Archive for November, 2011

east switzerland

Some impressions from our hiking tour through autumnal East Switzerland:

The charming countryside of East Switzerland


Great hiking panorama view


Some cows who can enjoy the view every day


Picturesque foliage


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being a greek

Imagine you were a Greek citizen these days. How would you feel, knowing that the fate of your country rests in the hands of some unelected people, who meet and discuss somewhere far away from Greece, in a city you have never been to? And what would you make of the fact that those foreign powers have torn into pieces what has been your right to vote?

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Recently Bruce Meyer, Professor of the University of Chicago, gave an interview for EconTalk about poverty, the middle class, and inequality. His research uncovers some of most important mistakes that have caused a whole bunch of misleading income statistics.

EconTalk with Bruce Meyer

The talk includes one aspect that is hardly realized among non-economists, namely that long-term corrections for inflation are very difficult. Taking into account quality improvements and new products (and who buys them) basically distorts most long-run comparisons. Thus, statements such as “The average American worker today is hardly better off than thirty years ago” are nothing but utter nonsense.

In case you disagree, just go to a doctor and ask him what he could do for you with medicine of the 1970s.

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european democracy

Sometimes it takes a while for problems to come out in the open. The European Union (EU) as well as the Euro are only remotely based upon democratic decisions. That view was held by politicial scientists for years but it is yet about to become the dominant view across Europe. Yesterday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stunned Europe by announcing a referendum on the latest bailout. Just the idea to ask the people whether they support decisions made by European politicians caused heavy criticism across the political spectrum. Global stock markets fell and analystst were basically shocked.

Given this dismal state of democracy in Europe, Swedish artist Promoe’s lyric might have hit the nail on its head:

Notice that that’s the opposite of the standard view about democracy.
It’s a game for elites, it’s not for the ignorant masses.

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