Morning coffee reading.
Gallup are worried.
One for the poli-sci geeks, Mark Blumenthal has a long and technical but very interesting HuffPo article about how and why America’s best known pollster called the 2012 election badly wrong, and what they’re trying to do about it.
Ideas vs. Ideologies.
Henry Farrell is at the Monkey Cage talking about political ideas and how we can study them. A key point is that there is a difference between ideas as they are had, as they are communicated, and as they are received, and that we need a better language for examining the results of those differences.
Lifetime and expectations.
Jared Bernstein examines some recent numbers on life expectancy for the poor and the rich, and discusses the impact that should have, but doesn’t, on the austerity debate.
On CiF, Aditya Chakrabortty has a history lesson for Cameron and Osbourne. The basic point that the struggle to retain the gold standard, resulting in what today we would call austerity, directly contributed to WWII is familiar to anyone who has read any post-Keynesian macro or, frankly, any A-level student to studied the causes of WWII or the Great Dictators. The key point here, which is referenced but not explored much, is that when austerity measures have worked, it has always been in a specific context; one country exercising austerity while their economic environment in general was booming. Ireland 87-85 is a classic exmple. Austerity becomes dangerous when you try it during a global economic downturn of any scale. Oh wait…
Owned or Rented?
Mike Bryan and Nick Parker of the Atlanta Fed are talking about owner’s equivalent rent and its impact on CPI. This post is a bit wonkish, and it covers one reason why many homeowners don’t own what they think, but it leaves out a more politically sensitive angle. Unless you own your own home outright, you are still renting it; or more accurately you continue to rent the money you used to buy it with, from a mortgage lender. The active encouragement by policy incentives of rent-seeking (as opposed to productive) economic behaviour is a significant contributor to the rise of our new Gilded Age.
3. Science is…
Trees! Underwater off Alabama, from 50k years ago, which are sixty feet closer to the surface than they should be. Continents are interesting.
Hannah Cheng has a series on the 52Hertz Whale; what we know, what people guess, and why finding stuff out about a place as big as the Pacific is very expensive.
And sometimes rather scary.
The Boston Globe talk to Admiral Lockyear about China, North Korea and climate change. The basic scenario that is worrying the Admiral is familiar to anyone who reads speculative fiction or hangs out with hippies, but this isn’t a climate geek or a Whole Earth customer; this is a guy who commands a very large budget, four hundred thousand personnel and a whole lot of boom.