Archive for August 2009

I’m in love with a rabbit.

August 6, 2009

Yesterday I met a rabbit. It is named Sucette. As I dealed, this morning, with this reminiscence, I associated Sucette with the Wittgenstein’s duckrabbit. Hope I haven’t hurted Sucette, doing so. As a concrete rabbit, it has really nothing of a duck.

The duckrabbit can be seen as either a duck or a rabbit. When one looks at the duck-rabbit and sees a rabbit, one is not interpreting the picture as a rabbit, but rather reporting what one sees. One just sees the picture as a rabbit.

But what occurs when one sees it first as a duck, then as a rabbit?

Wittgenstein isn’t sure. However, he is sure that it could not be the case that the external world stays the same while an ‘internal’ cognitive change takes place.

(thanks to wikipedia)


How is my wage fixed? Understanding some rules.

August 3, 2009

Marginal productivity is the variation of the production (of a good or service) caused when adding one employee to the workforce. 80px-Syndicalism.svgUsually, we can easily work it out when dealing with employees and with bottom/middle managers. This is a simple way to set their wages. But how do we do when dealing with top managers?

In most cases, top managers’ functions are not duplicated. So the laws of the market are not accurate to fix their salaries. Is this fundamental uncertainty one reason for the continuous raise of the amounts paid to the top management?

Well, I am not convinced yet: remuneration committees may have their own rules based on benchmarks and managers’ public reputations and service records. However,  exogenous grounds are sometimes more accurate to explain a top manager success story than his own professional talent. Without any doubt, the dispute is here to stay.

(inspired by an Alternatives économiques’ P.Frémaux article, january 2009)

The real figures of economic inequality.

August 2, 2009

In France, 250px-Kuznets_curve0.01 per cent of the people with the highest wages got their salaries 69% up between 1998 and 2006. In others words, each of these wealthy people earned a monthly 2835 euros bonus. His payroll displays about 83.000 Euros a month.

And what about the non wealthy people? The salaries earned by 90% of the people with the lowest wages, rose up too. But only 0.9%.  i.e. 11 euros per month per worker.

Is the trend of Kuznets’ curve going wrong?

(taken from a T.Piketty’s economic survey)

Is life annuity a gamble?

August 1, 2009

Life annuity may be a good deal for a buyer to acquire real estate. The seller can obtain a regular rent. However some famous stories remind us of the risk that such a practice raises. Is life annuity a gamble? Well, French people remember Jeanne Calment’s rare longevity: she lived 122 years. When she was 90 y.o., a notary bought her house by the means of a life annuity.  Unfortunately, the notary died when Jeanne was 110 y.o.

A longer time ago, Voltaire was visionary about life annuity as he was about more philosophical matters. So he wrote to his friend the marquise du Delfant: “It seems to me that I had advised you by the past to live only with the goal of teasing those who pay life annuities to you. As for me, that kind of teasing is the only pleasure I have got left”.

(inspired by a Que Choisir’s  Helène Martin article)