Monday Message Board

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

7 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. “These higher corporate profits have been the cause of over 50 percent of recent price increases.” … “an increase of more than $700 billion in profits per year.”



    “The financial behemoth privately fears that regular people have too much leverage.

    “”What the memo calls “the ratio of job openings to unemployed” is generally calculated the other way around — i.e., the ratio of unemployed people to job openings. The more widely used ratio offers one measurement of the balance of power between workers and employers. The lower this number, the more options unemployed people have when searching for work and the greater opportunities employed people have to switch to jobs with better pay and conditions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this ratio stood at 0.5 as of May, meaning that there were then two job openings per unemployed person.

    …”the ratio climbed as high as 6.5, so there were more than six unemployed workers for each open job. It then slowly declined over the next decade, reaching 0.8 in February 2020 before Covid-19 lockdowns began.”

    ” The memo is an uncanny demonstration that the economist Adam Smith was right when hedescribed the politics of inflation in his famed 1776 work, “The Wealth of Nations.”

    “High profits tend much more to raise the price of work than high wages,” Smith argued. “Our merchants and master-manufacturers complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price. … They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.”

    “Thus, exactly as Smith would have predicted, Bank of America complains loudly about the bad effects of high wages in raising prices, but appears to be silent about the pernicious effects of high profits.

    “This is especially remarkable given the role that corporate profits have played in the recent increase in inflation.

    “After-tax corporate profits stood at 8.1 percent of the economy at the beginning of 2020 but have since shot up to as high as 11.8 percent of the GDP. In an economy the size of the U.S., that equals an increase of more than $700 billion in profits per year.

    “These higher corporate profits have been the cause of over 50 percent of recent price increases.”

  2. 1994 is when US politics polarized, and learn Bayesian, Inference & stats at the same time – “such as tutorials on Bayesian time-series models and informative prior selection.”.
    As Aldi says, Good. Different.

    So says… TuringElect, “a new project to build Bayesian forecasts for the 2022 midterms”

    “As part of this project, TuringLang is expanding its efforts to include public outreach. Our goal is to help inform everyone (regardless of their statistical background) on the principles of statistical inference, by creating more examples of high-quality statistical modeling.

    “To achieve this goal, we’re proud to announce TuringElect, a new project to build Bayesian forecasts for the 2022 midterms. As part of this project, we’ll be providing clear explanations of how our model works for the public, using tools such as interactive web applications and high-quality graphics to communicate our findings to the general public.

    “The end product should be similar to those put out by The Economist or FiveThirtyEight.

    “By building awareness about the importance of good statistical modeling, we hope to improve public support for the open-source software you all know and love. We also expect this project to produce tangible benefits for our users, such as tutorials on Bayesian time-series models and informative prior selection.”

    “Sneak Preview: The Republican Revolution

    “Democrats in 1990 were ideologically united enough to force George H.W. Bush to accept unpopular tax increases to pass a budget. By the 103rd Congress, meeting at the start of Clinton’s term, there was no longer a Southern Democratic party and a Northern Democratic party. There was only the Democratic party.

    “This decline in regional voting patterns would provide Republicans with exactly the opening they needed to win back the House, and they would seize it in their Contract with America.

  3. £13Bn, Alcohol, Cancer and… “The profit motive driving constant expansion of [alcohol] consumption should also be curbed through increased public ownership of production and retail. But restrictions alone will not be enough.” – “Britain has a drinking problem – and the alcohol industry can’t afford to let us kick it”

    “How dependent is the alcohol industry on heavy drinking in England

    “The heaviest drinking 4% of the population account for 30% of all consumption and 23% of all industry revenue. If all consumers reduced their drinking to within guideline levels, alcohol sales revenue could decline by 38% (£13 billion). To mitigate this loss, average prices paid would have to rise substantially-for example, by £2.64 for a pint of on-trade beer or £12.25 for a 70 cl bottle of off-trade spirits.”

    “Conclusions: In England, the alcohol industry appears to be highly financially dependent upon heavy drinking, and might face significant financial losses were consumers to drink within guideline levels.”

    Australia and…
    “Britain has a drinking problem – and the alcohol industry can’t afford to let us kick it

    “a recent study estimated that almost 750,000 new cancer cases in 2020 were attributable to alcohol use worldwide, including about 100,000 from “moderate drinking”. 

    “The crisis of alcohol-related harms is principally caused by the fact that the profit-motivated alcohol industry structurally incentivises higher-risk drinking. Industry revenues would drop by 38%, or £13bn a year, if all drinkers used alcohol below recommended guidelines, according to one study. Companies have a clear vested interest in preventing such reductions…”

    “Global burden of cancer in 2020 attributable to alcohol consumption: a population-based study

    “Alcohol use is causally linked to multiple cancers. We present global, regional, and national estimates of alcohol-attributable cancer burden in 2020 to inform alcohol policy and cancer control across different settings globally.”

  4. Brett Victor rant – whole body interface – “do you seriously think the Future Of Interaction should be a single finger?”.

    “Any dancer or doctor knows full well what an incredibly expressive device your body is. 300 joints! 600 muscles! Hundreds of degrees of freedom!

    “The next time you make breakfast, pay attention to the exquisitely intricate choreography of opening cupboards and pouring the milk — notice how your limbs move in space, how effortlessly you use your weight and balance. The only reason your mind doesn’t explode every morning from the sheer awesomeness of your balletic achievement is that everyone else in the world can do this as well.

    “With an entire body at your command, do you seriously think the Future Of Interaction should be a single finger?”

    “Victor worked as a human interface inventor at Apple Inc. from 2007 until 2011. He was a member of the small group of people who worked on the initial design for the iPad, and contributed to the development of other products including the Apple Watch.[3] In 2014, Victor joined the Communications Design Group as a researcher, where he worked on software to allow citizens and scientists to model and understand systems.”

    Bonus – anything at , Brett Victor’s site such as!2/LadderOfAbstraction

  5. Gas: $15Bn a year.

    1) This seems like a pure opportunity cost argument – “we could have dental / child care” – hiding the basic fact that ‘we’ – the Australian Government, has given away our gas without proper compensation.

    2) any economic fact check / commentary on;
    “Getting dental into Medicare and making child care free could save a family of four up to nearly $7000 a year,” Mr Bandt will say.”

    “The massive cost of not taxing gas companies revealed

    “They get the gas for free. The gas tax laws in this country are broken and our country is being taken for a ride.”

    “Subjecting gas companies to a 10 per cent royalty on production, cancelling their tax credits and subjecting windfall profits to a tax rate of 40 per cent would improve the budget position by $59 billion over four years, according to independent analysis prepared by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

    “That compares to the cost of adding dental care to Medicare and making child care free, the combined fiscal effect of which is only a little over $47 billion, again based on independent costing by the PBO.

    “Getting dental into Medicare and making child care free could save a family of four up to nearly $7000 a year,” Mr Bandt will say.

    “This would deliver real and immediate cost-of-living relief.”

  6. Is this the WEIRD-est Religious/ Conservative economic incentive?

    Fetus (more of our tribe) Incentive Policy.
    Shades of Peter Costello.
    (In the Truth always strager than fiction department, or – I just wouldn’t have thought it department.)

    “State of Georgia says you can claim embryo on your taxes as a dependent

    “the Department will recognize any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat, as defined in O.C.G.A. § 1-2-1, as eligible for the Georgia individual income tax dependent exemption.”…

    “…at any time on or after July 20, 2022, and through December 31, 2022, a taxpayer has an unborn child (or children) with a detectable human heartbeat (which may occur as early as six weeks’ gestation), the taxpayer may claim a dependent personal exemption as provided for under O.C.G.A § 48-7-26(a) and (b)(3) in the amount of $3,000.00 for each unborn child.”…

  7. “and that we’ll suffer from technological unemployment and need to worry about universal basic income. You really have to choose one or the other”

    “Slightly Against Underpopulation Worries

    6. Age Pyramid Concerns Are Real, But Not Compatible With Technological Unemployment Concerns

    “As birth rates rise, you have many hard-working young people supporting a small number of retirees. As they fall, you have fewer young people and more older people who need support. This either burdens the young, or requires cuts in support for the elderly.

    “And yeah, to some degree this will happen. I think it will look less like an apocalypse and more like increasing effective retirement ages, but that will suck.

    “On the other hand, this is basically a complaint about a shortage of labor. And I notice it’s weird to be worried both that the future will be racked by labor shortages, and that we’ll suffer from technological unemployment and need to worry about universal basic income. You really have to choose one or the other. I’m pretty worried about technological unemployment myself.

    “Another way of saying “labor shortage” is “the value of labor relative to capital goes up”. Workers will be able to expect high salaries and good working conditions. Labor shortages are also periods of intense innovation for labor-saving devices (some historians blame the Industrial Revolution on unusually high wages in the England of the time).

    “7: Dysgenics Is Real But Pretty Slow

    “Another potential demographic shift in both types of country is shift among social classes / levels of educational attainment:

    “New results on social capital and interconnectedness

    by  Tyler Cowen 
    August 1, 2022

    “There are two new NBER papers written by large teams, headlined by Raj Chetty.  Here is an excerpt from the first paper:

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