Daily Archives: April 14, 2018

#EndOil assumes a few things on the renewable energy front

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The fundamental error of Oxfam’s approach to poverty

Fans of Theodore Dalrymple

Oxfam operates at an abysmally low moral level.

  • In Haïti, it appears to be given over to venery and the exploitation of frailty.
  • In England, its grandiloquent headquarters is bursting with overpaid, rent-seeking, ferociously avaricious staff.
  • Corruption at every level of the ‘charity’ mocks taxpayers, donors and volunteers.

But there is something else we need to bear in mind. Oxfam’s worldview is cock-eyed and harmful. Dalrymple writes:

Oxfam’s ideas of how poverty is to be overcome — by means of foreign aid — are deeply flawed. The organisation, supposedly focused on poverty, has contrived to overlook the greatest reduction in mass poverty in history, namely that which has occurred in India and China in the last 30 years, and to reflect upon how it was brought about. This reduction had nothing to do with foreign aid, or even concern for social justice.

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Trade-Offs and Public Policy

A Force for Good

This semester, I have been studying Law & Economics with Robin Hanson at GMU.  In class, we have been discussing the legal system, how it is structured, and other ways to structure it.  Questions we’ve pondered include: why can one appeal on matters of law and not matters of evidence?  Why are rules of evidence what they are?  Should all contracts be enforced or what limits should be placed on them?  Why are property taxes structured they way they are?  Why common law in the US as opposed to civil law?  Etc.

Simultaneously, I am evaluating a book for my course this summer: Trade-Offs by Harold Winter.  Trade-Offs is a public policy-focused look at economic reasoning.  In the book, he points out one of the dangers of public policy analysis (Page 5, original emphasis):

Even if there is agreement on the broad objective of maximizing social welfare, policy objectives…

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