Quotes & Links #34

1) zeit.de: Neapel – Wir bleiben

Bis dahin war es ein harter Kampf. Ihr Vertrag wird jedes Jahr verlängert, eine unbefristete Stelle zu finden ist in Italien ein Luxus, für den man Gerüchten zufolge zahlt, bis zu 25.000 Euro soll ein Arbeitsplatz bei den öffentlichen Bahnen kosten. Bizarr, aber gut vorstellbar in einem Land, dessen Schwarzmarkt einen jährlichen Umsatz von bis zu sieben Milliarden Euro macht.

Hmm. Let’s hope they can be successful. Seems like a tough fight.

2) telegraph.co.uk: Investors have woken up to Greece’s nuclear risk

The suggestion – almost a mantra in EMU power circles – that Syriza is retreating from “reform” is risible. There is no reform. The two dynastic parties in charge of Greece for over three decades have always treated the state as a patronage machine, and seem to have great trouble shaking the habit.

Sounds far too subjective, but who knows.

3) vox.com: How Andrew Sullivan changed America

Peter Singer led large numbers of people into vegetarianism and veganism and gave those practices philosophic respectability; he is second on my list.

An interesting choice. Strangely, I’ve never ever (ok, maybe once or twice) visited Andrew Sullivan’s blog, so I can’t comment on him at all.

4) vox.coom: Chart: NFL players have become absolutely enormous

5) enlightenmenteconomics.com: The Worldly Philosophers 2.0
Interesting list. I wonder how my list for “political scientists” would look like: Inglehart, Ostrom, Olsen, Dahl, Downs, Huntington, Rawls, Putnam, Simon, Zaller? Maybe add more political sociologists or leave them out completely? Maybe add some marxists (Jon Elster? Giddens?) or political economists? Does Axelrod count? Does North count? I guess, I’d have to add some IR peoeple as well… I’ll think about it.

6) voxeu.org: Secular stagnation in the Eurozone

While the Eurozone does have structural supply-side problems that will have to be corrected, these cannot be seen as the primary cause of the stagnation since 2008.

Increased attempts to save triggered by external imbalances (and debt accumulation) and the lack of the exchange rate instrument to rebalance the economies of the debtor nations, drove inflation into negative territory. This, in turn, prevented the real interest rate from declining further so as to equilibrate savings and investments. As a result, the Eurozone seems to be stuck into a low-growth high-unemployment equilibrium.

He might be right (a high chance, too), but I always find it a bit peculiar to argue with simple correlations and not use regressions at all. Who is he trying to convince?

7) kqed.org: Do Students Really Have Different Learning Styles?

Learning styles—the notion that each student has a particular mode by which he or she learns best, whether it’s visual, auditory or some other sense—is enormously popular. It’s also been thoroughly debunked.

I know various people who still insist this to be true. It’s quite annoying as a simple look at the comments will show you.

8) washingtonpost.com/monkeycage: Why is terror Islamist?

9) washingtonpost.com/monkeycage: Does anyone make accurate geopolitical predictions?

But the truth is, in the contemporary world, Christians won big. And the frustration and humiliation that Muslims now feel as a result can help explain terrorism. That frustration and humiliation is rooted in politics rather than sex and in modern experience rather than deep history. And it has little to do with the Koran.

10) sethgodin.com: The end of geography

If you’re still betting on geography, on winning merely because you’re local, I hope you have a special case in mind.

A nice addition to a recent St. Louis working paper: Institutions Do Not Rule.

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