Category Archives: Economics

Softbank and its WeWork Fiasco

Source: ZeroHedge, Nov 2019

 

US$ Purchasing Power’s Decline

Source: ZeroHedge, Nov 2019

today’s central bankers facilitate the growth of government by purchasing government securities in order to keep interest rates – and thus the government’s borrowing costs – low.

The Federal Reserve’s interventions enable the expansion of government well beyond what would be politically palatable if politicians had to finance the entire welfare-warfare state through direct taxation or borrowing at market interest rates, which would increase interest rates for private sector borrowers, lower growth, and increase unemployment.

Since the creation of the Federal Reserve, the US dollar has lost over 96 percent of its value.

The Biggest Economies in 2030

Source: Visual Capitalist, Mar 2019

US$86 trillion global economy

Source: ZeroHedge, Sep 2019

 

Progress Studies

Source: AIER, Aug 2019

My work has argued that nations that are open to risk-taking, trial-and-error experimentation, and technological dynamism (i.e., “permissionless innovation”) are more likely to enjoy sustained economic growth and prosperity than those rooted in precautionary principle thinking and policies (i.e., prior restraints on innovative activities).

Collison and Cowen suggest that “there can be ecosystems that are better at generating progress than others, perhaps by orders of magnitude. But what do they have in common? Just how productive can a cultural ecosystem be?” Beyond gaining a better understanding of how innovation ecosystems work, they also want to nurture them. “Can we deliberately engineer the conditions most hospitable to this kind of advancement or effectively tweak the systems that surround us today?” they ask.

Mokyr has argued that technological innovation and economic progress can be viewed as “a fragile and vulnerable plant, whose flourishing is not only dependent on the appropriate surroundings and climate, but whose life is almost always short. It is highly sensitive to the social and economic environment and can easily be arrested by relatively small external changes.” McCloskey’s work has shown that cultural attitudes, social norms, and political pronouncements have had a profound and underappreciated influence on opportunities for entrepreneurialism, innovation, and long-term economic growth

Many scholars have surveyed the elements that contribute to a successful innovation culture and their lists typically include:

  • trust in the individual / openness to individual achievements;
  • positive attitudes towards competition and wealth-creation (especially religious openness toward commercial activity and profit-making);
  • support for hard work, timeliness, and efficiency;
  • willingness to take risks and accept change (including failure);
  • a long-term outlook;
  • openness to new information / tolerance of alternative viewpoints;
  • freedom of movement and travel for individuals and organizations (including flexible immigration and worker mobility policies);
  • positive attitudes towards science and development;
  • advanced education systems;
  • support for property rights and contracts;
  • reasonable regulations and taxes;
  • impartial administration of justice and the respect for the rule of law; and,
  • stable government institutions and transfers of power.

 

Economics Nobel Prizes

Source: SagePub, Jun 2019

In economics, the University of Chicago holds the top spot with 32 laureates, followed by Harvard (30), MIT (28), Stanford (25), Berkeley (23), Yale (21), and Princeton (19). In terms of the graduate department awarding the PhD degree to economics Nobel laureates, about half have come from only five universities: MIT (11), Harvard (10), Chicago (9), Carnegie Mellon (4) and the London School of Economics (4). Six other universities have produced two each.

Robert Solow (Nobel 1987) published (in 1956) a formal model of economic growth in which the output to capital ratio was not fixed, and the growth rate of population (and consequently the labor force) drove economic growth. Technological progress entered the process via a specified steady rate of productivity growth. His first order differential equation explaining the rate of economic growth appealed to the mathematical formalism of economists (and has lasted as a staple for more than 50 years) because it is founded on notions essential to popular classical economic theories.

Paul Romer, recipient of the 2018 Prize, extended the basic growth model by including technological progress as an endogenous factor, wherein economic policies, such as trademark and patent laws, could affect and accelerate the rate of technological progress (Henderson, 2018).

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Declines in Usage

Source: Bloomberg, Aug 2018

The offshoot of the digital coin, known as Bitcoin Cash, is barely being used in commerce, according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. A review of payments received by the world’s 17 largest crypto merchant processing services, such as BitPay, Coinify and GoCoin, found that Bitcoin Cash payments slumped to $3.7 million in May from a high of $10.5 million in March. Bitcoin payments totaled $60 million in May, down from a peak of $412 million in September.

Adoption in commerce has been low, partly the result of concentrated ownership, Grauer said. About 56 percent of Bitcoin Cash is controlled by 67 wallets not located on exchanges, according to Chainalysis. Of those, two wallets hold between 10,000 and 100,000 Bitcoin Cash. And chances are, the wealthiest holders are the ones sending a lot of the traffic to merchant services, Grauer said.