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Originally posted on Quartz:

Crises have costs.

And this OECD chart—released today—tries to quantify them.

It shows the so-called “severe material deprivation rate” of selected European countries over the last few years. Essentially, this is the percentage of the population unable to afford at least four of the following nine items:

  1. to pay their rent, mortgage or utility bills
  2. to keep their home adequately warm
  3. to face unexpected expenses
  4. to eat meat or proteins regularly
  5. to go on holiday
  6. a television set
  7. a washing machine
  8. a car
  9. a telephone

You can see how quickly deprivation rates have surged in European countries such as Italy and Greece, since those economies came under tremendous strain when the European debt crisis hit in 2010. As a result, deprivation rates in those nations are now above Poland, a much poorer European emerging market.


Now, it’s important to note that, while they’re at the epicenter of the…

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How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang

Originally posted on Alexandre Afonso:

In 2000, economist Steven Levitt and sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh published an article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics about the internal wage structure of a Chicago drug gang. This piece would later serve as a basis for a chapter in Levitt’s (and Dubner’s) best seller Freakonomics. [1] The title of the chapter, “Why drug dealers still live with their moms”, was based on the finding that the income distribution within gangs was extremely skewed in favor  of those at the top, while the rank-and-file street sellers earned even less than employees in legitimate low-skilled activities, let’s say at McDonald’s. They calculated 3.30 dollars as the hourly rate, that is, well below a living wage (that’s why they still live with their moms). [2]

If you take into account the risk of being shot by rival gangs, ending up in jail or being beaten up by your own hierarchy, you…

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“unlearning Economics”

Originally posted on Unlearning Economics:

Economists often express incredulity toward people who target their criticisms at an amorphous entity called ‘economics’ (perhaps prefixed with ‘neoclassical’ or ‘mainstream’), instead of targeting specific areas of the discipline. They point out that, contrary to the popular view of economists as a group who are excessively concerned with theory, a majority of economic papers are empirical. Sometimes, even the discipline’s most vehement defenders are happy to disown the theoretical areas-such as macroeconomics-which attract the most criticism, whilst still insisting that, broadly speaking, economists are a scientifically minded bunch.

Perhaps surprisingly, I agree somewhat with this perspective. I think there is a disconnect within economics: between the core theories (neoclassical economics, or marginalism) and econometrics.* I believe the former to be logically, empirically and methodologically unsound. However, I believe the latter – though not without its problems – has all the hallmarks of a much better way to do ‘science’…

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Originally posted on Business 360:

(CNN) There is nothing swashbuckling about Somali piracy. The pirates are not romantic anti-heroes with a parrot on their shoulder. Instead, they are recognized as lawless, dangerous criminals who roam East Africa’s waters terrorizing the shipping industry.

The direct impact of the criminality off the Somalia coastline is being felt on the mainland, where critical food aid is not getting through to famine-struck Somalis because 80 to 90% of humanitarian relief arrives by sea, according to a recent report by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Few ships and aid organizations are willing to take the risks involved in delivering tons of food aid, says the AfDB report. Owners and aid workers fear the ships will be seized and crews kidnapped for ransom. For now, despite the dangers, some humanitarian agencies still operate, often with protection from NATO warships.

The critical needs of feeding Somalis today, as well as the long-term…

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La sentenza del “processo Juventus”:

prego gli amici calciofili Juventini leggere i primi paragrafi del testo, in riferimento al periodo 94-98 (1 Champions League, 1 Intercontinentale, 3 scudetti ed un secondo posto, 1 Coppa Italia)


Originally posted on Yanis Varoufakis:

For a while now I have been arguing that Europe’s policies for reducing the public debts of fiscally stressed member-states can be described as a Ponzi austerity scheme. In this post I attempt precisely to define ‘Ponzi austerity’.

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Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

If I ever go to Sweden, I’ll be sure to keep quiet and keep away from people. Found on r/AskReddit.

1. Danger_kitten

Denmark: Do not stand on or walk on our bike lanes. You’ll be yelled at like never before or possibly be run over by an angry cyclist.

2. LucubrateIsh

Don’t tip in Japan.

Don’t do it.

If you try, whoever you attempted to tip is likely going to be a little upset. You are pretty much calling them unprofessional because you think they need that extra help or something.

3. blissfully_happy

It’s not country based, but if you come visit Alaska, for the love of all that is holy, DON’T WALK ON THE MUDFLATS OUTSIDE OF ANCHORAGE.

It is quicksand and you will get stuck, then the tide will come in and you will die. Seriously, it happens to one…

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Central banking doctrine in light of the crisis

Stiglitz against central bank independence

These two articles are about the independence of the central bank and its manifested unsosteinability, in face of the ongoing economic crisis.

In turn, this topic is related to democratic problems within the EU and the existence if the common currency itself.

Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?

(from the first two paragraphs)

“On 4 July, good news arrived in the inbox of Ocorrafoo Cobange, a biologist at the Wassee Institute of Medicine in Asmara. It was the official letter of acceptance for a paper he had submitted 2 months earlier to the Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals, describing the anticancer properties of a chemical that Cobange had extracted from a lichen.

In fact, it should have been promptly rejected. Any reviewer with more than a high-school knowledge of chemistry and the ability to understand a basic data plot should have spotted the paper’s short-comings immediately. Its experiments are so hopelessly flawed that the results are meaningless.”

Science 4 October 2013:
Vol. 342 no. 6154 pp. 60-65


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