In his latest column, George Will’s shares several economic insights from John Tamny’s new book, Popular Economics: What the Rolling Stones, Downton Abbey, and LeBron James Can Teach You about Economics. It’s a book that I’m especially eager to read!
In Oakland, local restaurants are raising prices by as much as 20%, with the San Francisco Chronicle reporting that “some of the city’s top restaurateurs fear they will lose customers to higher prices.” Thanks to a quirk in California law that prohibits full-service restaurants from counting tips as income, other operators—who were forced to give their best-paid employees a raise—are rethinking their business model by eliminating tips as they raise prices.
A new paper by MIT’s Matt Rognlie explains that, because studies of capital’s share of national income typically miss or undercount depreciation, the only capital that is truly increasing as a share of national income is housing. A slice:
Capital income is not growing unboundedly at the expense of labor, and further accumulation of capital in fact most likely means a fall in capital’s share of total income – refuting one of the main theories of economist Thomas Piketty’s popular book Capital in the 21st Century.
Speaking of inequality, this inequality is truly among the worst and most dangerous. (HT Robert Rounthwaite)
Here’s my brilliant colleague Bryan Caplan at his brilliant best on immigration and labor markets. A slice, which helps expose the naive view of many people that running a business successfully is relatively easy, even rather idle, work:
Good managers know in their bones that diverse human beings aren’t built for close cooperation. Rather than throw their hands up in despair, however, good managers rise to the challenge. True to their job description, managers manage their workers, forging them into effective teams despite their disparate abilities, personalities, and backgrounds. It’s an uphill battle, and you have to keep running just to stay in place. But good managers kindle the fire of teamwork, then keep the fire burning day in, day out.
The critics of immigration are right to insist that people aren’t plug-and-play. Cultural diversity definitely makes teamwork harder. Unlike the critics of immigration, however, businesses around the world treat this fact not as a plague, but a profit opportunity. Sure, some stodgy entrepreneurs mutter defeatist cliches about oil and water and keep hiring within their tribes. But more visionary entrepreneurs rise to the challenge of diversity every day. That‘s why even the most unskilled and culturally alien workers rightly believe that the streets of the First World are paved with gold. Given half a chance, socially adept businesspeople rush to do the paving.