musings on music and life

September 7, 2016

Big ideas in economics

Filed under: The Economist — sankirnam @ 4:16 pm

In July-August of this year, The Economist featured a series of 6 articles on seminal ideas in economics. These should be required reading for everyone, not just students of economics, as these concepts underlie so many macro- and microeconomic decisions that affect our lives on a daily basis.

  1. Secrets and Agents
  2. Minsky’s Moment
  3. An inconvenient iota of truth
  4. Where does the buck stop?
  5. Prison breakthrough
  6. Two out of three ain’t bad

I’m glad that The Economist did this, as it is important for the general public to know these theoretical concepts and how they originated (that being said, the readership for this magazine does skew towards the more educated populace).

There are a lot more topics that can be covered in future variations of this series, such as “Supply-side economics”, Behavioral economics (including Kahneman’s work on Prospect theory), the Ricardian model of free trade and how it breaks down, and modern work on globalization, among other things.


June 20, 2016

This week in The Economist, 6/18/2016

Filed under: The Economist — sankirnam @ 5:17 pm

I’ve neglected this for a while – I’ve been busy with other stuff. But this week’s issue has a LOT of good articles that caught my attention. It’s the story of my life; everything always gets lumped together, rather than being spaced out in regular intervals.

  1. An article about computing bootcamps! This is especially relevant for me, since I’m taking a bootcamp right now, and bootcamps are the hot new thing in the US for people wanting to transition to software/web development and “data science”. The article doesn’t really take a stance, but describes the overall picture.
  2. It’s interesting to see the “manosphere” getting some attention here; I wrote a little about it a long time ago. I used to read Chateau Heartiste (one of the main blogs) religiously, but stopped following it closely due to time and the decline in the quality of positings there.
  3. The big issue of this week is Brexit. On the 23rd, British citizens will vote on a referendum to decide whether or not their country will stay in the European Union. Even though England does not use the euro, this decision has massive economic and political ramifications.
  4. A roaring trade“: this article describes how Chinese parents are moving to the US to take of their college-going children, and in doing so, buying properties in the US, driving up real-estate prices in some locations. Irvine gets a shoutout in this article, and this sentence really struck me: ““If you want to make money in real estate,” says Steven Lawson, the CEO of Windham Realty Group, “buy where the Chinese are buying, because they perpetuate the price increase.”
  5. Yes, for the love of God, please ban female genital mutilation. As always, whenever this topic is bought up, the related topic of male circumcision is raised, even though it is not the same thing – circumcision is mainly for aesthetic purposes, and the organ is still functional. It’s not really mutilation, even though some groups (like the manosphere), might like to claim otherwise. Neonatal male circumcision is the legacy of Mr. Kellogg, the same person of Corn Flakes fame (think about that next time you eat a bowl of cereal!).
  6. I sincerely hope that the recent shootings in the US (Orlando and UCLA) cause the population of the US to reflect and introspect about gun laws. The UCLA shooting is unfortunately not covered in this article, but the outcome is the same; people are dead, and we are left wondering…why? Donald Trump immediately tweeted this response after the shooting, which is just incredibly distasteful and unprofessional.

May 21, 2016

This week in The Economist, 5/21/2016

Filed under: The Economist — sankirnam @ 2:16 pm

Here are a few articles of interest from this week’s issue:

  1. The grim prospect” – antibiotic resistance seems to be getting a lot of attention lately; I have seen several articles on this topic this week alone. Derek Lowe has covered a paper published recently by Andy Myers (whose work I wrote about earlier), and this was also covered in The Verge.
  2. Beef consumption is on the decline in France. Oddly enough, I wouldn’t have pegged the French as massive beefeaters, especially since horse meat, which is a substitute good (to my limited knowledge as a vegetarian) is not taboo in France.
  3. The economics on the supply and demand of quinoa. While it was initially thought that the rumors about the overconsumption of quinoa by Western countries affecting poor farmers in Peru and Bolivia was overblown, it seems there may be merit to that argument after all.

May 8, 2016

This week in The Economist, 5/7/2016

Filed under: The Economist — sankirnam @ 12:43 am

Not much caught my eye this week, apart from the big coverage of Trump’s clinching of the Republican nomination with his decisive victory in the Indiana caucus.

This article covers a trending topic: the creator of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?


April 23, 2016

This week in the economist, 4/23/2016

Filed under: The Economist — sankirnam @ 3:45 pm

I’ve decided to start a series of posts with this title, where I post interesting articles from the week’s issue of The Economist. I have been a subscriber for a while, and these articles are the ones that catch my interest; so these may be more US-centric.

  1. Unloved and Unstoppable – a much needed critical analysis of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
  2. Not going to Jackson – Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Keep in mind that she isn’t the first woman to be on US currency; that honor would belong to Susan B. Anthony.
  3. Nosedive – less people are doing cocaine today; it seems that the popularity of drugs changes from generation to generation.
  4. Delayed gratification – it seems that high students loans do not necessarily correlate with a lower probability of home ownership.
  5. Blood Sports – an article on Theranos spectacularly crashing and burning; I’m planning to write more about this later.
  6. Preparing for the Big One – an article about earthquake preparedness in various major cities in the world. I’ve always thought that if aliens were to visit our planet, one of the first things they would say is “are you people nuts for having such large populations in tectonically active areas?”

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