Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Economics and Bosses

Peter Dorman at Econospeak, who is smarter and nicer than I am,* boils down the question:

[D]o you believe that managers normally make the right decisions over how to run organizations?

If you believe that premise, please explain:

  1. Why all those great managers of the late 1940s through the mid-1970s ran defined benefit contribution plans, but their successors—who supposedly are more capable—are only capable of offering defined contribution?
  2. That “underfunded pension benefits” are evil, but “overunded” pensions led to the LBO (now “Private Equity”) movement of the 1980s.
  3. That, in the 1980s, GM being $1B underfunded caused Congress to pass a bill allowing pensions to become fully funded over 20 years—and that most of those targets were missed?

If bosses are so good at managing “ongoing concerns,” why do they take their payments upfront? What does—and should—this tell us about discount rates?

*This is a fairly low standard, outside of people who work in finance.

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Green Shoots Data Defined

As a rule, the Shiller Index uses the CPI as reported for All Urban Consumers (CPIAUCNS on Fred(r)).

But the Index is only updated Quarterly, so monthly data is estimated. Which produces a very interesting difference over August, not to mention September expectations:

The annualised inflation rate between June and August is 0.39%, which just shows that the trend is volatile. But if there really is another round or two of 2.5% annual inflation, the projected 3% growth for Q3 is either going to look a lot more anemic than we think, or there is going to be a major producvtivity increase.

The odds of being paid the Marginal Product of Labor just dropped a bit more.

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Corporate CEOs May Want to Rethink Outsourcing

by Ken Houghton

Via Glenn Greenwald, a riff that is going around (see orchidgrrl nyc for the faux-Fafblog version), has become reality—in India:

Corporate India is in shock after a mob of sacked workers bludgeoned to death the chief executive who had dismissed them from a factory in a suburb of Delhi.

The punchline, as it were:

It is understood that Mr Choudhary…had called a meeting with more than 100 former employees – who had been dismissed following an earlier outbreak of violence at the plant – to discuss a possible reinstatement deal.

Any similarity to the mayor in The Dark Knight Returns is coincident.

AngryBear urges others not to follow this example. Surely there are better ways.

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