Smart Links 29 May 2012
Commentary on English (the language), why economies stop growing, Germany’s tough love, nothing’s free, on being a famous economist, and managing the cost of new medical technologies.
The controversial history of English.
Times Literary Supplement -- The myth of English as a global language
English spelling is notoriously inconsistent, and some have gone further, calling it “the world’s most awesome mess” or “an insult to human intelligence” (both these from linguists, one American, one Austrian).
It’s like they get stuck.
Project Syndicate -- Why Do Economies Stop Growing?
Over the years, advanced and developing countries have experimented, sometimes deliberately and frequently inadvertently, with a variety of approaches to growth. Unfortunately, many of these strategies have turned out to have built-in limitations or decelerators – what one might call elements of unsustainability.
Greece feels the German embrace.
Telegraph -- Debt crisis: Germany holds a gun to Greece's head
Pressure on Greece increased dramatically on Wednesday night after Germany's central bank called for a suspension of financial support to Athens and eurozone finance ministries agreed to draft contingency plans for a Greek exit from the euro.
Guardian -- Eurozone crisis: Ms Lagarde's morality tale
The morality tale Ms Lagarde sets out is not a new one: feckless southern Europeans ran riot for the euro's first decade and now have to be bailed out from their mess.
What we lose when we don’t pay.
Independent -- Mary Ann Sieghart: Quality costs. The price of 'free' journalism might be its death
Facebook, Google, and Twitter thrive by being free. But journalism can't operate on their model.
Lunch with Paul (Krugman).
Financial Times -- Lunch with the FT: Paul Krugman
The Nobel Prize-winning professor of economics talks to Martin Wolf about what Japan got right, what the Federal Reserve got wrong and how the eurozone can be saved.
Economists twinning social justice and economics.
Esther Duflo, 39, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is co-founder of its Poverty Action Lab. She leads a new trend of applying experimental research methods to anti-poverty policies to find out empirically what works best for economic development.
Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson, 39 and 40, a couple in life and in economics, are at the University of Pennsylvania. They study the labour market effects of public policy, in particular how this impacts women and family relationships.
Emmanuel Saez, 39, is a French-born economist and professor at Berkeley, and a winner of the John Bates Clark medal. His work concentrates on income inequality and what governments can do to reduce it. He advocates a level of tax that is higher than that currently in place in many western countries – his “optimal” tax rate for the rich being between 45 and 70 per cent.
Raj Chetty, 32, is one of the youngest-ever tenured professors at Harvard’s economics department. He is best-known for going against the conventional theory that unemployment benefits reduce the incentive to look for work. Chetty’s research shows benefits can be helpful as they prevent people from rushing to take an unsuitable job.
The public sector rub.
Globe and Mail -- Ontario's doctor-fee cuts are good medicine
Ontario’s move to cut fees for some doctors is an aggressive but necessary treatment.
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