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What ‘Dune’ Gets Right that ‘Foundation’ Doesn’t

The blogger John Rogers once noted that there are two novels that can shape the lives of bookish 14-year-olds: “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Lord of the Rings.” One of these novels, he asserted, is a childish fantasy that can leave you emotionally stunted; the other involves orcs.Well, I was a bookish 14-year-old, but my touchstones were two different novels: Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” and Frank Herbert’s “Dune.”Many social scientists, it turns out, are science fiction readers. For example,...

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The Prospects for Services-Led Development

The path of economic development for countries around the world has followed a similar pattern of sectoral shifts: from agriculture to manufacturing to services. This pattern was followed (at different times) both by today’s high-income countries including the United States, countries western Europe, Japan, and South Korea, and also by rising economies like China. But the nature of manufacturing has been changing. Across many industries, the importance of low-cost labor has...

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Don’t overpredict a negative future

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one bit: A second question would be whether there is evidence to support the contention that Americans have become more negative overall. I am doubtful. Do fans of the Boston Red Sox hate the New York Yankees more than they used to? It’s not obvious that the answer is yes. What about animosity between, say, Protestants and Catholics? That’s probably a good deal weaker. There is almost certainly less homophobia, too, in addition to many...

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Tuesday assorted links

1. People systematically underestimate how frequently their conversation partners think of them. 2. Does the internet make us overestimate our own knowledge? 3. Who pays sin taxes? 4. Correct link for builders vs. Nervous Nellies. 5. Austin Vernon on geothermal power. 6. Former markets in everything: “Uranium burger.” The post Tuesday assorted links appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.         CommentsIs there a full transcript for...

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Sci-fi, sci-fact and sandworms: a ThinkIn with Paul Krugman on DUNE

Frank Herbert published the first book in the DUNE trilogy in 1965. It is widely cited as the biggest-selling science fiction novel of all time. In 1984, David Lynch adapted it for the screen. The film was mauled by the critics but has gone on to achieve bona fide cult status amongst science fiction fans. A remake has long been rumoured and, after several delays is now finally coming to our screens on October 21. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, who has twice been nominated for the Best...

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Further points on the tax on unrealized capital gains

Put simply, this proposal is biased towards people with inherited wealth, invested in non-traded assets and mature businesses, and against people invested in publicly traded equities in growth companies, many of which they have started and built up. If that is the message that the tax law writers want to send, they should at least have the decency to be up front about that message, and to defend it. Here is much more from Aswath Damodaran, devastating throughout.  And here is Alan Auerbach...

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On the persistence of the China Shock

Here are new results from Autor, Dorn, and Hanson: We evaluate the duration of the China trade shock and its impact on a wide range of outcomes over the period 2000 to 2019. The shock plateaued in 2010, enabling analysis of its effects for nearly a decade past its culmination. Adverse impacts of import competition on manufacturing employment, overall employment-population ratios, and income per capita in more trade-exposed U.S. commuting zones are present out to 2019. Over the full study...

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Core business for a central bank

Inflation hit 2.2% in the most recent quarter. Not the annual rate - the rate for the quarter. Arguably, Reserve Banks shouldn't be making statements about inflation outside of the scheduled monetary policy schedule. But it seemed a bit odd that the Bank put out a release on establishing the Māori Bankers Rōpū to coincide with the release of the inflation statistics.  They came out within minutes of each other, as though the Bank were saying "Yes, the CPI numbers are out today, but here's...

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Tax the Rich, Help America’s Children

Democrats may — may — finally be about to agree on a revenue and spending plan. It will clearly be smaller than President Biden’s original proposal, and much smaller than what progressives wanted. It will, however, be infinitely bigger than what Republicans would have done, because if the G.O.P. controlled Congress, we would be doing nothing at all to invest in America’s future.But what will the plan do? Far too much reporting has focused mainly on the headline spending number — $3.5...

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