Thursday, June 19, 2008

Long ass shorters, Part 1

I've missed a lot, n despite the efforts of M. and rickm there's plenty to plow through. Let's get to it.

Do unions cost productivity?:

Failing plants don't unionize. So if you look at unionized plants/firms/industries and see no productivity difference between them and their unionized counterparts, then probably the unions are actually exerting significant drag.
And so we have Megan's thoughts on unions reduced to their essence. That a shop is unionized is actually a sign of its economic health, which is to say potential profits are being given to the workers. oooOOoooOOoOOOooOOOOOooooOOOoo. Sorry to give you nightmares like that. Imagine, workers getting a share of the profits. It's like an economic Holocaust.

Ultimately, of course, this is folly. It is not enough to think that prices are going to rise; you have to think that they will rise more than everyone else thinks they will. Otherwise, the future appreciation should already be fully priced into the current asset. Failure to understand this--the belief that you can actually make a profit based on a certain rise--is the root of all bubbles.

On the other hand, sometimes the speculators are right. Perhaps we've simply been underpricing oil for too long, and this is the correction. Only time will tell. Which is why you won't catch me investing in the commodity markets any time soon.
So, either there's a bubble, or there isn't. I am so.... informed.

Isn't there a better way?:
I was going to respond in the comments, but then many of you would miss it.
I suppose Megan has to act as if there are people who care what she thinks, but it's still annoying and comic to see the idea expressed. You exist to be shot down, Megan. You're the "econo-blogging" version of Confederate Yankee. Only he's funnier. As for what Megan says in the post...
But the idea that companies maximize short term profits at the expense of long-term returns is, to put it mildly, unproven.
Companies are not the omniscient revenue maximizers that some conservatives like to claim, but neither are they the venal buffoons of liberal legend. Which should be obvious from the fact that much of the stuff we have works pretty well, and better every year.
"The stuff we have". You get that thing I sentcha?
biased reading of empirical data is one of the ways that people try to delude others into following their philosophical choices. I think lower taxes and less government spending are a good idea. That doesn't mean I can pretend, as some conservatives do, that lowering taxes raises revenue to the government.
Instead, Megan makes claims that have no empirical data of any kind to back them up. Like charter schools are good ideas, the government should just give out cash instead of tying conditions to welfare benefits, and the Jena 6 should be in jail.
this is a silly canard. On an economy level, we cannot produce more by paying workers more, any more than you can increase the height of your house by calling the basement the first floor. The amount of stuff everyone has is determined (more or less) by the productive capacity of the economy. You can redistribute that stuff between people, and you can change the mix of stuff that gets made. But you cannot make more of it by changing the nominal price of labor. The only way to get more stuff as a society is to improve our productive capacity, mostly by research and capital investment.
Megan meant to call the point she was responding to a canard, but her own answer just plain fits the term better. You see, redistribution of the wealth is SOCIALISM, so end of discussion. You can't help the workers by giving them more money, you'd only be taking money away from their superiors. Would you really be happier if you knew that paying off your credit card bills meant Megan had less time to spend on the beach?
I'd respond to her argument against redistribution, but it's fucking incoherent, and I'm getting pissed off by the naively earnest and horrific entitlement being expressed.

How inefficient is our current system?
Most economists conclude that we are not [spending too much on health care]. But here's a thought experiment.
Oh, joy.
Say someone offered you a health insurance policy which will give you the net present value of money saved on life extending procedures, if you agreed in turn to forego expensive end-of-life care, and to forfeit your right to any procedure that health care eonomists [sic] estimated was not cost-effective in terms of life years saved. How many of you would take it? Not many, I'd wager. Which argues that the current allocation of health care resources is, in some sense, efficient, in the sense that we prefer it to the alternative.
Yes, that people don't want a health care plan administered by "eonomists" who deny us care after 50 sure does prove that our current system shouldn't be altered. What the fuck does Megan think she's shown here?
What we'd really like, of course, is to prevent everyone else from taking advantage of "useless" end of life care and procedures. In a democracy, however, each everyone is also a we.
"We"? I don't recall expressing a preference for leaving the elderly exposed to the elements to die. That's your thing, you selfish asshole. But at least now we know you're anti-democratic.

Time for a break to de-angrify. Megan really is a rich entitled asshole who is unwilling or incapable of considering any concerns but her own, isn't she.

1 comment:

spencer said...

My aunt didn't find her end-of-life care so "useless," since it meant she was able to spend the last few weeks of her life in NOT constant agonizing pain.

Fucking bint.