The game is not the same

Alan McGilvray.jpg

Australian cricketers toured England in 1972  for the princely fee of £1200 each.

In 2011, an English 40-over match attracted bets through the regulated gambling websites totalling more than $24 million. Global betting giant Betfair had $573 million in bets on 22 Big Bash games  in Australia in 2012. The amount  of betting  with the illegal betting syndicates in South Asia is only a matter of speculation. There was a narrow upset loss after batting collapse

Spot betting with the illegal betting syndicates in South Asia has  extended to suburban soccer in Australia. The facilities at these suburban soccer pitches were inferior to those that I played on as a high school kid:  primitive changing sheds and  to soccer goals in a suburban park.

The seeds of corruption in cricket were sown in the 1970s when county and tournament games in England and other countries were allegedly fixed by teams to secure points and league positions.

Posner and Epstein Debate Patent System

225 too many measles cases in New Zealand this year so far

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Education romanticism

Educational romanticism asks too much from students at the bottom of the intellectual pile, asks the wrong things from those in the middle, and asks too little from those at the top.  - Charles Murray

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The biting wit of Winston Churchill

When disturbed by the Lord Privy Seal while in the toilet:

When disturbed by the Lord Privy Seal while in the toilet:

On this list:

The merits of federalism

  • A divided government is a weak government.
  • One great feature of the federal system is that we can try different policies in different states and see what works and what doesn’t.
  • The laws of each state can more closely reflect local public opinion.
  • The will of the people is constantly tested and re-measured in a federal system: elections at one level or another every year contested on local and national issues.
  • People vote more often for different policy packages, rather than occasionally for a few up and down choices.
  • The will of the people is constantly tested and re-measured in a federal system: elections at one level or another every year contested on local and national issues.

After 15 years of Maggie Thatcher, good and hard, British Labor reconsidered devolution because a federal state slows the impassioned majority down.

Conspiracy theories versus unintended consequences

Cass Sunstein defines a conspiracy theory as:

An effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role. Of course some conspiracy theories turn out to be true.

He goes on to argue that millions of people hold conspiracy theories: that powerful people work together to withhold the truth about some important practice or terrible event.

Sunstein also argues that many become extremists stem not from irrationality but from having little relevant information and their extremist views are supported by what little they know:

  1. Conspiracy theories generally attribute extraordinary powers to certain agents – to plan, to control others and to maintain secrets.
  2. Conspiracy theories overestimate the competence and discretion of officials and bureaucracies, who are assumed to be able to make and carry out sophisticated secret plans, despite abundant evidence that in open societies that government actions does not usually remain secret for very long.
  3. Conspiracy theories also assume that the nefarious secret plans are easily detected by members of the public such as themselves without the need for special access to the key information or any investigative resources.

Sunstein also argued that a distinctive feature of conspiracy theories is their self-sealing quality. Conspiracy theorists are not likely to be persuaded by an attempt to dispel their theories and look at these attempts as further proof of the conspiracy.

Karl Popper argued that conspiracy theories overlook the pervasive unintended consequences of political and social action. They assume that all consequences must have been intended by someone.

Must everything be the result of a grand plan – a secret conspiracy that ordinary people uncover with little effort? Whatever happened to unintended consequences and stuff-ups?

Justice Antonin Scalia on the popular will and the role of the courts

Jon Elster and Robert Nozick on the economics of Karl Marx

Popper held that Marxism had been initially scientific: Karl Marx postulated a theory which was genuinely predictive.

When these predictions were not in fact borne out, the theory was saved from falsification by adding ad hoc hypotheses to explain away inconvenient facts. By this, a theory which was genuinely scientific became pseudo-scientific dogma.

Popper criticizes theorists like Marx who attempt to accumulate evidence that corroborates their theories and not looking for evidence that would demonstrate that their hypothesis is false.

Popper claimed that falsifiability was an essential feature of any useful scientific theory. If a theory cannot be falsified, neither it nor its predictions can be validated, for everything that happens is by definition consistent with the theory.

As Popper and Kuhn understood it, bold, risky hypotheses are at the heart of great advances in the sciences and scholarship generally.

There are major differences between a carbon tax and emissions trading.

  1. The history of cap-and-trade systems suggests that the carbon emission allowances are given away to carbon emitters, which they can use or sell at market prices. The prices of energy products would rise, but governments would collect no revenue to reduce other taxes and compensate consumers.
  2. Agreement on a global cap-and-trade system is hard to imagine. A global carbon tax is easier to negotiate. All nations use a carbon tax to raise revenue and use the proceeds to compensate consumers with tax relief. No money needs to change hands across national borders.
  3. A carbon tax is now being championed by groups and political parties that previously would deny to their graves that taxes have significant incentive effects, and that taxes do not affect the supply of labour or the rate and direction of investment to any important degree. It is suspicious that groups and parties that deny tax cuts increase economic growth take time out from these foundational beliefs to support a tax because of the incentives it gives to reduce carbon consumption. They want it both ways.

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