds of engineering hours setting up & debugging the analysis, and running through the design space, and prototype testing. And that has to be done for every hull form (although once the initial analysis is setup & debugged, subsequent analysis is much, much faster).

        ETA: And gobs & gobs of compute time on a cluster.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          That’ll only get faster (or the results better, but I suspect there’s a quick diminishing return). Computational power is getting cheaper, even if it looks like we’ll finally bust Moore’s law.

          On carbon taxes — it’s an externality, it really needs to be tracked and mitigated, and if we want to harness the market to do it rather than play whack-a-mole with sources and regulations, a carbon tax is the way to go. I’d start lower than the target and phase it in over five years or so — give people enough time to invest and install mitigation devices.

          (I’d also make that a dedicated revenue stream to some form of offsets. Might as well use the money from C02 emissions to further reduce C02, rather than buy another broken F-35.)Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

            That’ll only get faster (or the results better, but I suspect there’s a quick diminishing return). Computational power is getting cheaper, even if it looks like we’ll finally bust Moore’s law.

            I remember saying that 20 years ago… If we ever get a quantum computer working, the shift will be monumental, but right now, we are still happy to find ways to burn every byte of RAM and every clock cycle with finer mesh, larger domains, and more robust physics (i.e. the results are getting A LOT better, but not faster).Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              The thing about quantum computing is, other than factoring big primes, I’m not sure what we can do with it that does not work better with a very large distributed classical computing system. Which is to say, I think a lot of people don’t actually know many details of quantum algorithms, and thus are expecting some kind of gee-whiz speedup, but except for Shor’s Algorithm, no one has produced much that is potentially useful.

              I mean, “quantum speedup” is a real thing, but I’d like to see a concrete design of some real-world problem where (for example) a “Grover’s-esque” approach would actually make a material difference, particularly if QC is expensive and difficult.

              In other words, what can you do with 10,000 qubits that you can’t do better with a couple dozen Google clusters?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

                Yeah, the QC is a big question mark on the computational horizon. Until we have one, I don’t know that any of us will have any good idea what it could offer (aside from breaking encryption).

                In my field, I suspect the big advance will have something to do with being able to mesh at or near the molecular level and get a result in a reasonable amount of time, or being able to solve the implicit field all at once, instead of running a tridiag or pentadiag solver across the matrix.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon —

                In my field, I suspect the big advance will have something to do with being able to mesh at or near the molecular level and get a result in a reasonable amount of time, or being able to solve the implicit field all at once, instead of running a tridiag or pentadiag solver across the matrix.

                The thing is, no one has shown any reason to think that QC will help at all for any of these problems, even a little bit. In other words, we have a nice mathematical model of gated QC. We know the equations, the gates, what they can do, etc. So far, except for a “neat trick” that makes Shor’s work, there doesn’t seem much hope of substantial quantum speedup, and certainly no exponential speedup. It’s just seems implausible to me.

                Shor’s algorithm works because there is a number theory trick that relates probabilistic factoring to something called the abelian hidden subgroup problem, which it turns out can be solved by doing (basically) a particularly constrained Fourier transformation, which all sounds pretty great, but few real-world problems break down this way. Firstly, the quantum-Fourier algorithm cannot be used on general data. The input and output have to be constructed in a very specific way. Few things other than Shor’s have fit the profile. Likewise, the general (non-Abelian) hidden subgroup problem would open a lot of doors, but no can see any relation between that and the limited Fourier stuff that gated QC gives us.

                I mean, no one has proven that it cannot work. I expect there are new discoveries to be made. But still, this is very uncertain.

                The adiabatic stuff looks super interesting. Which, I actually know Edward Farhi in real life. (What are the odds!) But still, mapping between general problems and the constrained quantum input space is itself perhaps NP. Likewise, the demonstrated quantum speedup has been (at best) meager (and perhaps imaginary). In other words, there is no hint this will break P=NP.

                Furthermore, while polynomial-level quantum speedup seems nice, the question is, can we engineer these things in a way to compete with massively parallel classical computers? Like, if QC requires liquid nitrogen baths and hideous levels of error correction and so on, it might be the case that 100 qubits costs 10,000 times as much as a terrabit classical. Even with n^2 speedup, could we even afford to build a machine big enough to solve the problems we want to solve? Furthermore, maintaining coherence will probably have very different scaling properties than distributed classical machines. In other words, we can go from 1 terrabyte classical to 1 petabyte, and it’s just more stuff in a bigger building drawing more power. For QC, going from 10,000 coherent qubits to 100,000 coherent qubits might simply be “not possible.”

                I’m not sure how well we really understand coherence.

                (That said, I haven’t been watching the literature closely for the last six months or so. Maybe there has been something super exciting recently and I missed it.)Report

              • Ah, I love it when you talk dirty… :^)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

                You…
                Have been paying far more attention to the topic than I have.

                Thanks for the links, some interesting topics to explore.

                ETA: the way QC is talked about in the media, I thought the theoretical work was further along.Report

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