Free Speech, Riots And Incitement To Hatred

The recent rioting in the Arab World has raised controversy and difficulties over how to balance respect and tolerance of others with the right to free speech. Are people free to criticize, even if this will cause offence? Should we ban offensive comments in order to keep the peace? Or is that rewarding violence? Should people be free to incite hatred? Even if it leads to deaths? Does the right to free speech include the right to insult? Continue reading “Free Speech, Riots And Incitement To Hatred”

Romney And The 47%

Mitt Romney made the news for his declaration that he doesn’t care about the bottom half of America. Apparently they are poor because they do not take personal responsibility for their lives. He repeated the usual Conservative rubbish, that there is an enormous group of lazy dossers who treat the rest of society like servants. Never mind that he got his facts wrong. Never mind that he is supposed to be President of the whole country. Never mind he ignored the suffering and shame that the poor undergo. Romney revealed himself to be a heartless elitist who does not care about the problems of the weakest members of society. This will cost him the election. Continue reading “Romney And The 47%”

What If The Workers Ran The Business?

Most people think there is only one way of running a business, that is, with a boss in charge telling everyone what to do. The boss makes all the decisions and keeps all the profit. This is the way it always has been and the way it always will be. But then again there was a time when people thought the unrestrained rule of Kings was the natural way of running a country. What if there was an alternative? What if the workers made the decisions themselves? What if they took ownership of their place of work rather than simply having it as a means to make a living? What if the makers of the money got to keep it? What if the divide between employer and employee was removed? What if the workers ran the business? Continue reading “What If The Workers Ran The Business?”

Do Generous Welfare Benefits Lead To High Unemployment? (Short Version)

(This is a shortened version of my last post. Essentially I shortened it, removed all the technical economic terms and put into plain English. If you want to see my sources and the evidence I base this article on then see the last post.)

It is commonly stated as fact that generous unemployment benefits leads to high unemployment. The argument is that people won’t bother getting a job if they can get paid for not working. It is often declared that there is more money on the dole than in a job and that the only problem with the unemployed is that they lack motivation. However there is little or no evidence to support this belief. Countless studies have been done without finding the supposedly large disincentive effect. In fact countries with generous welfare benefits (such as Sweden and Denmark) have on average lower unemployment. Continue reading “Do Generous Welfare Benefits Lead To High Unemployment? (Short Version)”

Do Generous Welfare Benefits Lead To High Unemployment? (Long Version)

(This was originally written as a college essay. For this reason it is 3,000 words long and contains a lot of economics terms references. It is meant as a help for anyone who wants an in-depth study of the topic with supporting facts and figures. For a short version in plain English see here. The essay was marked the best in my class of 80 students. It won the Undergraduate Award 2012 in Economics along with someone from Yale. I’m not trying to boast but I’m over the moon.)

Abstract

This paper discusses the conventional wisdom that unemployment benefits create a disincentive to work, the so-called “welfare trap”. It examines if higher benefit levels or longer benefit durations lead to higher unemployment rates. Surprisingly, it finds that the disincentive effect is negligible to non-existent. A wide range of different studies have found little or no disincentive effect. The orthodox economic view which states that workers will quit their jobs if they will receive more money from unemployment benefits has been found to be naive and unrealistic. Despite the large number of people who believe it to be true, it simply is not supported by evidence. Continue reading “Do Generous Welfare Benefits Lead To High Unemployment? (Long Version)”

John Maynard Keynes Quotes

Keynes is one of the most famous economists of all time and the one whose ideas will get us out of this recession. So here is a collection of some of his best quotes.

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The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity at the Treasury.

Look after unemployment and the Budget will look after itself

In the long run we are all dead. Continue reading “John Maynard Keynes Quotes”

In The Right Place At The Right Time

A while ago I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It is a book about very successful people and tries to find out what makes them so special. Surprisingly, he does not conclude that it is due to superior skill or talent. In fact he argues that there is no such thing as natural talent, rather all skill derives from practice. Instead it is luck that allows people to achieve enormous success. People become successful because they were in the right place at the right time. Continue reading “In The Right Place At The Right Time”