Links for 11th September, 2018

  1. From a while ago, the case for a land tax.
  2. Further reading on land tax.
  3. On the dynamics of real estate prices.
  4. Variable Interest Entities. I had no clue these things existed.
  5. Pinch yourself. Industrial policy that worked in India.

Links for 10th September, 2018

  1. Sociologists and economists.
  2. On a more inward looking China (be careful what you wish for)
  3. On the microeconomics of subscriptions.
  4. On our attitude to drugs, and what formed them.
  5. On Europe and tech.

Links for 9th September, 2018

  1. The difficulty of Bretton Woods 2.0.
  2. A critique of austerity.
  3. On lyrics, music and Spotify.
  4. Mihir Sharma on India’s wrong step.
  5. On the quality/quantity of sleep.

Links for 8th September, 2018

  1. On the origins of money (it’s probably not what economists think)
  2. On the origins of mmmhmmmm.
  3. Machines and moral decisions: we aren’t ready just yet.
  4. On bees.
  5. A CwT, Michael Pollan is the guest.

All links today are from MR, by the way.

Links for 7th September, 2018

  1. Hal Varian provides the contrarian opinion about the European Commission’s ruling against Android.
  2. On rejecting austerity.
  3. On rejecting nature.
  4. An Uber for trucks?
  5. On incentives in American politics.

Links for 6th September, 2018

  1. On incentives in academia.
  2. India is not Indonesia (the pros and the cons)
  3. The Guardian has an excellent article on air conditioning and cities.
  4. Inside Tesla’s factory.
  5. On the long arc of productivity in the UK.

The Seen and the Unseen

If you are a student of the Indian economy, and don’t mind irreverence (there really ought to be a positive correlation between these two things), you might want to take a look at The Seen and the Unseen.

Amit Varma used to write one of India’s most popular blogs in the early days of the Indian blogosphere, India Uncut. He was, if memory serves me right, a writer with Cricinfo back then as well. He also used to write a column about poker that (at least to me) was quite difficult to grasp. And there is a lot else to know about him, including he being a two time winner of the Bastiat Prize.

But the best resource that he has put up for us to use is his blog, The Seen and the Unseen. The title is a doffing of the hat to Hayek, who admonished us all (and repeatedly) to worry about unintended consequences of policies with the most noble of intentions. In a sense, the title is also an acknowledgment of the fact that this is a problem that has plagues India ever since independence.

Amit Varma revels in poking fun at everything and everybody, as well he should. Some, but not all, of his episodes begin with a dream that he had, in which increasingly surreal things happen to him, in relation to things he is going to talk about in that particular episode – sometimes the dream is the best part of the episode.

The very first episode in the series is about a specific problem plaguing Indian agriculture, which is also one of my favorite episodes from the series. All the interviews with Shruthi Rajagopalan (whose columns in Livemint are always excellent reading) are also well worth your time, and I particularly enjoyed the episode with Vishwanath S, in which India’s water crisis is discussed.

But all in all, a series of episodes well worth listening to.