Stiglitz steals pessimism from the jaws of optimism

Nice piece here from the McLean Parlour on the subject of equality and social mobility in the states.

From their blog:

Joseph Stiglitz recently argued that measurable social mobility in America is incongruent with the often ascribed “land of opportunity” label. According to Stiglitz, “only 58 percent of Americans born into the bottom fifth of income earners move out of that category, and just 6 percent born into the bottom fifth move into the top.

“Only” 58%? As in, more than half? “Just” 6% make it from being dirt poor (bottom fifth) all the way up to being incredibly rich (top fifth)? Can someone tell me in what way this is bad news exactly?

Read the rest of blog at Equality in America and the Myth of Social Immobility.


Global cities of the future – are you paying attention?


Global cities of the future: An interactive map

Check out this super cool interactive map from Mckinsey Quarterly showing expected global urban growth. From their site, “Rapid urbanization is propelling growth across emerging markets and shifting the world’s economic balance toward the east and south. By 2025, it will create a “consumer class” with more than four billion people, up from a billion in 1990 (my emphasis). Nearly half will live in the emerging world’s cities, which are set to inject almost $25 trillion into the global economy”.


The Palchinsky Principles


I enjoyed reading Tim Harford’s book Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure a lot. When it comes to tips for successful innovation, I was struck by his relating of the story of the Soviet would-be entrepreneur Peter Palchinsky, and in particular his three principles:

First, seek out new ideas and try new things; second, when trying something new, do it on a scale where failure is survivable; third, seek out feedback and learn from your mistakes as you go along.

Sound advice no doubt. Unless you’re working for Stalin, in which case you should follow the more pragmatic Khrushchev principle instead:

When Stalin says dance, a wise man dances.

The price of everything and the value of nothing


Economics is Fun Series – Part 1 – Value

This is the first in a series of short videos on the basic concepts of Economics, produced by the Adam Smith Institute and featuring the eccentric but rather brilliant Dr. Madsen Pirie. I’ll be posting more quick videos from this excellent series over the coming weeks.

First up, why objects have no value and what Marx got wrong about labour.

For those of you who are interested in finding our more about Madsen Pirie, I’d suggest his Economics Made Simple followed by the (more fun) and provocative How To Win Every Argument.

Minimum requirements for a flourishing society


No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged.

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations