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Official BBO Hijacked Thread Thread No, it's not about that

#3341 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-March-13, 19:51

From Tyler Cowen's conversation with Raghuram Rajan:

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COWEN: And to close, last question: what general message would you like to leave us with concerning your new book, The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind?

RAJAN: In many ways, this book is my view of why capitalism worked and why itís not working as much anymore. Central to this view is how important democracy is ó democracy working through the community, the community pushing its ideas up. And to some extent, that we need to regain that ability for capitalism to work for all.

Thatís the effective capitalism that took us in the West over the last 70 years to where we are. Itís where I think we could go in the East, but we need that spreading of capitalismís benefits. And there I think democracy, in opening up capitalism and keeping it open, is extremely important. Thatís why I focus in this book on the community, because it seems to me that the community is a basic building block of democracy.

Itís the guy at the bottom, who has no influence, who is essentially saying, ďI want capitalism to work for meĒ ó thatís when capitalism actually works. Itís when everything is determined at the top that it stops working and we get the crony states. Whether they be socialist crony states, or fascist crony states, or even some versions of capitalist crony states.

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#3342 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-March-15, 07:35

How a Bitcoin Evangelist Made Himself Vanish, in 15 (Not So Easy) Steps
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#3343 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-March-15, 08:13

View Posty66, on 2019-March-13, 19:51, said:

From Tyler Cowen's conversation with Raghuram Rajan:



It's an interesting interview but it hops around a lot. For eample:

Quote

COWEN: Why doesn't online education work better, then? What's special about face to face?

RAJAN: I think you need both. Look, face to face in my class — when I look at a student and they're not prepared, they feel a sense of embarrassment. It's hard to get that sense of embarrassment across the net, at least in full measure.

COWEN: You can text them an insult. [laughs]

RAJAN: You could text them an insult. It's not as powerful, I would think.



Then on to something else.

In the passage that you cite
"It's the guy at the bottom, who has no influence, who is essentially saying, "I want capitalism to work for me" — that's when capitalism actually works."

Ok, but further thoughts?
With online education I think a lot of it is very badly done. A lot of books are badly written, but with guidance we can choose the better ones. Also, learning comes in several forms. We need to accumulate facts, and for this we need a trusted source of facts. But education, at its best, can also involve conceptual development. Personal interaction can play a big role in this.

My point is that the discussion of online education came and went so quickly that I barely noticed it. The guy sounds interesting and I would like to have heard more.
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#3344 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-March-16, 12:04

View Postkenberg, on 2019-March-15, 08:13, said:

It's an interesting interview but it hops around a lot. For eample:


Then on to something else.

In the passage that you cite
"It's the guy at the bottom, who has no influence, who is essentially saying, "I want capitalism to work for me" ó that's when capitalism actually works."

Ok, but further thoughts?
With online education I think a lot of it is very badly done. A lot of books are badly written, but with guidance we can choose the better ones. Also, learning comes in several forms. We need to accumulate facts, and for this we need a trusted source of facts. But education, at its best, can also involve conceptual development. Personal interaction can play a big role in this.

My point is that the discussion of online education came and went so quickly that I barely noticed it. The guy sounds interesting and I would like to have heard more.

As Cowen points out, this is the interview he wants to have, not the interview his audience wants to have although he does ask people ahead of time to send him their questions. As you point out, the exchanges are not deep.

I've taken a few online classes in programming languages. The course materials were exceptional and, for self motivated individuals, hard to beat. I would put them on a par or above some of the better traditional classes I've taken in programming languages. That's a small sample but I did not see a problem with quality in my sample. My best classroom teachers had an amazing ability to spark interest which I didn't get from the online classes I took. Rajan's point that you need both makes obvious sense to me.

I think Rajan gets at something important and true about capitalism and democracy in that short exchange which is that they have to work at all levels, not just for the people at the top. Yes obvious, but also not so obvious, which is why we have the Trump tax cut, why we have Trump and why we are a divided nation and a divided water cooler.
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#3345 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-March-16, 14:46

I wonder what would happen if everyone who is not a billionaire suddenly stopped working? Who is John Gestalt?
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#3346 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-March-16, 14:55

View Posty66, on 2019-March-16, 12:04, said:

I think Rajan gets at something important and true about capitalism and democracy in that short exchange which is that they have to work at all levels, not just for the people at the top. Yes obvious, but also not so obvious, which is why we have the Trump tax cut, why we have Trump and why we are a divided nation and a divided water cooler.


Yes, or approximately yes. If you were (via a seance) to ask my father "Did capitalism work for you" I am sure he would have no idea what the question meant. Let's look at it just a bit differently. My father came to this country when he was 10, brought by his older brother, 16. Ask him if he thought this was a good move. Oh yes. I am again completely sure that he would see the answer as so obvious that he could not imagine what sort of an idiot would even ask. He came in 1910, Taft was president, it was two years after Ford introduced the model T. He somehow learned to install weatherstripping and made his living that way. To put it mildly, the world has changed. Or has it? There is this guy, Leo, who comes around from time to time to see if we need any trees chopped down. He used to bring his girlfriend with him to handle the conversation but his English now is pretty good.

I would like to have heard much more about Rajan's thoughts on this, For starters he could say what he thinks it would mean for capitalism to be working for everyone. It's not just my father who would wonder about just what is meant.

As to learning, yes, I agree that there can be some good stuff. I still like books.
Ken
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#3347 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-March-17, 05:57

Timothy Egan at NYT is hopeful that Brexit could lead to a united Ireland free of interference from Britain after 800 years. Proudly progressive, increasingly free of religious and foreign oppression and last year the fastest growing economy in Europe. Erin go Bragh!
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#3348 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-March-17, 06:29

View Posty66, on 2019-March-17, 05:57, said:

Timothy Egan at NYT is hopeful that Brexit could lead to a united Ireland free of interference from Britain after 800 years. Proudly progressive, increasingly free of religious and foreign oppression and last year the fastest growing economy in Europe. Erin go Bragh!


Free of religious oppression - both sides are dictated by religious dogma, look at the abortion laws which are decades behind the rest of the UK.
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#3349 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-March-17, 09:59

View PostCyberyeti, on 2019-March-17, 06:29, said:

Free of religious oppression - both sides are dictated by religious dogma, look at the abortion laws which are decades behind the rest of the UK.

I meant "increasingly free" in the sense that freedom is increasing, not that it is at an acceptable level or on a par with Ireland's oppressors. A gay prime minister of Irish-Indian descent is not proof that Ireland is free but it does suggest that the days of religious oppression are ending which they are.
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#3350 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-March-17, 10:34

View Postkenberg, on 2019-March-16, 14:55, said:

Yes, or approximately yes. If you were (via a seance) to ask my father "Did capitalism work for you" I am sure he would have no idea what the question meant. Let's look at it just a bit differently. My father came to this country when he was 10, brought by his older brother, 16. Ask him if he thought this was a good move. Oh yes. I am again completely sure that he would see the answer as so obvious that he could not imagine what sort of an idiot would even ask. He came in 1910, Taft was president, it was two years after Ford introduced the model T. He somehow learned to install weatherstripping and made his living that way. To put it mildly, the world has changed. Or has it? There is this guy, Leo, who comes around from time to time to see if we need any trees chopped down. He used to bring his girlfriend with him to handle the conversation but his English now is pretty good.

I would like to have heard much more about Rajan's thoughts on this, For starters he could say what he thinks it would mean for capitalism to be working for everyone. It's not just my father who would wonder about just what is meant.

As to learning, yes, I agree that there can be some good stuff. I still like books.

My grandfather came over from Ireland 5 years before your uncle and your father. He saw that cars were catching on and made a good living as a car salesman. He was not an economist but I feel sure he would have agreed that a system in which the minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, has declined by a third over the last half century, while worker productivity has increased 150 percent, is not working for everyone. I see that my library has Mr. Rajan's book which is out on loan. I've placed a hold. When it becomes available, I'll see if he has more to say on this topic and perhaps post more here.
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#3351 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-March-18, 08:33

View Posty66, on 2019-March-17, 10:34, said:

My grandfather came over from Ireland 5 years before your uncle and your father. He saw that cars were catching on and made a good living as a car salesman. He was not an economist but I feel sure he would have agreed that a system in which the minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, has declined by a third over the last half century, while worker productivity has increased 150 percent, is not working for everyone. I see that my library has Mr. Rajan's book which is out on loan. I've placed a hold. When it becomes available, I'll see if he has more to say on this topic and perhaps post more here.


It would be good to pin down, at least some, just what the problems and the goals are. If we look at minimum wage when I was young, 75 cents an hour, it matches up pretty well with today's federal minimum wage of $7,25 when inflation is factored in.The inflation calculator at https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ tells me that $1.00 in 1953 equates to $9.40 in 2019. If you multiply 0.75 by 9.40 you get 7.05. And many states have a higher rate than the 7.25. The 1950s are often spoken of as something of a golden age for the working man, so it might be worthwhile to ask just why it is that we do not have such a rosy view of today's situation. I look back on my adolescent years in the 1950s with pleasure. Of course we forget some of the less pleasant things but still, I think that they were good years. And I gather that many young people today are finding it tough. So what is the explanation? The minimum wage does not seem to be the whole story.No doubt part of the story is that I was white and male. But the young women that I knew were pretty optimistic about life also. I definitely am not saying that people are just imagining things when they worry about how things are going, but I am saying that the minimum wage seems to not be the most important part of the story. Optimism seems hard to come by right now. Just why is worth exploring.
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#3352 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-March-18, 08:55

View Postkenberg, on 2019-March-18, 08:33, said:

It would be good to pin down, at least some, just what the problems and the goals are. If we look at minimum wage when I was young, 75 cents an hour, it matches up pretty well with today's federal minimum wage of $7,25 when inflation is factored in.The inflation calculator at https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ tells me that $1.00 in 1953 equates to $9.40 in 2019. If you multiply 0.75 by 9.40 you get 7.05. And many states have a higher rate than the 7.25. The 1950s are often spoken of as something of a golden age for the working man, so it might be worthwhile to ask just why it is that we do not have such a rosy view of today's situation. I look back on my adolescent years in the 1950s with pleasure. Of course we forget some of the less pleasant things but still, I think that they were good years. And I gather that many young people today are finding it tough. So what is the explanation? The minimum wage does not seem to be the whole story.No doubt part of the story is that I was white and male. But the young women that I knew were pretty optimistic about life also. I definitely am not saying that people are just imagining things when they worry about how things are going, but I am saying that the minimum wage seems to not be the most important part of the story. Optimism seems hard to come by right now. Just why is worth exploring.

For me, "capitalism that works for everyone" does not mean that real income levels do not fall over time. It means that the benefits of growth in output are shared in ways that reasonable people agree are fair. For example, if output per worker grows by 150% in a span of 50 years, then reasonable people might agree that real income levels should increase by some amount closer to 150% than zero.
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#3353 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-March-18, 11:49

View Posty66, on 2019-March-18, 08:55, said:

For me, "capitalism that works for everyone" does not mean that real income levels do not fall over time. It means that the benefits of growth in output are shared in ways that reasonable people agree are fair. For example, if output per worker grows by 150% in a span of 50 years, then reasonable people might agree that real income levels should increase by some amount closer to 150% than zero.


I think this really does reflect a difference in views that I have noticed. People speak much more of income inequality than they used to. I worry that concentration of wealth can screw things up, I think it is a serious danger, but that's where my worry is focused. If my life is going well enough, I just don't worry, and never much have, about the unfairness of the distribution of wealth. It goes way back. When I was in high school I somehow got into a conversation with my girlfriend's father about future plans and I explained that I wanted to go to college because I was really interested on math and physics, but as long as it paid adequately for my needs i really didn't care much beyond that. He probably spoke to his daughter about this later! When I started college and met various people this fellow student suggested we all bike out to her parent's place on White Bear Lake where they owned, among other things, a boat with a 70 horsepower inboard that we could ski behind. While we were biking she explained that her parents were thinking of selling their house in Florida since they also had a house in St. Paul and the house on White Bear Lake, and three houses were really too much, didn't I agree. It gave me a story that I could tell for years about how I had to restrain myself from saying "Yes, I was just the other day telling my father that three houses are really too much". But I didn't envy her. I just enjoyed the day.

I do worry that kids today do not have as easy a life as I had, and in a country as rich as this, that's just crazy. I want kids to be secure and I want them to have access to a good education. If some other kid gets an Alpha Romeo for his sixteenth birthday, that's fine. I always liked the Alfie, but I bought a 1947 Plymouth for $175. It my date didn't like it, she could hunt up the guy with the Alpha Romeo.And I got into college without my parents bribing anyone.

I do think that heavy concentration of wealth is dangerous. That bothers me.

Ken
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#3354 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted Yesterday, 12:37

View Postkenberg, on 2019-March-18, 11:49, said:

I think this really does reflect a difference in views that I have noticed. People speak much more of income inequality than they used to. I worry that concentration of wealth can screw things up, I think it is a serious danger, but that's where my worry is focused. If my life is going well enough, I just don't worry, and never much have, about the unfairness of the distribution of wealth. It goes way back. When I was in high school I somehow got into a conversation with my girlfriend's father about future plans and I explained that I wanted to go to college because I was really interested on math and physics, but as long as it paid adequately for my needs i really didn't care much beyond that. He probably spoke to his daughter about this later! When I started college and met various people this fellow student suggested we all bike out to her parent's place on White Bear Lake where they owned, among other things, a boat with a 70 horsepower inboard that we could ski behind. While we were biking she explained that her parents were thinking of selling their house in Florida since they also had a house in St. Paul and the house on White Bear Lake, and three houses were really too much, didn't I agree. It gave me a story that I could tell for years about how I had to restrain myself from saying "Yes, I was just the other day telling my father that three houses are really too much". But I didn't envy her. I just enjoyed the day.

I do worry that kids today do not have as easy a life as I had, and in a country as rich as this, that's just crazy. I want kids to be secure and I want them to have access to a good education. If some other kid gets an Alpha Romeo for his sixteenth birthday, that's fine. I always liked the Alfie, but I bought a 1947 Plymouth for $175. It my date didn't like it, she could hunt up the guy with the Alpha Romeo.And I got into college without my parents bribing anyone.

I do think that heavy concentration of wealth is dangerous. That bothers me.


A problem I have is in the necessity to bow to capitalistic principles at all costs. Education comes to my mind. I have no problem with students being required to pay for higher education - but why should a third-party affiliate profit from that government investment? Why aren't student loans interest free?
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#3355 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted Yesterday, 13:45

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-March-20, 12:37, said:

A problem I have is in the necessity to bow to capitalistic principles at all costs. Education comes to my mind. I have no problem with students being required to pay for higher education - but why should a third-party affiliate profit from that government investment? Why aren't student loans interest free?


It would be good to keep the interest rate down but maybe not 0. Student loans are another of those things that have become complicated. Sometimes they can be forgiven, but not easily and I am not sure that the rules can be relied on not to change. As a student I
A. Had a scholarship. This did not need to be paid back and I didn't.
B. Took out a student loan. This was to be paid back in full and I did.
I liked the clarity. Scholarship meant don't pay it back, loan meant do pay it back.
Now loan seems to mean maybe you have to pay it back, maybe not, we will let you know what we decide you have to do to maybe get some or maybe all of it forgiven if you can figure out the rules and if we don't change them.
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#3356 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted Yesterday, 14:25

The ROI for student loans should come over a lifetime of greater productivity, not from interest on a loan. The U.S. government is in the enviable position of being able to lend the amounts necessary without needing to profit directly from the loan.

Monetary ROI is an idea of capitalism that should not be involved in a governmental decision.

It makes no sense that a bank can borrow from the Fed for 2.5% yet a student has to pay 5.05% for an undergraduate loan.
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