MEW & Consumption:
What seems to have happened: 1) rising equity & home prices during the ’90s & ’00s lowered the savings rate; 2) rising home prices also finance increased consumption (via MEW); 3) the housing crash obliterates MEW; 4) attitude shifts among US consumers also result in higher savings (both into savings accounts and/or debt paydown), and via decreased borrowing; 5) the end result of #3-4 is downward pressure on PCE (such that it either decreases, or grows more slowly than it otherwise would have absent #3-4).
Rodrik on Trade & Immigration: An interesting argument for favoring skilled over unskilled immigrants.
Origins of Life: Another blow to “God of the gaps”….
Neutron Star Crust: “Star Crust is Ten Billion Times Stronger Than Steel.” Nifty….
Marine Mammal Cold Tolerance: How whales, dolphins, etc., avoid freezing to death.
Obama Housing Bailout: Friction apparently afflicts government programs as well as warfare.
Whence Chinese Savings: various possible causes, including health care costs.
Burning Food Watch: It’ll be interesting to see if these developing countries end up nationalizing foreign biofuel plantations in the not-too-distant future. Possible rationales might include a desire to use the land for food cultivation; anger at “foreign imperialism” & “exploitation”; rural populations’ resentment at being displaced from ancestral lands; etc. It’s been done before w/ oil, after all….
Global Imbalances & the Financial Crisis:
Setser: Yes, the were a factor.
Dooley/Garber: No, they weren’t.
Setser: Yes, they really were.
Edmund Andrews’ Personal Credit Crisis
Megan McArdle on Andrews: Bravery; unaffordable marriage; spousal bankruptcy (part II).
Delong on McArdle on Andrews
Carbon Taxes & Protectionism: Krugman in favor; Cowen’s opposed. IMHO, if we’re going to impose (further) costs upon domestic producers, we ought to utilize tariffs to level the playing field vis-à-vis imports from countries that don’t impose such costs upon _their_ producers. Otherwise we’ll end up lowering US GHG emissions by exporting even more of our industry overseas.
Hilarity: “A man in Germany discovered the dangers of driving an open-top car when an envelope containing 23,000 euros (£20,600) blew off the back seat.”
Sleep Deprivation & Premature Death: Physiological effects of sleep deprivation.