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Saturday, 2008 October 4, 14:52 — arts, economics

it’s a post, ain’t it?

a very clever picture — clean, but be warned, much of that site is NSFW.

Bon mot from Sheldon Richman:

Advocates of the free market are sometimes parodied for their seemingly all-purpose answer to any problem: Let the market handle it. What may sound like a simplistic answer, however, is actually the most complex prescription imaginable. In the modern world, the workings of any particular market are so complicated, they are beyond the grasp of mere mortals. Moment by moment, day by day, so many subtly interrelated decisions are made by so many people worldwide that no individual or group could possibly understand the big picture in any detailed way. So there is nothing simplistic about proposing the market as a solution to an economic problem. It’s short way of saying: let the multitude of knowledgeable people seeking profit, risking their own money, and responding to incentives find a solution based on persuasion not force. Translated that way, it sounds like a promising approach.

Ironically, those who don’t appreciate markets are in fact the ones who offer a simplistic, even empty alleged solution to economic problems: government regulation. That phrase is uttered like an incantation, the magical answer to all doubts about how, in the absence of fully free markets, problems would be solved. The irony is that while “let the market handle it” can be unpacked and made specific, “regulation” cannot.

Tuesday, 2007 October 9, 12:17 — economics

pent-up demand

It occurs to me that, assuming Cuban Communism does not long outlive Fidel, a lot of gringos are going to buy nostalgic cars there.

Sunday, 2007 September 9, 22:53 — economics, medicine

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.

Monday, 2007 August 20, 22:37 — economics, language, me!me!me!, security theater

links

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)

Sunday, 2007 June 24, 14:36 — economics, politics

go Hillsdale!

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.

Friday, 2006 July 21, 16:13 — economics, politics

elsewhere

Will Wilkinson debunks the notion that private charity would be better spent to “leverage” government spending — in other words, in rent-seeking.

Tuesday, 2006 July 4, 11:55 — economics, politics, psychology

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

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