Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Misc links

  • A new post over at Freakonomics by Daniel Hamermesh is strangely crazy. He calculates the cost of time for turning off computers at night for the U.S. and comes up with $7 billion a year, far greater than the $2.8 billion a year it costs in electricty for leaving your computer on over night. Whats crazy is he assumes it wastes 5 minutes of your time to turn a computer on and off. I think that if you're wasting 5 minutes turning on and off your machine, electricity consumption is certainly not the efficiency problem you should worry about ...
  • Remember a few years ago when some Republicans were arguing that we should put Social Security retirement accounts into the stock market? It looks like someone actually did it at the Federal Pension Guarantor. (HT to Krugman)
  • There's more news on the failure of the stock market to pay off in the long-run. The Financial Times looks at stocks versus bond performance and determines that "anyone who started saving 40 years ago, when the postwar “baby boom” generation was just joining the workforce, has found that stocks have performed no better than 20-year government bonds since then". But the news gets worse:
To find a period that does produce an outperformance [of stocks relative to bonds] requires a span reaching back a lot further [than the 1960s]. The 2009 Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook shows that since 1900 US stocks have averaged an annual real return of 6 per cent, compared with 2.1 per cent for bonds – while in the UK, equities have beaten gilts with a return of 5.1 per cent against 1.4 per cent. The problem is that they can perform worse than bonds for periods longer than a human working lifetime. [italics added]

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