Monday, November 22, 2010

Global Wealth Factbook

The 2010 global wealth factbook from Credit Suisse.

The summary (in USD):
  • Total wealth: 195 trillion
  • 195 trillion = financial asset (117 trillion) + non-financial asset, mainly real estate (115 trillion) - household debt (37 trillion)
  • Top three wealth coutries: US (54.6 trillion), Japan (21 trillion), and China (16.5 trillion)
  • Top three household debt: US (13.9 trillion), Japan (4.3 trillion), and Germany (2 trillion)
  • Top three average wealth per adult: Switzerland (373K), Norway (327K), Austrilia (321K)... US (236K)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stimulus and Debt Reduction

My colleage sent me this amusing story explaining how the stimulus work for relieving debt:

IT is a slow day in a dusty little Irish town. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted.
Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.
On this particular day a rich tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub.

The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services" on credit.

The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note. The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the stimulus package works.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

China's Catch-Up on High-Speed Rail Technology

An interesting and detailed article about how China learned the technology of high-speed rail from developed countries.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quantitative Easing Explained

A very funny video about the Fed and Quantitative Easing II.

Hamilton provides more accurate and serious answers to those bunnies' questions.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Google Uses Transfer Pricing

Google 2.4% Tax Rate Shows How $60 Billion Lost to Tax Loopholes.

The Economics of Early Childhood Education

On Friday, my colleague, my students, and I attended the Minnesota Economic Association Annual Conference at St. Paul. One speaker, Art Rolnick, who is the co-director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative at University of Minnesota, made an excellent speech on economics of early childhood education. Here I found two related works by Art:

Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return
Early Childhood Development on a Large Scale

Remind me of this beautiful song: The greatest love of all by Whitney Houston.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Steelworkers Accuse China of Violating Trade Rules

China’s Subsidies for Clean Energy Are Illegal from NYT.
You cannot find a better example than this for teaching international economics.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Economic Reform Doesn’t Produce Democracy

Note to China: Economic Reform Doesn’t Produce Democracy from IMF working paper.
In summary: Democracy has a positive and significant impact on the adoption of economic reforms but there is no evidence that economic reforms foster democracy.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mankiw Does Not Like a Soda Tax

Can a Soda Tax Save Us From Ourselves by Greg Mankiw from NYT.

I think that Mankiw is very wrong on this issue. He said the following as an undesirable path after imposing soda tax: "... Taxing soda may encourage better nutrition and benefit our future selves. But so could taxing candy, ice cream and fried foods. Subsidizing broccoli, gym memberships and dental floss comes next. Taxing mindless television shows and subsidizing serious literature cannot be far behind..." These are exactly the policies I think we should do.

Homeownership is Overrated

This is a very interesting point of view by Richard Florida from WSJ.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fair's Model on Yuan

The Yin and Yang of Yuan appreication by Ray Fair from WSJ.
Hmm, I disagree with Prof. Fair. I think there is something wrong with his model.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Economics of Happiness

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke talks about the economics of happiness, which I think is an excellent speech.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

China Slaps Tariffs

In April 2010, China slaps import tariffs on steel, chemical product, and chicken.

US Exports




A True Hero


A true hero from a village in Taiwan named one of the heroes in 2010 by the Times.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Google Stands Up!!

Google made a brave and right decision finally.

Google stands up.

Google's decision to stop censoring searches on its China-based servers, rerouting search requests instead to its uncensored Hong Kong facilities, is historic. Google has shown itself unwilling simply to be on the receiving end of whatever Beijing dishes out—and highlighted the growing importance of Hong Kong and Taiwan in shaping the decisions that foreign businesses in China must make.

When an enterprise of Google's global dimensions and visibility reverses course in China and is no longer a passive, compliant subject of government diktats, it sends a message to enterprises world-wide: You can do the same. Submissive participation in the mainland Chinese market is neither inevitable nor unavoidable. Do not fear to assert your interests, and those of your present and potential Chinese customers.

For the most part, foreign companies doing business in mainland China previously assumed that their risks lay on the side of not complying with Beijing's orders, however burdensome or threatening to profits or property interests, physical or intellectual. Leaving the Chinese market was unthinkable, and defying or contesting Beijing's directions just as unthinkable.

Of course, as Google could envision, bucking this conventional wisdom is hardly risk free. Google may be mistaken about its own commercial interests and have to climb down in the near future—Chinese authorities are already filtering results from Google's Hong Kong search engine for mainland users. Beijing's rapid and angry response shows it fully understands the dimensions of this clash, and it may yet win, forcing Google back into censoring searches, or pushing it entirely from the mainland for being uppity.

The company announced starkly that "the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement." That position shows how aggressively Beijing's current leadership will act to control domestic information flows, and foreign businesses generally.

But the mere fact that the Google nail remains upright, despite Beijing's omnipresent hammer, is telling. And if Google succeeds, we cannot even begin to imagine the commercial implications for foreign trade and investment with China. A Google victory is also a victory for China's citizens, a surrogate win for those who value individual liberty and free markets in goods and ideas.

Google's response spotlights the distinctive role that mainland China's more free cousins, Hong Kong and Taiwan, may play in shaping business in China in the future. Because Hong Kong still retains a strong attachment to a consistent, fairly applied rule of law, in an economy many now consider freer than that of the United States, Google correctly saw it as a refuge to which it could repair.

Hong Kong's physical reality, its legal protections and lack of corruption, and its potential to be a truly open society are powerful advantages for foreign businesses. Similarly, Taiwan's appeal as a base cannot be dismissed either, especially as economic relations across the Taiwan Strait grow. More closely integrating the two cross-Strait economies will only increase Taiwan's attractiveness to foreign investors and traders.

.....

Google's decision should also tell the U.S. government something about how to advocate its interests with China. The Google controversy coincided with cyber attacks against over 200 American companies, believed by U.S. authorities to have been launched by the People's Liberation Army. China's unchallenged behavior shows why we should not be optimistic that romancing Beijing will produce "crippling" sanctions against Iran's nuclear weapons program any time soon. Instead, the Obama administration should emulate Google's approach in official dealings, and support U.S. businesses in situations similar to Google so they do not have to act alone.

...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Charlie Rose Interview with Joe Stiglitz

An interesting discussion.

Stocks Market

In my class, I have been talking about drawbacks of short-term stocks investment and indiviual stocks investment. This morning one student of mine emailed me this Chinese words, saying the similar thing:

股市原意,乃讓集資搜資有其地,社會向榮,人皆有賺,
惜人性貪婪,耗盡心思,巧取豪奪,樂土成煉獄,血雨腥風,殺戳不息,
無數人蕩產傾家輸性命,勝者則喪良知人格,
余於股壇數十載,未嘗見一真正鸁者,
智者應知此乃一處永無贏家之戰場,
取勝唯一法……「及早離去」四字而矣!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2010 World Economic Forum and China

A good article by Gideon Rachman.

.... Mr Summers was careful to say that the US remains committed to open trade and can gain from globalisation. But he also pointed out that Paul Samuelson, a famous economist (and uncle of Mr Summers), had argued that the case for free trade might not apply when countries were trading with nations that were pursuing mercantilist policies. The reference to China did not need to be spelled out.....

.....With the Americans and the Europeans experiencing a crisis of confidence, Davos man was keen to learn from China this year. American businessmen could be heard ruefully contrasting their own "dysfunctional" political system and flaky politicians with China's decisive and meritocratic leadership. China was also widely held up as an example of the virtues of "state capitalism" - in which government plays a bigger role in guiding the economy than has been fashionable in recent years. Given that China's economic take-off started when the state allowed a greater role for private enterprise, it seems odd to attribute the country's success to "state capitalism". But there is little doubt that bigger government was one of the big ideas at this year's World Economic Forum.....

Also, Paul Krugman's Analysis of China Currency Policy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hayek vs Keynes

A funny video.

In Fear the Boom and Bust, John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek, two of the great economists of the 20th century, come back to life to attend an economics conference on the economic crisis. Before the conference begins, and at the insistence of Lord Keynes, they go out for a night on the town and sing about why there's a "boom and bust" cycle in modern economies and good reason to fear it.

China Battles the Information Barbarians


Read this good article from WSJ.

China often views the ideas of foreigners, from missionaries in the 17th century to 21st-century Internet entrepreneurs, as subversive imports. The tumultuous history behind the clash with Google.

.....

All Chinese schoolchildren are indoctrinated with the idea that China was humiliated for centuries by foreign powers, and that support of the Communist state is the only way for China to regain its greatness and never be humiliated again.

.....

A very similar debate is going on today between those who believe that applying Western notions of human rights and democracy to China is counterproductive. Many a politician, businessman or media tycoon has argued that adapting to special Chinese conditions is surely more effective if one wishes to have any influence in China. The fact that this argument is usually self-serving does not make it necessarily wrong, but so far it has certainly not been proven right.
Chinese human rights have not been noticeably advanced because of foreign
compromises with Chinese illiberalism.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

A College Degree Will Help Your Marriage

Read this report.

Shiller on Rationality

Robert Shiller says those problems in the hearts and minds of workers and investors will hinder US economy recovery.

References in the article:
Machiavelli's Mistake (PDF) (PP) by Samuel Bowles
Economics and Identity by G. Akerlof and R. Kranton

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee

Obama proposed this tax on big banks. I think it is necessary and crucial in the whole financial reform. It is not easy to see that Makiw agrees with Obama on one thing. Of course Krugman thinks this is no brainer.

....Do the bankers really not understand what happened, or are they just talking
their self-interest? No matter. As I said, the important thing looking forward is to stop listening to financiers about financial reform.

Wall Street executives will tell you that the financial-reform bill the House passed last month would cripple the economy with overregulation (it’s actually quite mild).
They’ll insist that the tax on bank debt just proposed by the Obama administration is a crude concession to foolish populism. They’ll warn that action to tax or otherwise rein in financial-industry compensation is destructive and unjustified.

But what do they know? The answer, as far as I can tell, is: not much.