232 Comments
Jan 4, 2021Liked by Noah Smith

What advice would you give to an undergraduate economics student that wanted to pursue writing articles/columns professionally like you do?

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!

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author

Go to grad school, start blogging early! :-)

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Jan 4, 2021Liked by Noah Smith

If you had to give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would that advice be?

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author

"Go fuck yourself"

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author

Haha just kidding, I'd tell him to buy Bitcoin

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Jan 6, 2021Liked by Noah Smith

In your experience which breed of rabbit is the most intelligent (at puzzles) or emotional intelligent?

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author

I don't know! Probably Continental Giant. But they only live 7 years or so... :-(

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author

Let me know if you need any help getting a rabbit!!

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ahah I know it's probably too late, but did you read ramez naam's book "the infinite ressource, the power of ideas on a finite planet"

If yes, could you please give short review or write a blog post about it ? I just read it and will be very interested of what other people think about it :)

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author

I will do that!!

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Jan 4, 2021Liked by Noah Smith

If aiming for best long term wages and career stability as a mid 30s person with a terrible academic record (grad school not realistic) who finds themself in a compliance/regulatory affairs niche in financial services, would you recommend they a) remain in said niche and aim for managerial roles, or b) pursue the very popular (oversaturated?) data science field though self learning and/or bootcamps.

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author

I really don't know!

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Jan 3, 2021Liked by Noah Smith

Do you have a favorite breed of rabbit? I had a couple of mini-rexs (rexes?) when i was growing up.

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author

I'm partial to New Zealand Whites! Because my first rabbit was one.

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Jan 3, 2021Liked by Noah Smith

How do you keep rabbits from chewing up, or scratching up, carpeting?

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author

I don't know. Mine have no appetite for carpeting.

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Part A: Do you ever worry that you might be a Boltzmann brain?

Part B: Do you ever worry (or hope) that you might be quantum-immortal?

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author

No, and no! :-)

But I do love Permutation City

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Any thoughts on mandatory retirement contributions for employers? (The idea, not the viability of implementation in the US).

We have a pretty damn good retirement system here in Australia (Superannuation). It's one of the reasons the middle class is doing pretty good here (and why Oz is the world's 2nd wealthiest nation per capita.)

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author

Is there any reason it won't reduce money wages, like employer-based health insurance does?

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It probably has a dampening effect on wages. But the pros seem to outweigh the cons.

Consider:

1) People have shown they cannot be trusted to save enough for retirement on their own.

2) Adequate retirement savings is so critical to a society's long-term wellbeing that it's likely worth the short-term pain

3) Mandatory retirement contributions funnelled cash away from real estate/consumer goods and into equity/bond markets, making the scheme more politically feasible (ugh)

4) Dampened wages can be counteracted by raising the minimum wage. Australia also has one of the highest minimum wages in the world. Unemployment is typically higher than the US, but everyone employed is on much surer footing.

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There have been examples of unsuccessful "industrial policy" namely South America using ISI and I don't even think "industrial policy" can be attributed to Japan's success from 1950s-1980s so why do you think the US will get a successful policy vs the UK in the 70s with unproductive industries being subsidized

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author

Industrial policy should only pick specific industries if there's a non-market reason to, like defense or climate change. Otherwise it should just be about capacity building and export promotion.

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Worker cooperatives, self managed a la Mondragon? Something we should strive for?

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author

I like the idea, but in practice they don't seem to do incredibly well and it's not clear why. So we need to study them more.

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Please describe your workday Mr. Productive

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author

1. Get up, pet rabbits

2. Go for a walk

3. Write

4. Write some more

5. Talk to friends, pet rabbits, watch TV

6. Sleep

7. Wake up, don cape, fight crime

8. Sleep a little more

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Famous scientists and mathematicians have said that high school students should take statistics over calculus because it helps with news literacy and life in general. Meanwhile, calculus is mostly useless and only used to impress college admissions.

What academic advice would you give? What courses should students take outside their majors?

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author

Stats is always a good one, yeah.

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What's the best mechanical form of government you've seen in practice or in hypothetical papers that would fix many of the problems in the US system?

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author

Not sure what this means. You mean like parliamentary systems?

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Your choice, could be parliamentary or maybe something from a paper that has not been tried.

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We know that a lot of Millennials suffer from status anxiety. Do you think Gen Z will suffer more from status anxiety or less?

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author

More, because of constant exposure to online comparisons.

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What are the 3 biggest threats to human survival?

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author

Bioweapons are the only real threat to human survival IMO.

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I'm a little insulted :(

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