Saturday, March 30, 2013

Susan Patton beats Erin Callan

I'm hoping my girls beat both.

Erin Callan helped perpetuate (or, perhaps, 'perpetrate') the financial crisis, as the Lehman CFO who reported that her firm was healthy when it was, in fact, dead bank walking.  But her bigger regret seems to be that her job came before her relationships and herself, according to her own words:

Sometimes young women tell me they admire what I’ve done. As they see it, I worked hard for 20 years and can now spend the next 20 focused on other things. But that is not balance. I do not wish that for anyone. Even at the best times in my career, I was never deluded into thinking I had achieved any sort of rational allocation between my life at work and my life outside.

On the other hand, Susan Patton is drawing the ire of feminists and the politically correct police with her letter on how women do need men, and need to compete hard for the good ones.  It looks like the internets have crashed The Daily Princetonian after publishing her letter.  A cached version can be found here.  From Patton's piece:

Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you. 
Of course, once you graduate, you will meet men who are your intellectual equal — just not that many of them. And, you could choose to marry a man who has other things to recommend him besides a soaring intellect. But ultimately, it will frustrate you to be with a man who just isn’t as smart as you.
Here is another truth that you know, but nobody is talking about. As freshman women, you have four classes of men to choose from. Every year, you lose the men in the senior class, and you become older than the class of incoming freshman men. So, by the time you are a senior, you basically have only the men in your own class to choose from, and frankly, they now have four classes of women to choose from. Maybe you should have been a little nicer to these guys when you were freshmen? 
If I had daughters, this is what I would be telling them.

Mrs. Cav heartily agrees with Patton, and has saved this for our daughters to ponder when they are closer to college age.

The Bible and science agree:  making healthy babies who will make more healthy babies is a prime directive that cannot be denied, no matter how many protestors march on Washington.

All the newspapers, all the tongues of to-day will of course at first defame what is noble; but you who hold not of to-day, not of the times, but of the Everlasting, are to stand for it: and the highest compliment, man ever receives from heaven, is the sending to him its disguised and discredited angels.--Ralph Waldo Emerson

UPDATE:  Ed Glaeser weighs in, affirmatively.  Anecdotally, this blogger met his wife at Cornell, where we were both undergraduates.

Easter weekend quotes

... we note that the founder of Christianity was a rule breaker. There wasn’t a PC bone in his body. He hung out with prostitutes, thieves, terrorists and collaborators with Rome.  He was notorious for shoving the rulebook aside when it got in love’s way.--Walter Russell Mead

People moving to the city have been illogical risk takers from the beginning. and the key is probably they like the sexual or mating opportunities inherent in large groups. Playing to that angle would bring in hipsters and gays. As to whether that's the key to the health of cities or our nation, I doubt it, but it won't hurt, especially because one of the best ways of making a city fun to go out in is that it's safe for young women.--Eric Falkenstein

The longer the road from sexual maturity to marriage, the more complicated the underlying cost-benefit calculus in any given relationship becomes, and the more difficult it becomes for people with fewer resources to figure out the wisest course to take. So while the new romantic landscape doesn’t offer automatic benefits to the upper class and automatic costs to everyone else, it does create a situation where the people who need the least help figuring out the wisest life course have multiple clear paths to take, and the people who would most benefit from a simple map to responsible adulthood can easily end up in a maze instead.--Ross Douthat

... all economists are, definitionally, very good at college.  Not all economists are good at marriage.  Saying that more people should go to college will make 0% of your colleagues feel bad.  Saying that more people should get married and stay married will make a significant fraction of your colleagues feel bad.  And in general, most people have an aversion to topics which are likely to trigger a personal grudge in a coworker.--Megan McArdle

History scorns the people who lived outside Auschwitz and Treblinka, with their weak protests of ignorance. How will history treat us, I wonder?--Tony Woodlief

My homeowner insurance doesn't cover the cost when my gutters need cleaning, and my car insurance doesn't cover the cost when I need to fill the tank with gas. Instead, the policies cover only catastrophic events, like my house burning down or a major accident. Now that the Obama administration has fixed the health insurance system, I trust they will soon move on to solve these other problems.--Greg Mankiw

I wonder if [Paul Krugman] (and all the others who are pushing for more controls) are not having a “Smoot-Hawley Moment”. In 1929 tariffs and other restrictions on trade were established. A global depression followed. In 2013 the tariffs and restrictions are on money, not goods. But if the result of those controls is a reduction (or even stability) of the external debt numbers, then the global economies will fall with it.--Bruce Krasting

Military and economic catastrophes are, by their nature, unpredictable. While we can’t plan on one, prudence requires that we take their possibility into account. In normal times, when we are lucky enough to enjoy peace and prosperity, the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio shouldn’t just be stable; it should be falling. That has generally been the case throughout our history, and it should become the case again as we look forward.   The bottom line is that President Obama is right that sustainability is a reasonable benchmark for evaluating long-run fiscal policy. But the standard he applies when evaluating it appears too easy. It will leave us too vulnerable when the next catastrophe strikes.--Greg Mankiw

Bitcoin isn’t tied to any commodity—besides trust. As a statement on the global economy, Bitcoin is hilarious. As a currency for the disenfranchised and distrustful, it’s as serious as can be.--Paul Ford

... a firm basis for religious freedom would be found in the Bible, supremely in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. "I did not come to judge the world," Jesus told his followers, "but to save it." Here is an Easter story—a message of the grace of God toward every human soul—for believers and doubters alike.--Joseph Loconte

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quotes of the day

Economics evolved as a more moral and more egalitarian approach to policy than prevailed in its surrounding milieu. Let’s cherish and extend that heritage. The real contributions of economics to human welfare might turn out to be very different from what most people — even most economists — expect. --Tyler Cowen

In the longer run, the solution to the economic plight of high school dropouts and other low skilled persons is, as I have argued in previous blog posts, to ease the obstacles to boys and girls from poorer backgrounds that prevent them from finishing high school and getting additional training after high school, such as learning to drive trucks or work with computers. In the shorter run, it would be desirable to replace the welfare benefits that discourages many low skilled individuals from working with an expanded earned income tax credit that does the opposite and encourages them to work.--Gary Becker

In Ms. Sandberg's ideal world, "half our institutions are run by women and half our homes are run by men." Until this utopia comes to pass, it might be wise to take another look at "society." Society is, after all, a fancy word for other people. And what is society actually telling women these days? It is telling them that they ought to go out and earn a string of degrees qualifying them for hard-charging careers that the majority of them eventually discover that they don't actually want. As a result, many of them quietly cut back their hours and do what they actually want to do and do very well: make homes for their families. Sheryl Sandberg isn't one of them, and more power to her. But she is likely to find that nagging men and women to change their natures is a more daunting task than anything she does at her day job.--Charlotte Allen

Because pursuit of the truth is often irrelevant in evolutionary competition, humans have an evolved tendency to hold self-favoring priors and self-deceive about the existence of these priors in ourselves, even though we frequently observe them in others.--Eli Dourado

The minimum wage is far from the most harmful regulation on the books.  Why then do I make such a big deal about it?  Because it is a symbol of larger evils.
From the standpoint of public policy, the minimum wage is a symbol of the view that "feel-good" policies are viable solutions to social ills: "Workers aren't paid enough?  Pass a law so employers have to pay them more.  Problem solved."  From the standpoint of social science, the minimum wage is a symbol of the myopic view that you can become an expert on X by reading nothing but the leading research that explicitly addresses X: "Does the minimum wage reduce employment?  Read the top papers on the minimum wage.  Problem solved."
We need to get rid of the minimum wage.  But that's only a first step.  Our ultimate goal should be to get rid of the errors that the minimum wage has come to represent.--Bryan Caplan

One of the happiest quotes on earth

... [Dave] Roberts turned out to be that player who, given just a small moment, had prepared completely for it, instead of sulking over all the missing innings, and he made it into something extraordinary.--Gwen Knapp

Into the mind of a Sports Agent

Really interesting interview of Leigh Steinberg, by Russ Roberts.