Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mobile phone in Chaplin's Circus (1928) ?

Many people have been surprised at the scene. I don't think she had a cell phone to make a call.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

On Marrying Self

(Reuters Life! 22/10/2010) - Chen Wei-yih will marry herself. Uninspired by the men she's met but facing social pressure to get married, the 30-year-old Taipei office worker will hold the reception next month in honor of just one person.

"Age thirty is a prime period for me. My work and experience are in good shape, but I haven't found a partner, so what can I do?" Chen said. "It's not that I'm anti-marriage. I just hope that I can express a different idea within the bounds of a tradition."

Taiwanese women are marrying later and less often as their economic status advances, fuelling government concerns about a drop in the birth rate and its impact on productivity.

Only 40 percent of women surveyed earlier this year by the education ministry said they imagined married people could live better than singles, local media said.

But as Chen cannot officially register a marriage to herself, if she finds a man later she will wed again."If I had a steady boyfriend, I wouldn't do this," Chen said. "it would be offensive to him, anyway."

When I read the above post, it was so interesting and I was a little surprised that we could marry ourselves: I didn't have such an idea!

Some people who firmly trust tradition may say that this is not called a wedding and marriage and that she just wanted to attract public attention; Some of them may feel bad about or resist it. Marriage should come true when men and women love and agree with each other on it; Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship.

However, recently it has not been unusual for some men/women to get married with some other men/women and it is called the same-sex marriage. I do not say that it is good or not and I have no idea about it, but I know that some people may feel bad about it and that it is open to dispute. Self marriage might also catch public attention and new discussion.

By the way, when I studied economics, my professor said that getting married is just like finding a job. Now I see. Before getting married, we have to find a good partner; We can't marry a bad partner. It's almost the same in finding a good job: we can't work for a bad company all day long.

In my opinion, if the self marriage is a good/the best choice of life for you and it doesn't violate others' interest, health and property, I believe you can do it without any other restriction /obstruction. I don't understand those who want to marry themselves though(we can't have a good night without a good partner!), but if they are satisfied and they don't disturb others' lives, I have no reason or I can't find any reason for disagreement on it. Do whatever they want and be happy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nobel Prize 2010

I hope the Nobel prize of economics will go to Nobuhiro Kiyotaki of Princeton as the first Japanese Nobel winner.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Facebook Unfriending

I saw an interesting post in the newspaper. One grad student found some reasons for Facebook unfriending.

Facebook is, as you know, a worldwide social online networking where friends meet to share photos, news and gossip .

The word 'unfriend' came from Facebook and it is defined as “to remove someone as a 'friend' from a social networking site such as Facebook.”

The reasons for Facebook unfriending are as follows:

No.1: frequent, unimportant posts.

No2: posting about polarizing topics like religion and politics.

Moreover, the research found that those making friend requests stood a much higher chance of being abruptly unfriended and that at the same time, those doing the unfriending seemed to hold the upper hand in the relationship.

I think this may be something helpful for some other research on how to keep better relationship between, say, employees and employers in the labor market, men and women in the marriage market, and so on.

At any rate, Facebook itself is UNIMPORTANT. People just enjoy unimportant posts, don't they? They just break boring time. I believe in our life we sometimes need unimportant things as well as important things.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

BOJ Follows Roger Farmer?

NY times(05/10/2010);TOKYO — In a surprise move Tuesday, the Japanese central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate to a range of 0 percent to 0.1 percent, a tiny change from its previous target of 0.1 percent but a symbolic shift back into an age of zero interest rates.

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) also said it would set up a fund of ¥5 trillion, or $60 billion, to buy Japanese government bonds, commercial paper and other asset-backed securities amid concerns about weakening growth in the economy, the world’s third largest, after those of the United States and China. The bank also kept its credit facility for banks at ¥30 trillion.

According to the one book written by Roger E. A. Farmer of UCLA, How the economy works,Oxford University Press, Roger says in this book,

"Control of an index fund(=mutual fund*) is the ideal way to implement this idea(=stabilizing stock market movements and preventing them from devastating the real economy),..."pp.159
*mutual fund : a basket with some stocks, bonds and other assets

"To maintain the interest rate, Fed(=US central bank) intervenes in the market by buying and selling Treasury bills(liabilities issued by government) in exchange for money,... (and at the same time) announces a price path for index funds and stands ready to buy and sell these funds each day at the announced price." pp.160

However, BOJ didn't announce the purchase of index funds/mutual funds and didn't say it follows Prof Farmer, but when I heard this news tonight I recalled Farmer; it seems to me that
BOJ's announcement of purchase of Japanese government bonds, commercial paper and other asset-backed securities will have similar effects on the economy to what Prof Farmer's suggested.

I am not sure what Farmer says is going to happen in the Japanese economy when BOJ seeks the above new policy measures, but I would like to watch what's going on.

By the way, the press seemed surprised at the BOJ announcement, as Hirokata Kusaba of Mizuho Research Institute says, “The latest move gives off a much more powerful impression than past, incremental measures, which had sparked market disillusionment

Though there will be debate over the effects of the monetary loosening, I believe the Bank of Japan has done all it can at this time

At the same time we can say that BOJ has no more policy tool to shore up the economy, as Richard Jerram of Macquarie Securities says,

despite the (BOJ's) exaggerated language claiming that this is radical,...BOJ is apparently acting reluctantly and de-emphasizing the temporary nature of the measures, which is likely to limit the impact" and “There is a stark contrast with the Fed’s ‘whatever is necessary’ approach.” **The parentheses are added by Taro.

At any rate I am sure that this BOJ's action will soon lead to a widespread debate among economists and policymakers all over the world.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Behind the Boom of Brain Training

What is called 'brain training' or 'logical thinking' is booming among the people in Japan.

I don't know whether I should say 'brain training' and 'logical thinking' in the same context (these words may be quite different to some people), but anyway I can see many books titled 'brain training' and 'logical thinking' in the

It shows that many people want to become more brainy/smarter than ever, doesn't it? I try questioning myself about it and it seems to me that many people, especially business people as well, think that they should be smarter on their own in their everyday life.

I don't know if it is good for them to become brainy. Let me assume some situation of chat: while we are chatting, I always try asking, "what is it?", "what do you mean by this?", "it doesn't make sense", "that part of your tale sounds illogical", and so on. It is as if we were always in a discussion/meeting in class at school. I would get tired if I were always asking and questioning while chatting.

The issue I would raise is," do we really have to be smarter/thinking logically everywhere and every time in our life?" To be honest, I am not sure if we should do.

I don't always respect people trying to be rational or logical: I would like to ask such a king of people, "what part inside you do you defend?" It seems to me that they are likely to care themselves only, or that they just try to look nice and smart. It is just as if I dressed up.

This effort for trying to be smart is a kind of the waste of the time and money. Anyway it doesn't always help.

Friday, October 01, 2010

What 'efficiency' means?

In bookstores, I can always see some books on 'an efficient resource management' or 'efficient corporate governance' or 'efficient blah blah blah'.

By the way, what do you mean by 'efficient blah blah blah'? I don't understand it at all! What is efficient? Are you efficient? Hmm...I have no idea.

My English dictionary tells me that it means 'working well'. It's a good answer and most people who say 'efficient blah blah blah' probably may mean so by it.

However, economics tells me somewhat different definition of it: efficient means 'happier'. It's a little ambiguous and it sounds subjective although economics deals with objective social problems, but for me it is rather a correct way of using this word.

When I think of what to change in my life, say, what to cut down on in my spending, what to throw away in my bookshelf and how much to drink in this bar and so on, I usually think of 'the Pareto-efficient' and it means 'happier', say, "if I drink a little more, to what extent will I be happier?".

Usually this word is used on the public policy conducted by policymakers and the effects on the economy and the people's lives: Assume there are two people, A and B and they try to trade each other. If A can't be better off/happier than ever unless A tries to make B worse off/less happier, A is in the 'Pareto-optimal/efficient' condition and vice versa.

Pareto is an Italian sociologist in the 19th century and the Pareto efficiency is used when economists think about the deals between some people, that is, an 'inter-personal' trades, but it's not the wrong usage when I talk of an 'intra-personal' trades between today's Taro and tomorrow's Taro on what or how much to choose to eat/drink*.

Anyway in terms of economic thinking, an 'efficient resource management' should be the one that makes the people related to it happier/more satisfied, rather than that reduces the cost and raises the profit.

*Some alert readers may say, "if you want to talk about Pareto-optimum/efficiency, you should touch on the Edgeworth box, contract curves, core and the first/second theorem of welfare economics". I know I should use these ideas if I talk about it formally.