Two weeks worth of links because I was gone at conferences last week — XYPN and FinCon. Summary posts to come.
- NYT Article on Chilean Pensions: Spoiler: they are very small. Disclaimer: I know very little about the political/financial history of Chile. This is a perfect example of a totally worthless article, not because it is poorly written, but because there is absolutely no clue given as to the root cause of the problem. Yes, I get it, the pensions are low, but is that because contributions were low? fees were high? returns were low? payouts are below market? The article paints Chileans in a terrible light, it reads to me as if they are asking for more money because what they saved isn’t enough, and that the retirees are demanding the government take from the young to give to the old. A poor country isn’t going to magically be able to let citizens retire at the standard of living of a rich country because it’s a nice thing to do.
“The A.F.P.s have never lost money, stolen money or gone bankrupt,” Mr. Pérez said. “Does that mean that pensions are good? No, they are not. The system needs important changes. But the A.F.P.s administer the funds of those who save, and they’ve done that very well.”
- NatGeo on BASE jumpers dying in record numbers: Super interesting article on a pretty glamorous sport. To answer the titular question, it’s pretty obvious that more people are dying because more people are doing it, it doesn’t seem like BASE jumping (sans wingsuit) has gotten much more dangerous.
Clif Bar’s official statement read that it was no longer comfortable “benefitting from the amount of risk certain athletes are taking in areas of the sport where there is no margin for error; where there is no safety net.”
At the opposite end of the spectrum are companies like Red Bull, GoPro, and, most recently, Stride Gum—which backed a skydiving stunt this summer in which Luke Aikens jumped out of a plane without a parachuteand landed in a large net.
- David Henderson enlightens on trade deficits vs. risky/innovative enterprise: I’m really glad he made this clarifying post, because when I read the original writing by Tyler Cowen, I had the thought that it seems very unlikely that foreign purchases of treasuries are somehow crowding out private investment in business, and simply left it there.
If foreigners buy more bonds, then Americans buy fewer bonds and invest in those “risky, innovative enterprises.” So it’s hard to see why foreigners buying bonds means that there’s less investment in those enterprises.
Now it’s quite possible that the higher U.S. federal budget deficit crowds out investment in those enterprises. But then it’s the U.S. budget deficit doing that, not the foreigners’ choice of U.S. assets to invest in.
For those who are offended by surge pricing at a time of crisis, please tell me your preferred method for getting some people (drivers) to head toward danger when everyone else prefers to head in the other direction. And then tell me how you are going to get people who are heading out to the grocery or are thinking of going out for a drink to postpone or cancel their plans.
- Awesome article on how Seattle killed micro-housing from David Neiman: I have got to think that one of these highly desirable west coast cities is going to avoid the nimby-ism trap and will at least join the ranks of SF/LA/Seattle if not eclipsing them entirely as the wealthy, progressive, growing places to be.
But at least you are in the MFTE program, so five of your apartments will offer a discounted rent of $1,020 per month to people whose incomes qualify. (You facepalm in disbelief, however, that whereas your original plan offered 40 units, unsubsidized, at $900 a month, your new version has just five units, subsidized, at $1,020.)
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