elsewheres

by Henry on December 21, 2007

Stuff elsewhere on the WWW that I would blog if I wasn’t catching a plane to Ireland in 4 hours …

“Mark Schmitt”:http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_theory_of_change_primary argues that Obama’s bipartisanship is actually a clever strategy for bringing change through.

“Ari Kelman”:http://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/aha/ gives tips to job candidates who’ll be attending the _American Historical Association_ meeting.

“Andrew Gelman”:http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2007/12/trends_in_votin.html crunches the numbers to show that while Democrats are gaining support over time from professionals, business owners are going more and more Republican.

Lots of interesting stuff from “Charles Taylor et al.”:http://www.ssrc.org/blogs/immanent_frame/ on religion in the public sphere at the _Immanent Frame_.

The Department

by Henry on December 21, 2007

What happens when a bunch of Harvard pol-sci grad students, with, in Dan Drezner’s “words”:http://www.danieldrezner.com/archives/003646.html, too much time on their hands, decide to make their own version of ‘The Office’?

It works pretty well (a) because _there really aren’t all that many differences_ between academic politics and the office politics of a paper manufacturer, and (b) because while scholars don’t necessarily make great actors, we _do_ have that ‘not quite comfortable in our own skins and trying to make meaningful conversation but having it filled with awkward pauses’ thing down cold.

A lot or a little ?

by John Quiggin on December 21, 2007

A dollar is not very much money. A billion dollars is a lot of money. Twenty billion dollars is an awful lot of money.

For most people reading this (though not for Bill Gates or for the billion or so people living on a US dollar a day or less), these statements should seem pretty obvious.

But all of these can be (and have been used as) different ways of measuring the same thing. If every Australian receives, or pays, a dollar a week, the total amount is very close to a billion dollars a year. And if you have a cash flow of a billion dollars a year, and your interest rate is 5 per cent, the present value of that cash flow (the amount of extra wealth you would need to generate the flow) is twenty billion dollars.

It’s easy to stretch this gap even further. A dollar a week is about fourteen cents a day. And, if we looked at the US (about 300 million people), or the entire developed world (around a billion people, depending on your definition), the total would be that much larger. Fourteen cents a day for everyone in the developed world has a present value of one trillion dollars.

The fact that the same flow of money can be presented in such radically different ways, and that each of them is appropriate in certain contexts, is one reason public policy debates get confused.

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