Monday, May 9, 2022

Revealed Preference: Where are people moving to and from?

Here are the top 10 growth states, according to U-Haul data analyzing migration patterns from 2020: 

  1. Tennessee 
  2. Texas
  3. Florida 
  4. Ohio 
  5. Arizona 
  6. Colorado
  7. Missouri
  8. Nevada
  9. North Carolina
  10. Georgia
  1. California
  2. Illinois
  3. New Jersey
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Maryland
  6. Oregon
  7. Louisiana
  8. Connecticut
  9. New York
  10. Pennsylvania
  11. Michigan

Facebook vs. Australia: The alternatives to agreement determine the terms of agreement

 The Australian govt. passed a law requiring Facebook and Google to start paying for news content that appeared on their sites. However, the law did not specify any criteria for identifying pages that were in violation of the law.  

This uncertainty creates a tradeoff when trying to design rules to comply with the law:    

  • An "overly broad" take down means that Facebook is less likely to violate  the law,  BUT
  • It also means that Facebook is likely to take down pages that shouldn't be taken down.  

According to WSJ

The documents show that Facebook deliberately created an overly broad process for deciding what was news and taking down supposedly news pages that swept up a lot of things that weren't news. And the document showed that it knew this. This was a choice. ...
The other thing Facebook didn't have ready was a process so that anyone who thought their page had been wrongly taken down could appeal to Facebook and ask to be reinstated. The company says it was still working on the appeals process when the takedown began. The massive takedown of Facebook pages may have wreaked havoc for the public, but for Facebook, it got the company back at the negotiating table with Australian lawmakers. ...
Within days, Australian lawmakers watered down the bill and added in language that said if Google and Facebook struck enough deals with the news publishers on their own, they could avoid that dreaded government run negotiation process: the so-called final offer arbitration. 

The reporter suggests that this was all part of a cleverly thought out plan to pressure Australia to watering down the law, but the overly broad take down could also be seen as Facebook's honest effort to comply with the law.  

Keynes vs. Hayek, round II

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Enlightenment Now!

Alex Tabborock opines I hate paper straws:
There is a wing of the environmental movement that wants to punish consumerism, individualism, and America more than they want to solve environmental problems so they see an innovation agenda as a kind of cheating. Retribution is the goal of their practice.
If you find yourself drawn to the weird atavistic sensibility to get back to the land (which would dramatically increase our carbon footprint--remember density is green), or unplug and return to a simpler (read dirtier, riskier, less interesting) golden past, don't. Instead read Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.
In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In 75 jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing. 
...Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.

And as if to prove this point, The Atlantic shows up:

...the Enlightenment emphasis on the autonomous, rational individual can also lead to alienation and isolation, which make tribalist mythology all the more appealing.