Social Security Paradoxes

An overhaul of the U.S. social security system is widely discussed these days. This is in sharp contrast to when parts of the Swedish public pension system was implemented as private accounts - politicians avoided virtually any debate ahead of the decision. After the decision however, it met broad public criticism. As the system does not allow policyholders to pick separate stocks, but requires us to choose fund managers, one satirist noted the paradox herein: How could you be assumed to make a good choice of people that choose among stocks, when you yourself are not assumed to be able to choose among stocks?

A more profound paradox in private social security is that of time-choice. You are not assumed to be able to choose when in life to consume the holdings on the account, it's locked for the young and healthy. Still you are assumed to be able to choose the risk level of the holdings, i.e. the possibility for it to be any money there at the point in time the government has decided that you are allowed to use it.

Aren't we better on deciding about the timing of our own consumption, than on judging on the economy wide circumstances that determines the performance of the securities we choose for our accounts?

The Revolution Continues...

The defenders of the old ways are having increasingly hard times as the information revolution continues to rage. First on the front page of the New York Times web-edition, it is now reported that:
Google Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database: "[G]oogle, the operator of the world's most popular Internet search service, plans to announce an agreement today with some of the nation's leading research libraries and Oxford University to begin converting their holdings into digital files that would be freely searchable over the Web"

But the strengths of the defenders are not to be underestimated. Remember that in the universities, many texts are still copied by hand as they have been during a thousand years, as if Gutenberg never lived on this planet. The professor writes on the blackboard - the students copy it into their notes. And even though reaserchers make their working papers freely available on the internet, those papers are taken away as soon as they are published into a journal, most of which charge a quite substantial fee for each downloaded item. Are we soon to see the day when institutional and informational barriers inside the universities are making them too much out of touch with the outside world to produce meaningful ideas about it?

Blogs - Too Efficient for Media in Sweden?

Two Swedish bloggers have recently been told to stop by their day-time job bosses. Today, DN reports that the head of the "Confederation of Swedish Enterprise", formerly the Swedish employer's organisation has told one of their economists to stop blogging. But he won't, according to his own short comment in DN. Earlier, a journalist at the state-run Swedish television network, SVT, was asked to stop his blog. He obeyed, with reference to the dominant position his employer has on the labor-market (an obvious effect of the commmercial channels to my knowledge not produce much own content as Swedish is a very small language).

Are Swedish blogs threatening established media more than blogs do in countries where less exotic languages are spoken? I would tend to think so as the scale benefits of old media are relatively small in Sweden. They just cannot compete with blogs when it comes to *diversified*, and most certainly politically diversified, commentary in Swedish on Swedish affairs. It is notable in this context that the blog stopped by SVT stood far to the right of the left-biased SVT (which however don't stand left in any significant respect to our commercial networks). Other comments on these developments here. BTW, the opinons on this website are solely my own.

Popular Posts