Program’s done with Yoram Bauman. Is your brain full? No? Good. Here’s more from Mary Ann. You’ll beg for more…
Hi Taz: Here are some book recommendations from the wonderful world of MACROECONOMICS:
“Thinking, Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman, a psychologist who won the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in behavorial economics, studies to what extent people actually behave the way that rational economic models say they do. His work might not directly shed much light on the current economic situation, but it gets at the underpinnings of economics and human behavior – Kahneman’s analysis of how human short-term versus long-term thinking works really helps explain how we often work against our own best interests. Also, the chapters are short!
When you’re digesting deep thoughts, I find that frequent breaks are helps.
“The Great Stagnation,” by Tyler Cowen. This is a quick read of an e-book by a George Mason University economist, a Libertarian who gets kudos from mainstream deep thinkers. Cowen argues that we will eventually return to the growth in productivity and living standards that typified an earlier era…. but not yet. This book talks about how much of the world has already captured the “low hanging fruit” of economic development. Educational attainment, for example - there’s been a huge increase in the number of kids going to college worldwide, but now moving more marginal students into college will require a lot of effort and won’t yield large gains. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing, he says. It simply means that easy gains from education are gone.
If you’re thinking that the Internet is going to save us, Cowen points out that a lot of the content on the Internet is free, and is not really generating a lot of jobs. The iPod has created fewer than 14,000 jobs in the U.S.; Facebook employs fewer than 2,000 people. Compare that to the tens of thousands of people Boeing employs around Puget Sound and other parts of the county.
If you don’t have an e-reader, you’re out of luck; this book was only published in e-book form, apparently. On the other hand, it’s only $4.
“The Coming Generational Storm” by Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns. This book is a couple of years old, but its message still resonates: paying for Social Security and Medicare will cost vastly more than the tax revenues we have lined up to pay for them. The only good (?) news is that many other countries are in even worse shape In a conversation the stand-up economist and I had last week, he pointed out that one sticking point in this debate is a pretty obvious one; there are a lot of us Baby Boomers around, and a lot of us vote. So getting cuts to entitlements is going to involve persuading the very folks who are likely to be hurt by those cuts.
“Profit of Education by Dick Startz. Startz was for many years a University of Washingon economics professor. In this book he argues that we need to (1) institute thoughtful forms of pay-for-performance metrics, and (2) use those metrics to pay teachers an average of 40% more, so that their salaries return to their previous middle position in ranks of college-educated professionals. As a member of a family of teachers and a public school parent myself,, I can attest that this seems like a good idea.
Startz even argues that this investment will pay for itself in the form of higher productivity/GDP/tax revenue.)The technical details are helpfully delegated to an appendix, leaving the reader face to face with surprising truths (smaller class sizesdon’t seem to do much) and thoughtful ideas for reform.