M-I-T spells MY BITCH

JB is obviously unfamiliar with my ouvre:

I predict you won’t have the balls to publish or publicly address this e-mail (you seem to be the type of charlatan who only engages in fights he can manipulate, like only publishing and eviscerating letters easily dispatched in front of your drooling fan club). But can you please explain again how it is that having women stay home from work is better for the economy? I’m sure it’s better for kids, but if having women stay home improves the economy, then wouldn’t having half the men stay home be even better, still? You seem to know just enough economics to make a fool of yourself. It is true that labor prices will go up if women stay home, but that doesn’t mean it will be good for the economy. It may be that we have a glut of labor (though with brick layers making more than college professors, I doubt it) but it’s ludicrous to say that the women in the field are exactly the people who should leave. Why not the men? Why not half of each?

Jonathan Birge
Ultrafast Optics and Quantum Electronics Group
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

To JB’s credit, at least he recognizes what so many feminists keep stubbornly trying to deny, that labor prices will go up if women stay home. However, I have never argued that increased labor prices will be good for the economy, I have instead argued that they would be good for wage rates and household income. Household income |= GDP. Still, I can certainly make that case on at least two different grounds without even having to seriously ponder the subject.

First, the fact that real GDP growth has grown while wage rates have not only failed to keep pace but have actually declined proves that a growing economy is not beneficial to every aspect of that economy. If the benefits of economic growth is channeled towards corporations that invest their profits outside the national economy and away from workers/consumers, the results of current economic growth is likely to be detrimental to both wage rates and the economy in the intermediate term.

Second, higher wage rates and increased household income equates to either increased spending or increased savings, or more likely, both. Since GDP=C+I+G and, the Keynesians assure us, S=I, then increased spending (C) and increased savings (I) have to lead to an increase in GDP. One seldom sees a country with low wage rates and high GDP per capita, after all.

Now, one could certainly argue that since the increase in wage rates derives from a decrease in the supply of labor, that there is no difference. But there are two big differences, one immediate and one long-term, even if the total household income was identical. The immediate difference is that due to household realities and the current tax regime, two household incomes equals more C at the expense of I(S) and more G at the expense of C. I don’t think there’s any question which of two identical GDP’s, one with larger G and smaller I and one with smaller G and larger I, is the healthier. And, I note, two household incomes with increased government spending and no net household savings is exactly what we’ve got, just as my little model here would predict.

The long-term problem with two household incomes instead of one is the birth rate. Two-income, one-kid families are going to shrink the economy in the long term, which is why every country with low birth rates is importing hordes of Muslims, Mexicans and other foreigners. That leads to other problems, of course, but that’s not relevant here.

In the perfect world of economic modeling, it would make no difference if men or women were working. And in fact, the deleterious effects on wages of women entering the work force was largely hidden until 1973, when men finally stopped leaving the work force in numbers sufficient to conceal what was happening. In fact, one could characterize the period from 1950 to 1973 as women working so that men over 60 could play golf. The BLS numbers make this clear.

But in the real world, labor is more than a mere variable and women in the work force come with unique costs all their own. They inhibit productivity, inspire a host of costs ranging from regulatory compliance to the loss of experienced and productive workers. It has been repeatedly proven that students in same-sex classrooms learn better, and I have little doubt that a study on workforce productivity would exhibit much the same results.

Why can’t the men stay home, JB asks? Well, if you’ve seen what women have done in several decades of academia and believe an economy revolving around Women’s Studies would be a functional one, then there’s no reason why they can’t. Should some brilliant man conceive a system wherein economic growth relies primarily on group discussion, personal expression and color-matching, men will be able to head home and fire up their Playstations. But as long as economic growth depends on technological advancement, men will be the necessary component of the labor force.

You see, JB, I don’t have to cherry pick the emails I eviscerate. It’s just that as an Internet Superintelligence, I’m so far beyond most of my critics that I make it look easy.

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Missing an opportunity

Derbyshire doesn’t grasp the possibilities:

I shall run screaming from the room if the President utters any of the following words or phrases:

jobs Americans won’t do
nation of immigrants
compassionate
family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande
good-hearted people
path to citizenship
my good friend Vicente Fox
this is not amnesty

I, on the other hand, am happy to interpret this as the required list for Dear Jorge’s Immigration Speech Drinking Game. One merely slams a shot of one’s chosen poison or a healthy slug of beer – chug the whole can/cup if you’re in college – upon hearing any of these phrases.

This is also known as the Jamie R experience. It is rumored that upon completion of the game, one may actually be able to comprehend the wisdom of the sage from the Land Down Under.

I’m going to live to 110

Good news on the coffee front:

One to three cups of coffee a day may protect people from heart disease and strokes, according to research which contradicts numerous studies that have suggested that coffee is bad for you.

The good news for coffee drinkers comes from a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and is based on a study of 27,000 older women, followed for 15 years.

Between coffee and red wine, I appear to be assured of a healthy old age. If they can find similar benefits to amaretto, buffalo mozzarella and Maddens, I may well prove to be immortal.