Sunday, September 21, 2008

Labor harmonies

I try to get to the symphony a few times a year. Normally it does not give fodder for economic discussion. But I went to the season opening on Friday and not coincidentally there was news that the PSO management and the symphony members reached agreement on a new contract the same day. Think labor strife is limited to the Port Authority? In 1975 the symphony musicians went on strike for 45 days. A decade ago a large allocation of county RAD money to the symphony was needed to avert a strike.

Speaking purely economically. The job I strive for is to be the third percussionist who must be assigned the fewest notes over the course of the season. Alas, I think I even failed drum classes in grade school.

.. speaking of musicians. From an anonymous comment on the ADB's blog is a note that our wayward cellist Bernard Katz is listed in this music program from just last month in Brazil. He really is listed there on day 27 assuming there are not multiple Brazilian Cellists named Bernardo Katz that is. I kind of wonder whether Katz is even on any Interpol list that would pick him up if he traveled, let alone whether there is any effort by the Feds to get the guy. Come to think of it, I am not sure anything I have read says there is any criminal action against him at all. But it's fun to wonder how many cellists are on the lam anywhere in the world? I also am amazed at how many cellists pop up in Burghosphere discourse.


Blogger EdHeath said...

At my school we had to participate in a senior seminar type of thing to escape. For the economics part of my political science/economics double major, I chose the "Economics of the Performing Arts". We spent a fair bit of time on William Baumol's "Cost Disease" ('s_cost_disease). That is essentially the idea that since symphony orchestras can experience no productivity increases, they are doomed to get more and more expensive. Since the rest of us do get raises when are productivity rises, though, it may not be a fatal disease (I seem to recall we called it something else).

Sunday, September 21, 2008 8:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a lot of bloat out there. Wagner's ring cycle needs to be cut down- to a nice two or three minutes. And we need to see a bit more skin out there folks!

Monday, September 22, 2008 8:17:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

Speaking of labor issues, did you see that LIRR story on the front page of the NYT?

Monday, September 22, 2008 9:30:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

actually it was not today's story that was interesting it was Sunday's on the same topic. People get mad at unions here.. but the story said there were train engineers on the LIRR pulling in $277K/year and more than a few well over $200K. and a retired couple bringing in $280K/year. So not that you said it that way, but I'd be careful of any analogies to anything going on here.

Monday, September 22, 2008 9:55:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

I meant Sunday's paper. That's pretty much the only time I read it. I did know they had anything on it today.

Monday, September 22, 2008 10:14:00 AM  

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