Education Won't Save Us

I recently wrote about the common canard that education will allow us all to get good jobs in a world where outsourcing and globalization are the dominant economic paradigms. There are so many loads of bunk inside of that idea that it’s hard to know where to begin. Brad DeLong recently posted some thoughts on this very issue. He wrote, in response to Greg Mankiw. I don’t think this works particularly well.

The "Externality Machine"

I recently watched the documentary film The Corporation which stitches together an argument about the many ways the modern corporation is sociopathic. It condemns corporations for failing to be concerned with others, is amoral, etc. The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social “personality”: It is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism.

Coase's Penguin and Crowdsourcing

A few weeks ago there was a reading group discussion at SI about a couple of articles on Cyberwork. I wasn’t able to attend, but I did read the articles and they got me thinking about the interrelations between work, education, and the internet. I started to discuss this in my last post on the ‘just give them more education’ canard that surrounds so much discussion about outsourcing and offshoring jobs.

The "More Education" Blinder

The March-April issue of Foreign Affairs contained an article by Alan Blinder on “Offshoring: the Next Industrial Revolution?” He begins the article by discussing the kerfluffle over Greg Mankiw’s 2004 remarks about offshoring. Mankiw essentially reasserted the standard economic thinking that the offshoring is a good thing because it means that more things are tradable now than in the past. It’s the standard comparative advantage argument, if a country can produce something cheaper than another country then it is only natural for the market to shift to the cheaper country.

In Praise of Taxes

It’s tax day and the marching morons at the Taxpayers League of Minnesota are protesting at the capitol. In the interest of creating some counterprogramming I’d like to list some of the things I’ve been glad to pay for with my taxes over the last year. Most of these organizations are federal but that’s only because they are the ones with which I’m most familiar. And the large local expenses for education and transportation didn’t go unnoticed.

New Fiction Magazine and the Plight of Publishing

There’s a new fiction magazine that just began publishing late last year. It’s a revival of Argosy, a magazine that’s been around more than a century. I noticed the site while reading a news item posted at Blue Ear about the trouble the publishers were having getting their magazine onto the shelves of the chain bookstores such as Barnes and Noble or Borders. Having worked in bookselling before my interests were piqued.