Interesting stuff

  1. Americans (and many others) do not understand the dynamics of migration (=it’s not zero-sum): “This is madness. Failing to solve the immigration-recruitment kludge as we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on technology subsidies is about as strategic as training to run a marathon while subsisting on a diet of donuts.” Read more.
  2. PFAS contamination means some Dutch eggs and fish are too dangerous to eat.
  3. Read: Dutch politicians made the solar market, and now they broke it. Just another example of why [algorithmic] carbon taxes are better
  4. Harvard wises up: “the belief that the purpose of the university is best served by speaking only on matters directly relevant to its function and not by issuing declarations on other matters [e.g., politics], however important.”… As university leaders pronounce less, faculty and students should feel more free to step up and speak up, not on behalf of any collective, but as individuals who prefer constructive discourse to groupthink. For those who crave pronouncements from the top, there is still religion.
  5. Read this sad explainer on how US governments (at all levels) have outsourced “customer service” to profit-seeking firms that… make a lot of profits by (a) making the process more confusing (tax returns) and (b) taking a large share of benefits meant for the poor. Related: Scammy student-loan servicing companies undermine the purpose of federal subsidies. Watch.
  6. Amsterdam hit a record number of stays (22.1 million nights) by 9.4 million visitors. Is that a lot? Using the average number of nights (2.35), we can see that the “FTE” visitors to the city are 60,500 people (i.e., as if 60k tourists stayed all year), or 6.5% of the city’s current population of 932,000. Is that a lot? Barcelona had 12 million tourists staying 35.9 million nights (3.00 average), which means 98,000 “tourist FTEs” — or 5.8% of its local population. (Fun fact: 1/4 of their “locals” are foreign born.) So, yeah. Amsterdam is busy. (I’ve left off the 15 million day trippers!) What about Venice? Yeah, bad data, but 4.9 million tourists staying 8 million nights gives 22,000 FTE tourists, which is 44% (!) of the historic city’s 50,000 population. That’s why Venice is piloting a “head tax” to reduce day tripping demand.
  7. Watch Stephen Colbert enjoy saying “Trump, the convicted felon” (#lockhimup)
  8. Listen: Companies are finally getting the hang of (first degree) price discrimination (often via apps), which means higher prices for us and profits for them.
  9. Worry: “An additional 1°C of warming will lead to a 12% fall in gdp. A climate-change scenario with more than 3°C of warming would be, according to their estimates, an equivalent blow to fighting a permanent war.”
  10. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr wrote his Letter from a Birmingham Jail 60 years ago. Listen to this discussion and consider this excerpt:

    We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

    We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.

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Author: David Zetland

I'm a political-economist from California who now lives in Amsterdam.

One thought on “Interesting stuff”

  1. 1) “In exchange for expanded opportunities for legal immigration—more visas, more green cards, and targeted policies to increase immigration in technology and science—liberals would agree to stricter enforcement and control at the border.”

    Yes, please.

    5) Sad indeed…

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