economics

The Market at Work

Remember the dentist who fired his assistant for being too hot? He’s now getting one-star Yelp reviews because of it. Here’s one example:

This dentist fired his assistant because he was afraid he would want to start an affair with her… even though she never indicated she wanted to start an affair with him. A man who apparently can’t control his sexual impulses enough to be able to work side by side with a woman certainly doesn’t deserve the business of any women. What if you are under sedation and he finds you so pretty he can’t control himself enough not to touch your lady bits? Sexist, misogynistic pig.

The information age keeps making it harder and harder to be an oppressor.

Via Feministe.

Could Over-the-Counter Birth Control Screw You?

Well, maybe. Writing for The Daily Beast, Dr. Kent Sepkowitz explains the hidden cost of making the pill available without a prescription:

Yes, your life is easier because you will be able to get the pill right this second, without calling my office. No, you don’t need to fill out forms and show insurance cards and wrangle over copay. But guess who is paying for the whole shabang? You. Yes, you.

Sepkowitz is probably right that the out-of-pocket cost for the pill may rise. But he is overlooking the cost of the preventative care appointment required to obtain a prescription and trivializing the hardship of scheduling and attending those appointments. For low-income women, who are among those at highest risk for unplanned pregnancy, those costs are significant.

In any case, I’m always going to support ease of access to contraception.

Creating the "Sex Market"

An economist tries to go all Stephen Levitt on contraception by using data to show that ready access to contraceptives hurts womankind.

There are a few interesting ideas in the piece, but he largely undermines them by engaging in logical errors, conflation of ideas, and unfounded assertion. See if you can find them all! I’ll spot you the first one:

It may be biologically inevitable that relatively more men will populate the sex market and relatively more women will populate the marriage market. The reason for this is simple. The vast majority of women want to have children sometime during their lives.

Really? Says who? Conventional wisdom may suffice for ordinary conversation, but aspiring to prove your point with economics requires you to provide the reader with data.

1920-2099

Stuart Armstrong of Practical Ethics makes an unlikely point based on the disparity between the 1920 100m Olympic record and that set this year by Usain Bolt:

In 1920, prohibition had just been instituted in the USA. Some women were voting for the first time, though most couldn’t (neither could most men, in fact). The British empire was at it’s [sic] height, communism had just triumphed in Russia (the only country in the world to legalise abortion), homosexuality was a crime in most places, GDP was about a 30th of what it is now, life expectancy was 54 in the USA and tuberculosis was incurable.

Even when things seem darkest for cause or country, I try to remember that the world was darker 100 years ago and will probably be brighter in the future. Pessimism is for pre-millenialists.

Also, theology jokes are fun.