Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Some Economic Concepts from the Web

Links to some basic economic concepts.

The price of the substitute (Natural Gas) falls so Pickens reduces his demand for wind turbines.

Easy entry into a market lowers consumer prices.

Disintermediation helps authors, online retailers and consumers. Publishers are the big losers.

More people means more brains means more available resources.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Unemployment as a Concept

I took a US Economic History class while back. One of the things I hadn't realized was that the concept of someone being "unemployed" is realtively new. Prior to industrialization and the subsequent specialization of labor, workers weren't really considered unemployed. Then again, in 1800 about 80% of the US labor force was engaged in agriculture, and I have yet to find a farmer that didn't have something to do.

Google's new Books Ngram Viewer provides an interesting look at when "unemployment" came about.

Prior to 1900 we had employment, but not unemployment.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Climate Advantage

Arizona's climate continues to give us a comparative advantage in certain things. In the latest case, it provides an advantage in fullfillment centers.

Amazon opened a 600,000-square-foot warehouse in 2007 near 68th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road in Phoenix and followed up in 2008 with an 800,000-square-foot facility at 16920 W. Commerce Drive in Goodyear.

Its largest Valley operation, a 1.2 million-square-foot fulfillment center at 4750 W. Mohave St. in Phoenix, is just now coming on line and will bring 1,200 new jobs to the area.

Berman said the Valley's proximity to other metropolitan areas, its large labor pool and climate contributed to Amazon's decision to continue to expand in the area.

"There aren't a lot of days where transportation gets bogged down because of weather," he said.

We export fighter pilots for the same reason.