there is an atheist bus ad campaign here: "there probably is no god. so quit worrying and now go enjoy your life." richard dawkins has contributed £5,000 himself, no surprise.

when asked, the person responsible (who seems like quite a cheerful young girl) said that this was a response to bus ads preaching apocalypse and the church as a shelter from doom.

i leave judgement to the reader.


job cuts seem to be getting worse in singapore. several plants are closing down, intel & motorola. in a controversial statement, manufacturing will go the way of agriculture. both high productivity sectors, great success stories but also tradable and subject to full market competition. thus the industry revenues as share of GDP will compete itself to irrelevance compared to non-tradables like services or tradables such as commodities in which productivity gains are slight. it's still a big pie, but it's not going to be a growing one

this of course doesn't apply to all manufacturing. when you have nice shiny growing industries, you're actually really unproductive! and you earn lots of money. of course, such as clean tech are subject to a critical productivity threshold which is at least slightly inferior to the current one (then we can justify it with the superior environmental performance). hmm, next bubble?

it almost seems like a paradox of productivity until you consider that all the gains are passed on to us in the form of lower prices.


speaking of lower prices, economies of scale: on slate, article detailing that the budget for outfitting sarah palin and making her look photogenic is $150,000. it sounds a lot, until you realize it's really very little per voting audience. of course, that budget is probably higher for celebrities. when your job is looking good, some of those clothing companies want to claim those returns.

(this is a joke)
spotted on the FT: "Ford Motor was hit by a fresh blow as the investor Kirk Kerkorian began to sell his stake in the lossmaking US carmaker, saying he saw more value in his gambling and other interests. Ford shares fell 6.9%"

Now I thought this meant that he would rather take his money to a casino and blow it in vegas because it would make more sense than blowing it on ford, which would be funny and ironic. unfortunately, it turns out he has "investments" in these las vegas gaming businesses.


from dani rodrik's page: fed data shows that non-borrowed reserves of banks are close to -$200 billion.! which means that without government money, banks actually owe us money and have negative leverage. the fact that money still comes out of the ATM is testament to the fact that we have learnt a lot.


macroeconomics = "stochastic calculus porn"
if done wrongly, totally agree


research assistance:
algebra porn which masquerades as theory
lots of stata and excel

no good. boo.

keynes vs ohlin:

keynes : "transfers from germany are going to cause all of us to suffer"
ohlin: "no it's not, it's just a transfer of purchasing power"

20 years later, world war ii happens. nothing in the theory then could explain why indeed there was a transfer problem which led to a fall in global aggregate demand.

turns out keynes was right and probably he had some intuition (but no theory). but it's amazing because the actual theory isn't trivial. the distribution of world income has an effect on world expenditure when there are transport costs and real barriers to trade.

and the point today is: world distribution of income matters. the net position of countries deficits and surpluses matters. so we should worry about them.

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