Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Trench Buffer Along Gaza?


From the article Hamas surprise attack out of Gaza stuns Israel and leaves hundreds dead in fighting, retaliation by JOSEF FEDERMAN and ISSAM ADWAN (AP, Oct. 7, 2023):

The strength, sophistication and timing of the Saturday morning attack shocked Israelis. Hamas fighters used explosives to break through the border fence enclosing Gaza, then crossed with motorcycles, pickup trucks, paragliders and speed boats on the coast.

Yet another Geopolitic


I wonder if deep trenches before the border fence would make it harder for the Hamas fighters to breach. I asked Bing Chat about trench surrounding Gaza and got this reply:

I searched for information about a trench between Gaza and Israel but I couldn’t find any information about it. However, I found that Egypt completed its digging of a ditch at the Rafah Crossing Point in June 2015. It is located two kilometres from the border with Gaza outside of Rafah City and part of the enlarged buffer zone. The buffer zone will include water-filled trenches to thwart tunnel diggers and will be 500 meter wide and extended along the 13 km border.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Is There A Gap In Paying Attention To The Gap In Pay?


From the article Claudia Goldin Wins Nobel in Economics for Studying Women in the Work Force by Jeanna Smialek (New York Times, Oct. 9, 2023):

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded on Monday to Claudia Goldin, a Harvard professor, for advancing the world’s understanding of women’s progress in the work force.


In the past, gender wage gaps could be explained by education and occupation. But Dr. Goldin has shown that most of the earnings difference is now between men and women in the same jobs, the Nobel committee said. Notably, it kicks in after the birth of a woman’s first child.

In a 15-year study of business school students at the University of Chicago, for instance, Goldin and her colleagues found in one paper that the gap in pay started to widen a year or two after a woman had her first baby.


While there has been “monumental progressive change, at the same time there are important differences,” she said, and those differences often tie back to women doing more work in the home. “We’re never going to have gender equality until we also have couple equity.”

Yet another Economics


Should the gap in pay focus on not the salary difference but on the efficiency of the hours one assigns temselves (singular of themselves) to work for a company? A person with a new child may work fewer hours, and earn less pay - this is an easy spotting for a pay difference. What is harder to spot is a person doing the same full-time employment as teir (singular of their) peers, but with teir mind distracted, refusing to work long hours, finding excuses for not traveling, and making baby-related personal calls during working hours. A full-time working day of such a person is less productive than a full-time working day of teir peers who do not have a child to take care of, either through fewer input hours or less efficiency. Companies pay salaries based on the output, and whoever outputs more (either through more hours or more efficiency) earns more, fair and square.

Above, I use "person" instead of "woman". I know personally of a young man who just had twins. His team works 12 hours a day, and he restricts himself to 8 hours a day so he can go home early and be with his children. He expects to get a so-so annual review. He and his wife make good money and they have a nanny. But it is his choice to work full-time less. He should expect a "pay gap" with his coworkers who work full-time more.

To solve the so-called "pay gap" problem is more than looking at "gender equity" or "couple equity"; it is to look at "working hour efficiency" for both men and women. Measuring fewer hours is easy with a clock-in-clock-out or log-in-log-out setup. How to measure efficiency while one is doing work with the same number of hours as teir peers is a harder problem. Unlike a manufacturing operation where the number of gadgets produced is used for efficiency, the efficiency of white-collar work is not easy to measure. Finding a way to measure it would be worthy for another Nobel Economic Prize.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Where is Bernie Sanders with the Eggs?


From the article The Egg-Price Narrative Gets Scrambled by Aaron Back (Wall Street Journal - Heard on the Street, October 4, 2023):

Back in January, after a particularly good quarter on the back of surging egg prices, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted of the company, without using its name, that “Corporate greed is the producer of Egg-Land's Best, Farmhouse Eggs & Land O'Lake Eggs, increasing its profits by 65% last quarter to a record-breaking $198 million while doubling the price of eggs & reporting no positive cases of avian flu.”

Now the chickens have come home to roost—literally. Cal-Maine reported late Tuesday that egg production has recovered from the avian flu outbreak of 2022, which caused the deaths of nearly 58 million poultry in 47 states. Egg prices have collapsed as a result. Cal-Maine said its average selling price for eggs fell to $1.59 a dozen in its fiscal first quarter, compared to $2.28 a year earlier.

The company’s revenue in the quarter fell 30% from a year earlier. At the same time, though, labor and other costs have remained elevated, including expenses incurred to guard against future avian flu outbreaks. As a result, it posted an operating loss of $6.76 million, compared with an operating profit of $163.9 million a year earlier.

Yet another Economics


Where is Bernie Sanders now?

Is it yet another case of a clueless socialist living in the real world of capitalism? Another case for us to make fun of the like of Bernie Sanders?

Hardly! Mr. Sanders is a seasoned politician and knows what he is doing. Anything he says fits his brand of politics.

And what he says is very helpful. Yes, Cal-Maine increased the price of eggs due to a good business reason: the avian flu outbreak. However, without socialist politicians that issued alarmist sound bites, Cal-Maine as a good capitalist, will capitalize on this reason to tag on a little more than necessary profit - never let a crisis go to waste.

In Doc Ngu's Inexorable Law Of The Feedback Equation, the increase in price due to the avian flu is the forward equation, and the damping feedback equation is the socialists' and activists' alarms. All is well and good in the capitalist world.