Women Earn More than Men, in New York City


WomenMenNYCearningsOverTime.jpg   Source of the graph:  online version of the NYT article cited below.


(p. A1)  Young women in New York and several of the nation’s other largest cities who work full time have forged ahead of men in wages, according to an analysis of recent census data.

The shift has occurred in New York since 2000 and even earlier in Los Angeles, Dallas and a few other cities.

Economists consider it striking because the wage gap between men and women nationally has narrowed more slowly and has even widened in recent years among one part of that group: college-educated women in their 20s. But in New York, young college-educated women’s wages as a percentage of men’s rose slightly between 2000 and 2005.

The analysis was prepared by Andrew A. Beveridge, a demographer at Queens College, who first reported his findings in Gotham Gazette, published online by the Citizens Union Foundation. It shows that women of all educational levels from 21 to 30 living in New York City and working full time made 117 percent of men’s wages, and even more in Dallas, 120 percent. Nationwide, that group of women made much less: 89 percent of the average full-time pay for men.

Just why young women at all educational levels in New York and other big cities have fared better than their peers elsewhere is a matter of some debate. But a major reason, experts say, is that women have been graduating from college in larger numbers than men, and that many of those women seem to be gravitating toward major urban areas.


For the full story, see: 

SAM ROBERTS.  "For Young Earners in Big City, a Gap in Women’s Favor."  The New York Times (Fri., August 3, 2007):  A1 & A16.


   Source of the graph:  online version of the NYT article cited above.


McCraw on the Nature of Schumpeter’s Defense of Socialism

McCraw on the third part of Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy:

(p. 359) In answer to the question that opens Part III, “Can socialism work?” Schumpeter responds with the provocative statement, “Of course it can.” But a close reading of the subsequent text reveals that he actually means, “Of course (p. 360) it can’t,” at least in comparison with capitalism. He is now writing in full ironic mode, like the satirist Johnathan Swift. “A Modest Proposal”—Swift’s famous pamphlet of 1729—had suggested that problems of famine and overpopulation could be met by one simple step: feeding children from poor families to the rich. His proposal, Swift argued, was “innocent, cheap, easy and effectual.”

Schumpeter’s Swiftian approach to socialism recalls to mind the delight he took as a young man in Vienna’s coffeehouses, where political and artistic discussion often continued well into the night. In this kind of setting, no proposition was too absurd or too subtly hedged with conditions and exceptions . Speakers won admiration for their sarcasm and wit, no less than for the cogency of their arguments. To puncture a point of view while seeming to recommend it was especially delicious.

McCraw, Thomas K. Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 2007.

U.S. Geological Survey Finds Huge New Gas and Oil Reserves in Arctic


Source of the graphic: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited below.

(p. A9) The Arctic contains just over a fifth of the world’s undiscovered, recoverable oil and natural-gas resources, according to a review released Wednesday, confirming its potential as the final frontier for energy exploration.

A report by the U.S. Geological Survey found that the area north of the Arctic Circle has an estimated 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — nearly two-thirds the proved gas reserves of the entire Middle East — and 90 billion barrels of oil.
The report, the culmination of four years of study, is one of the most ambitious attempts to assess the Arctic’s petroleum potential. One of its main findings is that natural gas is three times as abundant as oil in the Arctic, and most of that gas is concentrated in Russia.
The survey reflects interest in an area once off-limits to oil exploration. It has become more accessible as global warming reduces the polar icecap, opening valuable new shipping routes, oil fields and mineral deposits.

For the full story, see:
GUY CHAZAN. “Cold Comfort: Arctic Is Oil Hot Spot; Hard-to-Reach Energy Reserves Limit Potential.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., July 24, 2008): A9.

See also:
JAD MOUAWAD. “Oil Survey Says Arctic Has Riches.” The New York Times (Thurs., July 24, 2008): C1 & C4.

WardHuntIceShelfCrack.jpg “A Canadian ranger looks along the length of one of the gaping new cracks in the large Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, in an April photo. Climate change is opening up the region’s potential for energy exploration.” Source of the caption and photo: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited above.

“Leapfrog Over the Other Players in Their Industry”

(p. 152) The early market is driven by the demands of visionaries for offerings that create dramatic competitive advantages of the sort that would allow them to leapfrog over the other players in their industry.

Moore, Geoffrey A. Living on the Fault Line: Managing for Shareholder Value in the Age of the Internet. 1st ed. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.

Growing the Nanny State: California Senate Bans Helium Balloons

BalloonEffigyJackScott.jpg “Don Caldwell, who made an effigy of California state Sen. Jack Scott in protest of his proposed balloon ban, with his wife, Laura.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited below.

(p. A1) California state Sen. Jack Scott says he didn’t intend to “be a party pooper.” It’s just that helium-filled foil balloons — like those found at hospital gift shops and office parties — are dangerous. They float into electric lines and cause power outages, more than 800 in California last year, utilities say.

He drafted a bill to ban foil balloons; it sailed through the state Senate and now awaits a vote in the Assembly.
He didn’t expect the issue to blow up the way it did.
Last month, at a pro-balloon rally in a Pasadena park, protesters cheered as a group of children pounced on an effigy of Mr. Scott — made entirely of balloons.
“There’s a leg, get that leg!” shouted John Kobylt, a radio talk-show host who broadcast the protest live. “Look what’s left of him!” he said, holding up a sagging cluster of punctured latex. “That’s what happens when you ban our balloons.”
Wedding planners, party organizers and balloon artists all rallied to the cause. The industry body, the Balloon Council, set up a Web site — www.savetheballoons.com — that urges people to contact their state representatives. Members began a grass-roots campaign to garner support.
“My first reaction to this was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding. Is this a joke?'” recalled Barry Broad, the lobbyist they hired to spearhead the pro-balloon effort. “Balloons (p. A16) and ice-cream cones are associated with the lighthearted parts of life, and now suddenly they have this evil-twin side?”

For the full story, see:
AMY KAUFMAN. “California Targets New Menace: Helium-Filled Foil Balloons; State Senate Sees Danger and Cracks Down, But Party Planners Fight Back; the $100 Fine.” The Wall Street Journal (Tues., July 15, 2008): A1 & A16.

Schumpeter Saw Keynes’ Work as a “Striking Example” of “the Ricardian Vice”

McCraw on Schumpeter’s History of Economic Analysis:

(p. 460) . . . , Schumpeter compared Keynes to David Ricardo: “His work, is a striking example of what we have called above the Ricardian Vice, namely, the habit of piling a heavy load of practical conclusions upon a tenuous groundwork, which was unequal to it yet seemed in its simplicity not only attractive but also convincing. All this goes a long way though not the whole way toward answering the questions that always interest us, namely the questions what it is in a man’s message that makes people listen to him, and why and how.”

McCraw, Thomas K. Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 2007.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: italics in original.)

George W. Bush: The Real Dark Knight


The movie version of the Dark Knight. Source of photo: online version of the WSJ commentary quoted below.

(p. A15) A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .
Oh, wait a minute. That’s not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a “W.”
There seems to me no question that the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.
And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society — in which people sometimes make the wrong choices — and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

For the full commentary, see:
ANDREW KLAVAN. “What Bush and Batman Have in Common.” The Wall Street Journal (Fri., July 25, 2008): A15.
(Note: ellipses in original.)

Chinese Prometheus: Executing the Inventor of Airplane

Here is a significant claim from “an elderly Chinese professor” (p. 76) who was talking to Robert Payne in 1943. Payne was “a writer and teacher who befriended Needham in China.” The passage is quoted in an entertaining new book by Simon Winchester.

(p. 77) “. . .; we invented an airplane, and quite rightly executed the inventor; . . . “

Winchester, Simon. The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2008.

Winchester does not document his source for the quote, but it is presumably one of these two books by Payne, that are listed in Winchester’s bibliography:
Payne, Robert. Chinese Diaries 1941-1946. New York: Weybright and Talley, 1945.
Payne, Robert. Chungking Diary. London: Weybright and Talley, 1945.

Leapfrog Competition Among Three Firms in Jet-Engine Oligopoly

GearedTurboFanEnginePrattWhitney.jpg “Pratt & Whitney hopes its Geared Turbo Fan engine will defy skeptics and win it a spot on the next generation of jets from Boeing and Airbus.” Source of the caption and photo: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited below.

(p. B1) Once every 20 years or so, the companies that make jet engines battle it out for a chance to power the next generation of single-aisle airplanes.
. . .
General Electric Co. unveiled plans to develop a new family of engine cores that it said would vault it ahead of United Technologies Corp.’s Pratt & Whitney, which has a two-year head start on a novel engine that promises to burn 12% less fuel than today’s best engines.
GE, which is working with French partner Safran SA, said its engine will have fewer moving parts than Pratt & Whitney’s, and will deliver equal or better performance. “We’ve been pretty quiet for the last couple of years, but we’ve been doing plenty of work in secret,” said GE Aviation President David Joyce, in an interview. “So be it. Game on.”
. . .
Besides GE and Pratt & Whitney, the other major player in the industry is Britain’s Rolls-Royce PLC. Hoping to dominate the market, all three companies plan to spend well over $1 billion on their new engines, stretching the limits of their technology. Developing fuel-efficient engines requires the use of exotic alloys and ceramic coatings that can cope with internal engine temperatures that would be above the melting points of untreated metal components.
The next generation of engines may look radically different from those used today. One design that GE and Rolls-Royce are exploring separately would have a double row of propellers at the (p. B3) back end of the engine, with no protective covering. Such an engine would be noisier and significantly slower than today’s planes. It also would have to be mounted at the rear of the airplane, but the companies say it would consume as much as 24% less fuel.
. . .
Pratt & Whitney had hoped to get a boost in the engine race by promoting a design called the Geared Turbo Fan. It uses a gearbox at the front of the engine that allow various fans and compressors to turn at different speeds for greater efficiency and less noise. . . .
. . .
The company has been working on the gear technology for almost 20 years, investing almost $1 billion so far, Mr. Finger said. He said that in addition to fuel and emissions savings, the new engine will cut noise by a factor of two and reduce maintenance by 40% because it will have fewer moving parts throughout the engine.

For the full story, see:
J. LYNN LUNSFORD and DANIEL MICHAELS. “Jet-Engine Makers Launch New War; Billions of Dollars at Stake in Race To Develop Efficient Power Source For Next Wave of Boeing, Airbus Planes.” The Wall Street Journal (Mon., July 14, 2008): B1 & B3.
(Note: ellipses added.)

GearedTurboFanEnginePrattWhitneyDiagram.jpg “GE is creating an engine with fewer moving parts than Pratt & Whitney’s design, and seeks to deliver equal or better performance.” Source of the caption and photo: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited above.

McCraw Calls Schumpeter’s History of Economic Analysis “an Epic Analytical Narrative”

McCraw on Schumpeter’s History of Economic Analysis:

(p. 461) History of Economic Analysis succeeds where much economic writing or our own time fails, having sacrificed the messy humanity of its subject on the alter of mathematical rigor. Above all else, Schumpeter’s History is an epic analytical narrative. It is about real human beings, moored in their own time, struggling like characters in a a novel to resolve difficult problems. Sometimes the problems (p. 462) are purely intellectual. Sometimes they are issues of public policy. Often they are both. But what Schumpeter was trying to do—and in fact did—was answer the deceptively simple question he posed in the early pages of his book: to discover “how economists have come to reason as they do.”

McCraw, Thomas K. Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 2007.

For Some Purposes Leapfrogged Technologies Remain Better

CassetteRIPtombstone.jpg “Hachette’s audio department recently held a “funeral” for cassette tapes; an invitation is above.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.

The article quoted below mentions a feature of new “leapfrog” technologies that has received too little attention. The new product, overall, for most purposes, or for most important purposes, is better than the old product, but it may be that the new product lacks some features that the old product had, that had value. It is a step forward in most respects, but not in all respects.
I salute the observation in the last quoted paragraph below. When I am listening to a book, while walking Willy, some UPS truck often passes me, noisily making a sentence of two inaudible. If I’m listening to a cassette, I can back up a few sentences. If I’m listening to a CD, I have to back up at least a few minutes, and often many minutes (depending on how short the tracks are on the CD).
I remember an early word processor (can’t remember its name, maybe it was Wordmarc), that allowed you to type in the page number of a long document and then go directly to that page. I am currently writing a book using Microsoft Word. And in the vast majority of respects it is better than the word processor of yore. But every time I have to scroll and scroll and scroll, to get to a page, when I already know exactly which page I want, I irrationally curse Bill Gates.

Addendum posted 10/10/08:
Since this post was created on July 30, 2008, I have discovered that Word 2007 has the feature that I missed from Wordmarc, and I also learned that if I had invested more time in Word 2003, I might have discovered that by drilling down to an obscure option menu, it too could have been customized to have had the feature. (In Wordmarc the feature was real obvious.)

(p. C7) There was a funeral the other day in the Midtown offices of Hachette, the book publisher, to mourn the passing of what it called a “dear friend.” Nobody had actually died, except for a piece of technology, the cassette tape.

While the cassette was dumped long ago by the music industry, it has lived on among publishers of audio books. Many people prefer cassettes because they make it easy to pick up in the same place where the listener left off, or to rewind in case a certain sentence is missed. For Hachette, however, demand had slowed so much that it released its last book on cassette in June, with “Sail,” a novel by James Patterson and Howard Roughan.
The funeral at Hachette — an office party in the audio-book department — mirrored the broader demise of cassettes, which gave vinyl a run for its money before being eclipsed by the compact disc. (The CD, too, is in rapid decline, thanks to Internet music stores, but that is a different story.)
. . .
Cassette tapes’ tendency to hiss — and to melt in the summer and snap in the winter — turns off audiophiles. But for audio books, the cassette is an oddly elegant medium: you can eject it from your car, carry it home and stick it in a boombox, and it will pick up in the same place, an analog feat beyond the ability of the CD.

For the full story, see:
ANDREW ADAM NEWMAN. “Say So Long to an Old Companion: Cassette Tapes.” The New York Times (Mon., July 28, 2008): C7.
(Note: ellipsis added.)