Can’t Make This Up

Tag: Can’t Make This Up

Outsourcing American Jobs

Outsourcing is once again in the news, including this attention-grabbing headline: “Developer outsources job to China so he can watch cat videos.”

That’s a pretty self explanatory, though misleading, characterization, I’d say.  It seems he’s outsourcing his job because he can reduce his own personal costs significantly without a detectable decrease in quality.  That’s efficiency enhancing, no?

Further evidence to support my conjecture comes near the end of the article:

The kicker: Further digging found that Bob was taking jobs with other firms and outsourcing that work to China too.  “It looked like he earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about fifty grand annually,” said Verizon.

All this seems to suggest that there is no world equilibrium wage in the software industry right now.

And, as for what he does with the time saved — watching lolcats videos — well, de gustibus non est disputandum.

April 1 Comes Early

Though I’m not one to pile onto the United States Postal Service, it is probably worth noting this news item — Postal Union Election Delayed After Ballots Lost in Mail.

Coming on the heels of a post where everyone seems to have an opinion, I would guess that in this case you just have to shake your head and laugh.

So this post isn’t totally bereft of content, I point you to Rick Geddes’ review of postal reform in the Economics Journal Watch.

This essay examines the published views of vital economists regarding postal reform. I define a vital economist as one who has produced scholarly research on this issue, and who has expressed an opinion about the direction reform should take. The ten vital economists surveyed here express surprisingly similar opinions on the proper direction for postal reform. The vast majority advocate some combination of privatization and elimination or relaxation of the delivery monopoly. Those opinions are in stark contrast to the published views of economists who have not carefully examined this issue.

Geddes himself is pretty much the noted expert on the subject, so when he says it’s surprising, it may well be surprising.

Have a good weekend, Lawrentians.  Perhaps I’ll see you out at the festivities.  Watch out for that Nobel announcement.

The Extraordinary Influence of Freshman Studies

One of my more clever colleagues was telling me how impressed he was with the noticeable effects of our Freshman Studies curriculum, even extending well beyond affecting just Lawrence students and faculty.

How can he be so sure?

Just check out the similarities between this year’s Freshman Studies reading list and the frequently bought together books at

So, how do you like that?  Some guy camped out in the mountains looking to pick up a copy of The Republic is suddenly prompted to buy a copy of Martin Guerre?

We should have negotiated a lower price.