Friday Randomness 8/7/09


– Make sure to check out James’ You Do Not Have Health Insurance. People respond to incentives, managers are natural rent-seekers, and if you get sick on the job you can’t walk away from that job as easily. Since you have become locked in to your current job it’s common sense to believe the job will become worse for you. You’ve lost part of your ability to negotiate by not being able to walk away from the table.

As an example, friend of the blog Larisa’s comment from the previous entry:

I think I prefer “autonomy” to “economic freedom” because the term more clearly evokes concepts like dignity and lack of oppression..I was just thinking about this because I have had 3 different conversations with different friends who are hostages to their jobs because of health care – one faces constant sexual harassment but cannot leave or fight back and risk repercussions because she needs the health plan (having gotten sick while on the job she now has a pre-existing condition for any other health plan).

– If the back-of-the-envelope answer is that the middle-class maximize utility, and the rich wealth, what do the poor maximize? I’ve been meaning to read The Persistence of Poverty: Why the Economics of the Well-Off Can’t Help the Poor (more), and now is as good of a time as any. The argument is that standard marginal utility theory is a good approximation for the middle-class habitus, but bad for the poor’, since “if pains and troubles are high enough, extra pain and trouble just isn’t so bad.” Is the standard model also a bad approximation for the rich? Will report later.

Are community-involved lending groups successes breeding grounds for subprime lenders? Great post. I can’t even imagine how much a subprime lending group would be willing to bribe to get a list of mortgage holders who have gotten their start with community groups. All the more reason for a CFPA.

To lighten it up around here.

My First Fail. Brilliant.

– 60 Minute’s (1985) shocking exposé on the dangerous world of Dungeons and Dragons. Intro: “[D&D is not popular with] adults who think it has been connected with a number of suicides and murders.”

(part 2.) They make it 3 minutes in before asking Gary Gygax what the connection is between D&D and teen suicide, but only because it takes 3 minutes to set up the question.