Wednesday, October 13, 2010

769 Economics Prize

769 Economics Prize

Finally, a Nobel Prize in economics that makes sense. So many of them since the first of them in 1968 have been for chronicling the obvious. This year's winners, two Americans and a Cypriot living in England have figured out why the marketplace is a mess. Basically, their work looks at why buyers and sellers don't find each other all so easily as they once did. And they figured out why unemployment comp is good both for job seekers and places that have jobs.

The winners -- as usual -- are people you've never heard of: Peter Diamond (MIT), Dale Mortensen (Northwestern), and the unfortunately named Christopher Pissarides (London School of Economics.) So, now the rest of us know what these guys knew all along (Nobel Prizes are often awarded decades after the work that's honored.) They looked at home buying and selling, retail, and more. They figured out what resources -- money, time, emotion -- the jobless often spend or waste when job hunting and why corporations pick from a better pool of applicants when receiving unemployment comp and why compensated applicants are more likely to get better jobs than those who aren't.

You want details? Go look 'em up. But you already have the gist.

The FRight Wing probably now will squawk about how the Nobel Prize should be awarded to some guys at places like Bob Jones University or some conservative with an actual brain, like, say, Thomas Sowell. But brainy as they are, they're largely one trick ponies. Here's the trick: The market will fix everything, and it's only interference by the gummint that stands in the way.

For that, they should get the Nobel Prize for Ignorance and Malice. You say there isn't one? Right. But since the awards are given in prominent subjects like peace or chemistry, and other widespread disciplines, why not THIS widespread discipline. The field is huge and deserves formal recognition.

If so many awards are little more than beauty contests, how about an UGLY contest.


--Speaking of awards and guys you never heard of, the Wessays™ Trophy goes to Sascha Skucek, who apparently has solved a 40 year old murder that took place in the library of Penn State University. Sascha has a reporter's grit, determination, fearlessness, patience, perseverance and the requisite print journalist's chip on his shoulder when it comes to having doors slammed in his face, mostly figuratively. Unfortunately, the perp is dead.

--Speaking of economics, anyone getting a raise in 2011? Maybe, though not those of us on Social Security. Looks like a second consecutive year of no added money. But the good part is they won't raise our Medicare deductions -- they'll just figure out a way to increase the co-payments for the "Medicare (Dis)Advantage" plans.

--Most e-mail outfits don't count spam messages in your reservoir of e-space. So why not let a few thousand accumulate? Then you can print 'em out and make a dandy, mural-sized collage, while not sacrificing any of your on-line space allotment.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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