Saturday, November 24, 2012

ASET Book Club

Thursday, December 6, 2012: The Race Between Education & Technology by Goldin and Katz

Table of Contents


I: Economic Growth and Distribution

1. The Human Capital Century

2. Inequality across the Twentieth Century

3. Skill-Biased Technological Change

II: Education for the Masses in Three Transformations

4. Origins of the Virtues

5. Economic Foundations of the High School Movement

6. America’s Graduation from High School

7. Mass Higher Education in the Twentieth Century

III: The Race

8. The Race between Education and Technology

9. How America Once Led and Can Win the Race for Tomorrow

Friday, November 23, 2012

2013 ASET Bookclub dates and books

2013 Book Club Titles for Consideration 

Finalize book selections and spring meeting times at our next meeting: 

Our next meeting is December 6 to discussion The Race Between Education and Technology 

Thursday evenings 5:45 – 7:00 
January 18, 2013 
February 15, 2013 
March 28, 2013 
April 25, 2013 
May 16, 2013 

A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity 

A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy 

Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change 

Currency Wars 

 “Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: Substitutes or Complements” – JEL article 

Fairness and Freedom 

Finance and the Good Society 

How Children 

Succeed Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy 

The Land of Promise 

The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity 

The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate 

Unchecked and Unbalanced –Kling will be honors speaker at MCCD – Phoenix College Feb. 20, 2013 

Why Capitalism 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Two legends in economics wrestle over the euro's future

In one corner, Robert Mundell, 79. In the other, 84-year old Allan Meltzer. Two respected economists on opposite sides of the euro debate.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spontaneous or Planned: A Sharp Dichotomy, or a Gradient?

This blog post is well worth a read, it helped inform my view of social orders and society as found in our book club book - Why Nations Fail.

The first thing of importance I have noted is Klein, at least in the opening chapter, seems to posit a sharp dichotomy between spontaneous orders and planned orders. He uses the example of roller skaters in a rink: either they are each skating purely as they wish, or their movements are entirely planned by a “wise” planner. (This may well be modified by Klein later, but even if so, I have seen others treat this topic as if this was a simple dichotomy, so my remarks are, I think, worth making anyway.)

But real social orders are rarely (ever?) of either extreme. The extremes are ideal types, and real orders more or less instantiate the types. Take musical groups, a social structure with which I have fair familiarity. Even in an orchestra, which is well towards the planned end of the range, the individual musicians still have room for individual creativity and expression. (Otherwise it is hard to imagine anyone spending their life playing in orchestras.) And even the most free-form, improvisational jazz group needs some planning: “OK, we’ll start at eight, and end at about eleven.” Spontaneous or Planned: A Sharp Dichotomy, or a Gradient?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rent seeking and the political process . . .

There are only a few dozen Americans who have given at least $1 million to super PACs this election cycle, and Kareem Ahmed is one of them. If you manage to talk to him, he’ll tell you a lot. He’ll tell you all about a class of pharmaceuticals, called compound drugs, which he is in the business of promoting, and which have been the subject of a contentious debate in California, where he lives and works. He’ll tell you to read ProPublica’s reporting about Big Pharma. He’ll tell you House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is his best friend. He’ll tell you about his dream to someday take the proceeds of his business and build the largest non-profit children’s hospital in the world in Southern California’s Inland Empire. He’ll tell you how he fixed Democratic political strategist Paul Begala’s knee. He’ll tell you how much he loves President Barack Obama, whom he has met on a number of occasions.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

10 Ways Walmart Changed the World

Everyday Low Prices


The Retail Landscape (Literally)

The Decline of the Labor Movement

Supplier Partnerships

The Cult of Walmart

Data-Driven Management

The Culture of Overconsumption


The Power of Access

Read more:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Race Between Education and Technology

Receiving a better education than one’s parents sounds like a tenet of the American Dream, but it’s a reality more commonly achieved in other developed nations.

The U.S. ranked fourth-worst among 29 developed countries for children obtaining a higher level of education than their parents, according to a report released Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

US Country report

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Robber Barons

Well worth a read:

J. Bradford DeLong

University of California at Berkeley, and NBER

first draft October 13, 1997; second draft January 1, 1998

I. Introduction

"Robber Barons": that was what U.S. political and economic commentator Matthew Josephson (1934) called the economic princes of his own day. Today we call them "billionaires." Our capitalist economy--any capitalist economy--throws up such enormous concentrations of wealth: those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, driven and smart enough to see particular economic opportunities and seize them, foresighted enough to have gathered a large share of the equity of a highly-profitable enterprise into their hands, and well-connected enough to fend off political attempts to curb their wealth (or well-connected enough to make political favors the foundation of their wealth).

Matthew Jos

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Meaning of Cheating, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

The Meaning of Cheating, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

For many students, college is less about providing an education than a credential--a certificate testifying that they are smart enough to get into college, conformist enough to go, and compliant enough to stay there for four years.

When I was a senior, one of my professors asked wonderingly, "Why is it that you guys spend so much time trying to get as little as possible for your money?" The answer, Caplan says, is that they're mostly there for a credential, not learning. "Why does cheating work?" he points out. If you were really just in college to learn skills, it would be totally counterproductive. "If you don't learn the material, then you will have less human capital and the market will punish you--there's no reason for us to do it." But since they think the credential matters more than the education, they look for ways to get the credential as painlessly as possible.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sheila Bair’s new book

Tyler Cowen ends his review:

This tract is a performance of terror, in good and bad ways.  Few books will teach you more about the politics of bureaucracy and regulation, though not exactly as the author intends

Sheila Bair’s new book

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Possible Book Club Book?

Table of Contents

1 Introduction Technological Change and the Constitutional Future Jeffrey Rosen

part one 2 Is the Fourth Amendment Relevant in a Technological Age? Christopher Slobogin

3 Use Restrictions and the Future of Surveillance Law Orin S. Kerr

4 Cyberthreat, Government Network Operations, and the Fourth Amendment Jack Goldsmith

part two

5 The Deciders: Facebook, Google, and the Future of Privacy and Free Speech Jeffrey Rosen

6 Is Filtering Censorship? The Second Free Speech Tradition Tim Wu

7 A Mutual Aid Treaty for the Internet Jonathan Zittrain

part three

8 Neuroscience and the Future of Personhood and Responsibility Stephen J. Morse

9 Cognitive Neuroscience and the Future of Punishment O. Carter Snead

part four

10 Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Technology in 2030 John A. Robertson

11 The Problems and Possibilities of Modern Genetics: A Paradigm for Social, Ethical, and Political Analysis Eric Cohen and Robert P. George

12 Endowed by Their Creator? The Future of Constitutional Personhood James Boyle

13 Innovation’s Darker Future: Biosecurity, Technologies of Mass Empowerment, and the Constitution Benjamin Wittes

14 epilogue

Translating and Transforming

Technological changes are posing stark challenges to America's core values. Basic constitutional principles find themselves under stress from stunning advances that were unimaginable even a few decades ago, much less during the Founders' era. Policymakers and scholars must begin thinking about how constitutional principles are being tested by technological change and how to ensure that those principles can be preserved without hindering technological progress.

Constitution 3.0, a product of the Brookings Institution's landmark Future of the Constitution program, presents an invaluable roadmap for responding to the challenge of adapting our constitutional values to future technological developments. Renowned legal analysts Jeffrey Rosen and Benjamin Wittes asked a diverse group of leading scholars to imagine plausible technological developments in or near the year 2025 that would stress current constitutional law and to propose possible solutions. Some tackled issues certain to arise in the very near future, while others addressed more speculative or hypothetical questions. Some favor judicial responses to the scenarios they pose; others prefer legislative or regulatory responses.

Here is a sampling of the questions raised and answered in Constitution 3.0:

• How do we ensure our security in the face of the biotechnology revolution and our overwhelming dependence on internationally networked computers?

• How do we protect free speech and privacy in a world in which Google and Facebook have more control than any government or judge?

• How will advances in brain scan technologies affect the constitutional right against self-incrimination?

• Are Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure obsolete in an age of ubiquitous video and unlimited data storage and processing?

• How vigorously should society and the law respect the autonomy of individuals to manipulate their genes and design their own babies?

Individually and collectively, the deeply thoughtful analyses in Constitution 3.0 present an innovative roadmap for adapting our core legal values, in the interest of keeping the Constitution relevant through the 21st century.

Contributors include Jamie Boyle, Erich Cohen, Robert George, Jack Goldsmith, Orin Kerr, Lawrence Lessig, Stephen Morse, John Robertson, Jeffrey Rosen, Christopher Slobogin, O. Carter Snead, Benjamin Wittes, Tim Wu, and Jonathan Zittrain.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

That Blurry Line Between Makers and Takers

That Blurry Line Between Makers and Takers


Published: October 13, 2012

OF MAKING AND TAKING The correct distinction is not “makers versus takers.” The problem is that taking, rather than making wealth, appears to be growing in relative influence.

Most of us are actually both makers and takers. Consider farmers who produce food and favor agricultural subsidies. The question is whether the role of wealth maker has more influence over our politics, at any given time, than does the taker role. Is public policy being adjudicated on grounds of ethics and efficiency, or is the real story about lobbying and the relative power of different interest groups?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Randy Newman

The Race Between Education and Technology

Part one of Goldin and Katz's book - Economic Growth and Distribution is a focus on understanding the causes and consequences of economic change. In the introduction to their book, the authors write:

The connection between the American Century and the Human Capital Century concerns the role of education in economic growth and individual productivity. (2)

I found the method of argument in this book fascinating. The authors use the prism of the labor market to better understand US economic change - the demand for labor being influenced by technological change and the supply of labor being influenced by education. They also make an observation and pose a question:

In sharp contrast to economic growth, (over the period of the 20th century) which was relatively continuous, economic inequality was discontinuous. (3)

Belief confronts reason - a story of tragedy . . .

The story of Michael Quinn is, I think, an important one that reveals a great deal about the tension between faith and reason in our society. The tenant of tolerance is a bedrock foundation for liberty and responsibility. Our country has historically struggled with a resolution for this tension, this story is one that provides insight into that struggle.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What really happened - a book recommendation.

Much the best economics book on the fall calendar therefore (to be published next month) is a slender account about the circumstances that led to that near meltdown in September 2008, and an explanation of why they were not apparent until the last moment.  Misunderstanding Financial Crises: Why We Don’t See Them Coming (Oxford University Press), by Gary Gorton, of Yale University’s School of Management, mentions hardly any of the firms involved in the 2008 smash-up; it spends little time explaining the overnight repurchase agreements that were at the center of the bank funding crisis (his earlier book, Slapped By the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007, did that).