Cash is the most efficient gift, according to economists. Cash is also a terrible gift, according to economists. By guaranteeing that the recipient can buy exactly what she wants, you guarantee that the recipient will consider you an unemotional robot.
That's why the vast majority of economists in the University of Chicago's IGM poll said it's absurd to give cash to loved ones for the holidays. "In some cases," Steven Kaplan said, in a stirring defense for thoughtful gifts, "non-pecuniary [not cash-related] values are important."
Non-pecuniary values are important! I guess so. But can you imagine a more wooden explication of love? Can you imagine a more wooden explanation of anything? Just think of the Christmas card...
Here is a summary of the fields of the PhD job market candidates at the 'top' econ programs this year.
Since most environmental economists are really public economists trained in applied and theoretical micro and econometrics, I'm going to go ahead and group Micro Theory (26), Econometrics (14), Public (12), Applied Micro (11) and Environmental (8) under the Env-Econ umbrella and claim Env-Econ is really the top field (71).
That’s welcome news for the 12,000 Americans who have the disease, which is devastating and ultimately fatal, and for their families and future generations.
Now before I go much further, I will admit that we have a family friend (father of our kids' friends) who has been battling ALS for the past three years and I may not be fully objective when it comes to my views below, but anyway, if the campaign is working so well, then WHY DOES WILL OREMUS SPEND THE REST OF HIS ARTICLE CRITICIZING THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE?
Yet it’s hard to shake the feeling that, for most of the people posting ice bucket videos of themselves on Facebook, Vine, and Instagram, the charity part remains a postscript. Remember, the way the challenge is set up, the ice-drenching is the alternative to contributing actual money. Some of the people issuing the challenges have tweaked the rules by asking people to contribute $10 even if they do soak themselves. Even so, a lot of the participants are probably spending more money on bagged ice than on ALS research.
Yes, the challenge is a bit odd...either pour cold water on your head, or donate money. But as Will pointed out in the previous paragraph, people ARE donating.
So why be cynical Will?
But Will's idiocy doesn't end with this slight critique...he goes on:
As for “raising awareness,” few of the videos I’ve seen contain any substantive information about the disease, why the money is needed, or how it will be used. More than anything else, the ice bucket videos feel like an exercise in raising awareness of one’s own zaniness, altruism, and/or attractiveness in a wet T-shirt.
Will, Will, Will, we live in a time when messages have to be conveyed in less than 6 seconds and less than 140 characters. Not a lot of information can be conveyed in that time. But we also live in a time when the most extraordinary invention ever is available, in our hands, at all times: GOOGLE.
Ever heard of it?
Now let me demonstrate how GOOGLE might actually be helping with the awareness component you seem so concerned about. Here is a Facebook post from a family member:
I saw somebody else post the question: What is ALS? Do you know? There is a huge effort to "raise awareness" and I've seen a hundred friends dump ice water on themselves in the name of ALS awareness and I just had to look it up. I knew it was Lou Gehrig's disease, but nothing more. Did you know anything more than the ball player who had it? I'm supposed to dump water on myself soon. Thought I should look it up.
See how that works Will? The poster was only slightly aware of ALS. He was challenged to dump water on himself. He wondered why? He Googled ALS. Now he is MORE AWARE!
So what, oh wise-Will, do you propose is a better way to raise awareness?
That’s why I’m proposing what is sure to be an unpopular alternative to the #icebucketchallenge. It’s called the no ice bucket challenge, and it works like this:
Do not fetch a bucket, fill it with ice, or dump it on your head.
Do not film yourself or post anything on social media.
Just donate the damn money, whether to the ALS Association or to some other charity of your choice. And if it’s an organization you really believe in, feel free to politely encourage your friends and family to do the same.
BRILLIANT! Your solution Will is to DO NOTHING other than what was being done before? Hope people become magically aware? I'm pretty sure the folks who have been trying to raise awareness about ALS for the past 75 years are pretty happy with how this campaign is working. It's the best thing that has happened for their cause since Lou Gehrig declared himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
Donations follow awareness.
Research follows donations.
Progress follows research.
So Will, here is my suggestion for how you can help raise awareness for ALS.
No seriously, just shut up.
It makes no sense, for idiots like you to weigh in. Why criticize something that clearly has had a positive impact and at worst a campaign to which others are indifferent? If you don't want to support the cause, don't. That's your choice. Just as it is the choice of 322,860 people and counting to use #ALSICEBUCKETCHALLENGE on Instagram to post videos of themselves being naive enough to participate in such a collosal waste of time (SARC).
Even if only a tiny fraction of those posters are now more aware, well, I think the conclusion is obvious.
I was browsing the Chronicle of Higher Education job openings today (to stay abreast of competition), and I came across this:
Job Title: Timeout Coordinator
Job Summary: Serve as the Timeout Coordinator for football and/or basketball events. This position specifically supports the mission of the University and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics by assisting in institutional compliance with NCAA and Conference rules and regulations.
Basic Qualifications: Requires a high school education or equivalent. Must be able to stand a minimum of 5 hours in inclement weather (within reason) for football games and a minimum of 4 hours for basketball games. Must be available for all Miami home football and/or basketball events (includes weekends and weeknights). Strong knowledge of football and/or basketball NCAA rules and regulations. Must be able to follow a timeline and be alert at all times during events to signal time outs and keep time elapsed. Excellent communication skills.
John may be the only one who finds this funny, but a friend sent me a link to one of these stupid Facebook 'Which Star Wars Character Are You?' quizzes. Being an idiot (and a Star Wars dork) of course I took the quiz.
Guess who I am?
The answer is below the jump so as to not ruin the suspense...
"This blog aims to look at more of the microeconomic ideas that can be used toward environmental ends. Bringing to bear a large quantity of external sources and articles, this blog presents a clear vision of what economic environmentalism can be."
Don't believe what they're saying
And allow me a quick moment to gush: ... The env-econ.net blog was more or less a lifeline in that period of my life, as it was one of the few ways I stayed plugged into the env. econ scene. -- Anonymous
... the Environmental Economics blog ... is now the default homepage on my browser (but then again, I guess I am a wonk -- a word I learned on the E.E. blog). That is a very nice service to the profession. -- Anonymous
"... I try and read the blog everyday and have pointed it out to other faculty who have their students read it for class. It is truly one of the best things in the blogosphere." -- Anonymous