Daily Archives: April 13, 2018

Harsh words about religion and the religious are not new


Are We Entering The “Grand Minimum?”


This incredible picture is from NOAA and shows the sun which is going through an extremely low activity period — the lowest since 2009.  The picture is breathtaking.  There is a discussion of whether we are into what scientists call a “grand minimum,” which could cause global cooling.

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.@moturesearch finds NZ #equalpayday is 1 Jan for under-30s! What happens then? A tsunami of unconscious bias with a rapier ability to detect ages?

From Dave Mare at https://wol.iza.org/articles/the-labor-market-in-new-zealand/long

How the Quakers became unlikely economic innovators by inventing the price tag

Mostly Economics

We tend to associate economic developments with big theories and big bang reforms. But dig into economic history and you realise how small things matter much more. Infact, we take several things for granted today but when they were introduced sometime in history they created a revolution of sorts. For instance bar codes, shipping containers and so on.

Add price tags to the list as well. This video tells us how Quakers ended up inventing the price tag. The circumstances were unusual driven by morality and opposition to frequent price changes:

Belying its simplicity and ubiquity, the price tag is a surprisingly recent economic development. For centuries, haggling was the norm, ultimately developing into a system that required clerks and shopkeepers to train as negotiators. In the mid-19th century, however, Quakers in the US began to believe that charging people different amounts for the same item was immoral, so…

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Life expectancy at birth is not a predictor of health care efficiency…

Notes On Liberty

This is going to be a short post to argue that pundits (and some economists) need to stop quoting life expectancy figures to argue for/against a particular health care system. This belief is best exemplified in a recent paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association where Papanicolas et al. (2018)  point out that the United States “spent nearly twice as much as 10 high-income countries (…) and performed less well on many population health outcomes”. While the authors make good points about administrative costs, they point out that the US has a low level of life expectancy.

Sure, that is actually true – but Americans tend to die in greater proportions from homicides, drug overdoses and car accidents (Americans drive more than Europeans) than in other rich countries. While these factors of mortality are tragic (except car accidents since Americans seem to prefer the benefits of mobility to…

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