November 2, 2009
From the Economist:
Last year Israel, a country of just over 7m people, attracted as much venture capital as France and Germany combined. Israel has more start-ups per head than any other country (a total of 3,850, or one for every 1,844 Israelis), and more companies listed on the NASDAQ exchange, a hub for fledgling technology firms, than China and India combined. It may not have the same comforting ring as “the Swedish model” or “the polder model”, but when it comes to promoting entrepreneurship, “the Israeli model” is the one to emulate.
Click here to read ‘The other side of Israel.‘
October 31, 2009
Dan Senor (Council on Foreign Relations) and Saul Singer (Jerusalem Post) write:
For all the press coverage of the Middle East, there is one side of Israel that gets scant attention: the country’s economy has the highest concentration of innovation and entrepreneurialism in the world today. For years, multinational technology companies and global investors have been beating a path to Israel. Even in 2008—a year of global economic turmoil—per capita venture investments in Israel were 2.5 times greater than in the United States, more than 30 times greater than in Europe, 80 times greater than in China, and 350 times greater than in India. And Israel still boasts the highest density of start-ups in the world (a total of 3,850 start-ups, one for every 1,844 Israelis). More Israeli companies are on NASDAQ than companies from all of Europe, China, India, Korea, and Japan combined.
…In fact, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 45 percent of Israelis are university-educated, which is among the highest percentages in the world. And according to a recent IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, Israel was ranked second among sixty developed nations on the criterion of whether “university education meets the needs of a competitive economy.”
Click here to read the full article.
September 13, 2009
The dean of Harvard Medical School weighs in on the health care debate:
…there is our inefficient and inequitable system of tax-advantaged, employer-based health insurance. While the federal tax code promotes overspending by making the majority unaware of the true cost of their insurance and care, the code is grossly unfair to the self-employed, small businesses, workers who stick with a bad job because they need the coverage, and workers who lose their jobs after getting sick.
This employer-based system arose not by thoughtful design but as an unforeseen result of price controls during World War II and subsequent tax policy. How this developed and persisted despite its unfairness and maladaptive consequences is a powerful illustration of the law of unintended consequences and the fact that government can take six decades or more to fix its obvious mistakes.
August 12, 2009
Steven E. Landsburg writes,
“I know what wages beauty gives,” said the poet William Butler Yeats about a century ago. Modern econometricians know more precisely. In their published research, Professors Daniel Hamermesh and Jeff Biddle estimate that if you’re perceived as beautiful, you probably earn about 5 percent more than your ordinary-looking counterparts.
As beauty is rewarded, so ugliness is penalized. Ugly women earn about 5 percent less than other women, and ugly men earn about 10 percent less than other men. That’s right; the market punishes men more than women for being unattractive. Moreover, men’s looks haunt them at every stage of their careers: Better-looking men get more job offers, higher starting salaries, and better raises. For women, good looks will get you better raises but usually not better job offers or starting salaries.
A separate study found an even larger disparity:
Good-looking men and women have a greater confidence that gives them an edge in the job market, a study from the University of Florida showed.
“We’ve found that, even accounting for intelligence, a person’s feeling of self-worth is enhanced by how attractive they are and this, in turn, results in higher pay,” Timothy Judge, the study’s lead author, told ScienceDaily in a story published Saturday.
Judge and his team compared data from the Harvard Study of Health and Life Quality on 191 men and women between the ages of 25 and 75. The 191 were questioned about their education and finances, and had their pictures taken and rated for attractiveness by the Harvard researchers.
Judge’s team found people rated good-looking made more money, were better educated and felt more confident, The Daily Telegraph reported.
July 23, 2009
In case you have missed it, here is a short summery of the questionable arrest of black Harvard Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr:
Gates’ arrest followed a report of a possible burglary. A woman apparently saw Gates force the front door and called police. Police came and demanded that Gates show identification. Gates was arrested shortly afterward for alleged disorderly conduct, a charge that was dropped Tuesday.
President Barack Obama responded to the incident saying,
“What I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately,” Obama said. “That’s just a fact.”
I will be very careful how I say this because I do not want to misrepresent my attitudes on such an emotional issue. First of all, equality is an unnatural phenomenon. Nothing in society is truly equal without coercion. That being said, I do not understand how one can expect all races to be equal, whether in crime, income, test scores or anything else. What leads to inequalities is not my point, my point is that these inequalities exist, and it is okay to recognize them. But if we choose to recognize them, we must remain consistent and recognize the ugly ones as well.
When Obama says “African-Americans and Latinos [are] being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately,” he is correct. But this is because they commit crimes disproportionately. It is not exclusively because of police racism, as Obama implies. Attributing this disproportion to racism implies that African-Americans and Latinos commit crimes at the same rates as other races. This is incorrect.
Let me be clear, I do not deny police racism, but I do believe racism plays a smaller role in this disproportion than actual crime rates.
(Also the police force may have acted incorrectly. I do not know. I am not an authority on Police procedures, but neither is Obama.)