Friday, November 11, 2011

Can bad long distance relationships save us from China?

United Statesagriculture: 1.1%
industry: 22.1%
services: 76.8% (2010 est.)

If there is one trend in economic history, it is that technology makes society more productive.  What we mean by that is it gets cheaper and easier to make "stuff".  The stuff we made was traditionally pretty generic and broadly usable, and fell primarily into the agriculture and industry segments of the economy, but, as you can see from the lede, our economy is very much service focused nowadays.  The thing about the service industry is that it's all about activities that heavily feature interpersonal communication, and as anyone who has been in a long distance relationship (or collaboration) knows, interpersonal communication does not work too great over distance.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

deregulation, tax reform, capital gains cuts, and corporate tax cuts

For those of you just joining American Politics, the title describes the "conservative" "solution" to the economy (not just our current economic problems, but all economic problems at all times).  Now, I have varying feelings about the items in this list.  I basically think that capital gains should be treated as regular income, which couldn't be farther from the conservative position.  By way of contrast, I think that certain kinds of tax reform (mostly in terms of loophole removal) would be awesome for both corporations and people, and I think that the government could do a lot of good by removing regulations created to protect incumbent businesses from entrepreneurial competition.  But! I think it is crystal clear that none of these things are solutions to the current economic crisis.  In case you disagree with me, I did a little research and made some charts.