Day: November 23, 2014

Deirdre McCloskey on Piketty’s definition of wealth in the Age of Human Capital

Three Theories of Justice

Ethical Realism

I will discuss three theories of justice: Mill’s Utilitarianism, Rawls’s Justice as Fairness, and Nozick’s libertarianism. Much of my understanding of theories of justice comes from Business Ethics (Third Edition) by Willian H. Shaw. I will expand my discussion of justice by considering objections to each of these theories, but I do not necessarily endorse any of the objections and there could be good counterarguments against them.

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Again with the 90-day trial

Groping towards Bethlehem

Several years ago, New Zealand law was changed to allow smaller employers a 90-day trial period for new employees (yes, you wag, ‘smaller’ is measured in number of employees not in centimetres). In the trial period, employers could simply let people go, no harm, no foul. This provision was later extended to all employers.

The Council of Trade Unions did not approve in 2010:

The 90-day trials are part of a “low road” approach to employment. In the 1990s this road led employers to rely on low wages and skills, building a distrustful and ultimately unsustainable workplace environment. It corrodes the trust required for those wishing to take the “high road” of long term, respectful employment relationships which strengthen productivity, skills, work satisfaction, and wages.

According to CTU President Helen Kelly, it still does not approve in 2014:

“The infamous 90 day trial period is a flop. There is…

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Got drunk last weekend, either stole a cat or it followed me home–charlottesville.craigslist

image 1

So this post is pretty straightforward — if the cat in the picture is yours please email me. I got pretty drunk last weekend and when I woke up (around 9AM this past Sunday) there was a cat sleeping in the corner of my room. No collar but seems trained.

via Got drunk last weekend, either stole a cat or it followed me home.

Explaining The Gender Wage Gap

The Dish

Economist Claudia Goldin suggests that a bias against workplace flexibility is to blame:

Many companies still richly reward people who are available and work long, continuous hours, Goldin says. They give premium pay to certain key players – mostly men who don’t take time off for children or aging relatives. So women or men who need flexible schedules obtain them “at a high price, particularly in the corporate, finance and legal worlds,” Goldin writes in her paper. Technology and science fields are better off in pay equity, as are certain health care careers. … “It isn’t, quote, a women’s issue,” says Goldin in an interview with Quartz. The pay disparity shows up equally when male MBAs need reduced schedules or time off for personal or family needs.

Previous Dish on the wage gap and workplace flexibility here, hereherehere, and here.

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US – The education gap is a main reason for the growing income divide says Standard & Poor

Job Market Monitor

Technological achievement has saved us time and reconfigured our daily routines, allowing us to focus on our own skills and boosting productivity and growth. These advances are naturally disruptive in the beginning as workers adjust; that disruption becomes alarming when people don’t have the means to adapt, making a lasting impact on career development.

Although the U.S. has been fairly quick to adapt in the past, today’s workers have been left behind by technological change. Indeed, while recent advances now require many workers to have graduated from college, the supply of college-educated workers hasn’t kept up with demand–and even the fraction of high school graduates has stopped climbing.

This education gap is a main reason for the growing income divide, and it affects both wages and net worth. From a wage perspective, occupations that typically require postsecondary education generally paid much higher median wages ($57,770 in 2012)–more than double those…

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The new board game for the Left over Left

Peter G. Klein: Coase and the Austrians

Study of Economics


Ronald Coase passed away yesterday [2nd September] at the age of 102.  Coase is one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century, perhaps of all time. […] Coase was no Austrian, but was friendly with many Austrian economists, was deeply critical of modern positivism and instrumentalism, and was skeptical of most regulations. Austrians have generally rejected Coase’s approach to property rights, externalities, and liability (see Block, 1977Rothbard 1982, and Cordato, 1992, for examples of a large literature). However, Coase’s insight that legal entitlements are often traded, and that trading partners can often “contract around” legal and regulatory barriers, is important and useful, even if contemporary law-and-economics scholarship has drawn the mistaken implication that judges can somehow use this insight to determine the “optimal” allocation of property rights.

From Ronald H. Coase, Founding Scholar in Law and Economics, 1910-2013:


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Misunderstanding Reserve Currencies and the Gold Standard

Uneasy Money

In Friday’s Wall Street Journal, Lewis Lehrman and John Mueller argue for replacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency with gold. I don’t know Lewis Lehrman, but almost 30 years ago, when I was writing my book Free Banking and Monetary Reform, which opposed restoring the gold standard, I received financial support from the Lehrman Institute where I gave a series of seminars discussing several chapters of my book. A couple of those seminars were attended by John Mueller, who was then a staffer for Congressman Jack Kemp. But despite my friendly feelings for Lehrman and Mueller, I am afraid that they badly misunderstand how the gold standard worked and what went wrong with the gold standard in the 1920s. Not surprisingly, that misunderstanding carries over into their comments on current monetary arrangements.

Lehrman and Mueller begin by discussing the 1922 Genoa Conference, a conference largely inspired…

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Egypt takes aim at Hamas’ terror tunnels | Where are the protestors?


…Egypt is considering creating a huge, 1,000-meter buffer zone in the Sinai Peninsula – they have already evicted 10,000 people in the process of clearing the first 500 meters — and digging a deep-water trench that would flood any future efforts to carve subterranean routes for smuggling weapons and terrorists in and out of Gaza.


And unlike the fierce resistance and international public relations campaign Hamas mounted against Israel in August, the terrorist group that governs Gaza appears to not be seeking a head-on fight with Cairo.

Egypt takes aim at Hamas’ terror tunnels | Fox News.