Friday, June 18, 2010

SWEET Book Club Part 2

Cheers to everyone who came out to the College Coffee House for our first book club meeting, we had a good turn out. For our next meeting we'll be reading "Predictably Irrational" by behavioral economist Dan Ariely.

From the publisher:
Irrational behavior is a part of human nature, but as MIT professor Ariely has discovered in 20 years of researching behavioral economics, people tend to behave irrationally in a predictable fashion. Drawing on psychology and economics, behavioral economics can show us why cautious people make poor decisions about sex when aroused, why patients get greater relief from a more expensive drug over its cheaper counterpart and why honest people may steal office supplies or communal food, but not money. According to Ariely, our understanding of economics, now based on the assumption of a rational subject, should, in fact, be based on our systematic, unsurprising irrationality. Ariely argues that greater understanding of previously ignored or misunderstood forces (emotions, relativity and social norms) that influence our economic behavior brings a variety of opportunities for reexamining individual motivation and consumer choice, as well as economic and educational policy. Ariely's intelligent, exuberant style and thought-provoking arguments make for a fascinating, eye-opening read.
We'll meet same time(5pm), same place (College Coffee House) on Thursday July 22. If you need help "procuring" a copy of the book let me know and I will hook you up.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Parade of Government Stupidity, Part N

Continuing with the parade of economically illiterate representatives, I present Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). 
Apparently deeply troubled by the thought of foreigners helping you resolve tech support problems Schumer is reportedly pushing legislation to impose an excise tax of $0.25 for every customer service call a firm transfers out of the country. In addition the bill would require firms to inform customers that their call is being answered by someone (gasp) outside of America.

The Senator had this to say:
"This bill will not only serve to maintain call center jobs currently in the United States, but also provide a reason for companies that have already outsourced jobs to bring them back."

Of course if that were true the question is, why just stop there? If a tax on customer service calls answered outside of one political jurisdiction encourages the creation of jobs for people in the other political jurisdiction then Schumer should be rushing to pass a broader bill, one that would impose taxes on any customer service call answered outside of the very state it originates in.