The Second Job You Don’t Know You Have

With the move to $15 or higher minimum wage, you can bet there will much more “shadow work” that will be moved to consumers or lost to automation. Shadow work is all the unpaid jobs we do on behalf of businesses and organizations: We are pumping our own gas, scanning our own groceries, booking our travel and busing our tables at Starbucks. Shadow work is a new concept, so as yet, no one has compiled economic data on how many jobs we, the consumers, have taken over from (erstwhile) employees. Yet it is surely a force shrinking the job market, and the unemployment it creates is structural.

The hotel bar is showing local sports

I travel a great deal for my job. It is not unusual for me to be in a hotel 1-3 days a week. I don’t enjoy the travel, but it is part of my life and my employement so I tolerate the effort and inconvenience.

With that travel schedule, I am frequently having a late dinner in the hotel bar. Invariably, I am accompanied  by salespeople and business travelers from all over the US. We are sitting in the hotel bar, having a drink, and trying to find something decent on the menu for dinner. We don’t really want to sit in our underwear in our room with room service.

In almost all cases, the hotel bar television is playing a game.  That game is a NBA basketball game, a NHL hockey game, or a MLB baseball game. The kicker is that 90% of the time, the game is the local team. It is rarely the best game for the evening, but rather the local team regardless of the sport.

The Honor of Being Mugged by Climate Censors

I believe in global warming, Bjorn Lomborg writes, but also in responsible policies to address it. That can get you in trouble.

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Copenhagen Consensus research shows that policy makers considering climate change have practical solutions. Cutting fossil-fuel subsidies is a great idea. Each year $550 billion is wasted, mostly by developing nations, on subsidies that mainly help the rich. A dramatic increase in spending on green-energy R&D is needed, as innovation will drive down the price of green energy to the point that it can outcompete fossil fuels. A well-crafted carbon tax would help too.

But our analyses also show that Kyoto-style approaches—poorly designed EU climate policies, or the pledge to hold warming to two degrees Celsius—are costly and ineffective. There are much better ways we could spend money to help the planet.