In that essay, I quoted Frank Zimring’s position on the impact of the war on drugs on violent crime as so: He also argues (pp.90–99), correlating hospitalizations and deaths from overdose with changes in the known street price, that overall use of cocaine appears to have remained relatively constant across the period of time in which New York City’s crime drop took place. Yet, he notes (pp.91–92) that “The peak rates of drug–involved homicide occurred in 1987 and 1988”—the same year that 70% of arrestees were found to test positive for cocaine—“and the drop in the volume of such killings is steady and steep from 1993 to 2005. … The volume of drug–involved homicides in 2005 is only 5% of the number in 1990.” Meanwhile, whereas 70% of arrestees in the late 1980s tested positive for cocaine, by 1991 (see table 2 on page 14) this number hit a low of 62%—and in 1998…
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Too many, in Richard Posner’s view, want to remake democracy with the faculty workshop as their model. Such deliberation has demanding requirements for popular participation in the democratic process, including a high level of knowledge and analytical sophistication and an absence, or at least severe curtailment, of self-interested motives.
That is before we consider the considerable evidence that political deliberation polarises opinion rather than brings us together.
The basic elements of Ackerman’s proposal for ‘Deliberation Day’ are as follows:
- one week before major national elections, registered voters would be invited to meet in neighborhood meeting places (such as schools) for one day, to deliberate on the central issues raised in the election campaign;
- this Deliberation Day would become a national holiday and deliberators would be paid $150 for their attendance, provided they showed up at the polls the next week;
- deliberators would first meet in small groups of 15 to listen to a live TV debate between the principal candidates and to identify questions for discussion at a later plenary session of 500 people with local party representatives present to answer questions; and
- deliberators would then reconvene in their small groups of 15 to share their reactions to the responses given by the party representatives to the plenary session.
An obvious advantage of this proposal would be…
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Sam Peltzman pointed out that most of modern public spending is supported by the median voter – the ‘swinging’ voter. Governments at the start of the 20th century were a post office and a military. At the end of the 20th century, governments are a post office, a larger military and a very large welfare state.
Studies starting from Peltzman in 1980 showed that governments grew in line with the growth in the size and homogeneity of the middle class that was organised and politically articulate enough to implement a version of Director’s Law. George Stigler published an article on this law because Aaron Director published next to nothing for reasons no one understands. Director founded law and economics through teaching at the University of Chicago law school.
Director’s Law of public expenditure is that public expenditure is used primary for the benefit of the middle class, and is financed…
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IMF’s research bulletin for March 2010 has some good reviews. There is a literature survey on forecasting recessions, literature survey on growth determinants (technical stuff) and Prakash Loungani of IMF answers 7 questions on housing price cycles. Incidentally, Loungani’s works features majorly in forecasting recessions as well. I had pointed to his paper earlier as well.
In forecasting recessions review:
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It has become an urban legend in New Zealand that inequality is getting worse and worse.
Brian Easton adjusted the top income share database for New Zealand for the introduction of dividend imputation. This encouraged companies to distribute more dividends.
Once this measurement error was corrected by Easton, there has been no increase in top income shares in New Zealand since the 1950s. It has been a slow taper at best or a flat line.
There is a wages boom from the early 1990s after 20 years of wage stagnation, a period which some people regard as the good old days.
The return of real wages growth, and strong employment growth to boot, came straight after the Ruth Richardson horror budget and the passage of the Employment Contracts Act.
Every ethnic group experienced strong income growth as well as the graphic below shows. The rich got richer and the poor got richer too.
Legendary comedian Don Rickles, famous for insulting nearly everyone, died of kidney failure yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 90. Given today’s political and social climate, it’s unlikely we’ll see anyone like him again.
The video below gives a taste of his humor, and do read the New Yorker profile of Rickles from 2004, “Don’t call me Sir: Don Rickles and the art of the insult.”
It makes the point that although Rickles frequently drew his comedy from stereotypes of women and ethnic groups, it was an equal-opportunity humor with a good motive. As the New Yorker noted, “The stated intention of this genial racism is a liberal one. Rickles is an equal-opportunity offender, the idea goes—a kind of workingman’s Lenny Bruce—deploying stereotype to demonstrate that we are all different and all equal. For many years, he ended his act with a prayer that he would one day see…
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Throughout his writing career, Frederic Bastiat repeatedly emphasized that consumption is the end goal of economic activity, that the consumer should be the focus of economic analysis. While each man is both producer and consumer, man produces so he can consume. In other words, production is the means and consumption is the ends. This makes sense if we look at our own lives: we go to work so we can afford our homes, food, cars, clothes, etc. We don’t consume our clothes, cars, food, homes, so that we can work more!
Although not considered much of a theorist, Bastiat was a bit ahead of his time with this emphasis.* It would be another 50 years before the commonly-recognized supply and demand curve we use today was developed by Alfred Marshall. Using the Marshallian Curve, we can explore Bastiat’s** insights with regard to international trade.
Let’s ask the question:…
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Inconvenient data for those who still insist climate change is making hurricanes more frequent is displayed in these two slides from Dr. Philip Klotzbach. As noted by Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. The bottom dropped out of US hurricanes over the last 10 years.
CommonDreams.org quoted Al Gore back in 2005:
… the science is extremely clear now, that warmer oceans make the average hurricane stronger, not only makes the winds stronger, but dramatically increases the moisture from the oceans evaporating into the storm – thus magnifying its destructive power – makes the duration, as well as the intensity of the hurricane, stronger.
Last year we had a lot of hurricanes. Last year, Japan set an all-time record for typhoons: ten, the previous record was seven. Last year the science textbooks had to be re-written. They said, “It’s impossible to have a hurricane in the south Atlantic.” We had the first…
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