Nerdy Economic Statistics Sunday

Based on a recent conversation, I decided to look closer into Labour Productivity, output produced per unit of labour. My usual go-to site for statistical data on economies is OECD.Stat and as usual, they provided me with the information I was looking for.

In order to nicely visualise GDP per head of population, hours worked per head of population, and GDP per hour worked, I did a brief search for cross-platform data visualisation tools and stumbled onto Orange.
Using this very intuitive tool, I was ale to easily create the diagram I had in mind: A scatter plot of time worked vs. output per head:
This diagram is based on the data for 2013, as it was the most complete dataset with only Australia being an estimate and no gaps. The horizontal axis shows time worked, the vertical axis shows the output, and the size/colour show the productivity.

One of the two extreme outliers is Norway, the place I currently call home. So I looked more into this. One of the first search results was a research paper published by Statistics Norway, the Norwegian statistics bureau, which puts this exposed position into perspective and moves Norway closer to the productivity similar to Germany, USA, or Sweden.
The paper attributes this deviation mainly to the oil and gas income and different possible ways to estimate purchasing power parities.
Another interesting place is France which works very little but at a decent productivity, achieving average GDP per capita. Sounds like a good place, if one values time more than income or things.

A positive note for the countries of low productivity is, that many of them have been leading in productivity growth in the recent years.

Well, enough of this nerdy stuff 🙂
Enjoy your Sunday

A Bag full of Norwegian Cheese

During the Christmas market in Trondheim, I spontaneously bought a local mountain goat cheese which was especially tasty [Heidrun below]. So I started googling around and discovered a whole network of ecological cheese farms. Many of these apply setring [transhumance/Sennerei], a style of mountain farming which is also common in the Alps. During the summer months the animals, usually milk cows or goats, are moved to a smaller and simpler farm in the mountains. The grass there is rich in herbs and gives the milk and resulting cheese a distinct rich flavour.
Many of these local farms in Norway also offer visits, showing how their produce are made and often also double as bed-and-breakfasts. The network ‘Hanen‘ [the rooster] gives a good overview of the possibilities.

So today I went to the local farmers market, the Bondens marked i Trondheim, a great source for these tasty local cheeses:

  1. Heidrun fra Brubekken Gardsmeieri
  2. Grote Ost fra Hitra Gårdsmat
  3. Blåmann fra Skånaliseter Gårdsysteri

Gårdsmeieri Ost Ost Kart

Make a Difference

Listening to Arlo Guthrie’s interpretation of “Amazing Grace” I stumbled of this great passage:

If the world was perfect, and everybody had money and everybody drove a BMW … nobody was homeless, nobody ever got sick, everything was wonderful, everybody was smart and everything – happy all the time – you’d have to go an awful long way out of your way to make a difference in this world. You’d have to do a whole hell of a lot to try and improve the way it was.
But in a world that sucks – like this one – you don’t have to do very much at all! There was never a time in the history of the world where you could do so little and get so much done. You could do more with a little smile – just hold somebody, say hello to somebody, or just feel good by yourself, even when you don’t feel like feeling good.

Very fitting 🙂 just love his humour!



Today I joined a friend at the #OccupyFrankfurt demonstration, which is part of the global reaction to #OccupyWallStreet. Even though I didn’t expect to agree with their slogans,  I wanted to get a first hand impression of what all this Occupy* is about.

We are so angry ... Banks?

Banks = evil
Regulation = good

So far nothing new, it seems the vast majority of the Occupy* thing is the usual leftist bunch. No creative inspiration to be found there 🙁 Only slogans demanding positive freedom, no one asking for negative freedom.
After following the demonstration to take photos, I had time to sit down for a quick snack. I had two very very interesting conversations; one with a pensioner who shared my pessimistic perception of the demonstrating crowd and a bit later in a café, another conversation with a classical leftist guy, who favoured nationalisation of banks.
Differences aside, we all agreed that the current economical and political situation will create more awareness in the current generation and that it will have a lasting effect on our mindset.

Solange wir diskutieren, ist alles gut.
As long as we discuss, everything will be all right.

(Gabriele Fischer – brand eins)

Towards the end of the demonstration, I got my own poster from my car and went for a stroll through the crowd. Let’s say I got some strange looks:

more individual responsibility; less redistribution
(more individual responsibility; less redistribution)

I’m Changing My Name to …

In 1979 Chrysler came close to bankruptcy and asked the US Congress for an emergency loan. Congress then passed the “Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979” and the US military started buying Chrysler pickup trucks. Even though Chrysler was lacking innovative cars, this helped to avoid bankruptcy. (Sounds familiar so far?)

As a reaction the US singer-songwriter Tom Paxton wrote his song “I’m changing my name to chrysler”, parodying what had happened. The same song got covered numerous times, of which I like the version of Arlo Grthrie (famous for “Alices Restaurant“) best.

I’m Changing My Name to Chrysler
by Tom Paxton

Oh, the price of gold is rising out of sight,
And the dollar is in sorry shape tonight.
What a dollar use to get us
Now won’t get a head of lettuce,
No, the economic forecast isn’t bright.
But amidst the clouds I spot a shining ray,
I begin to glimpse a new and better way.
I’ve devised a plan of action,
Worked it down to the last fraction,
And I’m going into action here today:

I am changing my name to Chrysler,
I am going down to Washington D.C.
I will tell some power broker,
“What you did for Iacocca
Would be perfectly acceptable to me.”
I am changing my name to Chrysler,
I am leaving for that great receiving line.
When they hand a million grand out,
I’ll be standing with my hand out,
Yes sir, I’ll get mine.

When my creditors come screaming for their dough,
I’ll be proud to tell them all where they can go.
They won’t have to yell and holler,
They’ll be paid to the last dollar
Where the endless streams of money seem to flow.
I’ll be glad to show them all what they must do.
It’s a matter of a simple form or two.
It’s not just remuneration, it’s a lib’ral education,
Makes you kind of glad that I’m in debt to you.


Since the first amphibian crawled out of the slime,
We’ve been struggling in an unrelenting climb.
We were hardly up and walking
Before money started talking,
And it’s said that failure is an awful crime.
It’s been that way a millenium or two;
Now it seems there is a different point of view.
If you’re a corporate Titanic
And your failure is gigantic,
Down in Congress there’s a safety net for you.

A few decades later I stumble around on the internets and discovere this song, thinking

“Oh how fitting, nothing really changed …”.

Trying to get a more detailed picture of the song and it’s creator, I quickly found out, that there was an updated version: “I’m changing my name to Fannie Mae” which references recent events in the world economy, like the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. Again it was quickly covered by Arlo Guthrie, who happens to be a supporter of one of the current candidates for presidency Ron Paul.

I am Changing my Name to Fannie Mae
by Tom Paxton

Oh the price of gold is rising out of sight
And the dollar is in sorry shape tonight
What the dollar used to get us now won’t buy a head of lettuce
No the economic forecast isn’t right
But amidst the clouds I spot a shining ray
I can even glimpse a new and better way
And I’ve devised a plan of action worked it down to the last fraction
And I’m going into action here today

I am changing my name to Fannie Mae
I am going down to Washington D.C.
I’ll be glad they got my back
‘Cause what they did for Freddie Mac
Will be perfectly acceptable to me
I am changing my name to Fannie Mae
I am headed for that great receiving line
So when they hand a trillion grand out
I’ll be standing with my hand out
I’ll get mine

When my creditors are screaming for their dough
I’ll be proud to tell them all where they can go
They won’t have to scream and holler
They’ll be paid to the last dollar
Where the endless streams of money seem to flow
I’ll be glad to tell them all what they can do
It’s a matter of a simple form or two
It’s not just remuneration it’s a liberal education
Ain’t you kind of glad that I’m in debt to you


Since the first amphibians crawled out of the slime (of the slime!)
We’ve been struggling in an unrelenting climb
We were hardly up and walking before money started talking
And it’s sad that failure is an awful crime
It’s been that way for a millennium or two
But now it seems that there’s a different point of view
If you’re a corporate titanic and your failure is gigantic
Down in Congress there’s a safety net for you


It’s always good not to loose once sense of humour in strange times 😉
Cheers, Tim

Europe’s Debt Crisis

A very poignant quote from this week’s Economist:

They [Europe’s Leaders] cannot agree on who should bear the cost of today’s crisis: should it be creditors (through a write-down), debtors (through austerity) or the Germans (through transfers to the south)?

Full article