My fourth post on economics is up at Jesus Creed. It focuses on the sustainable growth and on whether or not we are running out of natural resources. Feel free to join us there for discussion.
Harvard Business Review: How Do Innovators Think?
What makes visionary entrepreneurs such as Apple's Steve Jobs, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Ebay's Pierre Omidyar and Meg Whitman, and P&G's A.G. Lafley tick? In a question-and-answer session with HBR contributing editor Bronwyn Fryer, Professors Jeff Dyer of Brigham Young University and Hal Gregersen of Insead explain how the "Innovators' DNA" works.This post is part of HarvardBusiness.org's Creativity at Work special package.
Fryer: You conducted a six-year study surveying 3,000 creative executives and conducting an additional 500 individual interviews. During this study you found five "discovery skills" that distinguish them. What are these skills?
Dyer: The first skill is what we call "associating." It's a cognitive skill that allows creative people to make connections across seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas. The second skill is questioning - an ability to ask "what if", "why", and "why not" questions that challenge the status quo and open up the bigger picture. The third is the ability to closely observe details, particularly the details of people's behavior. Another skill is the ability to experiment - the people we studied are always trying on new experiences and exploring new worlds. And finally, they are really good at networking with smart people who have little in common with them, but from whom they can learn.
Fryer: Which of these skills do you think is the most important? ...
New York Times: Europe’s Socialists Suffering Even in Downturn
PARIS — A specter is haunting Europe — the specter of Socialism’s slow collapse.
Even in the midst of one of the greatest challenges to capitalism in 75 years, involving a breakdown of the financial system due to “irrational exuberance,” greed and the weakness of regulatory systems, European Socialist parties and their left-wing cousins have not found a compelling response, let alone taken advantage of the right’s failures.
German voters clobbered the Social Democratic Party on Sunday, giving it only 23 percent of the vote, its worst performance since World War II.
Voters also punished left-leaning candidates in the summer’s European Parliament elections and trounced French Socialists in 2007. Where the left holds power, as in Spain and Britain, it is under attack. Where it is out, as in France, Italy and now Germany, it is divided and listless.
Some American conservatives demonize President Obama’s fiscal stimulus and health care overhaul as a dangerous turn toward European-style Socialism — but it is Europe’s right, not left, that is setting its political agenda. ...
Forbes: The Whole Point Of Capitalism
If capitalism can't eliminate poverty, then Michael Moore is right--it's evil.
In his new movie, Michael Moore calls capitalism evil and argues that it should be replaced by democracy, basically flipping the current arrangement so that the economy serves our political ends. A lot will be said, good and bad, about Capitalism: A Love Story, about Michael Moore and about the lives of the economic victims. Moore's real question is, does it serve us or do we serve it? It's supposed to serve us. It's supposed to have a point.
We don't subject ourselves to the brutalities of a competitive economy because it's fun. We do it because we have a collective mission: the elimination of poverty and scarcity for all humanity. Before the study of economics became mired in mathematical theory and its practitioners started to fancy themselves as scientists, economics was widely regarded as a branch of moral philosophy. Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and Karl Marx all have this in common--they used the discipline of economic philosophy to try to create systems that would one day eliminate poverty and scarcity. That their ideas about how to do this diverge wildly doesn't really matter. That they share a goal does.
Capitalism emerged from all these moral arguments as a successful, self-perpetuating system that people generally seem to agree is humanity's best shot at one day beating scarcity and poverty. ...
I'm not endorsing everything in this article but one of the key pieces he hits is the need for entrepreneurial innovation, which means we need economic freedom. Many large corporations use government regulation as barrier to entry for their industries. Their size means they have the means to influence politicians and politicians get the benefit of filled campaign coffers.
Regulation is critical to keeping large corporations transparent, and to preventing deceit and anti-competitive measures. However, when government involvement becomes an exercise in managing business toward political objectives we are moving into very dangerous territory. The Kuyperian notion of sphere sovereignty, with government and business as semi-independent spheres, vanishes. While the means of production are not owned by the state, business becomes a virtual functionary of the state. That is a move that brings us to the brink of totalitarianism.
The answer to recent corporate misbehavior is not make business a subsidiary of the state. The answer is for the state to regulate in such a way that room is made for a semi-autonomous business sphere to run wild within just and ethical boundaries.
Presbyterian News Service: Planned community
New highly-interactive GAMC Web site to debut at next summer’s GA.
LOUISVILLE — How do you design and construct a planned community for 2.2 million people?
The General Assembly Mission Council’s (GAMC) Creative Services team has been working on just such a task — a new GAMC Web site — and on Sept. 24 Creative Services Director Dianna Ott and Mission Communications Director Rob Bullock showed the council a preview of the new site.
The top priority for the new site — the first top-to-bottom overhaul of the Web site in 10 years — “is to create a community where people can gather and talk and build networks together,” Ott said, “a place where Presbyterians can download material, tell each other their stories, load and watch videos of ministry and mission around the church.”
The new site is scheduled to be unveiled at the 219th General Assembly July 3-10 in Minneapolis. And it will take all the time between now and then to complete the massive project. ...
We only got to see a very tiny peek but what we saw was great!
Beliefnet News: Religious Life Won't Be the Same After Downturn
NEW YORK - Organized religion was already in trouble before the fall of 2008. Denominations were stagnating or shrinking, and congregations across faith groups were fretting about their finances.
The Great Recession made things worse.
It's further drained the financial resources of many congregations, seminaries and religious day schools. Some congregations have disappeared and schools have been closed. In areas hit hardest by the recession, worshippers have moved away to find jobs, leaving those who remain to minister to communities struggling with rising home foreclosures, unemployment and uncertainty.
Religion has a long history of drawing hope out of suffering, but there's little good news emerging from the recession. Long after the economy improves, the changes made today will have a profound effect on how people practice their faith, where they turn for help in times of stress and how they pass their beliefs to their children.
"In 2010, I think we're going to see 10 or 15 percent of congregations saying they're in serious financial trouble," says David Roozen, a lead researcher for the Faith Communities Today multi-faith survey, which measures congregational health annually. "With around 320,000 or 350,000 congregations, that's a hell of a lot of them." ...
... Because of these trends, mainline Protestants were among the most vulnerable to the downturn. Their denominations had been losing members for decades and had been dividing over how they should interpret what the Bible says on gay relationships and other issues. National churches had been relying on endowments to help with operating costs, along with the generosity of an aging membership that had been giving in amounts large enough to mostly make up for departed brethren.
The meltdown destroyed that financial buffer. ...
Business Week: Why Social Media Should Welcome Location-Based Services
Twitter knows where you are. Or at least it will soon, when it introduces a feature that lets your followers know where you are when you send a tweet. The announcement that Twitter will soon give users the option to disclose their physical whereabouts kindled debate over the role of location-based services (LBS) in social media and elicited criticism that the tools are an invasion of privacy.
I've been trying out a wide range of LBS tools to see for myself whether they're useful or something to be feared. I've used Brightkite; Plazes, which was recently acquired by Nokia (NOK); Germany-based Aka Aki, which I like to use in Europe, as well as a series of lesser-known services.
My conclusion after a year of testing is that far from being a threat, sites offering LBS represent vast, unrealized potential to radically transform the way we communicate and stay connected. ABI Research predicts that LBS will generate revenue of more than $14 billion in 2014, from about $2.6 billion this year.
Besides helping us track our location patterns or the nearest Starbucks (SBUX), these apps collect valuable data about our daily routines and the routines of those closest to us. They track personal tastes in food, fashion, and music so we can receive alerts and location-based notifications. Individual users can use LBS to share relevant information and places with friends. The device maintains a record of our daily routines, and it's constantly looking for people we know who may be nearby. This added layer of movement and context is much more valuable than what's available on existing social networks, such as Facebook, that don't automatically offer location-specific information. ...
1979: CompuServe begins offering a dial-up online information service to consumers.
The company known as Compu-Serve, and later CompuServe, opened its doors in 1969, providing dial-up computer timesharing to businesses. Over the next decade, it grew into a solid business providing corporations with online data.
But the idea of offering a similar service to consumers might have seemed a little risky in 1979, when personal computers still seemed like a wild and crazy idea to most people. It was such an oddball notion that CompuServe’s own corporate sales force mocked their company’s fledgling consumer service as “schlock timesharing.”
Launched as MicroNET in 1979 and sold through Radio Shack stores, the service turned out to be surprisingly popular, thanks perhaps to Radio Shack’s Tandy Model 100 computers, which were portable, rugged writing machines that dovetailed very nicely with the fledgling, 300-baud information service.
A competing online service, The Source, launched the same year, but didn’t grow as fast. CompuServe eventually acquired and then deep-sixed The Source in 1989.
MicroNET was renamed the CompuServe Information Service in 1980. ...
New York Times: A Clip-and-Save Renaissance
... It may be the digital age, but when it comes to pinching pennies, most consumers are opting for a method that is well over a 100 years old: the paper coupon. Thanks to the miserable economy, coupons — like board games and family dinners around the kitchen table — have made a comeback. The recession has even made coupon clippers out of some groups that once avoided them, including well-to-do shoppers and young shoppers. ...
Economist: The power of mobile money
Mobile phones have transformed lives in the poor world. Mobile money could have just as big an impact.
ONCE the toys of rich yuppies, mobile phones have evolved in a few short years to become tools of economic empowerment for the world’s poorest people. These phones compensate for inadequate infrastructure, such as bad roads and slow postal services, allowing information to move more freely, making markets more efficient and unleashing entrepreneurship. All this has a direct impact on economic growth: an extra ten phones per 100 people in a typical developing country boosts GDP growth by 0.8 percentage points, according to the World Bank. More than 4 billion handsets are now in use worldwide, three-quarters of them in the developing world (see our special report). Even in Africa, four in ten people now have a mobile phone.
With such phones now so commonplace, a new opportunity beckons: mobile money, which allows cash to travel as quickly as a text message. Across the developing world, corner shops are where people buy vouchers to top up their calling credit. Mobile-money services allow these small retailers to act rather like bank branches. They can take your cash, and (by sending a special kind of text message) credit it to your mobile-money account. You can then transfer money (again, via text message) to other registered users, who can withdraw it by visiting their own local corner shops. You can even send money to people who are not registered users; they receive a text message with a code that can be redeemed for cash.
By far the most successful example of mobile money is M-PESA, launched in 2007 by Safaricom of Kenya. It now has nearly 7m users—not bad for a country of 38m people, 18.3m of whom have mobile phones. M-PESA first became popular as a way for young, male urban migrants to send money back to their families in the countryside. It is now used to pay for everything from school fees (no need to queue up at the bank every month to hand over a wad of bills) to taxis (drivers like it because they are carrying around less cash). Similar schemes are popular in the Philippines and South Africa.
Extending mobile money to other poor countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, would have a huge impact. ...
Acton Commentary: Clergy and Economists: Allies Not Adversaries
(Dr. Dwight R. Lee is the William J. O’Neil Endowed Chair in Global Markets and Freedom at Southern Methodist University.)
Members of the clergy and those who work as economists have formed their understandings of the world by examining it through different windows. Yet, the social objectives of both are remarkably similar, even though their windows on the world suggest different approaches to achieve those objectives. The differences between them are in their emphasis on how to achieve their common objectives. These differences in approach are important and should not be understated, but neither should they be overstated as they almost always are.
While the clergy and economists emphasize different paths to their common objectives, those paths complement each other. Yet they are commonly discussed as if they represent morally irreconcilable differences in objectives because people tend to confuse means with ends.
My hope is that members of the clergy, in their desire to achieve a better world, will begin to see economists as allies instead of adversaries. This hope may be dismissed as preposterous by some since, as an economist, I argue that market incentives are the most effective way of achieving many of the social outcomes most of the clergy favor. But those most opposed to market incentives for achieving desirable objectives have the most to gain by taking a look through the economic window. Much of the skepticism, indeed hostility, towards markets is based on distorted and mistaken views of how markets operate and what they accomplish. ....
This piece is an absolute gem! Be sure to read the whole thing.
(HT: Victor Claar)
Yahoo! News: Leading economic indicators rise in August
Private research group's forecast of economic activity rises in August for 5th straight month.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A private forecast of U.S. economic activity rose in August for the fifth straight month, the latest sign the recession has ended. The Conference's Board leading indicators point to an economy on solid ground early next year, though some analysts caution that a rising unemployment rate will restrain growth.
The Conference Board said Monday its index of leading indicators rose 0.6 percent in August. That follows a 0.9 percent gain in July revised up from 0.6 percent. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected an 0.7 percent gain last month.
The indicators are designed to project economic activity in the next three to six months. The August results support many analysts' projections that the economy started growing again in the current July-September quarter and will continue to gain in the fourth quarter.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last week said the recession was "very likely over."
The recession's end "is no longer a source of heated discussion ... but whether or not the economy can keep grinding forward (and at what speed) is still a big question mark," Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients Monday.
Some analysts worry that any current economic growth will falter as unemployment rises from the August rate of 9.7 percent to above 10 percent. But the leading indicators provided a rosier outlook for next year, said Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Ethan Harris.
"This is good news, no question about it," he said. "The data's more of an argument against the so-called double dip. They're all looking like next year's going to be a solid growth year." ...
CareerBuilder.com: Majority of US Workers Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck
More than six in 10 (61%) of US workers live paycheck-to-paycheck to make ends meet, according to a new study sponsored by CareerBuilder.com. Among workers earning $100K a year or more, the percentage drops to 30%.
Despite the lower numbers for those with higher incomes, the percentage of workers who say they usually or always live paycheck-to-paycheck has risen both among the general population and more affluent workers. The overall percentage has risen from 49% in 2008. For workers earning $100K or more, it has risen from 21% in 2008, reports Retailer Daily.
The study also indicated that many workers are cutting back or eliminating retirement plans and other savings in order to pay for current expenses. Two in 10 (21%) of overall respondents have reduced contributions to retirement plans or personal savings in the last six months, and 23% of respondents earning more than $100K have done so.
Moreover, 36% of overall respondents do not participate in any retirement plan at all, and 33% put no money aside for personal savings each month. Another 30% save $100 or less each month and 16% save $50 or less each month, the study found. ...
When Helping Hurts reveals the painful truth about poverty. But it does more than tell you what not to do. The book moves from foundational concepts about poverty (Who are the poor?), to principles (Should we do relief, rehabilitation, or development?), to strategies (How can we help the poor domestically? Internationally?)The book is relatively short read but it is intended for a lay audience and gives a wonderful introduction into thinking about development issues from a Christian perspective. It even has a chapter that challenges us to rethink what we are doing with our short-term mission trips.
New York Times: Why Health Care Will Never Be Equal Greg Mankiw
... Imagine that someone invented a pill even better than the one I take. Let’s call it the Dorian Gray pill, after the Oscar Wilde character. Every day that you take the Dorian Gray, you will not die, get sick, or even age. Absolutely guaranteed. The catch? A year’s supply costs $150,000.
Anyone who is able to afford this new treatment can live forever. Certainly, Bill Gates can afford it. Most likely, thousands of upper-income Americans would gladly shell out $150,000 a year for immortality.
Most Americans, however, would not be so lucky. Because the price of these new pills well exceeds average income, it would be impossible to provide them for everyone, even if all the economy’s resources were devoted to producing Dorian Gray tablets.
So here is the hard question: How should we, as a society, decide who gets the benefits of this medical breakthrough? Are we going to be health care egalitarians and try to prohibit Bill Gates from using his wealth to outlive Joe Sixpack? Or are we going to learn to live (and die) with vast differences in health outcomes? Is there a middle way?
These questions may seem the stuff of science fiction, but they are not so distant from those lurking in the background of today’s health care debate. Despite all the talk about waste and abuse in our health system (which no doubt exists to some degree), the main driver of increasing health care costs is advances in medical technology. The medical profession is always figuring out new ways to prolong and enhance life, and that is a good thing, but those new technologies do not come cheap. For each new treatment, we have to figure out if it is worth the price, and who is going to get it.
The push for universal coverage is based on the appealing premise that everyone should have access to the best health care possible whenever they need it. That soft-hearted aspiration, however, runs into the hardheaded reality that state-of-the-art health care is increasingly expensive. At some point, someone in the system has to say there are some things we will not pay for. The big question is, who? The government? Insurance companies? Or consumers themselves? And should the answer necessarily be the same for everyone?
Inequality in economic resources is a natural but not altogether attractive feature of a free society. As health care becomes an ever larger share of the economy, we will have no choice but to struggle with the questions of how far we should allow such inequality to extend and what restrictions on our liberty we should endure in the name of fairness.
In the end of our day of philosophizing, however, we face a practical decision:
Who gets the magic pills, and who pays for them?
Yahoo News: US net worth grew in 2Q for first time since '07
US households see wealth grow for first time in nearly 2 years as stocks, homes gain ground.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans' wealth rose this spring for the first time in nearly two years, with stocks and home values gaining as the recession faded.
Still, household net worth remains about 19 percent below its peak in the third quarter of 2007, before the recession began.
The Federal Reserve said net worth grew by $2 trillion to $53.1 trillion in the April-to-June quarter. Net worth, or the value of assets such as homes, checking accounts and investments minus debts like mortgages and credit cards, rose nearly 4 percent from the first quarter, the Fed said.
Even with the gain, Americans' net worth stands well below the $65.3 trillion peak it reached two years ago. The increase in the second quarter was led by stock portfolios, according to the Fed report. The value of Americans' stock holdings rose 21.6 percent from the first quarter, the first increase in two years.
Net worth also was boosted slightly by higher home prices. The value of real-estate holdings rose 1.8 percent, according to the Fed report. That was the first gain since the final quarter of 2006. ...
So far we have noted the unique cosmology of the Hebrews and their notion decentralized stewardship. But there is yet another peculiarity about Hebrew thought that contributes directly to economic behavior: Linear time and progress.
Ancient Near East culture had a cyclical view of time. Time moved in repeating patterns. Worship and daily life were about conforming to the patterns the gods had established.
The Hebrew cosmology suggests that the world was created incomplete but with an end in mind. God created humanity and instructed them to fill the earth and to exercise dominion; bring it to its potential. The idea that time is a sequence of non-repeating events moving toward an end is nascent in the Genesis cosmology.
With the fall of humanity came the promise of redemption and ultimately a new creation. The specificity of this plan unfolds over the course of the Old Testament. God intends to use Israel as a magnet to draw all nations to himself. Israel fails in its mission and awaits a day when God will redeem them. In the centuries before Christ, many championed obedience to the covenant as a way to speed God’s action. As Rodney Stark has written, they were processing through time, anticipating redemption.
Jesus enters the picture announcing the arrival of the Kingdom of God but not in a way the Jews expect. The redemptive mission is not just for Israel but for all of humanity and creation. But for our purposes, what is critical is to realize the shift in perspective related toward time. Rather than looking backward to Moses and living according to a set of covenantal rules and practices, the view shifts forward to the consummation of the Kingdom. The ethics and reality of the future are to be lived as if they were in the present as best we can. There is a sense of giving witness to God as Israel was intended to do, but there is a more active explicitly outward directed mission as well. We are not only passively processing toward the Kingdom we are actively progressing toward the Kingdom praying that God’s will be done on earth as in heaven.
Scholar uses an analogy to describe the progression of time for the Hebrews. Imagine navigating a river or lake. The Hebrew perspective was one of being in rowboat rowing the oars with our back toward our destination and our eyes toward what we are leaving as a reference point. We tend to view time as though we are in a canoe, orienting ourselves by what is on the horizon in front of us. What all this means is that we are in a story (a progression of events), God is control of those events, and we are participants in the unfolding of those events. The enlightenment/Modernist heresy is that it keeps the idea of progress and participating in the shaping of human events while evicting God from the equation.
Economic development studies repeatedly show that time orientation and confidence that life can be other than it is now are two of the most critical factors in catalyzing economic development. I read recently about a Christian economic development team working with Indians in Guatemala. The assisted in building grain storage facilities for the Indians. But these Indians had such a fatalistic view of reality that when bins needed repairs to keep rodents out and the grain in, they simply did nothing. It was then that the mission workers began to preach regularly about God’s power and sovereignty. Some began to catch the vision of what God is about and the community was transformed.
The idea that we are progressing to an end and that change is possible is so much a part of our reality it is like talking about water to a fish. When surveys are done of the poor in developing nations around the world today, the most frequently identified concern is not material need. It is hopelessness and fear … no sense of progress or power to affect events.
While we may not always agree about what constitutes appropriate progress and what end we should have in mind, the idea that there should be progress toward an end is deeply in the Judeo-Christian heritage.
Volunteer rates are down, but more people are talking about the importance of volunteering. There’s a disconnect. Here’s why, and what you can do about it.
Outside there’s an audible hum, and it’s increasing in volume by the minute. People are talking about the things that matter, the causes that move them, the communities they love. They are talking about the need to get more active, more involved. Apparently society has decided to give back like never before, and they have decided to do it through volunteering.
Non-profit executives and volunteer managers will tell you a different story. From their perspective, fewer people are showing up and fewer still are willing to make the necessary commitments. Not only that, but the volunteers seem more selfish. The question has become, “What am I getting out of the experience of volunteering?” rather than “What am I giving?” And the widespread popularity of Corporate Volunteering programs only multiply these frustrations.
The thing is, it’s true. People are very interested in volunteering, yet less willing to make long-term time commitments. They are socially aware, yet seem concerned with program outcomes and personal fulfillment rather than the value of “doing the right thing.” Oddly, (despite the fact that many volunteer managers struggle with recruiting new volunteers) volunteer rates are, in fact, steadily increasing. People are far more active and informed than ever before. Each week hundreds of corporations are looking to formalize a volunteering program and mobilize employees in their communities.
So where’s the disconnect? If more people care, and more people are actually volunteering, why are non-profit execs so frustrated? Why does it seem tougher to find and keep volunteers today than it did just two or three decades ago? ...
SHIFT ONE: From card catalogs to wifi. ...
SHIFT 2: From finding the right job to becoming the right brand. ...
SHIFT 3: From commodity to experience. ...
... People are googleized, branded and experiential. If those of us who recruit and manage volunteers are going to be successful, we’ve got to account for these changes. Here are some initial thoughts that might encourage the necessary adjustments:
- Create regular and easy opportunities to volunteer. And I mean really easy. No police checks. No lengthy registration forms. No liability forms. No prior-to event sign up. Instead, find an event that can be held once a month, if not weekly. Make it easy for groups, families as well as individuals to attend. Most organizations I’ve worked with cannot even imagine how this is possible. It is. It just takes a little work, and some imagination. Mostly, it takes a willingness to admit that the thing not working now, aren’t going to start working anytime soon. Like it or not, change is required.
- Instead of using volunteers as a means to an end, use the tasks volunteers perform as the means to an end. It is the experience volunteers have and not the tasks they perform that is the point. Focus on the experience, and you’ll discover the commitment and productivity of your volunteers grow.
- Ensure that the experience involves close proximity between your community or cause and your volunteers. This is an essential part of volunteers internalizing the experience and discovering very personal and compelling reasons to invest in your organization.
- Only spend time on people who are worth spending time with. (Trust me. Sometimes the seemingly selfish moves are the best for everyone in the long run.) If people come back, and they demonstrate a keen interest in what you’re doing as an organization, then they are the prime candidates for your efforts.
I recently learned of a new online microfinance operation called United Prosperity. It is similar to Kiva in that it links individual lenders with individual businesses. The difference is that United Prosperity collects an amount that then becomes a collateral for a larger loan from a bank. It leverages financing power of the individual lenders.
For more on the details you can read there how it works page.
The world's largest social networking site just got bigger with the announcement it has 300 million active monthly users from around the globe.
Facebook also revealed that it has started making money ahead of schedule.
The company had not expected to start turning a profit until sometime in 2010.
"This is important to us because it sets Facebook up to be a strong independent service for the long term," said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
"We are succeeding at building Facebook in a sustainable way. We are just getting started on our goal of connecting everyone.
"We face a lot of fun and important challenges that require rethinking the current systems for enabling information flow across the web," Mr Zuckerberg said in a blog post. ...
Okay, a trade war, but a war nonetheless. Victor Claar writes:
...Over the weekend we learned that the United States would impose three years of import tariffs on tires made in China--beginning at an eye-popping 35 percent. In an excellent article this morning, ConsumerAffairs notes that roughly 17 percent of tires sold in the US in 2008 had been made in China.
China is not taking this affront lying down; they are hitting back. Working on Sunday, the Chinese have introduced import tariffs of their own--on US-produced auto parts and chicken products. ...
... Trade wars--just like real ones--hurt people. And the collateral fallout is considerable, and rarely fully accounted for in advance. ...
Q: The number of economists that agree that, "Tariffs and import quotas usually reduce general economic welfare?"
A: 93%. Source
Christianity Today: The Gospel for iGens Scot McKnight
Reared on self-esteem and impervious to guilt, the next generation needs good news that can break through their defenses.
The first step a young man takes toward a woman who he thinks might be his future is delicate. The operative words seem to be "sensitive" and "careful" and "first impressions matter." As in love, so in "gospeling" (or evangelism). When Peter preached at Pentecost, he opened his sermon with a time-honored citation of Scripture and then sketched, in third person, what had happened to Jesus. Only then did he zero in on his audience: "and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death" (Acts 2:23). When Paul got behind the dais on the Areopagus, he opened with one of the most seeker-sensitive sermons in history: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious" (17:22). With that opening Paul paved a way to warn the Greeks of the coming judgment. These examples show that biblical evangelism is marked by both boldness and sensitivity to audience.
Teaching twenty-somethings for nearly 15 years has made me acutely aware of a significant trend. It has everything to do with what to assume when it comes to evangelism.
Emerging adults (those between 18 and 30) form a generation that is largely insensitive to the potency of God's holiness, and are therefore insensitive to the magnificence of his grace, the shocking nature of his love, and that gratitude forms the core of the Christian life. Some today complain about these matters. But I doubt very much that ramping up moral exhortations and warning about an endless hell are the proper places to begin with emerging adults. Paul was sensitive to his audience; we need to be as well....
The next time you see a member of Generation Y, show some appreciation.
In Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens, and Twenty-Somethings Are Revolutionizing Retail, Kit Yarrow and Jayne O'Donnell say today's teens, tweens and twentysomethings "were the least likely to cut back spending after the onset of the 2008 recession."
What's more, Yarrow (a consumer researcher and chair of the Golden Gate University psychology department) and O'Donnell (USA TODAY's retail reporter) say the 84 million Generation Yers born from 1978 through 2000 are so influential they've changed shopping for all consumers. They call Gen Y "the taste-makers, influencers, and most enthusiastic buyers of today," who will become "the mature, high-income purchasers of the future."
Because of Gen Y, we have:
Generalizing about any group this size is risky. ...
- More creative, technically advanced websites (50% of retailers redesigned their sites last year).
- A wide availability of online customer reviews (Gen Y writes half of them).
- A faster stream of product introductions (Gen Y gets bored fast).
- Bigger, more comfortable dressing rooms (Gen Yers like to bring in friends to review outfits).
Just Genesis: Original Sin or Ancestral Sin?
Question number 8 of the most commonly asked Questions about Genesis is: "Did I understand you to say the Orthodox don't believe in inherited (original) sin? If so, how you they explain David saying he was conceived in sin, and sinful from birth?"
In response, I defer to one who is better qualified to answer the first part of this question. The Very Reverend Antony Hughes, M.Div., is the rector of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has served as the Orthodox Chaplain at Harvard University. Father Hughes has written an excellent explanation of the difference between original sin and ancestral sin. Here is an excerpt:
"As pervasive as the term original sin has become, it may come as a surprise to some that it was unknown in both the Eastern and Western Church until Augustine (c. 354-430). The concept may have arisen in the writings of Tertullian, but the expression seems to have appeared first in Augustine’s works. Prior to this the theologians of the early church used different terminology indicating a contrasting way of thinking about the fall, its effects and God’s response to it. The phrase the Greek Fathers used to describe the tragedy in the Garden was ancestral sin.
Ancestral sin has a specific meaning. The Greek word for sin in this case, amartema, refers to an individual act indicating that the Eastern Fathers assigned full responsibility for the sin in the Garden to Adam and Eve alone. The word amartia, the more familiar term for sin which literally means “missing the mark”, is used to refer to the condition common to all humanity (Romanides, 2002). The Eastern Church, unlike its Western counterpart, never speaks of guilt being passed from Adam and Eve to their progeny, as did Augustine. Instead, it is posited that each person bears the guilt of his or her own sin. The question becomes, “What then is the inheritance of humanity from Adam and Eve if it is not guilt?” The Orthodox Fathers answer as one: death. (I Corinthians 15:21) “Man is born with the parasitic power of death within him,” writes Fr. Romanides (2002, p. 161). Our nature, teaches Cyril of Alexandria, became “diseased… through the sin of one” (Migne, 1857-1866a). It is not guilt that is passed on, for the Orthodox fathers; it is a condition, a disease. ...
Norman Borlaug, the man known as the father of the Green Revolution in agriculture, has died in the US state of Texas aged 95.
Prof Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for agricultural innovation and the development of high-yield crops.
The Green Revolution helped world food production more than double between 1960 and 1990 with Asia, Africa and Latin America in particular benefiting.
The Nobel Institute said he had helped save hundreds of millions of lives.
Prof Borlaug died late on Saturday evening at his home in Dallas from complications with cancer, said a spokesperson for Texas A&M University, where he had worked. ...
In terms of lives saved and improved, Borlaug is possibly the must unsung hero of the Twentieth Century.
We have noted the peculiar cosmology of the Hebrews compared to the Ancient Near East (ANE) cultures. Another peculiarity is the construal of property rights in the Bible, particularly as it relates to land and labor.
The idea of private property rights wasn’t foreign to ANE culture. Records dating back to a least the late Third Century, B.C.E. , spell out rudimentary property rights. Of course, what we think of as economic concerns were thoroughly embedded in kinship and politics. These societies were ruled by a tiny, but powerful, elite who claimed supreme sovereignty over the land and tended to extract excess wealth to fund the ruler’s projects. That made property rights precarious by modern standards. Various types of servitude and slavery deprived significant portions of the population of the basic right to the fruits of their own labor.
With the arrival to the Hebrews, we see concerns for property rights in the Pentateuch similar to those we see elsewhere in the ANE. The Ten Commandments lists prohibitions against stealing and covetousness. The Old Testament simply takes property rights for granted. But we also see some interesting innovations.
While ANE societies had kings who were seen as representatives of the gods (if not gods themselves) and who were sovereign over the land, the law of the Hebrews provided for no such earthly representative. God was directly sovereign over the land. In Leviticus 25:23, regarding the jubilee, God says, “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.” “Sales” of agricultural land were more accurately leases set to expire at the next jubilee when the land reverted to the original owner. The jubilee made each family a permanent tenant of the land. Similarly, all servitude expired at each jubilee as did all debts. Slavery among the Israelites was forbidden.
Along with this stewardship came a variety of responsibilities in Old Testament Law. It was presumed that there would always be those who were in need. Farmers were to leave the edges of the field to be gleaned. Special offerings administered by the Levites were to be taken to provide for the poor. There were other provisions that protected the poor as well as the general admonition to be generous toward them.
The jubilee made the Israelite families and individuals directly accountable to God. No divinely appointed ruler acted on God’s behalf. It was a radical decentralization of the control over property and an elevation of each Israelite family to the role of stewardship over God’s resources.
In The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, Harvard historian David Landes writes:
… The Hebrew hostility to autocracy, even their own, was formed in Egypt and the desert: was there ever a more stiff-necked people? Let me cite two examples, where the response to a popular initiative is directly linked to the sanctity of possessions. When the priest Korach leads a revolt against Moses in the desert, Moses defends himself against the charges of usurpation by saying, “I have not taken one ass from them, nor have I wronged one of them” (Numbers 16:15). Similarly, when the Israelites, now established in the Land, call for a king, the prophet Samuel grants their wish but warns them of the consequences: a king, he tells them, will not be like him. “Whose ox have I taken, or whose ass have I taken?” (1 Samuel 12:3).
This tradition, which set the Israelites apart from any of the kingdoms around and surely did much to earn them the hostility of nearby rulers – who needs such troublemakers? – tended to get lost in Christianity when that community of faith became a church, especially once that Church became the official, privileged religion of an autocratic empire. One cannot well bite the hand that funds. Besides, the word was not getting out, for the Church early decided that only qualified people, certain clerics for example, should know the Bible. The Good Book, with its egalitarian laws and morals, its prophetic rebukes of power and exaltation of the humble, invited indiscipline among the faithful and misunderstanding with the secular authorities. Only after censorship and edulcoration could it be communicated to the laity. So that it was not until the appearance of such heretical sects as the Waldensians (Waldo, c. 1175), the Lollards (Wiclif, c. 1376), Lutherans (1519 on), and Calvinists (mid-sixteenth), with their emphasis on personal religion and the translation of the Bible into the vernacular, that this Judaic-Christian tradition entered explicitly into the European political consciousness, by way of reminding rulers that they held their wealth and power of God, and the on condition of good behavior, An inconvenient doctrine.
Yet Western Medieval Christianity did come to condemn the pretensions of earthly rulers – lesser monarchs, to be sure, than the emperors of Rome. (The Eastern Church never talked back to the Caesars of Byzantium.) It thereby implicitly gave protection to private property. As the Church’s own claims to power increased, it could not but emphasize the older Judaic principle that the real owner of everything was the Lord above, and the newer Christian principle that the pope was his vicar here below. Earthly rulers were not free to do as they pleased, and even the Church, God’s surrogate on earth, could not flout rights and take at will. The elaborate paperwork that accompanied the transfer of gifts of the faithful bore witness to this duty of good practice and proper procedure.
All of this made Europe very different from civilizations around. (34-35)
The idea of decentralized stewardship was clearly a central component of Judeo-Christian values. Families and individuals are to participate with God in their own provision through the resources entrusted to them and to participate with God in the provision of others who because of stage of life or disability are unable to provide for themselves.
Are there other implications you see from the Old Testament law and the jubilee?
Today we turn a corner in our discussion of theologians and economists. Most economists (academic ones anyway) live and work in the realm of positive economics … they study the world as it is and they attempt to model how economic realities work. Theology is largely a study of normative behavior … we want to discern how we ought to behave. When we engage this task with regard to economics we have entered into normative economics. Positive economics can’t answer “ought” questions but it can often give useful information about what happens if we choose to behave in a certain ways. So if we want to begin a discussion of normative economics from a theological perspective, where might we begin? How about at the beginning?
Social networking site elbows in on LinkedIn's job-finding franchise.
... Recruiters have been scouring professionally-oriented social network LinkedIn for qualified candidates for years now. More than 40% of Fortune 100 companies pay to use the site to find talent among its 46 million members.
But social networks are still evolving as places to hire and be hired, and Facebook, with its 250 million members, is gaining ground.
Unlike its more career-focused competitor, Facebook offers members profiles that tend to reflect their whole life. In the past that deterred many who were concerned an incriminating photo or wall post might be discovered by a potential new boss.
That fear is going away as people become more comfortable sharing their lives online, sometimes even blending their personal and professional personas. Some users take advantage of Facebook’s privacy settings to edit the information they present to professional contacts.
More importantly, Facebook is gaining credibility as a tool for recruiters and human resources professionals, the very folks who've been avid fans of LinkedIn. For one thing, Facebook seems to cast a wider net and provide recruiters with more references – and more outlets to spread the news about a job opening. Facebook users have an average of 120 friends. While LinkedIn won’t release this statistic for its members, recruiters say the average number of connections likely is smaller because of the site’s narrower scope. ...
This pictures come form William Easterly's blog.
Lack of shipping routes going to Africa (except South Africa and Nigerian Oil):
Scarcity of Airline Routes to Africa compared to rest of World (except South Africa):
Scarcity of Internet Connections except South Africa (map of # of IP addresses in 2007):
The challenge for economic reflection is figuring out how this vision and mission translates into to practical ethical guidance for evaluating economic behavior in our time. We turn to that now.
Marketing Charts: Nearly Half of US Employers Use SocNets to Investigate Candidates
Nearly half (45%) of US employers say that they now use social networking sites to dig up information about job candidates, a significant jump from 22% last year, according to a survey commissioned by CareerBuilder, which also found that another 11% of employers have plans in the works to start using social networking sites for screening. ...
... The study, which was conducted by Harris Interactive, confirmed that as social networking grows increasingly pervasive, more employers are using these sites to screen potential employees.The top examples for rejecting a candidate based on social network information:
- 53% of survey respondents rejected candidates because they posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information.
- 44% passed on a candidate because they saw content related to the person drinking or using drugs.
- 35% rejected candidates because they bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients.
- 29% disqualified a candidate because the person showed poor communication skills.
- 26% rejected a candidate because that candidate made discrimatory comments on a social networking site.
- 24% rejected a candidate because that person lied about his/her qualifications.
- 20% did not hire a candidate because social media revealed that person had shared confidential information from a previous employer.
(As Captain Typo, I especially liked the misspelled "discrimatory" in the line following rejection for poor communication skills.)The top examples of hiring a candidate based on social networking information:
- 50% say a candidate’s profile provided a good feel for the candidate’s personality and fit.
- 39% say a profile supported candidate’s professional qualifications.
- 38% say it showed a candidate is creative.
- 35% say a candidate showed solid communication skills.
- 33% say it showed a candidate was well-rounded.
- 19% were impressed that others posted good references about a candidate.
- 15% say it showed that a candidate received awards and accolades.
Today I'm beginning a once a week series (continuing for the next nine weeks on Wednesdays) at Jesus Creed on basic economics. Hope you'll join me there for what should be some good discussion.
New York Times: The Women’s Crusade
(This lengthy piece was brought to my attention by Dana Ames. It is three weeks old but since it is such a powerful article I'm linking it belatedly.)
IN THE 19TH CENTURY, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.
Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater. “Women hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos. There’s a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That’s why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution. ...
Earlier in this series I said that human beings build worlds to inhabit and infuse them with meaning. As God's image bearers, that is simply what we do. But our world-building enterprise has become corrupted. Because of sin, there is always a mixture of goodness and idolatry in all we create. God’s mission is about the redemption of humanity and the created order … the establishment of the new creation. That redemption includes redemption of economic activity.
As we begin to theologically reflect on economics we need to be cautious about the narratives we bring to Scripture. Three I have noted are:
If there is one word that best sums of the idea of the coming Kingdom of God it is probably shalom. We typically equate shalom with the English word "peace." Unfortunately, we often identify peace simply as the absence of war or anxiety. Shalom means so much more.Here are just few ways shalom is used in the Old Testament. (The words representing shalom are in bold.)
Absence of War
Joshua 9:15 (NRSV)
And Joshua made peace with them, guaranteeing their lives by a treaty; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them.
1 Samuel 16:4-5 (NRSV)
4 Samuel did what the LORD commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, "Do you come peaceably?" 5 He said, "Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice."
Personal welfare of people and animals
Genesis 37:14 (NRSV)
So he said to him, "Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock; and bring word back to me."
Jeremiah 33:9 (NRSV)
And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them; they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.
Zechariah 8:16-17 (NRSV)
16 These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, 17 do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, says the LORD.
Peace of mind
Psalms 119:165 (NRSV)
Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
These are just a few samples of the many shades of meaning in shalom. There are other more nuanced instances as well. All seem to point toward a combination of wholeness, wellness and harmony.
There are three more passages I want to highlight. These passages show the centrality of shalom to God's vision for humanity. The first passage is the Priestly Prayer and the other two are messianic prophecies.
Numbers 6:24-26 (NRSV)
24 The LORD bless you and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Isaiah 9:6-7 (NRSV)
6 For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Ezekiel 37:24-28 (NRSV)
24 My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes. 25 They shall live in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, in which your ancestors lived; they and their children and their children's children shall live there forever; and my servant David shall be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary among them forevermore. 27 My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 Then the nations shall know that I the LORD sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary is among them forevermore.
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus and others repeatedly say things like "Grace and peace to you."
Shalom, in all its fullness, is probably the best word to sum up what God intends for his creation. At the core of shalom is everyone and everything being in healthy relationship with God and with each other. While shalom is not an economic concept, economic issues are integral to the concept. God’s primary mission for us is to care for creation and enhance it in ways that reflect what God values. We build our home in this world as we fill the earth. The development and distribution of resources and goods is integral to God's mission for humanity. There can be no shalom without economics that honor God.
I want to suggest that shalom is the general standard we use for theologically evaluating an economic system. Yet we are always cognizant that, this side of the consummation of the new creation, no economic system will achieve shalom . Therefore, in critiquing it is insufficient to show that an economic system doesn't measure up to shalom. All economics systems will fail this measure. The question is performance relative to other possibilities this side of the fulfillment of the new creation.
Church Relevance: Top 100 Church Blogs
There are hundreds of great church blogs and ministry blogs to read, but do you ever wonder which church blogs everyone else is reading?
I do, which is why I have compiled a list of the world’s top church blogs.
Some focus exclusively on ministry, while others are more like theology blogs. Regardless of how you label them, these are the world’s most popular church blogs written by many of today’s most influential church leaders, theologians, and Christ followers. ...
Politics Today: Economists: Not As Smart as You Think (Or Are They?)
Economics appears to have replaced the law as the profession of ridicule. In April, for example, Business Week ran a cover story asking, "What Good Are Economists Anyway?" given that they failed to predict the worst recession since the Great Depression. More recently, Paul Krugman, writing for the New York Times, asks "How Did Economists get it So Wrong?"
Krugman's "it" presumably refers to predicting the financial crisis. With his Nobel Prize in economics, Krugman's criticism of his profession is not likely to be ignored, and it shouldn't be. In his lengthy article for the Times, Krugman argues that "the economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for the truth." Krugman identifies two tenants as the central cause of this failure: an idealized view that markets are perfect and that individuals are rational. ...
... For markets to function, we have to act as if highly improbable outcomes rarely occur. If we have to react today to every possible outcome, no matter how remote, then it will be very hard to get anything done. As Lucas said, it makes no sense to drive your car into a ditch now to avoid a head on crash because the car coming around the curve might be in your lane.
Yet, the economic collapse shows that we cannot ignore the fact that extreme events do occur. When a very rare 'black swan,' to use Nassim Taleb's term, appears, how should we react? ...
... This financial crisis and economic recession are imposing nearly unbearable pain on the global economy, and that pain should not be treated cavalierly. Yet, as irrational as it may seem, it may be better to have had the opportunity to reach extreme heights, and experience the benefits of reaching the top, even if it means that sometimes we fail and fall to immeasurable depths.
PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup finds organized labor taking a significant image hit in the past year. While 66% of Americans continue to believe unions are beneficial to their own members, a slight majority now say unions hurt the nation's economy. More broadly, fewer than half of Americans -- 48%, an all-time low -- approve of labor unions, down from 59% a year ago.
These results are from the 2009 installment of Gallup's annual Work and Education survey, conducted Aug. 6-9. The 48% of Americans now approving of unions represents the first sub-50% approval since Gallup first asked the question in the 1930s. The previous low was 55%, found in both 1979 and 1981. ...
New York Times: How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?
It’s hard to believe now, but not long ago economists were congratulating themselves over the success of their field. Those successes — or so they believed — were both theoretical and practical, leading to a golden era for the profession. On the theoretical side, they thought that they had resolved their internal disputes. Thus, in a 2008 paper titled “The State of Macro” (that is, macroeconomics, the study of big-picture issues like recessions), Olivier Blanchard of M.I.T., now the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, declared that “the state of macro is good.” The battles of yesteryear, he said, were over, and there had been a “broad convergence of vision.” And in the real world, economists believed they had things under control: the “central problem of depression-prevention has been solved,” declared Robert Lucas of the University of Chicago in his 2003 presidential address to the American Economic Association. In 2004, Ben Bernanke, a former Princeton professor who is now the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, celebrated the Great Moderation in economic performance over the previous two decades, which he attributed in part to improved economic policy making.
Last year, everything came apart. ...
This is great piece by Krugman. I you've got half an hour to read the whole thing it gives some interesting insights into the fault lines in the economics profession.
Using three different measures of income mobility that track changes in the incomes of a large sample of individual taxpayers over time, this study presents new evidence on income mobility over the decade from 1996 through 2005. Key findings include:
- There is considerable income mobility of individuals in the U.S. economy over the 1996 through 2005 period. More than half of taxpayers (56 percent by one measure and 55 percent by another measure) moved to a different income quintile between 1996 and 2005. About half (58 percent by one measure and 45 percent by another measure) of those in the bottom income quintile in 1996 moved to a higher income group by 2005.
- Median incomes of taxpayers in the sample increased by 24 percent after adjusting for inflation. The real incomes of two-thirds of all taxpayers increased over this period. Further, the median incomes of those initially in the lowest income groups increased more in percentage terms than the median incomes of those in the higher income groups. The median inflation-adjusted incomes of the taxpayers who were in the very highest income groups in 1996 declined by 2005.
- The composition of the very top income groups changes dramatically over time. Less than half (40 percent or 43 percent depending on the measure) of those in the top 1 percent in 1996 were still in the top 1 percent in 2005. Only about 25 percent of the individuals in the top 1/100th percent in 1996 remained in the top 1/100th percent in 2005.
- The degree of relative income mobility among income groups over the 1996 to 2005 period is very similar to that over the prior decade (1987 to 1996). To the extent that increasing income inequality widened income gaps, this was offset by increased absolute income mobility so that relative income mobility has neither increased nor decreased over the past 20 years.
This study examined income mobility of individual taxpayers age 25 and over for the period from 1996 through 2005 using information reported on individual income tax returns. The key findings are that there was considerable income mobility of individuals in the U.S. economy during the 1996 through 2005 period and that the degree of income mobility among income groups is unchanged from the prior comparable period (1987 through 1996).
The analysis found that more than half of taxpayers (56 percent by one measure and 55 percent by another measure) moved to a different income quintile between 1996 and 2005. About half (58 percent by one measure and 45 percent by another measure) of those in the bottom income quintile in 1996 moved to a higher income group by 2005.
Economic growth resulted in rising incomes for most taxpayers over the period from 1996 to 2005. Median incomes of all taxpayers increased by 24 percent after adjusting for inflation. In addition, the real incomes of two-thirds of all taxpayers increased over this period. Further, the median incomes of those initially in the lower income groups increased more than the median incomes of those in the higher income groups.
The analysis also found that the composition of the very top income groups changes dramatically over time. Less than half (40 percent or 43 percent by different measures) of those in the top 1 percent in 1996 were still in the top 1 percent in 2005. Only about 25 percent of individuals in the top 0.01 percent in 1996 remained in the top 0.01 percent in 2005.