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Johannes Eber

In preparation of a meeting with Hayek-Followers the next weekend I am reading a paper (Markt und Staat in einer globalisierten Welt: Die ordnungsökonomische Perspektive) from Viktor J. Vanberg.

Among other things the paper is about taxation in a globalised world. Vanberg draws attention to an interesting point: about the ethical standard of raising taxes. To most Germans it seem to be clear that the amount of tax they have to pay depends on their income. And that for paying taxes they can’t expect anything concrete in return.

It is the almost definition of taxes – at least in Germany and in contrast to fees (“Gebühren”) and contributions (“Beiträge”) – that there is no counterpart of your financial efforts.

But this, Vanberg argues, is not only a problem in a globalised world (because if you have to pay with nothing in return you – as a person but also as a company – will think about changing location and therefore taxation), taxation without compensation can also be perceived as unfair.

Knut WicksellSo maybe, under the pressure of globalization, we are moving away from ‘taxation on performance‘ (‘Besteuerung nach Leistungsfähigkeit’) towards … er, what? Vanberg has an idea. He recalls the Swedish economist Knut Wicksell who favored a “taxation on interests“. In this sense taxation would be a kind of membership-fee for being part of a society. And because societies (in a Rawls’ sense) are made for social cooperation for mutual advantage, everybody should pay for their interest of his own personal benefit.

Thinking taxation that way means rethinking the whole system of taxation. Quite interesting.

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Johannes Eber

How rich is Europe compared to the US statesThe Spectator askes. Some answers:

  • The richest country is Alaska with 80741 Dollar gross domestic product (GDP) per capita per year.
  • The richest european country is Norway (ranked after 7 US states).
  • 39 US states are richer than Germany.
  • England is just a little bit richer than the poorest US state which is Mississippi.

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A minimum wage is, in reality, a law that makes it illegal for an employer to hire a person with limited skills.

Milton Friedman

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How fair is fair trade?

The Germans never have spent so much on fair trade products. In 2013 it was 784 million Euro (worldwide, 2011: 4.9 billion Euro). But does fair trade achieve the self-imposed targets? The Economist reviews a book from Ndongo Samba Sylla, a Senegalese development economist working with the left-wing Rosa Luxemburg Foundation of Germany, that takes a negative viewpoint. One critical point:  “There is…

Behavioral Economics for Kids

Learn Behavioral Economics the easy way

Even if you are not interested in Economics in general, Behavioral Economics will interest you, I bet. It is, among others, about the fact, that people often make decisions based on approximate rules of thumb and not strict logic. This leads to some surprising findings. Some of the key findings now became illustrated in the book “Behavioral Economics for Kids” (.pdf-Download…

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Why service in tourist areas is often poor (but not at the Berlin TV Tower)?

Why service at tourist attractions is often that poor? Because to be kind to people you just meet once does not add up. Kindness is an investment in the future. But to most tourist areas people just go once. So because there will be no second decision buying something good service doesn’t pay off. That’s why service is sometimes poor – especially in…

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.

F. A . Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

One question to … the Deutsche Bahn: Why do I have to take long distances (and pay for) to board your trains on the right place?

Dear Deutsche Bahn, about 2.000.000 passengers take the Deutsche Bahn every year. Many of them use the reservation system (4,50 Euro each reservation). But where to board at the platform? Because with the reservation you certainly get the information of the waggon number and seat number, but the missing information is, where your waggon stops at the platform. So arriving at…

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Splitting divides: The misguided debate about a taxation issue

51 percent of people in Germany are women, but just 17 percent of supervisory boards and 6 percent of executive boards are female. Women in executive positions remain rare in Germany which regularly leads to a debate (at the moment among the Green Party members) about abolishing the splitting income taxation between couples (“Ehegattensplitting”), where the tax is calculated by dividing the income equally…

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Johannes Eber

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 18.17.5643 years after it was published for the first time, and 25 years after the last update there is a third edition of David D. Friedman’s classic 1971 work of libertarianism called “The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism“. When I’ve read this book in the late 1990s it really inspired me. One must not share all his points of his views but his in parts radical views lead to new perceptions. I guess, I will read it again, especially the Kindle-Edition is just for 2,49 Euro. I have certainly already bought it.

“There are more good cars in the ghetto than good schools.”

David D. Friedman in “The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism” about the popular myth about capitalism oppressing the poor, but the poor – as Friedman says – are worse off in those things provided by government

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Johannes Eber

Why do you tip a doorman, but not the man behind the corner? – “Should Tipping Be Banned?”: I am just listening to one of the most popular podcasts of @Freakonomics – very worth listening: http://freakonomics.com/2013/06/03/should-tipping-be-banned-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/  And, guess what: Good looking, blond, slender and big-breasted women in their 30s get the highest tips.

“Perhaps it costs a lot of money to look this plain.”

Roger Cohen about Angela Merkel

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Johannes Eber

What liberalism means:

  • acceptance of conflict,
  • resistance to power,
  • belief in progress and
  • civic respect,

says Edmund Fawcett in his book “Liberalism: The Life of an Ideamentioned by Clive Crook, Bloomberg View columnist. According to Crook this book is very worth reading. I have already sent a sample text (via Amazon) to my iPad. I am excited.

Deeplink

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Johannes Eber

How many people who are in work use performance-enhancing drugs in Germany? 2 percent, says the statutory health insurance DAK in a report from 2009 (.pdf), but according to the business newspaper Handelsblatt the broadest study to that topic. The study is mentioned in a long article, published today, about drugs consumed in executive floors in Germany. The reason for this article is Michael Hartmann, Member of German Parliament (Bundestag) and former spokesperson for the SPD parliament party, who admitted that he had consumed the hard drug Crystal Meth.

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Johannes Eber

Why are all pilots male? … I am wondering, being at the Charles de Gaulle-Airport in Paris (end of vacation) waiting for take off to Berlin.

  • Obviously this is a problem, and still unsolved, CNN tells me. “Getting more women involved in all aspects of aviation is a nut that everyone in the industry would like to crack but that no one, to date, has”, said Chris Dancy, a spokesman for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association to CNN.
  • Of course, not ALL pilots are male, “just” 95%.
  • An answer by Angela Masson, a retired American Airlines captain: “It shouldn’t be very surprising that women don’t flock to a stressful male-dominated job that requires lots of expensive and continuous training, takes them away from home for large chunks of time and makes it difficult to raise a family.”

More: http://www.cnn.com/2011/TRAVEL/03/18/female.airline.pilots/

Tagesspiegel Post zu James Foley

Economy of attention: How the German mass media handles the death of James Foley

Terrorists are familiar with the economy of attention. They know how to draw attention, as the video of the execution of the US-reporter James Foley shows. I don’t know what the self-proclaimed ISIS movement want to achieve with the world wide attention, but I am pretty sure that the world wide attention was one of their goals. Terrorists are aware of that…

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Why we like supermarkets supporting our long-term needs (and therefore a ban of sweets from the checkout rises revenues)

People continuously have to evaluate between short-term and long-term benefit. Do I go shopping or save my money buying a new car next year? Shall I smoke another cigarette or do I want to live longer? Often the satisfaction of short-term needs gets the upper hand (it is in our nature). The same is with hunger. Provided an opportunity, we…

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