String of Signs

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

A Farewell to Alms

In Books on August 11, 2009 at 2:40 am

Just finished reading this book:  What stands out, was that all growth  relies on gains in efficiency.  The industrial revolution was caused because of downward mobility of the nobilities genes and culture through 600 years of stable britain.

Gregory Clark holds that the efficient institution explanation  doesn’t work because inefficient institutions will be replaced.

All economies before the IR were malthusian, any productivity gains went toward population growth.

Although the fertility level has dropped in modern times the replacement rate remains the same.   Around 2 children per woman. So maybe the ideal amount of kids is limited.         People are resource constrained and time constrained,  time constraint is what is more pronounced in the modern world.  Less kids higher quality.    Poor and rich get the same amount of time, get to drive the same amount, rich do it with porches.  Maybe this is where conspicuous consumption kicks in.

“The envious inherited the earth” this is his quote to describe how happyness is your position relative to your peers.  Happiness is never increased in aggregate, you can buy hapiness but only at the cost to someone else.    On a side note:   he has a recent article in the atlantic and also in the conclusion of his book he mentions other economists’ salaries, compared to his own so maybe he is projecting.

Guns, Germs, and Steel:

In Books, Uncategorized on August 10, 2009 at 5:37 am

A book that tries to explain a lot. A good short history.

Consilience:The Unity of Knowledge

In Books on August 10, 2009 at 5:30 am

This book :   motivated me to return to university, specifically in biology. I had originally completed a year in social science.  It is about unifying the humanities and the sciences.  Also On Intelligence, influenced me to return to university.