Links

“One of the arguments against hate-speech laws is that once the state starts dividing expression into “allowed” and “prohibited,” the “prohibited” category tends to grow…” Yeah. If we’re having pie, we’re all having pie.

Negative-Yielding Debt Hits Record $15 Trillion on Trade Woes.” Seen here.

“Data-mining reveals that 80% of books published 1924-63 never had their copyrights renewed and are now in the public domain.” Someone right now is wondering how to make it illegal to tell people something is in the public domain. Maybe they can use hate speech laws.

Cryptocurrency from Facebook

“Driven by profit and able to operate across national borders, they accumulated massive political power without feeling loyalty to any particular nation…”
Not the alumni of Harvard, but what Facebook et al. could do if Facebook’s new currency succeeds.

Sarcasm aside, it’s a good article worth reading.

Facebook will know what you buy, but Amazon, Google, the Red Army, Vladimir Putin, and the NSA already know what you buy unless you’re sneaking around using cash.

Tangentially, here’s a prediction: one of these days some company that paid billions to amass a trove of big data will realize that all that big data is basically worthless. Everyone will rush for the exits, and we’ll call it the Data Bubble or something.

What’s a dollar’s worth?

“The truth is that along with real economic progress there has been a parallel big degradation in the lived experience of life in much of America, a part of America largely invisible to and certainly not relatable to on a visceral level by most of those in booming sections of global cities. I’m all in favor of understanding the very real way that technology and other innovations have made our lives better, and fully capturing that in statistics. But we need to be equally as diligent in capturing and measuring the downsides of those trends, an effort I’ve read much less about in the papers.” — How Much Value Do Economists Assign to Having Married Parents Who Aren’t on Drugs?

A pre-1965 silver dollar might be worth roughly ten dollars today, so you could say our money has lost ninety percent of its value. On the other hand, what would a modest 2017 Dell computer have cost in 1965? Six hundred dollars today doubling every eighteen months back to 1965 comes to some figure in scientific notation. On yet another hand, in 1965 my father was married to my mother and lived in the house with us – a common arrangement in those days, somewhat less so today.

Economic anecdote

I saw a train load of coal the other day – can’t remember the last time, but it must have been around 1990. On the parallel track was another identical train of coal cars, going the other way empty.