A Revealing Cartoon |Ideas

But it apparently does not occur to them that, for someone not persuaded of their policies, the same argument applies to them, that, from the standpoint of the people they want to convince, the cartoon is a reason to be more skeptical of their views, not less.

via Ideas.

Judge Posner, J.S. Mill and Same-Sex Marriage

hEaD space

Sometimes the gods of happy coincidence smile down on us as law teachers. This last week I have been working with my Legal Theory students on rights and freedom, and on Thursday Judge Richard Posner handed down the (unanimous) decision of the US Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit in Baskin v Bogan, striking down legislative bans on same-sex marriage in the states of Indiana and Wisconsin.

In a closely argued 40-page opinion Judge Posner finds that the states’ bans breach the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution. The case does not address the argument that gay marriage should be permitted as a fundamental right. The decision thus sits within a framework of classical Equal Protection ‘suspect class’ legal analysis. It finds that the same-sex-marriage bans discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and that such classification, being based on an immutable characteristic of the group discriminated against, proceeds…

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Richard Posner and Law & Economics

Philosophy 395: Philosophy of Law

We’ll be looking briefly at the work of Richard Posner and the law & economics approach in a few weeks, but I want to say a word or two about it now. Brian Butler has a nice piece on the law & economics approach in his article in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Here’s the first paragraph.

The law and economics movement applies economic theory and method to the practice of law. It asserts that the tools of economic reasoning offer the best possibility for justified and consistent legal practice. It is arguably one of the dominant theories of jurisprudence. The law and economics movement offers a general theory of law as well as conceptual tools for the clarification and improvement of its practices. The general theory is that law is best viewed as a social tool that promotes economic efficiency, that economic  analysis and efficiency as an ideal can guide legal practice.  It…

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Milton Friedman on Welfare

The European Economy Continues To Flat Line.

Excellent roundup of European economic developments

European Economic Snapshot

by Thomas Cooley, Austin Jones, and Peter Rupert

The flash estimates of third quarter output in Europe released by Eurostat the EU Statistical Agency last week showed EU  Area GDP grew by .2% in the Euro Zone and .3% in the EU 28.  The Italian economy shrank by .1% and Germany grew by only .1%.  The one sign of strength was the U.K. economy which grew at a relatively robust .7%.

We should note that the graphs that follow are based on the most recent data available but do not include all third quarter data because Eurostat is notoriously inept at making timely data publicly available.

The chart below shows GDP growth for the major economies compared to GDP growth for the U.S.

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But, the European picture is very much a tale of two Europes, with Southern Europe showing tremendous weakness and the Northern European Economies and the U.K. showing…

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New Zealand in the 60s through the eyes of Cleese and Idle

via New Zealand in the 60s through the eyes of Cleese and Idle – Whale Oil Beef Hooked | Whaleoil Media.

What Is Free Banking All About?

Uneasy Money

I notice that there has been a bit of a dustup lately about free banking, triggered by two posts by Izabella Kaminska, first on FTAlphaville followed by another on her own blog. I don’t want to get too deeply into the specifics of Kaminska’s posts, save to correct a couple of factual misstatements and conceptual misunderstandings (see below). At any rate, George Selgin has a detailed reply to Kaminska’s errors with which I mostly agree, and Scott Sumner has scolded her for not distinguishing between sensible free bankers, e.g., Larry White, George Selgin, Kevin Dowd, and Bill Woolsey, and the anti-Fed, gold-bug nutcases who, following in the footsteps of Ron Paul, have adopted free banking as a slogan with which to pursue their anti-Fed crusade.

Now it just so happens that, as some readers may know, I wrote a book about free banking, which I began writing almost…

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The three golden rules of climate science are test, test and test

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M.A. Adelman on the Hotelling’s economics of exhaustible resources

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Twitter was right—it’s not the next Facebook

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