Thursday, October 08, 2009

UCI/UCLA/USC First Real Estate Research Day

All economists know that there are too many conferences. Can't we shrink our carbon footprint and cancel 95% of them? That said, tomorrow there will be an real estate/urban economics conference at UCLA. Here are some details. It takes some work to organize one of these things so I hope the participants like what I put together.

For those of you who are fluent in Chinese, I have been told that my interview with the China Energy News will run in next week's issue. The very smart reporter who interviewed me emailed me today that they need a nice photo of me. Since I don't have much hair, I sent a photo of my son.

My son. My 8 year old son has taken up the violin and our house sounds like a horror movie. Perhaps he understands the Coase Theorem and knows that I will soon write him a check for $10,000 to stop his lessons.

Yesterday, I spoke to a LA Times reporter about the UCLA Lab School. Look for some funny quotes by me in an article next week. Everyone at the school is sad that the principal (Jim Kennedy) has quit after just 2 years on the job. The story will make clear that his decision is linked to recent budget troubles at UCLA and the University needing to prioritize what it really wants to be. It appears to me and Dora that this University is trying to be everything to everyone. We would prefer a more focused pursuit of excellence rather than doing 10,000 things pretty good.

Do you feel for President Obama? On this Afghanistan issue, he is clearly searching for a JFK style "Cuban Missle Crisis" solution. He is too aware of past history of Vietnam and Iraq and must view JFK as the ideal. I wonder if history is always a good guide for how to proceed. In terms of incentives, it certainly is interesting whether his military generals have the right incentives to give him their "true" opinion on what is going on --- on the ground. Perhaps Larry Summers should be embedded with the army in Afghanistan to provide his own independent view to the White House?