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November 18, 2007



Not just arguing from correlation to cause, but chaining different arguments from correlation to cause. Brill.


This, he says, could be because graduates have healthier behaviour than others - they drink and smoke less

Never been in an SU bar then has he...:)


While some students may believe they will live forever I think "probability of death" is not the phrase the researchers should be using. I have no references to offer but I believe the probability of death is a consistent 100% regardless of education.

Dave Cole

Idlefun - probability of death is probability of death in a given year.

Very interesting article, although I'd contend that the emancipation of women through being able to control their own bodies leads to them being more economically active, improving things all round.


Matt Munro

Is it good news all round though ? I was reading on the BBC website that Japan is facing a demographic crisis, with 20% of the population already past retirement and an economic crisis predicted in one generation if they don't repopulate or change their (zero) immigration policy. It's happening across most of industrialised Europe too, lower birth rates and longer life are creating "top heavy" societies. There seems to be an inverse relationship between prosperity and birth rates, arguably beneficial for the individual, at least in middle class families, but to the long term detriment of society and the economy. The planet is overpopulated, but the "excess" people are in the wrong place.

john b

MM - that's an excellent argument for more developing-world immigration you've got there...


Adam Smith and barbarous societies? Does he mean the Southern States of the USA?


Matt Munro,
what economic crisis? Falling land prices, rising labour costs, falling unemployment? Sounds good for young workers (or would be if their tax rates weren't also going to rise). Why dependency ratios might be as high as in the 1950s (when the dependents were children and non-working mothers not old dodders)!
Crisis is the wrong word. Adjustment is the right word.


Matt Munro,
have you noticed that apart from India, the most densely populated parts of the planet are in Europe and Japan?

Matt Munro

The crisis apparently revolves around

Not enough employees or customers to keep the economy going

Not enough tax revenue to look after the old folk

Whats the good of falling land prices if no one wants to buy land ? Higher labour costs equals higher inflation, capital flows swith direction (more coming out of financial institutions than going in) so lack of investment and so on. I'm not an economist but even I can see an aeging population is more bad than good.


Matt Munro
Whats the good of falling land prices if no one wants to buy land ?

hmmm... I take it you don't believe in the price mechanism then!

Have you done the sums? How do you know that rising wages will imply rising prices? Did it in the 1950s when the labour force was also relatively static? The economic system has adjusted to such enormous changes in the last 50 years, I can't see why it can't adjust some more.


Basically, you are equating a change in the structure of the economy to a change in the viability of the economy. I thought you guys were the ones who believed in creative destruction and all that.


By the way, have you thought that unemployment (including hidden unemployment) may also shrink (even disappear)? This is a MAJOR offsetting effect. You should really be thinking about 1950s and early 1960s as a comparible world. The difference being that the child based industry will be mostly replaced by industry to serve the elderly.

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