Economics

"Richer Than Ever"

That would be us, the U.S.

On a real per capita basis (i.e., after adjusting for inflation and population growth), the net worth of the average person living in the U.S. has reached a new all-time high of $286K, up from $62K in 1950. This measure of wealth has been rising, on average, about 2.3% per year since records were first kept beginning in 1951. By this metric, life in the U.S. has been getting better and better for generations.


"Entitlement Reform Key to Fixing America’s Fiscal Future"

"Medicare and Social Security already account for roughly two-fifths of all federal outlays, and they will account for a growing share of the federal budget over the coming decade. Medicare, Social Security, and net interest payments on the debt will account for roughly 55 percent of federal outlays by 2027, an increase over their already significant share of 45 percent last year."


"Selling Federal Assets: The Best Cure for Ending the U.S. Debt Crisis?"

I don't know about "best," but the Republican Congress sure should pursue it. Other than a few extreme environmentalists and a few government employees--and a few businessmen who would worry about competing with whatever will be produced with the freed up resources--who would seriously oppose it?

Using 2016 average prices, they estimate the value of the federal government’s oil and natural gas deposits at about $55.6 trillion, or nearly 2.8 times the size of the U.S. national debt.


"A Tour of Creative Destruction in the US: Hint, Software Developers are Displacing Truck Drivers"

Aside from a nicely-made main point, this piece has a fun fact. (Fun for me, at least.) I went to junior high and high school in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Then, or shortly after, people made jokes about Florida being "God's waiting room". 

But in 2014 what was the "most common job" in Florida? Elementary school teacher.

UPDATE: Link included now. Sorry.


"How Ikea's Billy bookcase took over the world"

Fine piece by economist Tim Harford. If I were still teaching MBAs I'd assign it to them. Has several interesting nuggets including these three:

Now there are 60-odd million in the world, nearly one for every 100 people - not bad for a humble bookcase. . . . 

Every three seconds, another Billy bookcase rolls off the production line of the Gyllensvaans Mobler factory in Kattilstorp, a tiny village in southern Sweden. . . .

It does not look like it has changed much since 1978, yet it costs 30% less. That is partly due to constant, tiny tweaks in both product and production method.

UPDATE: Link included now.