Another Greedy Capitalist

Her name is Gina Rinehart:

Now, the Australian mining heiress, worth $19 billion and earlier this year thought to be the world’s richest woman, has sparked another controversy in her latest column in Australian Resources and Investment magazine. (Yes, I am a registered reader online.) Rinehart rails against class warfare and says the non-rich . . . → Read More: Another Greedy Capitalist

Heartiste’s Questions

Regarding the future:

1. How is the present automation and productivity conundrum qualitatively different than ones from the past (for example, the classic case of the auto replacing the horse and carriage)? If you do not believe it is qualitatively different, explain how we escape the “zero marginal productivity” worker trap, especially in an . . . → Read More: Heartiste’s Questions

Working Hard in the Garden

Thanks for the article from Laura Ryan

I worked in the garden all day yesterday. I was trying to clean out all of the winter nastiness because I heard that we were having an early spring. I raked and hauled off leaves, pulled vines, tended the soil, and picked up an trash that had . . . → Read More: Working Hard in the Garden


This is what happens when you drop out of econ 101 halfway through:

When you make a few hundred dollars an hour, it costs you more to mow your own lawn than it does just to pay someone to do it for you. Of course, this simple math is something that most of the . . . → Read More: ECONomics

The Squirrel and the Grasshopper

The text below was forwarded to me a few years ago and I rediscovered it today. I’ve edited it to take out Australian specific references. The Squirrel and the Grasshopper story really resonated with me when I first heard it as a kid. I thought the squirrel was prudent. I’m sure other kids felt . . . → Read More: The Squirrel and the Grasshopper

Logical Conclusions

Sometimes economists can be complete idiots:

What is the biggest single drag on the beleaguered global economy? Opponents of globalisation might point to the current crisis, which shrank the world economy by about 5%. Proponents of globalisation might point to the remaining barriers to international flows of goods and capital, which also serve to . . . → Read More: Logical Conclusions

Maybe It’s Time to Give Up on Africa


Britain’s international aid budget costs the equivalent of 22 days of national borrowing from international markets. By 2015, British Aid will have increased by 34.2% to £11.5 billion per annum. Including personal donations and state spending, Britain gives 0.8% of GDP in international aid. With state aid increasing, more people should ask: Why . . . → Read More: Maybe It’s Time to Give Up on Africa

Man vs. Machines

This post will be useful in the fall, when I hold a Principles of Microeconomics class. In that class we take a look at the market for labor, including productivity. We know that if we add a production input, like labor, but hold other inputs (like capital equipment) steady, that marginal improvements to output . . . → Read More: Man vs. Machines

Human Capital, Labor Market and Economic Growth

The OECD recently published the international comparison of the gap in employment rates between university graduates and workers with secondary education or less (link). There is no single exception to the fact that the employment rate is the highest in the group of individuals with college and university degree. Nonetheless, the comparison of the . . . → Read More: Human Capital, Labor Market and Economic Growth

The Tax Wedge and Productivity in OECD Countries

The OECD Factblog highlighted a comparison of tax burden across the OECD countries. The main findings of the comparison is that overall tax burden, measured as a percentage of labor costs, is the highest in Western European countries. Belgium, Hungary, Germany and France are the countries with the highest overall tax burden while Ireland, . . . → Read More: The Tax Wedge and Productivity in OECD Countries