Mar 03 2009

Welker’s daily links 03/02/2009

Published by at 12:30 am under Daily Links

  • The recession in perspective

    The economy is in recession. But how bad is it? How does this recession compare to previous recessions?

    This page places the current economic downturn into historical (post-WWII) perspective. It compares output and employment changes during the present recession with the same data for the 10 previous recessions that have occurred since 1946.

    This page provides a current assessment of “how bad” the recession is relative to past recessions. It will be updated as new data are released. This page does not provide forecasts, and the information should not be interpreted as such.

    The following charts provide information about both the length and depth of recessions.

    tags: economics

  • Sales of Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel “Atlas Shrugged” have skyrocketed recently. Here’s why:

    “BOOKS do not sell themselves: that is what films are for. “The Reader”, the book that inspired the Oscar-winning film, has shot up the bestseller lists. Another recent publishing success, however, has had more help from Washington, DC, than Hollywood. That book is Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”…

    Whenever governments intervene in the market, in short, readers rush to buy Rand’s book. Why? The reason is explained by the name of a recently formed group on Facebook, the world’s biggest social-networking site: “Read the news today? It’s like ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is happening in real life”. The group, and an expanding chorus of fretful bloggers, reckon that life is imitating art.

    Some were reminded of Rand’s gifted physicist, Robert Stadler, cravenly disavowing his faith in reason for political favour, when Alan Greenspan, an acolyte of Rand’s, testified before a congressional committee last October that he had found a “flaw in the model” of securitisation. And with pirates hijacking cargo ships, politicians castigating corporate chieftains, riots in Europe and slowing international trade—all of which are depicted in the book—this melancholy meme has plenty of fodder.

    Even if Washington does not keep the book’s sales booming, Hollywood might. A film version is rumoured to be in the works for release in 2011. But by then, a film may feel superfluous to Rand’s most loyal fans; events unfolding around them will have been dramatisation enough.

    tags: economics

  • “European discount airline Ryanair may start charging passengers for using the bathrooms on planes, the BBC reported Friday.

    “One thing we have looked at in the past, and are looking at again, is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door,” the company’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said.

    He mentioned a possible charge of £1, about $1.80.

    However, a company spokesman talked down the idea.

    “Michael makes a lot of this stuff up as he goes along and while this has been discussed internally there are no immediate plans to introduce it,” Stephen McNamara said in a statement cited by the Reuters news agency.

    Ryanair offers low-cost flights but charges fees for handling checked baggage, children’s car seats, sports equipment and musical instruments, its website shows.

    The airline recently said it would end airport check-ins and require all passengers to check in through the internet. The move would reduce the cost of flights.”

    tags: economics

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

About the author:  Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use. Read more posts by this author

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Welker’s daily links 03/02/2009”

  1. Nicholas Burnhamon 04 Mar 2009 at 8:00 am

    I find it wierd that Ryanair find it necessary to explore new ways of making money, but this particular method is quite ridiculous. Making their flights less convenient in exchange for a rise in revenue that that could easily be compensated for by raising the flight cost minimally will simply discourage people from wanting to fly with their airline. Decreasing demand for their service makes little sense when it makes such a small difference to their annual profit margin. Even as a whimsical idea, i think Ryanair should dismiss it completely, as it is this kind of careless profit mongering that is supposed to have started the current recession.

  2. Finlay Smallon 05 Mar 2009 at 6:48 am

    The idea of charging people for using the toliet on a plane for the customer is an outrageous idea, but from an economists view its brilliant. Already planes use elasticity to great advantage when charging people for food and drinks, because there is no other option. The price becomes highly inelastic because there are no other options. And for a toliet on an airplane the price is virtually perfectly inelastic. There are no other options for a person to go to the toliet on an airplane.They either pay 1 pound or suffer. Some people argue that this will decrease the demand for flights because of the extra costs. but nothing has decreased the demand for cheap flights. Again and again people fly ryan air and easy jet, where the service is horrible, there are hidden costs everywhere and in fact in most cases after the flight you ask your self why didnt you pay another 50-100 pounds for British airways. But the fact is there is always a high demand for Cheap flights and pricing the use for toliets from an economists point of view is a money making scheme