tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-62684922020-07-04T11:36:00.037-07:00Peter Gordon's Blog A blog exploring the intersection of economic thinking and urban planning/real estate development and related big-think themes.Unknownnoreply@blogger.comBlogger2231125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-57770871082324433602020-07-03T12:06:00.000-07:002020-07-04T11:36:00.006-07:00Happy July 4 Tribalism is natural and often hideous. But over many years, it had been tamed ‚Ä?to some extent. Every group has historical grievances. These are incited and nurtured by demagogues (mostly politicians) as a matter of course. They are even assisted by some who actually want to be seen as victims, very odd way to seek (and find) status. ¬†Strange but apparently true. Retrogressing, we get Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-86996091699320709162020-05-25T06:32:00.000-07:002020-05-28T08:23:11.688-07:00Not static In the time of pandemic, changes that had been underway speed up. People adapt and change a little faster, technology adapts and changes faster, even the rules-of-the-game change and adapt. The three prompt each other. Rules-of-the-game involves politics and is the most sluggish of the three. The first two are dynamic and involve trial-and-error learning. (There is always some path dependence.)Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-23473536444412296082020-05-13T07:20:00.000-07:002020-05-27T16:21:31.105-07:00Common sense choices Economists tell students and others that there are "needs" and "wants". And the distinction is subjective and personal for most people. "I need a drink." Likewise, who knows which are "essential services."?¬† Politicians, of all people? The news have been full of examples of questionable calls by various politicians on this question. Daycare? Essential for many working parents. "Green" Teslas?¬† Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-47798730057398051042020-04-19T17:46:00.000-07:002020-04-25T15:43:25.369-07:00Covid 19 in Santa Monica and Sweden Palisades Park in Santa Monica has long been my favorite weekend escape. Many others feel the same way. It is a pleasant place for walks, picnics, exercise and much more. Some weeks ago, the City authorities posted Closure signs that no one took seriously. People kept on enjoying and the cops patrolled with loudspeakers. That failed. Now, the whole thing is fenced off. Why? Keeping a safe Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-63014445801834219312020-04-06T09:32:00.000-07:002020-04-06T09:36:19.420-07:00What do we know? What are we learning and re-learning? My top ten ¬† ¬†-- Black swans can happen anytime, anywhere. <!--[if !supportLists]-->2 --¬†Initial responses are inevitably confused. But trial-and-error learning happens and we do get better. The U.S. was horribly unprepared going into WWI and WWII but, once on track, American productivity stunned enemies as well as friends. <!--[if !supportLists]-->3 --¬†Policy makers are inevitably pressed to doPamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-15216333681448321352020-03-08T10:48:00.000-07:002020-03-09T11:49:08.749-07:00Envy The 10 richest men of all time Mansa Musa¬†(1280-1337, king of the Mali empire) wealth indescribable Augustus Caesar¬†(63 BC-14 AD, Roman emperor) $4.6tn (¬£3.5tn) Zhao Xu¬†(1048-1085, emperor Shenzong of Song in China) wealth incalculable Akbar I¬†(1542-1605, emperor of India's Mughal dynasty) wealth incalculable Andrew Carnegie¬†(1835-1919, Scottish-American industrialist) $372bn John D Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-40663773118516076472020-02-11T09:09:00.000-08:002020-02-11T11:36:54.652-08:00Because they can I never took the Stanford Marshmallow test but presume that I am patient.¬† The current issue of The Economist notes that transportation in Los Angeles ought to involve more buses and less rail transit -- and also congestion pricing on the freeways. Finally. Tom Rubin sent this: It is hard to fathom the bizarreness of the situation but the graphic helps. While $20-$25 billion have been spentPamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-19604903621462048792020-02-06T10:24:00.000-08:002020-02-07T14:07:39.485-08:00Be careful out there Watching last night's State of the Union was not easy. With cameras on and the nation watching, preening and pandering were on full display.¬† That's our democracy (our politics). Some of the post-event talking heads, who were obliged to say something cited perennial stats about the low esteem/low approval that the public accords to "Congress."¬† But that's a silly view in light of the fact that Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-22551238372594196702020-01-27T12:02:00.000-08:002020-01-27T12:02:10.513-08:00The romance and the news It's election season and we see sides of human nature that are not pretty. Seeking votes, candidates make promises they cannot keep. Voters chose to suspend disbelief. Many seek to be on a winning team. Americans (and others) enjoy prosperity that is out of all proportion to the other-worldliness of their politics. Davies writes: "People alive today, even the poor, are the luckiest people in Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-52724691984861130422019-12-25T05:35:00.000-08:002019-12-25T05:35:22.008-08:00Big data and big plans The year-end issue of The Economist includes a nice essay on planning. ‚ÄúBeware of the Borg‚Ä?(title in print edition). Everyone plans; plans can be coordinated by markets or usurped by top-down grand plans. The latter often fail, ending in calamity and often much worse. We have heard about Venezuela, USSR, North Korea and many more. Top-down plans fail because utopians ignore the fact that Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-90337431129630402672019-12-10T17:04:00.002-08:002019-12-10T17:16:10.481-08:00It takes a horrific hurricane Where to start? We have too much crony capitalism. Many of our young people graduate unprepared for productive work. Productivity gaps translate into income and wealth gaps. Some of our poorest children are condemned to the worst schools. Terry Moe and Russ Roberts report that these are all wound up as one big problem: the ways in which the education establishment has succeeded in choking off Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-81730624629722212492019-10-27T06:40:00.000-07:002019-10-27T06:43:51.620-07:00So many confusions In the current the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik writes "We Built This City: What we can learn from a long-reviled master of 'urban renewal" which is a long-winded review of Lizabeth Cohen's Saving America's Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age.¬†(which I have not read). Gopnik is seemingly perplexed and ends this way: "What aspects of Ed Logue's legacy do we Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-3744033541741584632019-10-07T16:06:00.000-07:002019-10-07T19:36:35.156-07:00Near and Far We know that information is crucial, complex and dispersed. This is why there are ubiquitous information markets. We are all on a mission to seek out, not just data and not just information, but also key ideas. We start with hunches re what ideas matter to us and where to look find them. Just hunches. They are the place to start. Many ideas are best transmitted person-to-person in conversationsPamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-72225115257787097002019-09-18T07:42:00.000-07:002019-09-19T16:49:10.219-07:00Progress and panderers Progress is my favorite idea. Steven Pinker¬†has (and many others have) documented how much better off we are than those who preceded us. I am happy to be alive now, rather than at any other time in history. Whoops! I have used the fraught word "happy".¬† John Gray tells¬†us to get real. "Drug use is a tacit admission of a forbidden truth. For most people happiness is beyond reach. Fulfillment is Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-57626904075978320652019-08-31T12:21:00.004-07:002019-09-10T08:23:45.019-07:00Inequality The New Yorker (Sep 2, 2019) reviews yet more recent work on increasing inequality ("Widening Gyre").¬† There are many discussions like this one. What to keep in mind? It‚Äôs very complicated! Here is a simple checklist. Pick any one for your next chat with a political candidate. I stop at ten. 1. Inequality is not to be confused with poverty ‚Ä?although the zero-sum people seem to think so. Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-44645090664016134512019-08-15T13:32:00.001-07:002019-08-15T13:32:12.492-07:00It's the season The very long U.S. election season is here.¬† What to keep on mind? Two things strike me as fundamental. 1. Knowledge is complex and dispersed. This means that innovation (and progress) depend on trial-and-error innovation in a competitive environment ‚Ä?one not encumbered by the heavy hand of you-know-who. This is especially important in a season when the candidates have policies, plans and Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-51709119623894006582019-07-27T16:28:00.000-07:002019-07-27T16:28:34.096-07:00Thirteen thoughts on growth and cities <!--[if !supportLists]-->¬† n¬† <!--[endif]-->Economists‚Ä?favorite question is still ‚ÄúHow did we get so rich?‚Ä?We learned how to coordinate production. We learned how to coordinate discovery. We learned how to form mutual loyalties ‚Ä?for social as well as economic reasons. Can we unscramble the social from economic? Does it matter? <!--[if !supportLists]-->¬† n¬† <!--[endif]-->Supply chains for Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-79972906449310460912019-07-09T18:39:00.000-07:002019-07-10T10:53:08.018-07:00Engines of growth -- and new ideas Fly low over a major urban settlement and what do you see?¬† A mesh of an uncountable number of supply chains, including supply chains for things and for ideas. Discussions of cities and how they work are of three kinds. Economists like the neoclassical model of spatial equilibrium; sites are evaluated by competitors and equilibrium site rents emerge. Designers (often utopians) like Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-141215778376834642019-07-07T15:16:00.001-07:002019-07-07T15:16:53.519-07:00Be a persuader David C. Rose explains Why Culture Matters Most.¬†Small-group moral intuitions, small-group trust, are our heritage. But how to get large-group trust? How do we get and sustain the many individual acts that create and sustain large-group trust? Large-group trust is a commons and hard to sustain. Rose writes that today's multiculturalism embraces tribalism and is a step backward. Yet he remains Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-91155960896351464282019-06-24T16:26:00.000-07:002019-06-25T11:54:27.193-07:00Perhaps There are many possible futures we hope are not in our future. Nuclear war, meteor colliding with Earth, infectious diseases that we cannot stop, many others.¬† The consoling thought is that (for all we know) the odds of a bad outcome are low. But here is a scary future that is by no means low-odds: is crony capitalism inevitable? The widespread acceptance of "green" policies (accompanied by thePamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-12295515814451017692019-06-05T14:45:00.003-07:002019-06-13T14:50:20.521-07:00Road diets It's clear that most people like their cars. But it is also true that many people like to complain about cars and traffic. Some of the confusion comes from the fact that the auto-highway system is poorly managed.¬† Access and parking ought to be priced. But many planners see pricing as exotic and/or nefarious. Bob Poole's latest book is a great reference.¬† These are policy failures even though Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-18518086402663204992019-05-21T15:03:00.002-07:002019-05-21T15:05:34.711-07:00Help for graduates Climate change is hard. It is a global phenomenon and any effort to ‚Äúdo something‚Ä?must involve seemingly near-impossible global political cooperation. Sacrifices made by already relatively Green U.S, citizens are, about virtue-signaling which is in much demand throughout the U.S. (and beyond) these days. Joseph Epstein explains. Betting beats BS, they say. Trouble is that there are few Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-52152944183351801952019-05-04T11:27:00.001-07:002019-05-04T11:28:33.215-07:00What is the Fed to do? The U.S. economy is doing well -- and no one really knows why. Keynesian macro-economics (aggregate demand economics) is no help because there is no theory of mood and investment. How could there be one? The donnish Keynes simple wrote investment off as from "animal spirits".¬† Not much has changed.¬†The Obama-Trump hand-off seemingly incited animal spirits. With no better theory, that's all we Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-23765085683100043462019-04-17T08:28:00.000-07:002019-04-17T08:28:49.071-07:00Where's the cronyism? I enjoyed Tyler Cowen's BigBusiness: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero.¬† Indeed, I have not yet come across a negative review. There is a chapter on crony capitalism ("How Much Does Big Business Control the American Government"?)¬† Corporations are cited as spending about $3 billion a year lobbying the federal government but they spend $200 billion advertising (p. 171). Sad to say, perhaps Pamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6268492.post-27375231558464903982019-03-31T13:22:00.003-07:002019-04-03T10:48:02.876-07:00Time horizons Robert Shiller writes ‚ÄúModern Monetary Theory Makes Sense, to a Point‚Ä?(MMT) in today‚Äôs NYT.¬† What is MMT?¬† It comes out of the Bernie Sanders campaign (among others) and seems to say ‚Äúprint all the money you want -- because you can.‚Ä̬?Sound silly?¬† The printing must be for ‚Äúgood causes.‚Ä?But aren‚Äôt they all?¬† And increased national debt is not a problem ‚Äúbecause we owe it to ourselvesPamelahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18350429059357508366noreply@blogger.com