At times NobodyisFlyingthePlane will be a diatribe about the current state of affairs in the US and the world at large, at other times it will be an evidentiary discussion of the problem, and most of the time it will just be a collection of links I wanted to share.
The book author and the reviewer consider the value and importance of the statistics that make our economy “the” Economy.
The consensus seems that focusing on a small handful of statistical indicators of economic well being is short sighted. Especially our emphasis on unemployment, GDP , and the CPI.
“no one number will suffice.” Modern economies are complicated, with a vast range of products and services. G.D.P. was adequate for the age of mass production, but adding up the components of today’s American economy is not the same as adding up the number of cars rolling off the assembly line.
Even more important is a distinction not made clearly in the book, namely the difference between economic activity and society’s well-being. We need a measure of total activity, but G.D.P. cannot indicate how good economic prospects are for the next generation, or even for a majority of us today. The so-called leading indicators no longer answer the most important questions people are raising about how they live.
Its hard to endorse an idea without knowing more of the details, but this article suggests an idea worth considering. Replacing the current social safety net with one that is both simpler and more effective sounds great. Especially when looked at from the Alaskan perspective.
Alaska has a small version, called a Permanent Fund Dividend, which is incredibly popular and made the state one of the most economically equal places in America. Importantly, Alaskans don’t consider it “redistribution,” but rather “joint ownership.”
You can’t argue that America, as a country, is successful, and we might even say profitable. If we accept the premise that all citizens jointly own what this country represents and what it is to be American, then you could look at the safety net as a reward for the general success of our country, society, and government. If we accept that social stability and the absence of civil unrest are essential elements of what makes our country successful then we have to accept that they are parts of what make all companies operating here successful. If we turn around the idea and the nature of the safety net from redistribution or entitlement to reward for joint ownership we could develop a platform that delivers the social stability needed.
The staff is completely behind this proposal. Our country needs some additional paths to retirement security. Getting all workers into a plan that reaps the rewards of investing in capital markets is a necessary addition.
The proposed $.50 per hour going toward retirement would do much more for the individual and society than a $.50 per hour raise in minimum wage.
NYTimes: Capitalize Workers!
More transparency especially on costs can only help the healthcare industry.
Opaque billing and costs in Medicare and throughout the industry are a huge part of the problem.
I just hope there is no way to mine data about patients from this.
NYTimes: Sliver of Medicare Doctors Get Big Share of Payouts
Human trafficking and workers who are paid $6000/year while their company charges the Military more than $60,000/year. This is what happens when a few companies have monopolized a business and they are left to do as they please.
NYTimes: Worker Abuse at American Bases
Wise words about the evolving and imprecise nature of economics. They recommend caution and care when advocating and implementing economic policy.
The analogy comparing economic science to medical science 200 years ago was very interesting.
NYTimes: When the Scientist Is Also a Philosopher
Finally a taste of their own medicine. A new company is gathering data about corporations and putting it all in one place.
Expect to see some reports about the nefarious deeds of certain companies as a result of this data aggregation.
Shortly after a new corporate scandal erupts exect to see corporate lobbying for rules about data aggregation, privacy, etc.
I wonder if this data could show just how much corporate welfare companies rely on.
NYTimes: A Harvest of Company Details, All in One Basket