Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

The only true growth market

Yes, much better, thanks for asking. This week's going to be a cracker for stupid ideas, I can tell already. This one would probably benefit from looking up the actual figures, but given that a) it's hardly the point of this weblog in the first place b) I am pretty sure from general knowledge that the orders of magnitude below are about right and c) I can't be bothered, you're going to have to take that much on trust.

Basically, the idea is this.
  • Lots of people are worried about the ability of the American Social Security program to provide a decent standard of living for retirees
  • Per capita incomes in Europe are much lower than in the USA
  • One of the things that we know about is that people's happiness is much more dependent on their relative income, relative to their peer group, than on material factors.
  • As Professor Sala-i-Martin tells us, it's much cheaper anyway to live in Third World societies like those of Europe
  • ...
  • Can you see where I'm going with this?

Basically, my Plan To Save Social Security (what, you don't have one? Get real, squaresville, everybody has to have a PTSSS these days!) is beautiful in its simplicity; cut all Social Security benefits by (say) 40%, but throw in a one-way ticket to Europe for every retiree. They can live at the same decile of the European income distribution as they did back in Dubuque, at a considerable saving to the US taxpayer, and the vast majority of them will have better food and nicer scenery to boot! God damn it, I'm a genius.

Not only that, but my plan will also considerably help out with a number of other economic and social problems of current concern to people other than myself:
  • It involves an ongoing flow of transfer payments from the US to Europe. The current account counterpart of this capital account transaction will serve to materially reduce the USA's trade deficit!
  • Since the American retirees will be spending money and consuming in Europe, but won't be counted as workers, it will improve the labour productivity of Europe's stagnant, sclerotic economies!
  • Since the number one reason for America's unpopularity in the world is the behaviour of the crowd of loudmouthed, arrogant, inexperienced teenage drunkards you send to our shores covered in Timberland sandals and backpacks the size of fridges every year, a steady flow of older, nicer tourists who will have time to make an effort with the languages and are able to hold their drink will cement the currently rocky state of NATO!

If any world problems remain, don't hesitate to bother me. I'll be taking a nap.
0 comments this item posted by the management 8/21/2002 05:34:00 AM

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