Cartoon: Economics

Ht Big Picture

To be fair, economics is a wide ranging social science and we can’t criticise some parts of the discipline on the basis of poor forecasts.  Furthermore, even in the realm of economic forecasting, the goal is to paint out risks given limited data and an imperfect knowledge of the complex world around us – so judging the discipline on ex-post outcomes makes little sense (we have discussed the range of issues constantly).

However, in so far as sometimes economists come out and discuss their expectations like they are true fortune tellers, this cartoon has some weight 😉

Cartoon: Night classes

An excellent cartoon from Mike Moreu:

The main thing for me is the question of “what is the social benefit”.  In part education increases the human capital of the individual, which is something that the individual should pay for, in another part education can be consumption (which the individual should pay for) and in a final part some types of education also benefit other people – which is where government subsidies come in.

I think there are many night courses we can identify as not having this social benefit – and so the government shouldn’t pay for them.  I don’t know if this is the test the government is applying, but it is the one they should be applying.

Hence, I think Mike’s comic here is spot on – when a course only has private consumption and investment value it should be the individuals choice to do it and responsibility to pay for it.

Cartoon: Retirement planning

Given concerns about future retirement funding, I thought that this cartoon from the excellent Basic Instructions site hit on some important issues:

A dollar a year?!

Dilbert is on the money again. This time on the subject of CEOs working without pay as a show of penance.

Why economics is hard

People say to me ‘How come economists can’t predict things like REAL scientists?’ Well, just tell someone that you’ve found a closed solution for life and see how seriously they take you 😛

Cartoon: Recessions don’t hurt everyone

(Source GWS)

Remember, even during the Great Depression there were people that were better off than they would have been.  There are always winners and losers.

When prices are falling, and when relative prices change, there are people who benefit from that – as well as people that lose out.  During such an event we normally only hear one side of the story …