All posts by John Davis

Is it ever OK to pay someone $1 an hour?


In a recent New York Times column, Princeton economics professor Uwe E. Reinhardt bucks generally accepted market theory to argue against the all-volunteer army in the U.S.

The argument he addresses goes like this: Spreading military service across all societal strata (a draft) would place some of our most valuable economic assets (our brain surgeons, our bankers, our politicians) in harm’s way while denying those who could most benefit from a military paycheck (our poor, our patriots) from receiving this pathway to economic mobility. Continue reading

Financial education quiz answers

1. How much is spent per-person in the U.S. on consumer financial education?
Answer: Two dollars.

2. In terms of selling financial products and services, banks out-spend consumer education groups by …
Answer: $16.3 billion annually.

3. The leading advocates of consumer education, in terms of annual spending are …
Answer: Nonprofit groups, which spend $472 million a year on consumer financial education. This is almost four times the amount spent by the federal government.

Source: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report “Navigating the Market: A comparison of spending on financial education and financial marketing.

Meg in Debt


This is not Meg. This is a model.

Meet Meg. She’s a fan of Ben Folds Five and The Handmaid’s Tale. She has a master’s degree in lit . She posted this information on a public blog a couple of years ago. The blog has a total of two posts and no followers. It was last updated in October 2011, and its creation is apparently one in a series of plans that didn’t work out for Meg. In it, she gripes about her “$100,000 McChickens”-worth of student loan debt and her part-time job that pays $7.14 an hour. (She tells Typewriter People that she has since gotten a job as a teaching assistant, but this is temporary, and she anticipates going “back to the drawing board” soon.)

Continue reading

The Prison Economy: Not Just Cigarettes for …


You really can go home again if you want, but be prepared for weirdness.  A typewriter fetishist blog reviewed the still-being-produced Royal Scrittore II portable manual typewriter earlier this year, with author “Richard P” noting that he ordered the machine because he wanted a typewriter fresh off one of the few remaining assembly lines before they shut down for good. The review is not flattering, nor are the images of sample type impressive. Continue reading

Advice from and Old White Dude, a Review of Arnold Bennett

enoch-arnold-bennett-writerHow to Live on 24 Hours a Day is, in many ways, as quaint and dated as it sounds, but Arnold Bennett’s 1910 booklet is also gloriously short, less than 30 pages. In its brevity, tone, and candor it can be called a creepily prescient forerunner to today’s how-to ebooks. The slim volume is meant to enrich readers’ lives by encouraging them to cultivate a life of the mind through a regimen of study and thought implemented during evening hours they otherwise spend socializing, pipe smoking and various white pursuits of early 20th century Britain. This is a solid suggestion, no doubt, but Bennett offers it with a compelling, often overlooked argument based on the democratic nature of time. He writes: Continue reading