Thursday, December 3, 2009

assorted links

Here are some interesting articles I've found this week:

I liked this piece for many reasons: it's funny, it's instructive (in terms of giving a history of big business in the U.S. and its effects on capital-labor relations), and it brings in some perspectives that we are not used to seeing (namely, how capital attempts to monopolize more than just market space -- artistic ability as well). Overall, it is highly recommended.

*The economic effects of religion, in 2 parts: here and here

Unlike some of my more leftist colleagues, I see a positive role for religion in economy/society. Whether it is the Buddhist belief in shunning material desires or Christian adversities to inequality, I believe that at the local level (at the very least) religious institutions can have a significant impact on economic performance. These articles search out the direct causal mechanisms, either finding room for a link (as in the first two articles) or failing to find one (in the third). To speak to the Boston Globe article, I do think it's more of an indigenous religion finding, and that we need to be careful with the conclusions we draw concerning whether it's religious institutions themselves or simply the behavior fostered by these institutions.

The second link is to a paper which is supposedly the most data-intensive test of the Weber hypothesis.

*A new collection of T.S. Eliot letters appears

*Stiglitz and Akerlof have a nice piece on innovations in models of the financial market

While it definitely falls in the "plurality" camp (essentially all these new models have nothing to say about the most fundamental institutions of capitalism and how those might need to change) I thought it was a good look at where the profession is headed


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