Tag Archives: Economics

A Living Wage is Impossible

Recently the idea of a “living wage” has come to the for with the “Fight for 15” campaign. The living wage has been a popular idea in the left for a while. I don’t plan on on showing how a “living wage” it will increase unemployment or hurt economic growth, you can find that stuff elsewhere. Rather I am going to show you how a living wage is impossible; it is simply not something that can exist given our present society.

As I have pointed out before, housing is the single largest expense in most households (other than possibly taxes) and is effectively a positional good. (Read the link for the full argument). Americans spend about a third of their income on housing, a number which has been increasing over time. As people become richer, they tend to spend more absolute money to obtain larger houses keeping proportionate housing expenditures at similar or even higher amounts. Housing costs as a proportion of income do not decrease as incomes rise on a societal level.

If you increase the minimum wage, people on minimum wage will spend more on housing as competition for housing increases deu to its status as a largely positional good. This will drive the costs of housing up. After a time of correction, housing costs will have increased in absolute terms but have stayed roughly the same relative to income. There will be no real improvement in the housing situation of most people.

The next big expense for homes with children and working parents is childcare. I’ve already explained why child care will always be unaffordable; essentially, given child care worker to child ratios, a minimum of a quarter of one person’s income is necessary per child for child care. If you raise the minimum wage you simply increase child care costs proportionately.

Finally, the costs of all other goods will increase as well. If you pay minimum wage workers more, the price of all goods will increase across the board, raising the cost of living, particularly for the poor who depend the most on low-cost goods.

Increasing the minimum wage will create minimal improvements for poor families receiving minimum wage (they may create moderate improvement for poor singles who don’t have child care costs and have lower housing needs) because the increased costs of good and services, particularly housing and childcare, will eat away any gains from the higher nominal wages.

A living wage is impossible for this reason; increases in the minimum wage will simply inflate the value of goods proportionately, so there are minimal real agins for the impovershed.

(This of course ignores the impact on the middle class; who will be greatly damaged by a “living wage” as the costs of goods and services increase while wages stagnate).

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Guest Post: The Myth of the Wage Gap

Today we have a guest post from Tanner King, a fellow Canadian on the wage gap. Remember, we accept submissions for any blog-related topics. If you have something to say, feel free to send it in.

Once in a while a new statistic regarding the “gender wage gap” will find its way into the mainstream media. Generally we nod along and agree that disparity between earnings for men and women is unfair and should be rectified.

Then we change the channel. Rarely do we consider the implications of these statistics.

Usually they’re just two simple numbers placed side by side. A Toronto Sun article posted in April of 2012 states, in reference to women employees, “Overall they earn 77 cents for each dollar made annually by men…”

This article claims that a female working the same position with the same hours as a male will still make less. You will often notice vague language being used when these statistics are presented. What do they mean by “the same hours”. Is this the same hours per year; is it the same hours p er week? Perhaps for ten years a man and a woman in an executive position work the exact same hours and make the exact same amount of money, but then the woman takes time off for maternity leave, while the man continues to work and make more money, and maybe even achieve a pay raise.

A 2010 study by the Canadian Library of Parliament states “…the gap between women and men underlines the fact that they do not use their time in the same way and that the task of looking after dependent family members is largely borne by women.”

Generally when statistics like this are presented they don’t even go so far as to specify the type of jobs that were looked at or the amount of hours or the education of the people surveyed. It will just be a vague comparison ignoring most contributing factors. This is a tool that can be used to make the gap seem as vast and insurmountable as possible.

Additionally, despite what a lot of these studies would like you to think, this is not some worldwide conspiracy of oppression keeping females down. For example Ireland has the highest gender wage gap in the world…. in favour of women. Irish women without children earn 17 percent more than the typical male worker in the same position according to research by the OECD.

This is not one minor happening wherein the wage gap is reversed in favour of women either. A 2010 USA Today article reports that “Women ages 22 to 30 with no husband and no kids earn a median $27,000 a year, 8% more than comparable men in the top 366 metropolitan areas, according to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau data…” The same article goes on to say “It isn’t true for all women in their 20s working full time — overall, they earn 90% of what all men in their 20s make — just for those who don’t marry or have kids.

Canadian economist Morley Gunderson comments, “Factors emanating from women’s role in the household (e.g., reduced hours in the labour market, reduced mobility because of household ties, education that is less labour–‐market oriented, interruptions in labour market careers, willingness to pay for workplace amenities that are family friendly) are important determinants of the pay gap.”

There is a wealth of information on the web regarding common majors for males and females. I would recommend looking up the statistics specific to your area, or simply talking to people. It’s staggeringly clear that, more often than not, men choose majors more suited to the job market. That means more likely to get a job right out of university, and it means higher wages overall. Women are typically drawn to liberal arts, design, public relations, and things of this nature. It’s no secret that there is not a lot of women in engineering, statistically one of the best choices in major.

Even through a small amount of critical thinking and research we are able to uncover a number of factors contributing to the wage gap in countries all over the world. The important thing is to take statistics for what they’re worth. Check the sources and understand that just because concrete numbers are presented does not mean there is not a bias.

It should also be noted that in Canada, as with the U.S., gender pay equality is a law. If any woman believes that her employer is paying her less because of her gender she has the ability to take legal action.

Feminist research groups will often try to claim any statistics that conflict with the idea that the wage gap is motivated solely by discrimination are lies perpetrated by an overbearing patriarchy. All that can be said to that is to do your own research, talk to people you know, and create some comparisons of your own.

Sources:

http://iwf.org/news/2790172/
http://www.torontosun.com/2012/04/18/women-still-confront-yawning-gender-wage-gap-study
http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/lop/researchpublications/2010-30-e.htm
http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/social-issues-migration-health/close-the-gender-gap-now_9789264179370-en#page1
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2010-09-01-single-women_N.htm
http://www.payscale.com/career-news/2009/12/do-men-or-women-choose-majors-to-maximize-income


The BookShelf: Economics in One Lesson

I finished reading Economics in One Lesson weeks ago, but haven’t got around to reviewing it yet. So, here goes.

First, the title is misleading, this book will not teach you basic economics, it is more concerned about correcting basic statist and keynesian errors in economic thinking. Also, it’s 25 small lessons, not one, although, at only about 200 pages you could finish it in an evening if you put your mind to it.

That being said the book is a good one. It is written well and is moderately simple read. It’s a little dry, but not overly so given the subject matter. The arguments are solid and concise and the book is neatly organized.

If you desire to learn about the many economic errors of statism and good, simple counter-arguments to statist arguments, this book will provide. If you have a statist friend, this book would be a good recommendation. On the other hand, you will not learn basic economics, only basic economic errors.

One problem with the book is that it is 50+ years old now, so many of the arguments are now standard within the conservative/libertarian narrative. If you’ve read much about economics or been involved in political debates online, you might find many parts of the book to be somewhat obvious, as you’ve already heard them repeated endlessly. Even so, having the arguments systematized and summarized is useful.

Also, if you’ve read What is Seen and What is Unseen, most of that book’s argument are also addressed here. If you read EON, it would be unnecessary to read WSWU, expect for enjoyment purposes.

Recommendation:

You should read Economics in One Lesson if you’re interested in economics, interested in politics, or want some counters to common statist economic arguments. If you already very knowledgeable about free market economics, this book will likely be unnecessary, although you may still like an organized version of common free market arguments.

What’s next:

A few weeks ago, I started reading John C. Wright’s Universal Apology. It, along with a dissatisfaction with evangelicalism that has been growing within for the last couple of years, has got me to seriously question my protestantism. So, the reading lists are going to go more slowly while I read a bit about the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, canon formation, and the like. I will likely post interesting topics I come across here; I may or may not do book reviews. If anyone is interested I’m currently going through The Biblical Canon; I also plan to read the Spirit of Catholicism, the Orthodox Church, and Christianity: the First 3000 Years.

Expect the occasional thread on Catholicism or my readings on here. I may occasionally ask my Catholic/Orthodox readers some questions.

While the reading lists are going to be slow, they are not stopping altogether. I’m still sporadically reading Boston’s Gun Bible and have started sporadically reading Sowell’s Basic Economics. When these are done (whenever that may be) I will review them here. I also am going to start reading the Brothers Karamazov for a book group I’m in, I may or may not review it here and I’ll share any profound thoughts I may have about it.


The Bookshelf: What is Seen and What is Unseen

What is Seen and What is Unseen is a part of both the Free Man’s Reading List and the Dark Enlightenment Reading List. It was written in the early 1800s by a Frenchman, Frederic Bastiat.

The writing is solid and moderately engaging, but nothing spectacular.

It’s a rather short book at less than 50 pages, but it gets its main point, that government spending and government debt have unseen negative consequences and you should be aware of unintended consequences when making policy, quite well. Essentially, it is a debunking on Keynesian BS from over a century before Keynesian BS existed. While reading the book, I couldn’t help like feeling Bastiat was intellectually bitch-slapping Paul Krugman from beyond the grave.

Given the age of the book, most of the arguments are well known on the right or among those with some economic knowledge, so if you’re knoweldgable about economics you might already know most of these arguments, such as the broken window parable, for which the book is known. To simplify the parable, a broken window does not lead to economic gains, as the person spending money to replace the window may be employing the glazier, but the tailor/printer is losing out as her is not buying a new book or new clothes.

But even if you know most of it, the most fascinating thing about this book is how little has changed in two hundred years. How can you not read this and think of the intellectual whores like Krugman:

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it…

Or this, and think of every idiot socialist:

Our adversaries consider, that an activity which is neither aided by supplies, nor regulated by Government, is an activity destroyed. We think just the contrary. Their faith is in the legislator, not in mankind; ours is in mankind, not in the legislator.

Or this and think of the Fed:

Whatever may be the amount of cash and of paper which is in circulation, the whole of the borrowers cannot receive more ploughs, houses, tools, and supplies of raw material, than the lenders altogether can furnish; for we must take care not to forget, that every borrower supposes a lender, and that what is once borrowed implies a loan.

Anyway, the greatest thing about this book is seeing how retarded economic ideas parroted by  the ignorant and blind were intellectually destroyed two centuries ago by an economist most people have enver even heard of. Then you feel somewhat sad that mentally enfeebled will still gain traction with their debunked arguments.

Recommendations:

I would strongly recommend reading What is Seen and What is Unseen. It’s a short, quick guide to basic economic reasoning that demolishes Keynesian arguments.

The only reason not to read this book, is if you are reading another Austrian economics book that is more in-depth. For example, I have started reading Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, and most of the subject matter of What is Seen and What is Unseen has been covered in the first few chapters of Hazlitt’s book.

But even then, the enjoyment of watching modern idiots being thrashed by some unknown Frenchman 150 years dead may make it worth your while.

Note: I am now moving onto Boston’s Gun Bible and Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, if anyone is trying to read along with me.


Repost: An Economic Analysis of Divorce

I don’t have time this week, so this is a repost of an early post of mine that didn’t get much play. I did a little editing. It’s part of the Sexonomics series and is on divorce, so it fits what has been discussed here recently.

The Cost of the Risk of Material Loss in Divorce

Marriage is often discouraged in the Manopshere, and a single male, choosing whether I want to marry or stay an eternal bachelor is something important. Now, there’re a lot of reasons provided for why to avoid marriage, but the risk and consequences of divorce are easily the most convincing argument. So, I’m going to create a series on the economics of marriage.

This first post will be the economic cost of the risk of divorce for the average bachelor considering marriage.

At another time, I will attempt an economic analysis of the immaterial losses of divorce and the benefits of marriage. Then I will combine it all together in a cost benefit analysis.

What are the odds of divorce?

The “50% of marriages end in divorce” statistic is thrown out a lot, but this number includes those with multiple marriages and divorces, which skews the number higher than for people considering their first marriage, among other problems.

So, according to the US Census Bureau, for men, only about 60% of men reach their 25th anniversary for their first marriage (p. 11), which means about 40% of men did not.

Now, the data is by age cohort, and those married earlier had a greater chance of reaching any particular marriage anniversary milestone. For example, those married in 1975-79 had a 54.4% chance of reaching 25th anniversary, while those in the married in 1960-65 had a 66.9% of reaching this milestone. But, those married in 1975-79 had the worst chances of attaining any particular marriage milestone; they were peak divorce you might say. Since then, younger marriage cohorts have been more likely to reach milestones.

Meanwhile, in Canada, Statistics Canada has it that about 40% of first marriages will end in divorce.

So, we will estimate there is a 40% chance that a male entering their first marriage will divorce.

(Remember, the chances of marriage ending in divorce can vary depending on a wide range of variables, which I am not going to calculate at this time, but I might go into them in-depth in the future.)

How much does the divorce process cost?

The cost of the actual divorce process varies considerably, depending on a wide range of variables. A simple divorce will run about $1000, while a contested divorce can run from about $8,000-$133,000.

According to this, the median cost for mediation is $5,000, while the average contested divorce costs about $20,000.

So, we’ll say your divorce process will be about $20,000.

(Here’s a calculator if you’d like to play around).

What about Spousal/Child Support?

Your chances of paying spousal support depend on the amount of child support already paid and your income. There’s a ton of laws on this, so I’ll just use this calculator to calculate this.

The average Canadian household income is: $74,700
Two-earners without children: $79,700
Two-earners with children: $85,600
One-earner without children: $58,100
One-earner with children: $60,900

The average length of marriage is 14.5 years, with the average age of divorce for men being 44 and for women, 41.

So, putting the average divorce and income in the calculator we can get the average cost of support (both child and spousal) payments come divorce (in Ontario), assuming children live with spouse:

Two-earners without children (Equal): $0
Two-earner without children (Primary – 2/3): $327/month for 7-14 years (10.5)
Two-earners with children (Equal): $0 + $619/month child support
Two-earners with children (2 – Primary – 2/3): No spousal support, $758/month
One-earner without children: $1,186/month for 7-14 years (10.5)
One-earner with children: $838/month for 7-14 years (10.5) + $905/month child support (10.5)

For your own income and planned family situation input the number in the calculator.

So, the average male will have to pay about $149,436 in support if sole provider, $73,458 in support if primary provider, and $0 in support if equal provider. (The cost of child support is there for illustrative purposes, but that would be the cost of having a child, not marriage and divorce and is not calculated here.)

One interesting thing to notice: if you’re the sole breadwinner, your likely monthly payments can actually decrease as mandated child support payments replace spousal support payments. I would not bank too much on this, as it’s likely just a quirk in Canadian law or the calculator and may not apply broadly.

US law does not seem radically different overall from Canadian law.

What about a Settlement?

In Canada, “the spouse with the higher net family property is required by law to pay his” spouse “half of the difference between the two spouses’ net family properties.” Net family properties being current assets minus both liabilities and assets at marriage.

In the US, there are two systems, community property and equitable distribution, depending on the state with variations in how they are distributed. The former divides assets gained during the marriage equally, but leaves property attained before marriage alone. Equitable distribution distributes property equitably (not necessarily equally).

In general, we can say that the property you acquired during the marriage will be split more or less in half. If the wife was the primary housekeeper, while the husband was the primary breadwinner, then the difference will be the wife’s payments for continued support of the house. If they both shared provider status roughly equally, then an equal distribution of marital resources should occur.

There does not seem to be much economic cost to the average husband at the point of settlement in Canada, unless he sunk significant sums into the marital home prior to marriage and the wife did not match these sums after entering the marriage.

In the US, one could economically lose if the equitable distribution was not necessarily equal, or by quirks of local law, but for the average divorce, these would not present much of a cost. There might be extreme cases in both systems where quirks or abuses of the law could lead to unequal distribution either way, but

Other Cost Considerations

This is not to say that this will not increase economic hardship. Having to pay the expenses for two dwellings will, by itself, greatly increase economic hardship on both ex-spouses. For the ex-husband specifically though, the extra cost of two dwellings would be accounted for in the spousal/child support payments taken from his income.

It is possible a divorce could affect a male’s job performance, and thus his earnings, creating additional economic cost, but this would be outside my ability to remotely calculate.

The Total Material Cost of Divorce Risk for the Man Considering Marriage

Our formula:
Costs of Divorce Risk = Risk of Divorce * (Cost of divorce process + cost of support)

Average Male Single Earner
40%*(20,000 + 149,436 ) = $67774.40

Average Male Primary Provider
40%*(20,000 + 73,458) = $37383.2

Equal Male and Female Provision
40%*(20,000 ) = $8,000

For the average male who’s considering marriage and planning to be the sole breadwinner of the family, the material cost of the risk of divorce would be just over a full year’s worth of pay. For the average male who plans to be the primary but not sole breadwinner, it would be somewhat less than a full year’s pay. For the average male who plans a marriage where both partners earn equally, it would be a few months’ worth of pay.

So, if you plan on marrying and being the sole or primary breadwinner, you would have to ask yourself if you would pay roughly a year’s salary to be married.

* This analysis will be done for Canada. Canada’s divorce laws are generally nationally coherent, with federal laws and. The US’ divorce laws differ widely between states, so I can’t really calculate for the US. On the other hand, for the majority of men, the analysis shouldn’t vary too significantly; this should be roughly applicable to most and sufficient for analytical purposes. Check your own jurisdiction’s laws for personal information.


Government Transfers and GDP

I have started reading through the Captain’s Enjoy the Decline and in the 2nd chapter he talks about proving the US is in a permanent decline. He brings up his old point here about how GDP is growing at 2.2% rather than the 4% of yesteryear, and how we could have an average income of $100,000 if the government didn’t interfere. He was also talking about how government is now almost 40% of GDP. That got me thinking about the government and the GDP.

The most common method of calculating GDP is is through the use of this formula:

GDP = C + I + G + (X – M)

Or, in English:

GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports – imports)

What I’m going to focus on here is G. As per wikipedia:

G (government spending) is the sum of government expenditures on final goods and services. It includes salaries of public servants, purchase of weapons for the military, and any investment expenditure by a government. It does not include any transfer payments, such as social security or unemployment benefits.

When calculating GDP, the measure of government contribution to the economy is NOT the value of goods and services the government produces; it is the measure of the value of the resources the government consumes. G in the GDP measures what the government takes out of the economy, not what the government puts into the economy.

For example, if the the government spent $200-million building a road it would count the same as if the government spent $200-million moving rocks from point A to point B and back to Point A. As long as the government wasn’t using the resources for transfer payments, they could bury the money and GDP would increase. (See the Broken Window Fallacy).

For the rest of this post, we will refer to C, I, & (X-M) as “actual GDP” and G as government spending.*

Here are the annual real GDP growth rates for the US since 2008:

2008: -0.3
2009: -3.1
2010:  2.4
2011:  1.8
2012:  2.2

Here’s G:

2008: 2,497.4
2009: 2,589.4
2010: 2,605.8
2011: 2,523.9
2012: 2,481.3

and growth in G:

2008:  2.6%
2009:  3.7%
2010:  0.6%
2011: -3.1%
2012: -0.6%

Over the last 5 years, since the housing crash, the portion of GDP that is made up of G has declined by 0.6%. US GDP on the other hand, has increased by 6% over the same time period.

Originally, when starting this post, I was wondering if increased government consumption was resulting in a higher G, inflating GDP numbers. In other words, I was suspicious the government was simply consuming more resources (whether for productive or unproductive tasks) from the private sector to mask a decline in actual GDP.

The data says it has not; in fact, the opposite is true, G has somewhat declined as a percentage of GDP. I was tempted to just junk this post as my suspicion and the point I was thinking I might make proved to be incorrect, but I decided I’d post this information here anyway for anyone who’s curious.

****

This however, brings up another point for my post.

According to Table 1.1 here, federal government spending has increased by 27.1% between 2008 and 2012. This new spending represents 6.0% of 2012 GDP. Total government spending has increased by 10% in the same time period, representing 3.6% of 2012 GDP. Interestingly (and completely surprising to me), non-federal government spending (total minus federal) has actually decreased by $323.8 billion, or 6.6% over the same five years, representing 2.4% of 2012 GDP.

As mentioned above, G only measures what the government consumes or invests in, it does not include government transfers.

G has more or less stayed the same (and has actually declined as a portion of GDP), while government spending has increased by over a quarter.

What this means is that the none of the new government spending is from the government actually consuming or investing in anything. None of the new government spending is new roads, new hospitals, new schools, or new jet fighters; none of it has even gone to increased bureaucrat’s salaries, buying heroin for the homeless, or burying resources in the desert. None of the new spending was used on anything remotely productive or even on a program pretending to be productive.

All 27.1% of the new federal spending has gone to increased transfers.

In other words, since 2008, the federal government has forcibly taken an extra 6% of the entire economy from some people and transferred it to other people with not the slightest pretense of it being for the public benefit or as an investment in the future.

This is naked robbery.

In addition, part of this extra federal spending has come at same time that state spending has been reduced, further centralizing government spending.

Just federal transfers, not including state transfers or federal consumption of investment as found in G, now make up about 20%** of the economy. Six percentage points of that came from the last five years.

The federal government has taken an extra 6% of the entire US economy from the producer class and given to the parasite last five years and currently spends an one-fifth of the economy simply in transferring money from producers to parasites.

If this pattern continues, the US will become a centralized socialist state.

****

* All dollar amounts are 2005 US$ and in billions.
** May be slightly off, but not by more than, maybe, a percentage point. 2012 #’s were used for GDP and federal outlays, but I could not find a 2012 number for federal G, so I used the 2011 number.


Matthew Yglesias is an Idiot

Today, I’ve decided to highlight more economic stupidity.

Here is something from one Matthew Yglesias (whose name I always want to spell Yggdrasil). He is the economic “expert” for Slate magazine. In other words, he is paid solely to “think”* and write about economics. Some of you may also know that Matt is a vulgar Keynesian of the Krugmanite variety. You could almost call him a lesser Krugman.** Because of his vulgar Keynesian, Yglesias has never met a government program and government spending he does not support (except when it inconveniences him personally).***

With that small introduction to this professional master of economics, we can turn to what he wrote recently on Amtrak:

In the main part of the country where people actually ride intercity trains and where intercity trains form an important part of the transportation infrastructure, we have operating profits. In a decent national rail policy, those operating profits could finance infrastructure improvements in the northeast corridor where rail is important and useful. Everyone knows that the Acela is a joke version of high-speed rail by European or Asian standards, and there’s a lot that could be done incrementally to improve that with upgraded rolling stock and targeted improvements to straighten tracks or improve tunnels and grade crossings. Instead we’re stuck in a dynamic where all these trains are running in places where nobody rides them and the local voters and elected officials aren’t supportive and Amtrak ends up sigmatized for its dependence on federal subsidies. But operating passenger rail where people want to ride intercity trains turns out to be perfectly viable without huge subsidies. And it could do a much better job of serving the needs of the communities where rail is useful and valued if those operating surpluses were used to cover infrastructure costs rather than soaked away covering operating losses elsewhere.

It’s almost like the train system could benefit from being put in places where people value it and not put in places where people do not want to use it.

This train system would make excess operating surpluses from extracting fares from people who value it. These fares could then go to whomever decided to provide the trains as an incentive to provide trains where needed. The provider of trains could use these surpluses to profit himself and to reinvest in more and better trains for greater surpluses in the future.

If only we could think of a system where people with resources, incentivized by the possibility of profiting off of providing trains, would invest those resources in providing trains in places people valued them in exchange for being able to take an operating surplus from collected fares. It would solve all our train system problems and the government wouldn’t even need to subsidize the train system, saving those tax dollars for something more important, like buying homeless people heroin.

Where, oh where, could the government possibly find a system like this?

What kind of system could possibly cause people to invest resources in providing valued services to others in an efficient manner solely so they can profit from operating surpluses?

A system that utopian must be impossible to create. I guess we must all suffer by paying taxes for trains no one uses.

****

In case you’re oblivious, that was sarcasm.

There wasn’t much of a point to this post, but this: Matthew Yglesias is an idiot.

I would generally use some superlatives here, but I don’t think my limited writing talents could possibly do justice to his ignorance, as his stupidity is positively Krugmanite.

If his head wasn’t rammed so far up his vulgar Keynesian ass, the supremely obvious solution to this supposed quandary might be able to penetrate his inordinately thick skull and he might actually be of some use other than as a paid stooge of the internet wing of the Cathedral press corps.

On the other hand, if his head wasn’t buried so deep in his rectum that methane and anaerobic bacteria were his primary means of subsistence, Slate wouldn’t hire him for the cushy job of confirming idiot liberals’ a priori emotional beliefs with a few hundred daily words of scientific-sounding economic nonsense.

So, maybe he’s smarter than I thought.

I wish I got paid for the nonsense I write and the Cathedral probably pays better than anonymous blogging.

Maybe I should start writing academic-sounding blather that validates the unthinking prejudices of the economically illiterate and makes them feel smart.

****

* In this case, the word ‘think’ is used in the loosest definition of the term possible.

** Yes, I know you’re wondering if it is actually possible for there to be a something intellectually lesser than Paul Krugman since he became a paid shill for the Cathedral in the NYT. In this case lesser refers to popularity with fools and usefulness to the Cathedral rather than to any intellectual or analytical (in)abilities.

*** Hint: The definition of a bad government program in the Coocooland of vulgar Keynesianism is any that is personally inconvenient to a liberal shill. The definition of a good government program is any that increases the power of government but does not inconvenience a vulgar Keynesian or a friend of the same.


Hypocritical Entitlement

Ian wrote about Hugo Schwyzer’s latest word vomit, so I checked it out (the link is to Google Cache: no cookie for you Gawker).

We’ll ignore the fact that he and his feminist allies have absolutely no empathy for the millions of young men hurting (yes, hurting) from involuntary celibacy. Fuck ’em, they’re just men.

We’ll ignore the fact that assholes like Schwyzer and his feminist allies have been lying to men for decades about what attracts women and then when these men follow through on the lies they’ve been told, the assholes gather around and bully them for it.

We’ll ignore how Schwyzer completely ignores the privilege women have when it comes to the availability of sex, despite him and the rest of the Uncle Tim’s being all about the exposure of privilege.

Ian does an excellent job of analyzing Hugo’s spiteful piece, so I’m not going to. Read Ian’s article.

Instead, I’m going focus on the self-righteous hypocrisy of this little bit:

Sex with other people may be a basic human need, but unlike other needs, it can’t be a basic human right. It’s one thing to believe that the state ought to provide food, shelter, and health care to those who can’t afford these necessities of survival. It’s another thing to say that the state should ensure that even the hideous and the clueless have occasional orgasms provided for them others. While in Britain, a few local governments have sent disabled men on trips to Amsterdam to see sex workers, citing psychological need, not even the most progressive Europeans have suggested that anyone is entitled to have their romantic longings reciprocated. NGOKC reminds us just how many young men are outraged at this reality that attractiveness, charm, and fuckability are not and never can be equally distributed.

Remember, sex is not a basic human right.

Men are not entitled to sex.

But, women are entitled to your labour (in the form of welfare, food, shelter, and health care).

Nothing seems abnormal about this, this is what you were raised on.

This is what you were raised on; words that should provoke skepticism.

One random commenter explains the general just of the mood at Jezebel:

Because they aren’t entitled to women’s bodies regardless of how much you personally feel women are “privileged” when it comes to sex on demand.

You aren’t entitled to a women’s body.

But they are entitled to yours.

You work, you sweat, you break your back, you endure inanity, boredom, idiocy, and bureuacracy for 40+ hours a week. Women are entitled to about 40% of that.

Women are entitled to about 2 days of your labour, 16 hours, every week. They are entitled to take this through the threat of force, violently supported by the guns of the police.

But a half-hour a week of mutually pleasurable activity. Nope, men aren’t entitled to it.

If you attempt to deprive them of your hard work, of your labour, of your body, you go to jail. The IRS (or the CRA for Canucks) will see to it. But if you are deprived of sex, of their body, meh, fuck you (you wish).

Women are entitled to your body, but you aren’t entitled to theirs.

It’s simple: either people are entitled to the bodies of others for attaining their basic needs (of which sex would be one) or they are not.

To say otherwise is hypocrisy.

Turn it around:

Because they aren’t entitled to men’s bodies regardless of how much you personally feel men are “privileged” when it comes to economic outcomes.

Wonder what the Jezebellers would think of this? (Hint: Read 1 Kings 18:1-18)

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The next time someone demands the state pay welfare for the societal parasites, ask when the state will ensure you have your *ahem* basic needs met.

When the person reacts in a horrified manner (as they invariably will) ask why the parasites basic biological needs are more important than yours.

When they bring up consent, choice, “my body, my choice”, entitlement, or whatever other slogans they substitute for thought, ask why you don’t have a choice and why the parasites are entitled to your body.

Continue to rhetorically poke around a bit and listen to the verbal diarrhea they issue forth pretending it’s a logical argument. You won’t accomplish anything, but you might get some lulz.

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So, am I saying women should be forced to give sex to those men who need it?

Hells no.

I’m saying no one is entitled to the body of another. Men are not entitled to women’s bodies, women are not entitled to men’s bodies.

I just want the hypocritical wankery to stop.

But I know it won’t.

Women’s entitlement to the labour of men is so thoroughly entrenched that most reading this will either miss the point or be horrified.

So it goes, back to your drudgery. Those single mothers aren’t going to feed themselves.

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Side-note:

I wonder what Schwyzer and his ilk would think of a Tumblr called Nice Girls of OKCupid where users made disparaging comments about the profiles of fat/ugly women, sluts, ignorant women, and single mothers outlining their “great personalities”?

Oh, and to head off the initial objections to the comparison: women, the feeling you get about “creeps” is exactly the feeling men get about “fatties” and “sluts”. Not that it matters, you’ll discount men’s feelings anyway.


The Bookshelf: Captain Capitalism: Top Shelf

As mentioned previously, Captain Capitalism (ie: Aaron Clarey) has been a large influence for this blog, so when he released his new book, Top Shelf, I immediately ordered it on Amazon.

The book itself is a simple collection of what CC thought his best posts from his 8 years of prolific  blogging. Coming in at 400+ pages, the book has a whole lot of mini-essays on a wide range of topics primarily in the fields of economics, gender relations, bachelorhood, politics, and education.

Having read through his entire archive about a year ago (a lot of reading), I can’t think of any posts that should have been included that he left out. In addition, there were some good posts in it that I forgotten about. The book is very comprehensive.

The essays are all enjoyable, often thought-provoking, and usually informative. This is good stuff.

Everything is written in an engaging manner by the Captain at the top of his game. Read the first page or two of his blog; if you like what you read, you’ll really enjoy this book.

Grammar nazis may be concerned about the grammar and typos in the book. There are a lot of them, as there are in many blogs, and the Captain made no bones about the fact that he left the original typos in. Overall, I found this doesn’t really hurt the book or its readability, but if you’re OCD about these kinds of things, I might as well give you fair warning.

Another problem that comes up is that in converting his webposts to book format the links and the occasional graph are unavailable. You can understand all the essays even without them, but sometimes you know you’re missing something.

Now, the first question when considering this type of book is, why should I pay for something that I can get for free on his blog?

There are 3 primary reasons:

1) Support the author. The Captain has been giving us free content for almost a decade, paying . This of course doesn’t really benefit you directly, so if you’re a strict homo economicus this won’t really be convincing. Although, if the Captain is not working because his website is providing a minimalistic living, he has more time to devote to giving us more posts.

2) Save time. As I said, I read through the entirety of the CC archive about a year ago, it took me about two weeks during a really slow time at work. It required dozens of hours. Top Shelf skims the cream off and gives it to you in a format that can be read in an evening or two. It let’s you get the Cappy Cap goodness without such a time investment.

3) Hard copy format. I find it a lot more convenient and comfortable to read from a book than off a computer screen and Top Shelf let’s you read dead tree-style. Convenient.

Now comes my biggest complaint about the book and something I’m hoping Aaron will fix in his future books:

Top Shelf needs an index.

There are dozens (I don’t know exactly how many because there’s no index and flipping through counting them would be a pain) of mini-essays  in this book and they do not seem to be arranged in any particular order. If I want to find, re-read, or reference a particular essay, it requires a lot of page-flipping. A basic index listing the page each particular essay is on would be handy.

This complaint aside, I found the book well worth it.

Recommendation:

Buy this book, it is worth it. If you like reading Captain Capitalism’s blog, this book is a must-buy.

If you’ve read his blog and for some weird reason don’t enjoy it, then you probably won’t like this book, so I can’t recommend it.

If you’re really broke, but have a lot of time on your hands then you can read his archives instead.

Other than those two exceptions, I’d recommend getting Top Shelf.

Previous reviews for other books by Aaron Clarey:
Behind the Housing Crash
Worthless


Financial Analysis of Sex: Relationship vs. Marriage

I previously did an economic comparison of obtaining casual sex through both prostitution and game. I said I would do the cost of sex in marriage and relationship game in the future, so, here it is (much later than I originally anticipated).

The following is a financial analysis of the costs of obtaining sex through a relationship or game. For simplicity’s sake, it ignores the greater economic costs beyond financial and benefits beyond the sexual (both material and immaterial). I will likely analyze these more in the future in their own posts.

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Relationship Game

If you convert game to a relationship, the cost per sexual encounter goes down.

The original 3 sexual encounters would be $460 each (as calculated in the game for casual sex post), but once the initial costs of picking-up a women have been met, converting a short-term fling from game to a relationship can change the costs of sex.

According to Roosh, each date costs about $35. We’ll assume you enjoy dating your partner for its own sake (hence why you’re in a relationship), so there’s no foregone cost. So, assuming each date leads to sex, each sexual encounter in the relationship past the first 3 would cost only $35 each. If you don’t enjoy dating your partner (for whatever reason), then you can add $20/date, if we assume 2 hours per date (at a foregone wage of $10).

We’ll assume a date/sex an average three times a week in a one-month relationship (for a total of 12 times, plus the 3 encounters he had in the fling), and two times a week in a 6-month (for a total of 48 times, plus 3) and 1-year relationship (for a total of 104, plus 3) (The same caveats would apply here as in Game for Sex).

Cost for Sex (1-month relationship): $120

Cost for Sex (6-month relationship): $60

Cost for Sex (1-year relationship): $47

This could, of course, be reduced by paying less for dates, or forgoing dates altogether in favour of less costly activities.

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Marriage

The average married man gets sex about once per week.

The average length of marriage prior to divorce is 8 years, but 60% of first marriages do not end in divorce. In the case of no divorce, we’ll assume the average marriage lasts 40 years (about 60-75 years old) until the male is either dead or are either incapable of or not desiring sex.

In that case, the average marriage lasts about 27 years.

Over that period, the average male can expect to get sex an average of about 1400 times. (1500 if he had sex in a 1-year relationship prior to marriage as per relationship game above).

The cost of dating and a one-year relationship prior to the marriage are almost $5000 (we’ll assume he enjoyed dating the person he chose to marry). The average cost of a wedding is about $27000.

We’ll also add in the 40% chance of $37,383 loss due to divorce (assuming the man will be the primary, but not sole breadwinner).

Cost for Sex (Marriage): $50 ($46 if you slept together before marriage)

This could of course be significantly reduced by not having a wedding that costs $27,000. It could also be reduced by minimizing chances of divorce. Only 1/5 of marriages have weddings that cost more than $30k, so it’s likely that really extravagant weddings are really pulling the average up, so it shouldn’t be impossible.

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This analysis assumes that your wife will be pulling her own weight in the marriage or relationship and is not being a freeloader. This can be by either earning her keep through paid employment, by raising your children (in which case the costs of supporting her would be added under the costs of raising a child), or providing companionship commiserate with your upkeep of her. If you are in a relationship or marriage with a women and supporting her solely for sex with no other gain for yourself, then the costs of sex would be much higher (but why on earth would you do this?).

This also ignores the many non-material and/or non-sexual benefits, costs, and risks for being in a relationship. This analysis assumes these are overall a wash in relation to material costs and the cost of sex.

I may try to economically analyze these factors more in-depth at another time.

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Conclusion

In the end, the final costs for sex are:

Prostitution: $300
Game: $460
($200 if you enjoy clubbing and game for their own sakes)
Relationship (1 month): $120
Relationship (6 months): $60
Relationship (1 year): $47

Marriage: $50 ($46 if you slept together before marriage)

Overall, a long-term relationship and marriage are, financially-speaking, the cheapest methods of acquiring sex. Prostitution is the most expensive, but game without relationship costs more if you dislike clubbing.