What We’re Reading

Intelligence:

To solve logic-proof problems requires intelligent, logical people to admit the possibility they might be wrong about something, but these people’s minds are often most resistant to change - perhaps because their status is deeply entwined with their capacity for reason.. Highly educated people don’t merely use logic; it is part of their identity. When I told one economist that you can often increase the sales of a product by increasing its price, the reaction was one not of curiosity, but of anger.

Covid logistics:

The supply of nasopharyngeal swabs that are used in every diagnostic test also ran low, because one of the largest manufacturers is based in Lombardy, Italy—initially the COVID‑19 capital of Europe. About 40 percent of critical-care drugs, including antibiotics and painkillers, became scarce because they depend on manufacturing lines that begin in China and India. Once a vaccine is ready, there might not be enough vials to put it in, because of the long-running global shortage of medical-grade glass—literally, a bottle-neck bottleneck.

California unemployment:

46% of the Black labor force in California has filed an unemployment claim since March.

50% of workers aged 20-24 have filed an unemployment claim.

36% of the female labor force.

Airline pricing:

Revenue management—the science of getting the highest price for an airline seat, hotel room or other perishable good or service—is based largely on historical data. With big-data computing, airlines know with surprising precision what the demand will be for the 2 p.m. flight to Chicago on the third Thursday of October. Except now they don’t, since so much of revenue management is based on past buying with no relation to a pandemic.

A strange recession:

Credit-card debt in the U.S. and other advanced economies has fallen. Fewer people are late on their credit-card payments. Consumer demand for new borrowing—through credit cards, personal loans and even pawnshops—is down sharply.

The main reason, according to economists and financial executives, is government stimulus programs launched in the U.S. and other advanced economies that have worked unexpectedly well. The flood of money, along with debt-relief measures such as deferred-mortgage and student-loan payments, has stabilized the finances of many households and even left some in better shape than before the pandemic—at least for now.

Have a good weekend, stay safe.


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