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Monday, September 5, 2011

The I-word

Professor Rogoff does not make a persuasive case that all of us will be better off in the long run if inflation is allowed to rise to 6% per year (The I-Word, Ideas: Boston Globe, August 28, 2011: K1, K3.

It seems to me that two groups will be experience significant collateral damage. Poor people who have had stagnant real wages for over a decade will probably experience stagnant money wages for the next few years so will have to buy more expensive (due to inflation) necessities.

At an inflation rate of 6%, seniors see their assets depreciate by about 30% over the next six years. Many of these are the people whom Professor Rogoff hopes will engage in accelerated discretionary spending to help the economy out of its slump.

I would suggest that, after being battered by the Stock Market, these people will be more likely to increase savings to maintain their assets in real terms. Thus the foundation upon which Professor Rogoff builds the engine of recovery is flawed.

Sent to Boston Globe

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fairies, Witches, and Supply and Demand

Another way for Motoko Rich to frame the analysis of children's stories would be in terms of inculcating motivational tendencies in young readers (Fairies, Witches And Supply And Demand, New York Times Week in Review. August 21, 2011: 5).

David McClelland and his associates looked at themes in children's stories over a long period of time and showed that economic growth in a country followed several decades after that country's children were socialized using stories with themes reflecting high need for achievement.

My favorite achievement theme story is "The Little Engine that Could" by Watty Piper.

Sent to New York Times