what, more links?
Friendly societies: ancient free-market social security
Meet the Mind Readers: brain implants to control prostheses.
In previous studies, Nicolelis’s team showed that when monkeys had their brains hooked up to robotic arms, they assimilated the arm, effectively making it their own. “Their brains actually incorporated the robotic arm by dedicating neuronal space to it. We want to see if the same thing happens in humans,” he adds.
Can’t imagine why it wouldn’t. What I wanna know is whether – and how readily – a brain can embrace an interface that has no familiar analogue.
Charity finds that U.S. food aid for Africa hurts instead of helps. Oh dear, CARE has been taken over by evil selfish libertarians. What else could explain such a conclusion?
What American accent do you have? I got Philadelphia on the first try, and I’ve never even visited Philadelphia. I went back and changed Mary/merry/marry from “marry is different” (a conscious affectation on my part; I value distinctions) to “all alike”, and got Midland, no surprise.
The Serious Organised Crime & Police Act 2005 forbids protesting in the vicinity of Westminster Palace without a permit. What is a concerned comedian to do? (three parts, about 29 minutes total)
The first letter in this week’s Economist is from Nikolai Wenzel, assistant professor of economics at Hillsdale College, who says in part:
. . . as of 2004 only 55% of America’s health spending was private . . . . this 45% does not capture the so-called “Cadillac effect” that comes from the American Medical Association’s guild-like stranglehold on providing medical services, the distortion from the tax treatment of certain health and insurance expenses, and many other unseen costs of government regulation and subsidies.
I am fond of observing that my ideological opponents, whenever they want to gloat about the inadequacies of the private sector, invariably point to the most heavily subsidized and regulated industry of all; illustrating Hayek’s law that intervention creates distortion which provokes clamor for more intervention.
Will Wilkinson debunks the notion that private charity would be better spent to “leverage” government spending — in other words, in rent-seeking.
here and there
Claire Wolfe: The Quality of a Free Man (cited by Rational Review News Digest)
James Leroy Wilson says some things that I have attempted to say about, for example, highways:
Perhaps a genuinely free market would have seen the development of organic economies driven by local production and less on mass production and trade. People might have less of what they didn’t need anyway, and lead quiet, simple, but happy and stress-free lives. Or perhaps the free market would have taken us to unimagined technological heights and a prosperous and peaceful planetary economy.
I find both possibilities appealing. And that is why, ultimately, I can’t advance a libertarian worldview that exalts one vision over the other . . . .
Leftovers from September: Trapped in New Orleans: First By the Floods, Then By Martial Law
Mom is in town, and yesterday we went to the Arts & Crafts exhibit at the de Young.
One of the wall placards says, “The problems caused by free trade and the Industrial Revolution had been recognized since the 1830s . . . .”
The part about free trade is easy to debunk: the first triumph of the British free trade movement was the repeal in 1846 (motivated in part by the Irish famine) of the protectionist Corn Laws.
The plight of the working classes before that is familiar from Oliver Twist (1837–9) and A Christmas Carol (1843), but since I can’t see how industrialization itself could cause it, I prefer to blame the Inclosure Acts which dispossessed small landholders and thus depressed wages (while the Corn Laws kept food prices high). The new industrialists naturally took advantage of cheap labor, but one cannot reduce wages by offering employment.