Cruise ships and seasteading

May 21, 2009

Compare this with all the comments about the technological infeasibility of seasteading.

Tech and deflation

May 21, 2009

Interesting thoughts:

Why are falling prices so bad? Actually they’re not bad at all, they’re a good thing. Falling prices means things are more affordable and plentiful, which is the natural state for a growing economy. The tech industry, one of the most economically lively and societally transformative, has been in a constant state of deflation from the very beginning. Think about Moore’s Law, falling broadband prices, cheaper computers, ubiquitous cell phones, etc. Deflation. It’s all good.

But the government hates deflation because it’s bad for borrowers. The government, with its multi-trillion annual deficits, is the biggest borrower around. As a borrower, the government would prefer inflation — essentially paying off its debt through freshly printed currency. In a state of deflation, the government’s monster debt remains the same, but the tax base shrinks as prices and wages all go lower.

Yet that’s precisely what the Internet is doing. Sure, tech has always been a deflationary force, but it’s at the point where it’s really creating hyper-efficiencies and price pressure across all industries simultaneously. It’s contributing to the collapse in real estate prices, car sales, travel industry profits, you name it. It’s basically done hollowing out media industry profits, for good.

Audit the Fed

May 21, 2009

It's interesting to see something move from fringe Austrian circles to mainstream.  Thanks to Dr Paul for that.

If an actual audit of the Fed takes places, it could be very interesting.  I suspect the politicians will find a way to subtly anesthetize the bill to avoid the accountability but still be seen as "supporting" the bill.

The "ideal of the honest man of recognized credit"

May 20, 2009

May he rest in peace – this old virtue has been replaced by lust for handouts.

Minorities and housing

May 18, 2009

A correlation of 0.89 is very high in a study like this.  I'm relatively new to reading Mr Sailer.  It's interesting to see him cover stuff several months before other places.  He also covers issues more fully and then gets no credit when others eventually pick up the story.

It's been fun to watch.  I look forward to seeing it happen again and again . . .

Book review

May 18, 2009

The book doesn't sound great, but we could use more on the subject.

Wise words from Hayek

May 17, 2009


Sentence of the day

May 11, 2009

From Theodore Dalrymple:

A society in which the law, and the law alone, has the moral right to forbid anything is likely to end up in the odd position in which we now find ourselves: one of permissive authoritarianism.

Occam’s Razor

May 10, 2009

Which is the simpler explanation, Professor Cowen's PC explanation or Mr Sailer's simpler one?

Various economic commentators such as Tyler Cowen are scratching their heads over why the single country most similar to the United States, Canada, hasn't yet had a gigantic banking crisis. It must be some subtle technical difference in bank regulations!

Yet, you'll notice that most of the losses on mortgage defaults in the U.S., which set off the American crisis, were concentrated in four states, none of which are anywhere near Canada: California, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida.

Of course, since we're not allowed to use Mr Sailer's explanation, Professor Cowen's will certainly end up being the correct answer.

Sentences of the day

May 9, 2009

From A Thousand Nations:

I often describe myself as a “communitarian libertarian” because, unlike most “libertarians,” I’m all for social constraints, as long as people choose them voluntarily. As an educator, I used to believe that there was one right kind of education that everyone ought to have, but over the years I’ve seen individual students who were happiest (and got the best education for them) in military schools, religious schools, Sudbury Valley schools, Montessori schools, Waldorf schools, all male schools, all female schools, regular public schools, and more. Imelda Marcos had 4000 pairs of shoes; why shouldn’t we have more than 4000 different kinds of schools? Some of these schools tightly constrain behavior, and would in no sense be described as “libertarian” with respect to their internal functioning. But as long as the family (in elementary school) or the student (in secondary school) chose the school, and the school seemed to be a good fit, why should any of us criticize the choice any more than we should criticize what beverage someone drinks or what music someone listens to?