Monday, May 11, 2015

Not always what is heard…

Countries with higher minimum wage than NZ are Slovenia, France, Chile, Turkey and Colombia – the other 22 have lower rates.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A couple of lessons from the UK election

It strikes me that, quite regardless of one’s political views, we might usefully note that:

  1. Revealed preferences – how people act NOT how they say they will act or indeed pretty much anything at all they say, is what counts. It’s econ 101 but we keep listening to words not looking at actions; and,
  2. The great importance of democracy (in all its imperfect forms) is that it brings us to our senses by delivering outcomes no pollster or media stream or even social media stream can. Back to point 1. Democracy has the best (not perfect) chance of delivering not deluding.

This is far from the first recent election where measuring what people say or thought they should say proved to be wasted and totally misleading effort.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Why “learning” to develop a great business might be a complete waste of time… seriously

The most prominent feature of a really successful business seems to be that it is unique. The only one in its class, truly idiosyncratic, not quite matched by anything else: peerless.

By definition then developing, “discovering”, learning, teaching about or attempting to derive the generic “principles” from which this "one off” phenomenon can be replicated faces severe logical problems does it not? Or is it just Friday?

"Black Snake Moan" / "Match Box Blues"—Blind Lemon Jefferson (1927)

Entered into the Library of Congress Register of Recordings this year….

By the time of this recording in 1928, Blind Lemon Jefferson, an African-American street singer from a small country town outside of Dallas, Texas, had reshaped and expanded the blues genre on record. With only his guitar for accompaniment, and a high wailing tenor of a voice, Jefferson recorded a series of powerfully individualistic performances on record from 1925 to 1929, the year of his death. Though he used what were already traditional frameworks for many of his songs, Jefferson personalized them with the interplay between his voice and guitar, extending vocal phrases with long intricate lines of notes, adding or omitting measures in the song as it suited him. This 1928 coupling issued by the Okeh label, and holds two of Jefferson's best performances—"Matchbox Blues," later recorded by Carl Perkins, the Beatles, and many others, and the eerie, lascivious "Black Snake Moan."

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Confusing Inequality of Income with Inequality of Lifestyle

A common problem in discussions about poverty is that inequality of income is frequently confused with inequality in lifestyle. Inequality of lifestyles has been “flattening” at ever increasing rates over the last two centuries.  Ever increasing numbers of people have ever increasing access to greater and greater quality of lifestyle.

The most dramatic examples are in health, infant mortality and life expectancy – and the statistics in these areas are familiar. There are numerous examples in travel, housing, clothing, energy and of course leisure.

A perhaps less well known example but which shows how dramatic this increase in equality has been, is that:

  • the cost of the 32 gig of flash memory to be found in the increasingly ubiquitous smart phone was, in 1991 $1.44 million US dollars.
  • An iPhone 4 in 1993 when Bill Clinton came to power would have cost some $3.3 million US dollars to produce

It is typically not your income which matters but what you can do with it….. and inequality in “what you can do with it” is rapidly declining.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Reporting brilliance

Few pieces of media commentary are more asinine than reporters dealing with share prices… I have collected many over the years. A worthy addition recently. “Here are today’s major movers. Contact Energy was unchanged, Meridian……..”

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Regulatory brilliance… again

Having labelled food products to within an inch of their life to pacify the food worriers – and shoved the price up in process, I hear in my NW supermarket today, ads for “free” courses (read consumers pay) on how to interpret food labelling. MBIE would regard that as a regulatory win then?