Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Blast From The Past

Since I have not got around to posting my thoughts on these issues, and some of them are getting a little out of date, I am just going to share the links here for archiving purposes. They are good reads and definitely worth thinking about. 

1. Rise of the Technocrats?
Is the European Union’s supposed “democratic deficit” now spreading to individual European countries in the wake of the sovereign-debt crisis? The rise of unelected technocrats to political power in Greece and Italy suggests, at least superficially, that the old taboo against technocratic governments pursuing an EU-dictated agenda has been shattered.
2. The Philippines - Malaysia's New Competitor?
The Philippines reopened for business under new management only a little more than a year ago. It is faring very well – and is set to become increasingly profitable.
3. Just a chart on the desirability and earnings potential of different college majors in the US
P/S: Anyone else find it shocking the Geology and Earth Sciences is listed under Arts?
4. Why Art majors are being subsidized (refer to No.3 for more)
ALEX TABARROK, a George Mason economist and blogger at Marginal Revolution, notes that though many more young Americans, about 50% more, now go to college than did 25 years ago, the number of students studying science, engineering, technology, or mathematics has not increased. So, Mr Tabarrok asks, "If students aren’t studying science, technology, engineering and math, what are they studying?" They are studying interesting and enjoyable fields, it turns out. Mr Tabarrok reports, with no little dread:

"In 2009 the U.S. graduated 89,140 students in the visual and performing arts, more than in computer science, math and chemical engineering combined and more than double the number of visual and performing arts graduates in 1985."
This is worrisome because diseases go uncured and potential gains in purchasing power are left unrealised as America's apple-cheeked human capital squanders itself staging the "Vagina Monologues". Mr Tabarrok admits there's nothing exactly wrong with young Americans learning how to play the euphonium, he just doubts this fluff is worth subsidizing. Growth-enhancing disruptive innovation doesn't come from villanelles!

"[G]raduates in the arts, psychology and journalism are less likely to create the kinds of innovations that drive economic growth. Economic growth is not a magic totem to which all else must bow, but it is one of the main reasons we subsidize higher education.
The potential wage gains for college graduates go to the graduates — that’s reason enough for students to pursue a college education. We add subsidies to the mix, however, because we believe that education has positive spillover benefits that flow to society. 
One of the biggest of these benefits is the increase in innovation that highly educated workers theoretically bring to the economy... 
There is little justification for subsidizing sociology, dance and English majors." 
As a consequence, Mr Tabarrok thinks that "the taxpayers who foot the bill for these subsidies" are being ill used.
5. Here is Tabarrok's full post: College Has Been Oversold

6. Why Debt Is Not The Real Problem in Greece, But Competitiveness Is

7. One Year in Prison Costs More Than One Year at Princeton