Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Contribution of Computers and Internet to Economic growth


Also appears in:

How come we see the computer revolution everywhere except in the [aggregate] productivity statistics?

- Robert M. Solow, Winner, 1987 Nobel Prize for Economics (Sveriges Riksbank Prize)

imageComputers, Internet and mobile phones have fundamentally changed our life the last 2 decades. We could do more efficient shopping, connect to a lot more people and be more productive at work. As an engineer who have been a part in developing an Operating system, a search engine and a social networking tool  - the three main products of this revolution, I feel they are great things to both build and to use. They make individuals much more productive looking at the micro level. However, looking from an economic point of view and see the Macro picture I’m bogged down with “Show me the money”. Economists of the 1980s and 90s have debated a lot about this and suggested that they may not have caused a lot of economic growth.  As this review shows, the economists of late 80s successfully argued that this paradox is due to “mismeasurement, lags, redistribution and mismanagement”.

However, over a long period of time you should see the effect in economic growth, as the indirect effect of the productivity increases reflect in the macro economy. And things have changed since the original “productivity paradox” came, as PCs came into the living room and internet connected the ordinary people to do their mundane stuff in networks originally designed to survive nuclear attacks.So in this decade, have the powerful PCs, Smartphones, Search engines, Facebook led an explosive economic growth? In reopening the debate and looking at the recent data, there still seems to be dismal evidence for the productivity growth from the modern revolution. It is possible that the economy might have reached a saturation as a $10 trillion economy cannot continue to be sprinting like a $1 trillion economy, but still 1.7% annual growth in per-capita income since WWW came seems less. There might be other small causes too. The article concludes with what might be a possible cause for this.

Where do US Universities spend their money?


Also appears in EconJournal

Cambridge - Memorial Hall, Harvard University by bunkosquad.Have you ever wondered where do the money from your tuition go? How do the universities spend their money? Why does the cost of tuition grow 2X  more than the inflation rate? Why are the US universities extremely inefficient and uneconomical? I didn’t find any other study and workable stats on university spending in the net, so I just made a small exploratory study on how universities spend money.

Organization of this essay:

Part 1 concerns endowments, Part 2 contains analysis on a private University (Harvard) and Part 3 contains analysis on a public university (UW) and Part 4 is the initial conclusion. If there is enough audience interest, I will go deeper into this problem in further posts.

I started from this chart from my earlier post and started digging where the universities spend their money in.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My 2020 Wishlist

New Gold Dream... by law_keven.1. Economical solar power (less than $0.05/kWh)

2. Economical water desalination (less than $0.001/gallon)

3. 100% global literacy

4. Democracy and Law & Order returning to Sub-saharan Africa

5. Poorest countries of developing world getting within a factor of  ½  or more of developed world’s per-capita income (around $40K/yr)

6. Significant protection of coral reserves & tropical forests and help rebuild the damage to nature

7. Reversal of global warming using the cheap energy from #1

8. Eradication of most preventable, communicable diseases (including Polio, Malaria, Cholera, Tuberculosis and Typhoid)

9. Programmable homes, enabled by Nanomechanics, to enable changing in color, structure and other physical properties on demand, and making homes extremely cheap, mass producible and still satisfy consumer choices

10. Foldable, collapsible cars that can completely compact on demand (you can park the car in the closet) and give options to hold from 1 to 10 passengers, with adjustable sizes, and passing all the crash tests.

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