Sex among humans is very different than it is among other species, although tree-dwelling species (anthropoid apes and monkey share some of the differences. Jared Diamond started his book with his idea of a dog’s view of human sexuality:
– By Robert U. Ayres
From early childhood I have been fascinated by learning “how things work”. I suppose that is quite natural for children, but for one reason or another, most children are discouraged at an early age. The world is too complicated, there are too many “things” to learn about, there are conflicting short-term needs for time, they are told that parents or teachers or priests will explain it all in due course when we are “ready”, etc.
For some reason, however, I found a book called “The Strange Story of the Quantum” that introduced a curious idea, namely that there is an underlying simplicity that can be grasped by human intelligence, and that understanding “things” can sometimes be approached from “below”, so to speak rather than from the usual perspective “above”. I read that a fizzy-haired man named Albert Einstein had already found a way to put that underling simplicity in a single mathematical equation, a “theory of everything”. It is why I was attracted to physics.
Editor’s Note. Paris, 25 May 2018.
Dear readers, friends and colleagues,
This ambitious collaborative web project “Ayres on Environment, Economy, Energy & Growth” has been in existence for close to four full years now. And over this time despite the potential of tremendous content and burning issues, and considerable effort on our part, it has failed to take off. At least to the degree that the subject merits. What went wrong? And where should we go from here?
Making a web platform like this work — highly technical content, including a fair dose of abstract topics and analytic approaches which require a well prepared audience to be meaningful — is no easy task. And all the more so in this era of crushing information overload. But that would be a poor excuse.
The main shortcoming thus far has been that we have simply failed to give it sufficient time, commitment, touch and content — or regularity, — to win over the kind and size of audience which the work and findings of Ayres and his distinguished colleagues deserve in their own work in these complex inter-related spheres of, once again, Environment, Economy, Energy & Growth,..
What’s needed is a mandatory course on ethics and the limits of knowledge.
– By Noah Smith. Bloomberg View. https://bloom.bg/2vue79V
Economics remains one of the most popular majors for college students. Most econ students, of course, don’t go on to become professional economists; instead, they fill the ranks of the U.S.’s vast pper-middle-class of business managers and professionals.
The models they learn in their college classes inform the way they think about the world, even if they don’t end up using them for quantitative purposes after final exams are over.
– By Robert U. Ayres
For several weeks, the guys and gals at CNBC and Bloomberg News, and their guests, have been talking about the coming tax reform (cut) legislation that the Republicans finally seem to have in their grasp. Well, maybe not exactly reform, maybe not revenue-neutral, but at least tax cuts for the corporations that give them campaign money. All the cheerleaders, both in Congress and the White House, assert confidently that faster growth will pay for the cost of the tax cut, even though virtually all economists (including me) say that it won’t.
The continued decline in GE share prices (now around $13 per share) have been a major topic in the financial press (and TV) during the past year. Jeffrey Immelt (Jack Welch’s protegé) is gone, no doubt with a sizeable “golden parachute” to comfort his golden years. Yet in GE’s peak year, under Welch, in August 2000 (just before the “dot.com” crash) GE was worth more than $600 billion. Currently it hovers around $115 billion. As of September 2017 GE was still in the Dow-Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), since it is by far the biggest US manufacturing company in revenues, if not in profits. The annual dividend, formerly $0.90 per share, is now $0.48. In other words, GE is not earning enough to cover its traditional dividend payout. The company is likely to sell around $20 billion in assets in 2018, just to cover expenses.
Report from China: Robert Ayres
In December I travelled to the city of Kunming, in Yunnan province, China. The occasion of the trip was to attend a conference on planning and give a talk on economics at that conference. The host was the newly appointed provincial Governor, who is also the Communist Party Chairman for Yunnan. The organizer was the former chief planner for Singapore, and the attendees were academics and civil servants in the urban planning departments from all of the major cities of organizer was the former chief planner for Singapore, and the Yunnan province. I was invited on short notice (only two weeks) and I was asked to provide a copy of my talk in advance, without much detailed information about the actual situation. What I did know about China was more applicable to Beijing and Shanghai than to Kunming. So, I had to “punt”, as they say.
With straight faces, the salesmen for the Trump tax cut have promised a miracle: increased corporate profits, a surge of investment in CAPX, more and better jobs with higher pay, all to be paid for by accelerated economic growth. In fact, the all-white, all male finance committees of both Houses of Congress, with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Chief Economic Advisor Hassett say that the US will grow at 3% p.a. or more for the next ten years – no recessions – and that the tax cuts will actually generate a profit for the government of $300 billion in that time. Sadly (and no irony intended) this combination of goodies is a pipe dream. In the next few paragraphs I will explain why, and why Trump and the Republicans are selling snake oil to the suckers. What is surprising is how many financial professionals are buying it.