Fernandez-Villaverde and Jones: “Macroeconomic Outcomes and COVID-19: A Progress Report”

From NBER WP 28004: Our main finding is that most countries/regions/cities fall in either of two groups: large GDP losses and high fatality rates (New York City, Lombardy, United Kingdom,..) or low GDP losses and low fatality rates (Germany, Norway, Kentucky, …). Only a few exceptions, mainly California and Sweden, depart from this pattern. This […]

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Saturday assorted links

1. Can black holes shed information? 2. “Ancient dogs were much more diverse genetically than modern dogs.”  And Finnish Covid-sniffing dogs doing just fine. 3. Admissions pauses and reductions in Harvard graduate programs? 4. Kiwi plague of peacocks. 5. When Paul McCartney met Bertrand Russell. 6. Stanford/Hoover disputes over Covid freedom of speech.  How is […]

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Sean Connery RIP

What’s a remembrance of Sean Connery doing on a site devoted to economics? Here’s what.

When I was between the ages of 12 and 14, my family–all 5 of us–would sometimes drive from Carman to Winnipeg (50 miles) on a cold Saturday morning. We would get there at about 11 a.m. and then split and go our separate ways. Then we would meet for dinner at a designated restaurant at about 5:30 p.m. and drive home.

In 1964, when I was 13, the thing I liked to do, besides going to Hudson’s Bay or Eaton’s and seeing things I couldn’t buy (not literally couldn’t, but if I bought one thing, I couldn’t buy anything else for a few months–I hadn’t heard of credit markets), was going to movies.

Enter Goldfinger.

For my 60 cents (if I remember correctly), I entered a wonderful world that was total fantasy. I don’t mean just the plot, which was absurd. What person invites all his partners in crime to show his next big scheme and then kills them all? Why do that?

No, the fantasy was the world of luxury: fast cars, great gadgets, travel around the world even by private jet, and beautiful women.

Contrast that with what I had. We lived in a house built in 1880 and bought by my father with cash for $9,300 in 1960. (When I sold the house in 1997, a neighbor commented that the curtains in the living room were the same ones that had been up when we bought it from the Doyles 37 years earlier.) It had 3 small bedrooms and one bathroom with a bathtub and no shower. The temperature on the day I saw the movie was probably somewhere between -15 degrees F and 20 degrees F. (Back then we didn’t use the metric system: curse you, Pierre Trudeau.) The furthest I had ever traveled was 20 miles into Ontario and 20 miles into North Dakota.

And gadgets? Fuhgetaboutit. It was a big deal when we got an electric toaster and my mother finally got an electric egg-beater.

So seeing an Alfa Romeo with an ejection seat? Wonderful. Seeing in the opening scene the wonderful weather in Florida? Beautiful.

That 2-hour fantasy world was unforgettable. And it kept me going through the LONG Canadian winter.

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