Overcoming Bias : Lord of the Factories

March 29, 2010

While our kids are segregated into schools where light monitoring lets them terrorize each other and form dominance hierarchies, forager kids are mixed among forager adults, who enforce their strong social norms against violence and domination.  At school, our kids are rated and ranked far more often than most adults will tolerate, even though this actually interferes with their learning rate!

Interesting.

check me out at posterous here.

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Gary Becker: ‘Basically an Optimist’—Still – WSJ.com

March 28, 2010

Despite the damage this new legislation appears certain to cause, Mr. Becker believes we’re probably stuck with it. “Repealing this bill will be very, very difficult,” he says. “Once you’ve got a piece of legislation in place, interest groups grow up around it. Look at Medicare and Medicaid. Originally, the American Medical Association opposed Medicare and Medicaid. Then the AMA came to see them as a source of demand for physicians’ services. Today the AMA supports Medicare and Medicaid as staunchly as anyone. Something like that will happen with this new legislation.

A good interview with Gary Becker.

check me out at posterous here.


Health care bill woke a sleeping giant

March 28, 2010

The health care legislation represents a culmination of a sequence of unpopular major initiatives from Washington. First, there was Henry Paulson’s massive transfer of wealth from the people most hurt by the financial crisis to some of the people most responsible for it. Next, came the massive, ill-conceived stimulus bill, which was not timely, targeted, or temporary but instead a pure power grab by Washington. Health care legislation is merely the latest straw.

Here’s hoping.

check me out at posterous here.


Great Moments in Property Rights, David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

March 26, 2010

My back yard is empty, but that does not give Netanyahu the right to put up an apartment complex on it.

This is from Juan Cole’s article, “Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelis.” The whole thing is worth reading, as is much of Cole’s work. I don’t vouch for its accuracy because I’m not informed enough. But the few times I’ve read about it and the one forum I attended at which the issue was discussed, run by Dan Klein at Santa Clara University in Spring 2002, seem consistent with the general tenor of his article. The person who laid out some of the same things was Jeff Hummel, a very careful historian as well as economist.

Interesting.

check me out at posterous here.


Waterloo | FrumForum

March 24, 2010

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead.

Interesting

check me out at posterous here.


Up In the Air

March 24, 2010

Such legislation is a classic example of politicians’ heavy-handedness.  Ignorant of the countless details that must be mastered to make the airline industry work even reasonably well – but intoxicated with crude fantasies of how it should work – politicians castrate pilots, gate agents, executives who specialize in making flight schedules, and myriad other airline specialists of their abilities to respond effectively to the vast array of ever-changing facts that must be reckoned with if each flight is to have a respectable chance of being safe and on-time.

Intoxicated isn’t the word I would use, but it is a classic example of bad policy.

check me out at posterous here.


Kurt Vonnegut at the Blackboard – Lapham’s Quarterly

March 23, 2010

I have just demonstrated to you that Shakespeare was as poor a storyteller as any Arapaho.

More on storytelling.

check me out at posterous here.