Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tiene que bailar. ¡No pregunte!

Happy feet are, as happy feet do. And that's an order;
Government authorities this week called on all employers to respect Chile’s “Dieciocho” celebrations Thursday and Friday and urged workers to denounce any employer that insists they show up for work by filing a complaint.
In Chilean legalese, these two days... are “mandatory holidays,” or holidays that may not be voluntarily renounced by workers, or workers’ employees.
This means that malls, supermarkets and almost all businesses must be closed from 9 p.m. Wednesday evening until 6 a.m. Saturday morning. Excepted, however, are workers employed at gasoline stations, pharmacies, restaurants, clubs, movies, nightclubs, pubs and casinos, as well as people who are self-employed.
Labor Minister Javiera Blanco told press that 160 “enforcers” from her ministry will be spread out “from Punta Arenas to Arica” on Sept. 18 and 19 to assure that the mandatory holiday law is respected.
There's even a website for the dancin' fools to report non-compliant businesses.

They may be Phds in economics

But UCLA's Andy Atkeson, Andrea Eisfeldt and Pierre-Olivier Weill are also masters of understatement;
In conclusion... market participants and regulators are still in disagreement about whether the private profits that large dealer banks gain from intermediating trade in OTC [derivative] markets encourage socially optimal market structures.
But that hasn't exactly stopped the regulators from doing something...anything;
While efforts to promote centralisation and transparency in OTC markets should help to shed light on the surplus that is created and its distribution across participants, they will also change this surplus in ways that may not be anticipated.
Our bold.
Many of the proposed and implemented regulations effectively reduce the surplus accruing to dealers [large banks], and so reduce their incentives to participate in OTC markets.
We pause, for effect.
Clearly, this hurts dealers; however, the overall change in value may either increase or decrease...
Again, our bold, and our pause.
...depending on whether there was previously too much or too little dealer activity. Our model shows that typically in equilibrium some reduction in dealer rents is warranted. However, one should be careful not to reduce rents so much as to discourage socially valuable intermediation.
Or, as Edward Teller once said, apropos some scientific controversy; Sometimes we have to do that which is very difficult. Sometimes we have to think.
Our work also suggests that particular care should be given not to reduce rents when dealer participation costs are high, such as during times when negative shocks drive exit.
AKA, recessions.

Clemson 2000

The kids these days!
“How many times have you had sex (including oral) in the last 3 months?” asks one question.
“With how many different people have you had sex (including oral) in the last 3 months?” asks another.
In a campus-wide email, the South Carolina university announced that all students, faculty, and staff would be required to complete a mandatory, one-hour long Title IX training course by November 1.
“We believe you’ll enjoy the assignment,” the email, provided to Campus Reform, reads. “It is an engaging and informative online course, created with students for students. It will provide you with useful information regarding sexual violence and relationships. The course promotes a healthier and safer campus environment.”
 Just like their elders.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Party like it's not 1707

Friederich Schiller had Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, say;
It is an ancient saying, that the Scots
   And England to each other are unjust;
   And hence the rightful custom that a Scot
   Against an Englishman, or Englishman
   Against a Scot, cannot be heard in judgment.
   Necessity prescribed this cautious law;
   Deep policy oft lies in ancient customs:
   My lord, we must respect them. Nature cast
   Into the ocean these two fiery nations
   Upon this plank, and she divided it
   Unequally, and bade them fight for it.
They are still at it, with tomorrow being the big day. One almost hopes the Ayes have it, just to see if it plays out the way independence did in the former Czechoslovakia. That was a battle between socialists and free marketeers too, and had interesting repercussions, says Cato's Marian Tupy;
The Czechoslovak federation was dissolved on January 31, 1993. In the Czech Republic, [Vaclev]Klaus introduced his far-reaching economic reforms. The Czech Republic pulled ahead and became one of the early post-communist success stories. Even better, the Czechs no longer had to feel that they were subsidizing their “younger [socialist] sibling.”
Slovakia, in contrast, suffered years of economic and political decline. [Former Communist Vladimir] Meciar’s style of government became increasingly authoritarian, leading the U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright refer to Slovakia as the “black hole in the heart of Europe.” The Slovak economy remained unreformed. .... By 1998, when Meciar left office, Slovakia was near bankruptcy. 
And Slovakians grew up and voted for a change;
Following the change of government, Slovakia returned to a full-fledged democracy and embraced far-reaching economic reforms. The Slovaks partially privatized their pension system, introduced a flat income tax and reduced regulation. In recognition of those improvements, the World Bank’s “Doing Business in 2005” report declared Slovakia the world’s leading reformer and ranked it among the top 20 countries with the best business conditions. By 2006, the Slovak economy was growing at 10 percent per annum and Slovakia was the world’s largest exporter of cars per capita. 
The moral of the story;
Independence forced Slovaks to realize that they had no one to blame for their misfortunes but themselves.
Of course, Scots might blame those Polish lacquerers.

Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown


At least the people can get music lessons.

Growth industry

The rain in Spain is just another factor of production;
Over the last five years, a silent drug-trafficking revolution has taken root, fostering an internal European market with its own flow of imports and exports.
Spain has not remained untouched by this phenomenon. Spanish marijuana production has increased at least fivefold in the last five years....
Genetic improvements in seeds, advances in hydroponic growing techniques (which don’t require soil) and the existence of small plants able to produce four to six top-quality harvests a year have all given a competitive edge to what one expert has termed “eurocannabis.” And there is already significant proof that Spain has not just positioned itself among the group of the producers but also among the exporters. One indication is the number of confiscated plants. Another is the fact that the police operations that started out discovering small homemade greenhouses are now uncovering almost industrial installations, operated by people with a business plan.
Displacing hashish from North Africa, since it avoids the costs of smuggling it in from across the Mediterranean Sea. Nor is it only in Spain that business is business;
Experts agree that the two biggest marijuana producers are the Netherlands and the UK, where the biggest numbers of plants have been found. Behind them are Poland and Belgium, where between 1,200 and 1,500 production centers were discovered in 2012. 
No word on how many Euros the taxpayers had to put up to discover those production centers. Nor these;
The marijuana consumed in Hungary comes from Vietnamese distributors who have spread production to parts of Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland. In this way, both Slovakia and the Czech Republic have become exporters to, among other places, Germany. Vietnamese organizations have also been found in Belgium, Germany, France and the UK. They have very closed and hierarchical structures with their own specialists, including electricians, plumbers and gardeners, and exploit illegal immigrant labor for other tasks.
Under prohibition, man exploits man. Under freedom to market, the reverse will be true.

Yugo, Greek guys

Pony up the drachmas, like it was 1974;
Production of the new generation light-passenger-utility Pony vehicle will begin by the end of the year, NAMCO (National Motor Company of Greece) has announced according to a report in Eleftherotypia newspaper on Wednesday.
Petros Tzanetos-Kondogouris, owner of the Thssaloniki-based company, told the newspaper that after more than two years of bureaucratic obstacles, just a few final formalities were left before production can begin. He said 150 workers would originally be assigned on the project.
First introduced at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in the early 1970s, the Pony was hailed by the German press as a car “so ugly it's beautiful.” The new version will reportedly be powered by a 1300 cc (75 hp) or a 1400 cc (80 hp) engine. Tzanetos-Kondogouris said the goal was to keep the price of the car below 7,000 euros.
One word...plastics.