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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Inferno: A Sequel that Goes Up in Flames

With the allure of additional profits to be had, Hollywood has been all too willing to torch high-quality brands as if with perfect impunity. A case in point is the film, Inferno, which followed The De Vinci Code and Angels & Demons in the Robert Langdon film series spanning ten years (2006-2016) based on novels by Dan Brown.

The full essay is at "Inferno."

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Golden Age of Innovation Refuted


“By all appearances, we’re in a golden age of innovation. Every month sees new advances in artificial intelligence, gene therapy, robotics, and software apps. Research and development as a share of gross domestic product [of the U.S.] is near an all-time high. There are more scientists and engineers in the U.S. than ever before. None of this has translated into meaningful advances in Americans’ standard of living.”[1] The question I address here is why.
The essay is at "Golden Age of Innovation."



1. Greg Ip, “Economic Drag: Few Big Ideas,” The Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2016.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Business Surtax on Income Inequality: Target the Proceeds


The medium compensation in 2015 for the 200 highest-paid executives at publicly-held companies in the U.S. was $19.3 million; five years earlier, the figure was $9.6 million.[1] CEO pay compared with the earnings of average workers surged from a multiple of 20 in 1965 to almost 300 in 2013.[2] “Income inequality is real, it is a national problem and the federal government isn’t doing anything about it,” said Charlie Hales, the mayor of Portland, Oregon in 2016 when that city passed a surtax on companies whose CEO’s earn more than 100 times the medium pay of their rank-and-file workers.[3] According to the law, set to take effect in 2017, companies whose ratios are between 100 and 249 would pay an additional 10 percent in taxes; companies with higher ratios would face a 25 percent surtax on the city’s business-license tax. Whether the new law would make a dent in reversing the increasing income-inequality was less than clear.



1. Gretchen Morgenson, “Portland Adopts Surcharge on C.E.O. Pay in Move vs. Income Inequality,” The New York Times, December 7, 2016.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Analysis of Italy’s 2016 Referendum: Beyond the Euro and the E.U.


The predominate axis of analysis in the wake of the Italian referendum in early December, 2016 centered on the euro, the federal currency of the European Union. For example, an article in The Wall Street Journal begins with the following: “Sunday’s referendum vote in Italy reinforced a widening split between the economics needed to sustain Europe’s common currency and the continent’s rising tide of populism.”

The full essay is at "Essays on the E.U. Political Economy," available at Amazon.

Young Japanese: An Early Verdict on Climate Change


Is the verdict in, and have we, mankind, lost our own self-inflicted climate battle? Is this what Japanese millennials were saying in 2016 when, according to a government survey, only 75 percent expressed interest in climate change, whereas close to 90 percent of the same age group (18-29) had expressed interest just a few years earlier?[1] Their intuition may have been the proverbial canary in the coal mine.
The full essay is at "An Early Verdict on Climate Change."



1. Tatiana Schlossberg, “Japan Is Obsessed with Climate Change. Young People Don’t Get It,” The New York Times, December 5, 2016.